Anywhere you go in Japan, you’ll be greeted by an air conditioner of some sort or other. Whether it’s in someone’s house, a giant electronics store in Tokyo, or that tiny ramen shop you think is too small to be a ramen shop, you’ll find them.
While they’ve almost become as synonymous in Japan as curved roofs, they’ve also appeared in popular games like animal crossing. And I won’t lie, they make my house in-game so much cuter! Don’t judge me…
Such a mundane appliance isn’t something you’d expect to read an article on this site about, but they’ve solidified their place in Japanese society, enough so for me to write this anyway. So! Let’s get into it!
Why do Japanese People Use Air Conditioners?
If you’ve ever visited Japan in Summer, you probably know the main answer to this one. They get hot. Really hot. And the simple act of opening a window, or 10, doesn’t seem to cut it.
The way most Japanese homes are constructed, especially older ones, means central heating isn’t really a thing. So, by using a mixture of gas (or oil) heaters, and air conditioners, they are able to heat or cool each individual room to the desired temperature.
The one in our house comes in handy during the winter, so fingers crossed it will do the same in the summer. Plus, I only need to turn it on in one room and don’t have to spend money heating or cooling the entire house.
Where Can You Buy Japanese Air Conditioners From?
Perhaps the easiest and quickest choice for ordering Japanese air conditioners would be on Amazon. You’ll struggle if you can’t order things from Amazon.jp, but luckily there are a few other options available to you.
A while back, I wrote an article about the best online Japanese stores which includes a mini guide to ordering from proxy companies. Without going into too much detail here, they basically sort out the buying and shipping process for you, and while you might pay a little extra for the trouble, it’s highly worth it if you can’t actually get to Japan yourself!
Because of their prevalence in Japan’s culture, the best Japanese air conditioners can be bought from practically any electronic shop in Japan. Here are the two main ones you’re likely to come across:
Probably the single biggest tech outlet in Japan, especially if you’re talking about their biggest store in Akihabara. Or, if you want to make a complete day of it, they’ve basically got their own village of shops, all selling different things in Shinjuku. I went into the one that sold cameras and spent a good few hours in there, so make sure you set an alarm if you’ve got anywhere to be afterward!
You’ll see these far more frequently, with a shop or two near most big train stations. Similar to many technology stores, each floor is dedicated to selling a single type of item. In the case of this article and my trip to BIC Camera, pretty much half the floor was dedicated to Japanese air conditioners, and the other half to various other household goods like washing machines, and speakers.
Top 7 Japanese Air Conditioner Brands
As I briefly mentioned, I grabbed all these photos the last time I was in BIC Camera. Believe it or not, the Japanese air conditioners are somewhere under all that advertising!
Keep in mind, if you are buying these products from a supplier in your own country, the exact make and model of the air conditioner may be different to fulfill certain requirements.
Not only is Panasonic one of the most well-known Japanese air conditioner brands in Japan, but it’s also one of the top electronic companies in the world as well.
Just recently we bought a Panasonic bread machine from BIC camera under the advice of family members who also live in Japan. It seems it’s a brand that’s not just marketed well, but also loved by a lot of people.
Here are a few of the newest Japanese air conditioner models on offer in Japan at the moment:
- Aeolia (Nanoe x) – The newest of the bunch that’s able to clear the air as well and provide heating and cooling when needed.
- Aeolia Sleep – The PX series Eolia sleep Japanese air conditioner is specifically designed to help you get to sleep. The unit has a special sensor that detects the ambient temperature and humidity of the room and changes them both to make a better sleeping environment.
- Full Warmth Aeolian – Warm air starts as soon as the unit turns on meaning no warm-up period. The AI is also programmed to know when it should be turned on and off depending on the temperature and settings programmed. Even if the outdoor part of this Japanese air conditioner is frozen, it can continue to heat the room.
The best of the bunch, their new ‘X’ series, does more than just heat up and cool down. Here is a list of things Hitachi claims the best Japanese air conditioner can do:
- Air purifying prevents mold in the room (apparently the only one like this in the world).
- Gets rid of mold, fungus, viruses, oil & smoke stains, cooking stains, and pet odor.
- Premium Plasma Air Purification (whatever that is…)
- Automatic fan cleaning
- Heat exchanger – Freeze Cleaning Disinfection Heat Plus
- Optional extra – “Plus ventilation unit” – “Make the air in your room more beautiful” Honestly I have no idea what that means, but I do know I want it!
3. Mitsubishi Electric
Mitsubishi group represents a group of Japanese copies in a plethora of different industries. You’ll likely know them for their automotive production, but this time we’ll be talking about Mitsubishi Electric.
Many of the Mitsubishi Japanese air conditioners come with a variety of features including a “Clean V Filter” for controlling viruses, an infrared sensor to automatically control the temperature of the room, and easy access to the inside to clean.
They have a solid offering of products which coupled with a reliable company name like Mitsubishi makes them one of the best Japanese air conditioner units you can buy.
Daikin is a Japanese air conditioner brand that’s popular with many. It’s actually the type we have in our house and has been working pretty well this winter. Combined with the oil heaters, at least.
As well as cooling and heating, some of the units include the ability to humidify and dehumidify your environment. I know for a fact that our house gets really dry at certain points during the year, so this is a fantastic feature to have. And while we already know Japanese houses are designed to improve ventilation, it’s a great thing to have just in case.
With over 11 model types, whether you want to increase the heat or keep the heat away, one of these models is bound to fit your needs.
Toshiba, among more popular things, is a Japanese air conditioner brand that promises to provide better air quality, better efficiency, and better ease of use. Other than heating or cooling a room, the units can clean the air against pollen, dust, smoke, and other irritants. As someone who suffers from hay fever, having this dual function is a massive win in my books and would definitely be a reason for me to consider it over other brands.
In my opinion, Toshiba also benefits from the best-designed Japanese air conditioner on the market, the HAORI. Its curved cloth front panel makes it stand out far less than other air conditioners in japan you may buy and ultimately leads to a more relaxed atmosphere in the room the air conditioner is placed.
Japanese electronic giant ‘Fujitsu’ are next on our list, and definitely an air conditioning brand to consider. Their units are environmentally friendly, have automatic cleaning filters, are quiet, and also feature an automatic mode like many of the other Japanese air conditioner brands.
Some of the units allow the user to operate it from anywhere in the world with a smartphone app. Pretty cool really, and definitely not something the one in our house can do. Hmmm, I’m starting to get air conditioner envy, if that’s even a thing.
Website JP/US: www.amadana.com/taglabelaircon
A lifestyle and electronics brand that combines Japanese aesthetics with technology. They have brands like ‘Beasty Coffee’ by amadana, amadana brand, amadana music, and the one we’re most interested in ‘TAG label’ by amadana.
While I still think the HAORI unit by Toshiba looks the nicest out of all of them, the TAG-label Japanese air conditioner brand is wonderfully simplistic and would likely be my second choice. All the products in this range are designed to be as neutral as possible, and a quick look at their site shows you exactly that.
At under ¥70,000, it’s definitely one of the cheapest on this list as well. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some of the others, but with the ability to control it through a wifi app, its minimalist design, and its price, it’s definitely the best Japanese air conditioner for those on a budget.