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How to Find and Shop Products from Japan
Anime goods, cute Japanese fashion, wonky gadgets, and traditional Japanese goods; you have chances of finding one of the most unique and interesting products when shopping Japanese products online.
In this article, you will learn about several ways of buying products from Japan and what you should expect from each of them, while getting some shopping tips.
3 Ways to Find Japanese Products
There are several e-retailers specializing in selling products from Japan. Since they are the specialists in each field, they can assure you get all the questions and concerns answered before purchasing.
Another way of finding Japanese products is visiting online shopping malls and marketplaces offering Japanese products. While they offer more product variety, they may not be as knowledgeable as specialty stores. Some shopping malls offer English customer support on behalf of sellers in Japan, but majority of malls and marketplaces ask you to contact sellers directly.
If you cannot find the product you have been searching for a while, you should try contacting shipping forwarding company. They can purchase products from ecommerce websites in Japan that do not ship overseas, and then they will ship it to you. However, in most cases, you must find the product you want to purchase on Japanese websites using website translation tools.
Among all services, shipping forwarding company will be the most expensive. They usually add handling and other related fees on top of international shipping fees and handling fees of sellers. However, it sometimes worth paying a little extra if you are desperately wishing to purchase particular products from Japan.
International Shipping Rate
The most popular shipping method you will see while shopping products from Japan is EMS (Express Mail Service) offered by Japan Post Office. With EMS, your package takes 2 to 4 days to arrive in your country. EMS is relatively cheaper than other express services like FedEx or DHL. EMS comes with a package tracking number and free insurance, which covers up to 20,000 yen worth of goods.
If you are looking for a cheaper alternative, there is SAL (Small Packets). It is also a product offered by Japan Post Office and it allows you to ship product up to 2kg for much less price than EMS. Downside is that it takes longer than EMS and it comes with neither a tracking number nor insurance. (You may purchase them for additional fees.)
Once you are ready to buy products from Japan, you should inquire the customs in your country for any restrictions on importing the product, especially when purchasing items like samurai swords, blades, or any type of weaponry (both real and imitation).
You must be careful even when a seller says they can ship it to you. There are some cases that regulations in your country do not allow importing certain goods, even though Japanese regulations do not prohibit exporting them. In this case your package will most likely be shipped back to a seller or discarded at the customs.
So, there you have your how-to-guide to shop products from Japan. Although, you can find many products with Japanese theme on online shopping websites in your country, some products are only available through sellers in Japan. So, try shopping products from Japan. You may be able encounter a great find.