Recycle Store Exterior
Recycle Store Exterior

CONTRIBUTED BY STEPHANIE MONROE

I’ve been on Okinawa about a year now, and since our arrival I’ve been lamenting the loss of one of my favorite activities: shopping the neighborhood thrift stores. Back in the states thrift stores are one of my regular stops to find unique, antique, or bargain priced items. I have eclectic taste and I love to find a bargain on anything from dishes to salvageable furniture that I can refinish or repurpose. Sure we have the on-base thrift stores, but I’ve really been looking for some Japanese thrift shops so I can find items that are strictly Japanese. I’d resigned myself to the fact that there really aren’t places like that on the island. Like so many other things about this island, I’ve once again been proven wrong.

At a dinner party last weekend, a friend of a friend was talking about “The Recycle Store”. Immediately my curiosity was peaked and as I listened to her describe the place, and I resolved to go there and check it out for myself as soon as possible. I recruited another friend who’d never been there to come along for company.

Recycle Store Aisles
Recycle Store Aisles

As we pulled into the parking lot of the enormous, brown, warehouse-sized building I was practically twitching with excitement. What, oh what treasures awaited me inside? Practically everything as it turns out, is sold in this store. This place is the mother of all thrift shops.

It is roughly divided into sections. There are aisles and aisles of clothes, toys, watches, jewelry, musical instruments, electronics, collectables, an entire side of the store is devoted to books, a corner for dish sets and pottery, purses with everything from last season’s designer bags to little costume plastic clutches. There is an entire shoe store’s worth of second hand shoes, there’s baby items, baskets, candles, and tons of video games . . . I can’t even remember everything we looked at! It’s practically a second-hand Wal-Mart!

Recycle Store Clothing

A lot of items are priced for a great bargain! I nabbed an adorable little bento box for 200 yen. I’ve seen similar ones on Amazon.com for $15-$20!! There are dish sets for 200-800 yen, cups and glasses similarly priced that I didn’t purchase, but I’ll be back! And of course there are the items like hard-cased luggage, that due to the current yen rate you’d be better off buying on base. Some of the more unique and interesting items we came across were vintage Barbie dolls still in the box for roughly $50 American Dollars, the villain from the “Saw” movie franchise in doll form (creepy), little hand puzzles like the ones I had as a kid, and designer labels of every kind.

I do wish there had been a bit more furniture. I was really hoping to find some cute chairs or a desk for cheap that I could refinish. However I did spy a place that looked promising along the same road when we were headed home. That’s a stop for a different day. Overall, I think I love this store!! I will definitely be back. It’s the type of place you could spend the day in and still not see everything!! Happy shopping to my fellow thifters!!
Recycle Store Purses

Hours: 24/7

Payment: Yen

Directions: Go out of Kadena Gate 1 and turn left onto 58 heading south. Turn left onto 130 which borders Camp Foster. Turn right onto 330, which is the road that divides Camp Foster. Turn left onto 81 toward Comprehensive Park. Stay on 81 all the way to the eastern side of the island. 81 becomes 227 (aka Awase Bay St.) The recycle store is a large brown building on the left side of the road right before the entrance to Comprehensive Park. If you go through two short tunnels, you’ve gone too far.

25 COMMENTS

  1. Amazing store! Like Goodwill and Don Q partnered up, haha.

    For people interested in selling:
    If you think of this place as a way to make money, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. However, if you think of it like donation with a tip, you’ll leave happy. I hate dealing with yard sales and I enjoy shopping here so much, it just makes sense for me to load up the car, drop my things off, shop a bit, then get a little cash.

    I brought in a scratched up coffee table, some small storage boxes, a couple pair of shoes, two shirts, two picture frames, two vases, some trading cards and some other odds and ends and got 1200¥. Certainly nothing to write home about, but they took all the stuff (which was what I wanted- one stop shop), and they were very pleasant. The fellow helping me knew basic English, and although he was busy, he was patient with me and overall had great customer experience.

    Also I bought two leather purses while they were pricing my items. Win!

  2. I just have to say, I went to this store today and it was more than I imagined. I LOVE IT! Will definitely be going back. I found six large frames for 80 yen a piece! They’re sturdy and have glass rather than plastic like what you would get at the Diaso. Can’t wait to go back and find more treasures!

  3. I went to the new location by Camp Kinser, and I just wanted to leave a note regarding selling clothes. They do not offer you much! If you’ve ever sold at places like Buffalo Exchange or Plato’s Closet in the US, you will be disappointed. I brought in two big bags of clothes, many name brand (AE, Gap, Old Navy, Roxy, H&M) some in band new condition, all trendy/current styles, as well as two brand new purses, and they only offered me 1600 yen total. They do itemize what they’re offering, I got a couple extra bucks for the forever 21 items and a little extra for the purses, and the rest they lumped together and offered for the lot. I took some of the items out that I knew I could sell on bookoo for more and they still gave me the 1600, so that was nice. But as far as shopping, this place is great! I’ve bought shirts, shorts, cover ups, coats, and a purse from there and everything was 500y-800y a piece 🙂

  4. Hi. I went there this evening to sell a XL box of clothing and shoes. All were in great shape and mostly name brands. I would estimate there are at least 60 pieces of clothing and 10 pairs of shoes – well after a 40 min wait I was told they would give me Y2580 for the entire box! I politely said no thank you. I expected at least Y5,000-Y10,000. It does seem that they pay more of TV, Bikes etc. If you are looking to sell clothing I would post your items on OYS, FB or head to the Flea Market.

    • I tried to drop off some clothes last week. About 8 pieces, 3 still with price tags. They offered me 200 yen. What an insult!

  5. Oh and there is a sign posted (in English) in front of the parking lot that they would buy and sell everything, so I presume that includes clothing as well (to answer the question posted by Daniele). Also, still no pianos as of today.

  6. Just went here today for the first time. A majority of the items were:
    1) Clothing (men, women, kids)
    2) Handbags (both men and women), bookbags
    3) Shoes
    4) Books (sooo many manga books)
    5) Toys
    6) Music

    They also had a decent selection of household items (bowls and cups were cheap!), motorcycle helmets, used cameras, computers, phones. I even spotted about 4 wetsuits 🙂 Fun place, but very loud. So much music being blasted in every direction. (There’s also an arcade at the entrance). Good stuff!

    • Never seen a piano for sale. There are always keyboards, sometimes really nice one, mostly your standard fare however.

      One point I wanted to make is that you should ALWAYS barter at these places. Never pay what the price tag says, especially on big ticket items (such as musical equipment). I ask for 20% off and I always get it when I have cash in hand.

  7. Hello,
    I was wondering if anyone could give me directions from the Awase Toys R Us to this Recycle Store? Also how long do you think that it would take to get there? Thank you all so much! I was very excited to find this site and that there is a thrift store much closer than on Foster ^_^

  8. Speaking of furniture. In the bottom of OK! Furniture on 329 there is a used furniture store called Re-Ok! Furniture. Lots of stuff down there!

  9. there is also a recycle store right by the intersection of 26 and 329. its right next to the cocos bakery store. i havent been in but it looks like they have cool stuff. it just opened

    • Second street is the one at the corner of 75 and 8. It has a decent selection of housewares, toys, electronics downstairs. Nothing of the fix it up variety however. Upstairs are clothes and baby items.

  10. Aside from Manga Souka, there are hundreds of “recycle” shops on Okinawa. If you are looking for cheap prizes, skip all the shops along 58 between Futenma and Foster – they have lovely stuff, but it tends to be pricey. Think “Antique Mall” prices, not so much “Thrift Store” prices.

    Look for リサイクル – Recycle – on the outside of shops to find the neighborhood recycle shops where you will find good prizes and the kinds of furniture you want to fix up as well as other random things.

    Happy hunting.

  11. There is anotherone in Naha ( Route 58, near Airport ) which has quite a bigger better varity then the one in Okinawa City . The shop is called Manga Souko which means Manga Treasurehouse.

  12. Love this place! My wife drug me in here one time and I was a but reluctant but man they sure do have everything! An easier way coming from Kadena. Go out gate 2 and continue all the way straight to Awase Bay Street and make a right. Stay on this road and you can’t miss the huge brown building on your right with a 24 in yellow just past the Center Gate of the athletic park.

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