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FAQ 7k. Where To Buy Mah-Jongg Sets

Latest update September, 2010

Many stores that sell board games (like the now-defunct Gamekeeper, for instance) either have Mah-Jongg sets available, or they can order them for you if they don't have them in stock. Just make sure you know what you'll be getting (see FAQ 7a through 7d).

If you live in a large city, there may well be Chinese, Japanese, or Vietnamese import shops, where the chances are very good that you'll find a selection of Mah-Jongg sets for sale.

If you do not have such import shops, and there's no game store that sells mah-jongg stuff in your area, then I recommend...

The Internet

For the vast majority of people looking to buy a mah-jongg set, I recommend... the internet. And if you want an older set, the only places to shop are eBay and auction houses in your local area.

I can hear the naysayers now... "The internet?? Nothing but a lot of scam artists, cons, and porno sites! I ain't gonna open myself up to identity theft and buy stuff over the internet, nossirreebob!" Whoa there fella, you found me on the internet - are you calling me a scam artist? Calm down, already! Thimk! (^_~)

Reputable internet vendors use secure technology that protects your confidential data from identity theft. And they probably also have other methods you can use to buy merchandise: fax, phone, snailmail, etc. Just go check 'em out. Go to FAQ 4a and see what they've got, see what your ordering options are. The great American general Stonewall Jackson once said, "Never take counsel of your fears." Worries and fears will only sap the life out of you and take over your dreams... turning them into nightmares. So don't let your fears stop you from having fun playing mah-jongg!

Before going mah-jongg shopping on the Internet...

  • Read the Tips For Buyers in FAQ 7j.
  • Make sure you know what to look for (see FAQ 7a through 7d).
  • Check out the mah-jongg vendors listed in FAQ 4a and FAQ 4b. AND check our Sets For Sale bulletin board
  • eBay is highly recommended, and free, but you have to register and you have to be patient. Forget about your usual desire for immediate gratification right now. It'll take time to find the set that's just right for you. I recommend not buying anything from Chinese sellers - they tend to lie a lot. Read the FAQs above, and if you're serious about wanting an antique set, read FAQ 11 to learn about the true history of mah-jongg.
  • Not only Chinese sellers lie. I saw an American seller recently selling a plastic set on eBay, insisting that the set was ivory (when the photos clearly showed plastic tiles). Read FAQ 7c and learn how to tell ivory from bone and ivory from plastic, etc.

    Non-Internet Shopping

    If you live in a big city, and you want to lay hands upon the merchandise before plunking down your credit card (so they can print out a receipt that some identity thief can use to take over your life) (just kidding, don't be so paranoid!) (just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to getcha!), then head for Chinatown! But like I said before (it bears repeating), make sure you know what you'll be getting (see FAQ 7a through 7d).

    Game stores like Gamekeeper and Wizards of the Coast used to sell mah-jongg sets. But these chains are all gone, as of early 2004 (you would have heard about it if you read the Business news and were interested in the toys-and-games industry like I am).

    If you live in the British Isles, read Gareth Saunders' awesome FAQ (just click on the underlined portion of this sentence) to find places to buy mah-jongg stuff in the U.K. And there's lots of other great info on his site too!

    If you are traveling to the Orient, and want to buy a mah-jongg set there, read FAQ 7m to see great places to do mah-jongg shopping in Tokyo and Hong Kong. But first read FAQ 7a to make sure you don't buy the wrong kind of set! Myself, I would buy a Chinese set for my collection - but certainly not to use for playing American-style mah-jongg (especially since you can't) (so if you play American "mahj," you probably shouldn't).

    Myself, I live in L.A.

    In September 2010 with a few minutes to spare before having dim sum with friends, I found two shops on Ginling Way (the old Chinatown street) that sell mah-jongg sets, including American-style mah-jongg sets:

    Golden Dragon Gifts - 452 Ginling Way, (213) 687-3974

    K.G. Louie Co. - 432 Ginling Way, (213) 626-4026

    And here are some places to shop for Asian-style mah-jongg supplies in Los Angeles (no guarantee that they have American-style sets for sale):


    Wing Hop Fung usually has Hong Kong sets, and sometimes Vietnamese sets for sale. Probably no American sets. http://www.winghopfung.com


    Sincere Imports usually has Taiwanese style sets, Hong Kong sets, and may have some American style sets for sale.

    Whenever I go to Chinatown, I like to make an occasion of it, and have dim sum at my favorite dim sum restaurant:

    And in 2010 I was introduced to Golden Dragon Seafood, at 960 N. Broadway. Also quite good, maybe even my new favorite!

    ...But I digress.


    Bun-ka Do is the first place in Los Angeles where I found Japanese sets for sale.
    And they carry Hanafuda decks too!


    Plaza Gift was the 2nd place in L.A.'s Little Tokyo district (or anywhere in L.A., for that matter) where I found Japanese sets and Hanafuda.

    Another place I found Japanese mah-jongg sets is Nippon Book Co., at 114 Japanese Village Plaza in the heart of Los Angeles' Little Tokyo. http://www.jptrading.com/ltk - ltk@jptrading.com At the time I visited there, it was just around the corner from Bun-ka Do, but the last time I was in Little Tokyo (2007), I noticed that the store had been thoroughly remodeled. I think this store has either downsized, moved, or shut down.

    Kinokuniya bookstore (in Little Tokyo's Weller Court) also has Hanafuda - and Kindai Majan comics.


    Kingston has rulers, wind indicators, and Asian-style sets. No American sets.

    In Feb. 2004, reader Will Harper added that MJ tables (such as a cheap wooden one pictured in FAQ 7f) have been spotted "at a 99 Ranch supermarket in [California's] Orange County. Ranch 99 markets are all through the Southland (L.A., Riverside, Orange, [and San Bernardino] counties)."

    In October 2004, I went to San Francisco to attend a wireless game conference. I stayed with friends, met an internet mah-jongg friend, and went mah-jongg shopping in Chinatown.


    Practically every shop on Grant Ave. has some kind of mah-jongg set!


    Even Vietnamese sets can be found here.

    Just to list a few shops I checked:


    Visited Kwong Sang Lung Co. and Kwong Sang Tong Co. again in 2007. Learned about sizes (see FAQ 7a).

    I am often asked about mah-jongg shopping in other cities, like New York or Chicago. Well, I haven't been mah-jongg shopping there, but if you do go, please post on the bulletin board and tell us the names and addresses of the shops you find! Since Gamekeeper, Wizards of the Coast, and FAO Schwarz are all gone bye-bye, your best bet is Asian import shops. I do not know what's available in New York's Chinatown. American mah-jongg isn't Chinese, so don't limit your search to Chinatown (also check game stores). But because mah-jongg originated in China, some Chinese shops sell mah-jongg sets of various types, including the American type. I keep coming back to this...

    There are various sites on the Internet where you can find Mah-Jongg sets for sale. You can use your Internet Search utility to locate such sites. Whenever shopping over the Internet, use caution when giving your credit card number and mailing address.

    The best websites where you can find mah-jongg sets and tiles for sale or auction are listed in our FAQ 4a (Selected Maj Links).

    And there are lots more online mah-jongg vendor sites listed in our FAQ 4b (Even More Maj Links).

    NOTE: By giving the URLs (website addresses) in our FAQs, we are not recommending or endorsing the listed websites. Be a smart shopper, and don't buy anything unless you're sure you are getting what you need, from a reputable source.

    There are always mah-jongg sets and accessories being auctioned at eBay (http://www.ebay.com). Most sets are sold in the Toys & Hobbies : Games : Traditional : Mah Jong category; some people post them in Toys & Hobbies : Games : Vintage, and some people post them in Collectibles : Cultures & Religions : Cultures : Asian)... And of course everybody spells "mah-jongg" differently.

    If you are ever going to travel to Tokyo or Hong Kong, then make sure to read FAQ 7m to find out where to buy Japanese mah-jongg supplies there (Japanese and Hong Kong mah-jongg sets are not suitable for American-style mah-jongg; see FAQ 7a and FAQ 7b for more on why, if you don't already know).

    Here's a source for sets, books, and kards in the Netherlands, thanks to Peter Gallagher:
    CHINEES AZIATISCHE KUNST D EBERHARDT BV,
    DAMSTR 7,
    1012JL AMSTERDAM,
    tel: +31 (0)20-6240724


    Copyright 2001 - 2010 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without written permission of author.

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