Secondhand Sea Kayaks in Japan
If you live in Okinawa or Tokyo, you’re in luck. These two areas of Japan always seem to be the most flush with second-hand sea kayaks. Even then though, the second-hand market for sea kayaks here in Japan is very sparse compared with other developed countries. For foreign brands, expect to find mostly very old (up to 20yrs old) models, with only a few newer models here and there. Domestic brands of sea kayaks are generally very well made, but designs lag behind developments overseas – two hatches, fibreglass seats, relatively low volume, and notoriously short cockpits that seldom fit longer-legged foreign paddlers.
That said, there can be some bargains to be found. We picked up a fantastic high-volume Aquarius Sea Lion (made in Poland) for 100,000yen in great condition (fits even a lanky 2m tall American), and got a domestic Vogue Evo Expedition for a smaller paddler also for 100,000yen. We did, however, have to take a ferry down to Honshu from Hokkaido to collect them – the market for second-hand sea kayaks in Hokkaido is extremely sparse.
- IMPORTANT: Overland shipping of sea kayaks (over 5m in length) in Japan (new or used) is best considered impossible. Shipping from Tokyo to Hokkaido, for example, would cost upwards of 250,000yen (US$2,000). If you don’t live in the vicinity of the seller, you’ll need to consider travelling there yourself to pick the kayak up.
- TOP TIP: If you’ve got a sea kayak guiding outfit near you, try contacting them to see if they have any second-hand kayaks they want to sell.
WHERE TO BUY USED SEA KAYAKS IN JAPAN
- Yahoo Auctions
Yahoo Auctions is the eBay of Japan, essentially. Below are some search terms that will get you started.
- Mercari (メルカリ)
Mercari is sort of like Craigs List, but a sort of an eBay-esque Craigs List. Here’s some search terms to start.
- Jmty (ジモティー)
This is about as close as you’ll get to Craigs List. Search terms below.
Try the Kayak Buy and Sell Group, here.
- Koa Outfitters
This watersports store in Kanagawa Prefecture sometimes has some good deals on second-hand sea kayaks – see the page here.
Buying New Sea Kayaks in Japan
There are a couple of options for buying new sea kayaks in Japan – domestic brands or foreign brands. Note that ordering a single kayak from overseas will carry a fairly hefty shipping charge – to save on costs, dealers may suggest waiting until they have a large enough order to share shipping costs.
DOMESTIC KAYAK BRANDS
- Norlite Designs (Hokkaido)
Founded in 1988, this kayak maker still makes their hand-made composite kayaks in-house. Very high quality and attention to detail. Deck features are a little dated.
- Waterfield Kayaks (Kumamoto Prefecture)
Arguably the leading Japan domestic sea kayak maker. Solid designs, with a variety of styles (including Greenland style). See the documentary below.
- Vogue Kayaks (Tokyo)
Vogue Kayaks boasts they’re the smallest kayak manufacturer in Japan. They produce very nice OEM versions of currently defunct domestic brand kayaks.
- Paddlecoast (Mie Prefecture)
There’s a chance this manufacturer may now be defunct…it’s a bit difficult to find information about them. But here’s an outfitter still advertising Paddlecoast boats for sale.
- North Shore Designs (Osaka)
This company appears to share the same molds as Paddlecoast, plus a few other designs.
SEA KAYAK DEALERS
There are bound to be more than just these dealers below in Japan…these are just some we have come across. If you know of any others, please let us know!
- Shugakuso (Hokkaido)
Shugakuso is based in Sapporo and Asahikawa. They carry Norlite Designs kayaks, and can order in some other brands upon request.
Website: Shugakuso Shiroishi Store
- Paddle Quest (Osaka)
Paddle Quest is a dealer for a number of sea kayak manufacturers: Sea Kayaking UK, Point 65, and Waterfield.
- Biwa-ko Canoe Center (Lake Biwa/Kyoto)
Biwa-ko Canoe Center stocks Valley, P&H, and Waterfield.
- Southwind (Kanagawa)
Stocking Aquarius, Stellar, Norlite Designs.
- Island Stream (Wakayama)
Stocks Waterfield and Point 65.