Shopping guide: where and how to buy things from Japan

Now I bet some of you are asking, “Reikon, where and how do you get all this awesome stuff?” Well, I’m here to tell you the best sources I’ve found for buying things from Japan. No longer will you have to scour shady stores, Ebay, anime cons, or the guy with the trenchcoat in the alley. No longer will you have to pay insane markups!

This guide will assume you know how to read Japanese or at least figure out how to navigate through a Japanese website. If there’s enough demand, I’ll make a guide with step by step pictures for stores in Japanese only.

If a store sells items at above MSRP, it will not be listed.

Last updated: December 31, 2010

Books and magazines

bk1
Ships worldwide. This is the best place to get Japanese books. All books are sold at MSRP anyway, but bk1 often has coupons or bonus point rewards. The best thing about bk1 is they ship via surface mail, which is pretty reasonably priced, though slow. For me, typical delivery time to the west coast of the US is 6-8 weeks. The only bad thing is that their magazine selection isn’t that great. They lack eroge magazines and other general hentai ones from what I’ve seen.

Hobby Search (English)
Ships worldwide. EMS and small packet SAL. They stock most magazines, so that’s really the only point in using them. EMS is too expensive for getting books in bulk. They have small packet SAL now, but that’s still expensive for books compared to the book rate (see bottom of this post for details). Update: now pretty much useless since they don’t sell ero magazines anymore.

Eroge/Galge/Visual novels

There are a bunch of retail stores that sell eroge too, but they’re almost always more expensive than Amazon. There’s no reason to use them other than to get preorder bonuses, which Amazon usually doesn’t have. Remember that stores often have different preorder bonuses, so check multiple stores.

Amazon Japan (disclaimer: affiliate link. Use it if you want to support me :D)
Does not ship worldwide. They offer pretty competitive prices for new eroge, but obviously the biggest problem is that they don’t ship worldwide. A solution is at the bottom of the article. One downside to Amazon is they never seem to get special preorder goods.

Amiami (English)
Does not ship worldwide for adult items. Since Paypal doesn’t allow adult items, payments must be done by bank transfers or other Japan-only methods, so you must use a shopping service or a friend to buy eroge. The main reason to shop here instead of Amazon is because they get preorder bonuses.

Getchu
Does not ship worldwide. One of the most famous sites for eroge. Their prices are generally competitive with Amazon, but they don’t have free shipping. They have preorder bonuses though.

Media Land
Does not ship worldwide. Does not accept credit cards. They generally have the cheapest price by a few hundred yen, but there’s no free shipping and they don’t accept cards, so Amazon usually ends up being cheaper. They get preorder bonuses.

Toranoana
Does not ship worldwide. Prices are pretty much the same as Getchu. Maybe a little bit more expensive, but there’s free domestic shipping for orders over 10,000 yen. They also get preorder bonuses.

Games

Amazon Japan
Does not ship worldwide. Really, there’s no site that competes with them on price on a regular basis. If you don’t live in Japan, just go to Amazon.

Amiami (English)
Ships worldwide. Paypal only. Now that they started selling selling internationally, they’re a good source for games. Their prices are pretty good and they often include preorder bonuses. Remember to click here to change the site to English or else they don’t ship internationally.

HMV Japan (English)
Ships worldwide. If you really insist on having games shipped directly to you, you can try HMV Japan. Their prices will almost always be higher than Amazon or Amiami. They ship using only EMS, and I’ve heard their shipping rate calculator isn’t that accurate. There’s really no reason to be using them unless you’re buying DVDs/Blu-rays in the same order.

Doujinshi/other doujin stuff

Toranoana
Does not ship worldwide. They’re one of the biggest stores for doujinshi and related stuff.

Mandarake
Ships worldwide. EMS only unless you ask otherwise. Their site doesn’t seem to be organized at all, so it might be hard to find what you’re looking for.

Melon Books
Does not ship worldwide. Another major doujinshi shop. I don’t like their website, so I’ve never used them. They seem to have a good variety of items though.

White Canvas
Ships worldwide (sorta). They don’t ship adult items worldwide. Their site is sorta crappy. Their selection seems okay.

Figures and other character goods

Amazon Japan
Does not ship worldwide. They have lots of stuff, though it’s much harder to browse for items. Use them only for items you know the name of. Use other sites to find those items.

Amiami (English)
Paypal only. This is probably one of the biggest figure stores online. They often have significant discounts, but they don’t have free shipping within Japan. They ship via SAL and EMS outside Japan. But those aren’t normally free. They claim they don’t ship some items outside Japan, but they don’t say what specifically. Seems like adult stuff and some other random items.

CDJapan (English)
Ships worldwide. Their selection isn’t that great, but with coupons and points, the prices might be better than HLJ or Hobby Search.

HobbyLink Japan (English)
Ships worldwide. Prices are generally MSRP, but HLJ’s site is easy to use since it’s in English.

HobbySearch (English)
Ships worldwide. EMS and small packet SAL. Prices are slightly less than MSRP. Maybe worth looking into now as an HLJ alternative since they offer small packet SAL.

CDs/DVDs

Amazon Japan
Ships worldwide. They usually have the biggest discounts on DVDs. Need I say more?

bk1
Ships worldwide (sorta). They apparently ship CDs worldwide but not DVDs. The prices are around MSRP. Adding a CD or something to a book order could be a good idea since Amazon isn’t really cheap for CDs either.

CDJapan (English)
Ships worldwide. Prices are roughly MSRP. They have coupons, which can lower prices a good amount. Their points are better than Amazon’s. They have more shipping methods, so they may be cheaper than Amazon.

HMV Japan (English)
Ships worldwide. See previous entry for more details. They’re in-between Amazon and CDJapan for prices, but they ship using EMS only. They might be cheaper than Amazon if you’re only ordering a few items since Amazon’s shipping is ridiculous. Amazon’s lower prices usually makes up for it in larger orders though.

Foreign exchange fees

This first part about credit cards is focused on the US, but the general concepts should apply to Europe too. Most credit cards charge a foreign exchange fee if you buy something using foreign currency or from a store located outside the US. It tends to be 2-3% for most cards. Excluding credit unions, there basically only two common companies that don’t have foreign transaction fees. Capital One and Schwab (they’ve discontinued their card).

If you pay by Paypal, you won’t get hit with a foreign exchange fee by your bank, but if you’re paying in another currency, Paypal has their own fee. I hear it’s 2.5%, but I haven’t confirmed it. I confirmed it’s 2.5% in an email I got from them. It’s included in the exchange rate you get. You can change it so they just charge you in the original currency, which is good if you have a card that doesn’t card you fees.

For a list of foreign exchange fees for each bank in the US (maybe worldwide since lots of banks are international), go here.

Buying from stores that don’t ship outside Japan

If you noticed above, I listed a bunch of stores that don’t ship outside Japan. If you don’t have a friend in Japan who’ll buy/ship things for you, you can use a company that’ll do it for you. Even with their service fees, it usually ends up cheaper than going through a reseller. These companies act as a proxy. Some of them allow you to ship items to them you buy yourself while others will buy the items for you. The former is usually much cheaper.

I’ve combed through a lot of companies, and honestly, there are only a few with reasonable prices. All the sites are of course in English.

The reason why I listed above whether a company accepts credit cards or not is that you wouldn’t be able to buy something yourself and ship it to one of these companies if the store only accepted bank transfers. Keep that in mind.

Dankedanke
The main reason to use them is to ship your packages to them for them to reship to you. Prices start at 1300 yen for packages <2 kg. They really only have two reasonable shipping services: EMS and sea.

When you sign up for their service, they give you an address with your customer ID in it. You ship packages to that address and list that package on your member page. They’ll ship it to you after that.

Payment is by Paypal.

Goody Japan
This company only buys items for you. You can’t ship to them for them to reship it to you. If you’re ordering low value things, they may end up cheaper than Dankedanke. Their fee is around 15% (750 yen minimum) of the order value + 300 yen bank transfer fee. They have pretty much every Japan Post shipping method there is, so shipping can end up quite a bit cheaper than other places. You must note your shipping method in your comments when ordering or else they default to EMS.

Payment is by Paypal.

Tenso
I’ve never used them before, but they work like Dankedanke. They ship using EMS only. One caveat is that they open your packages to inspect it before shipping it to you. If you’re not comfortable with that, use Dankedanke. Right now, they have a promotion that makes them cheaper than Dankedanke.

If anyone has any stores to add, feel free to list them. If I forgot any categories, feel free to ask me to add them.

Shipping methods

This is probably a confusing topic for some people. There are 4 different international shipping methods using Japan Post (in descending speed): EMS, air mail, SAL, surface. Furthermore, air mail, SAL, and surface are divided into three main subcategories (in descending price): parcel post, small packet, and printed matter. There should be no difference in speed among the subcategories.

Parcel post is used for big packages, dimensionally or by weight. Small packet is used for packages less than 2 kg and that have a (width + height + length) < 90 cm. Printed matter is obviously for printed matter. Small packet and surface mail cannot be insured. They can, however, be registered for 410 yen, which requires a signature upon delivery and provides tracking if shipped to the US (not sure about other countries). Parcel post can be insured and includes tracking.

EMS, of course, is the fastest and most reliable method. Insurance and tracking are included in the price. It gets the high priority and is delivered using the fastest method once it arrives in your country (Express Mail, i.e. overnight, in the US).

The list of rates can be found here. Letter-post is for small packet/printed matter. Here’s an Excel table with a summary of the rates to the US.

For the people who were too lazy to read the above, here’s my attempt at summarizing it (while cursing WordPress’s lack of a table function in its editor):

Delivery times are to the west coast of the US.

  • EMS
    ~3 business days delivery time
    Insured
    Trackable
    EXPENSIVE
  • Air mail
    ~3-5 business days
    Insurance/tracking depends on package type
    Moderately expensive
  • SAL
    ~10-14 business days
    Insurance/tracking depends on package type
    Reasonably priced
  • Surface
    ~30-40 business days
    Insurance/tracking depends on package type
    Cheap

Package types (for air mail, SAL, and surface mail):

  • Parcel post
    Insurance optional
    Trackable
    For large packages >2 kg.
    Not worth using with SAL or air mail (prices are as high or higher than EMS). Surface is reasonable.
  • Small packet
    No insurance
    Tracking optional
    For small packages <2kg.
    Best delivery method for non-printed stuff.
  • Printed matter
    No insurance
    Tracking optional
    For printed stuff, obviously
    Best delivery method for printed stuff

So to summarize it, my recommendation is either small packet air mail or small packet SAL for small shipments of non-books. For large shipments, just use EMS.

But hey, you often don’t get a choice (except with the middle men/proxy/whatever companies listed above). Here’s a list of what stores in the above list use when they ship internationally:

  • Amazon
    Fedex, DHL
  • Amiami
    EMS
    Small packet SAL (tracking optional)
  • bk1
    EMS, Fedex (US only)
    Printed matter air mail/SAL/surface (no tracking)
  • CDJapan
    EMS, Fedex
    Small packet air mail/SAL (tracking optional)
  • HLJ
    Fedex, EMS
    Small packet SAL (no tracking)
  • HobbySearch
    EMS
    Small packet SAL (no tracking)
  • HMV Japan
    EMS
  • Mandarake
    EMS by default, others by request
  • White Canvas
    EMS
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33 Responses to Shopping guide: where and how to buy things from Japan

  1. n!tr0 says:

    Hello,
    first off, I would like to say thank you for writing all those interesting articles. They are a lot of fun to read.

    Now concerning the subject of the article I would like to add 2 websites to the ones mentioned above.
    1. http://www.paletweb.com/
    This site focuses on doujin games and goodies like the Touhou Series but also has normal Games (PS2,Dreamcast etc.) and Eroge. They also sell used games. But I haven´t ordered anything from them yet, so I can´t comment on that aspect.
    2. http://www.play-asia.com/
    They basically sell everything from Figures to Games and various other kinds of Otaku related goodies, also a few Eroge (mostly the english translated from Jast USA). Their prices are good and they sometimes have Sale-Events in which they give 10-20% discount on nearly everything in stock (Easter, Christmas etc.). I ordered a few times from them and everything went perfect. For me, they are like Amazon with a focus on Gaming and Otaku stuff.

    Both sites ship internationally.

  2. Reikon says:

    I know about both of those sites.

    The thing is about Paletweb is that they overinflate their shipping charges. Every game you add after the first, they add like $10 in shipping. I’ve made an order from them and the shipping they charged me was twice what it cost them, so it turned me off. Not to mention you don’t even see how much they’ll overcharge you for shipping until after you place your order.

    I’m pretty sure pretty much everyone who reads this article will know Play-Asia. I didn’t list them because they sell at over MSRP (or at least they used to… when the dollar was stronger). Their customer service isn’t anywhere as good as Amazon’s. I had a limited edition game damaged by them (before shipping since there was no damage on the package), and they didn’t care. They wouldn’t give me any compensation other than a $5 coupon they give out like candy anyway. But I guess they meet my requirements right now for being under MSRP for games, so I could add them.

  3. n!tr0 says:

    “I’m pretty sure pretty much everyone who reads this article will know Play-Asia” – Yeah I thought that would be the case ^^. But I still think they have pretty good prices IF you buy at one of their special sales.

    About the Paletweb shipping cost: Wow that sure is much! Makes it even worse than the really bad shipping costs at erogeshop/himeya. I probably should have investigated it more concerning that aspect, sorry. But it might still be good if you are looking for one particiular game you can´t find anywhere else.

    I also thought that http://www.archonia.com/ might be worth mentinoning for europeans. Their prices are a bit overpriced but you can save a lot on shipping. I didn´t order anything from them either. But they are probably not worth adding since all people who buy from europe would probably know them anyway and it might be a bit unfitting for a list that aims at an internationally crowd.

  4. matty says:

    As for deputy services, I’ve been using Shopping Mall Japan.

    Service-wise, they are solid. They have a forum where if you have an issue (I haven’t) you can look at similar topics or one of the reps. will help you out.

    What’s interesting is how they ship their items. Instead of having the items shipped from Japan directly to you, they instead send your item(s) to a location in the U.S. and then ship everything to you when you request it to be shipped. It cuts the cost of shipping overseas, but that bring me to my next point…

    The shipping prices from the seller to the buyer in Japan is usually high, even higher than the items themselves sometimes. Is that common in Japan? There are obviously cheap ways of shipping across Japan, but SMJ obviously doesn’t opt for those for some reason!

    At any rate, look in their forums yourselves if you’re interested in buying items from Yahoo Japan Auctions.

    Here is a blog post that goes into depth of deputy services that specilize in Japan. Have a look at the comments:
    http://blog.vertebratesilence.com/2006/10/05/bidding-in-yahoo-auctions-from-outside-of-japan/

    I really *should* use Tat’s Japan Record service. He has THE best rates and very communicative (deals through e-mail), but very helpful. I highly recommend him.

  5. Reikon says:

    I personally rarely use Yahoo Auctions, so I didn’t list any services that focus on those. Shopping Mall Japan is ridiculously expensive for regular online shopping.

    As for domestic shipping prices, I find that it’s usually really cheap. I’ve seen plenty of stuff on Yahoo Auctions that were only like 250 yen shipping. More than 500-600 yen for shipping is rare in my experience.

    I also doubt having SMJ ship to their US offices and then reshipping to you would save money if you could get stuff sent using small packet SAL. For example, 13 oz USPS First Class is $3.50. 13 oz = 368 g, which is 480 yen for shipping. Once you go to USPS Priority, it gets messier, but 1-2 lbs is $5-10. That’s 450-900g, or 580 to 980 yen. Of course, that’s assuming you get a service that’ll ship to you using small packet SAL.

  6. comet says:

    Excellent guide! Thanks for taking the time to write it!

    This will most likely be useful in the future for me.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Have you tried using Dankedankekomu? Can you trust that site? I tried using Japantodoor.com once and noticed a lot of fees for various things and am trying to figure out if Dankedankekomu is cheaper.

    Basically, I paid the following fees for Japantodoor:
    Service fee: $5
    Another service fee: depends on weight, ¥3000 in my case
    Postage: actual Japan Post cost
    Package merging (since I got stuff from several senders): $8
    Mandatory JPY to USD conversion of all of the JPY-dominated costs: 4.5-5% (4 JPY/USD). Completely pointless since my bank charges me the same currency conversion fee regardless of which foreign currency I’m paying in.
    Shōhizei on all of the above: 5%. What the hell is this? The shōhizei is supposed to be 0% for international orders! Of course I have to pay shōhizei for the things sent to the forwarder’s warehouse, but that’s a different thing.
    Paypal fee: 4.5% on all of the above.
    Most fees well-hidden.

    Now that I’m looking at the Dankedankekomu page, I find a number of fees:
    Service fee: Only one, in JPY. Sometimes higher, sometimes lower than Japantodoor, but the difference is typically only a few hundred yen.
    Postage: Actual Japan Post amount.
    Package merging: ¥800.
    Shōhizei: 5% of the above.
    No mandatory currency conversion?
    Paypal fee: ?
    Am I missing anything? If this is all, then it seems that Dankedankekomu typically will be slightly cheaper than Japantodoor.

  8. Reikon says:

    Dankedanke charges you in yen, so your bank/Paypal will determine the exchange rates. If you’re like me and have a card that has no foreign transaction fees, there will be no currency conversion fee.

    There is also no Paypal fee.

    Here’s an example of an invoice from one of my shipments from them:

    Shipping method:EMS(Express Mail Service)
    Shipping service charge: 2200JPY (Size:2)
    Weight: Actual weight 2800g / Volume weight g
    Shipping cost: 5400JPY
    Insurance: 50JPY
    Total other charges: 0JPY
    Discount: 0JPY
    Total amount: 7650JPY
    Sales tax(5%): 382JPY
    Total invoice amount: 8032JPY

    You should compare with Tenso too though. Most of their fees are cheaper.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The problem with Tensō is that the company only offers express mail. That is way too expensive for sending several kg of printed matters. I sometimes order old out-of-print comics, and neither Book-Off nor Furuhon Ichiba sends internationally. Amazon Marketplace rarely does that either, and whenever international shipping is available, it is unnecessarily expensive.

    BTW, I notice that you are listing Melon Books above. Keep in mind that ordering from them is less simple than ordering from other companies not sending internationally. Quoting the company’s “yoku aru shitsumon” (http://shop.melonbooks.co.jp/shop/help/qanda):
    Q. 海外発送はできますか?
    A. 商品は日本国内向けですので、海外発送はできません。
    海外発送代行業者のご利用もお断り致します。
    If you can’t even use a “daikō gyōsha”, things get a bit problematic. I don’t know if they are aware of the address to all of them, though.

  10. Reikon says:

    Dankedanke only offers parcel surface, which is significantly more expensive than printed matter surface. I have asked Goody-japan, and they’re willing to ship using printed matter post but going that route would only be cheaper if your books are low value and all from one seller.

    And I’ve never sent a Melonbooks package to one of the forwarding companies, so I’m not sure what problems would crop up there. All my orders from them were sent to a personal address. If anybody reading this has done it, it’d be interesting to know how they handle it.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Printed matter surface is, indeed, cheaper than parcel surface, but the difference between the options is cancelled by the difference in handling charge if I order more than 5 kg at once (since a printed matter shipment has a lower maximum weight limit, thus requiring two separate shipments). Sending it as a “special printed matter mailbag” (特別郵袋印刷物) would be cheaper, but I haven’t found a forwarding company that offers this shipping option. Maybe it’s because the service only is offered by a few very large post offices (see http://www.post.japanpost.jp/int/service/s_printed_matter.html) which might not be close enough to the forwarder’s warehouse.

  12. Richard says:

    Great Website! Thanks for your information. That’s what i currently looking for as Japan Agent to ship unique hello kiity or other character to my country, singapore.

    Doesn’t any agent provide long term service with discount? :-S

  13. saa says:

    CD Japan now offers FEDEX as a shipping option too.

    I think it depends on the item I think but for me when using the calculator FEDEX was cheaper for me than EMS.

    Thanks for all the information ~

  14. Reikon says:

    @Richard: No, I’m not aware of any services with a discount for frequent users.

    @saa: Thanks for the update, I forgot about several sites that added Fedex. bk1 added it recently too. I’ll update the article later to reflect the changes.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Note the different shipping restrictions for different shipping options, BTW. CDJapan offers Fedex to all countries except for Russia whereas BK1 only offers Fedex to the USA. Another thing to have in mind is that most shipping companies charge an extra customs handling fee upon arrival if you also have to pay for customs duties and/or taxes. This service fee differs depending on the shipment option and carrier.

  16. sick says:

    I recently used Tenso and had a good experience with everything involving them. EMS though… I can’t say the same. My first experience with them has been pretty abysmal. My Tenso order shipped out on the same day (Monday) as one from Amazon.jp using FedEx. The FedEx one had tons of tracking updates and was at my doorstep around 9:30 on Wednesday.

    The EMS one has been stuck at a Japanese shipping facility with zero updates for 5 days now and I have no clue when someone will decide that a package to America should probably be put on of the planes that flies packages to America.

    Domestically, express is express no matter who you go with your items will generally arrive with maybe 24 hours of variation amongst all the shippers. I thought internationally it would be the same but that’s not the case at all.

  17. Reikon says:

    @sick: That seems abnormal for EMS. I usually get my packages from them about as fast as Fedex or maybe a day slower. Maybe they hired holiday temps that don’t know what they’re doing.

  18. ken says:

    Great info. I had an issue here. I preorder something at be-j and this site only ship within japan. I register at tenso so that they will deliver to them and tenso ship to me. The problem now is be-j request me to pay cash when they deliver the things and tenso dont want to pay behalf for me. What should i do?

  19. Reikon says:

    The only option you probably have is to cancel the order and use one of the other services listed above. Dankedanke does cash on delivery for a fee, and Goody Japan probably would too. If they already shipped the item, Tenso will probably refuse it and it’ll be returned.

  20. Mikado86 says:

    Yet again another proof I was born in the wrong country. Just trying to make an account in melonbooks and toranoana is proving difficult for someone who does not speak Japanese.

  21. Reikon says:

    Melonbooks should be easier to make an account on since Toranoana requires you to enter a kana version of everything you put in. The guide does assume you know enough Japanese to make an account though, since it’s for buying things in Japanese. You could always use one of the services that’ll just buy the stuff for you if you give them links.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Note that Dankedanke announced a cancellation on cash payments a few months ago, so the service might not be useful for the cash transaction mentioned above.

    BTW, has Dankedanke removed the option to bundle several incoming shipments in just one big outgoing shipment? When I used the company’s services a few months ago, I was able to receive one box with some new comics from Amazon (not available from BK1, way too expensive with Amazon’s usual international shipping costs), one box with lots of used comics from Furuhon Ichiba and several envelopes and boxes from various different Amazon Marketplace sellers, and all items were collected in a big box by Dankedanke before being sent to me. Much cheaper that way, and also more convenient. Now it looks as if this shipment option requires a monthly 1575円 subscription… :-(

  23. Reikon says:

    Hm… so it does look like Dankedanke has degraded their service significantly. I haven’t used them in a while, so I wasn’t paying attention. It does seem like they require the option to bundle packages without a monthly fee.

    One of the problems is finding a service that offers shipping methods other than EMS. After service fees and the cost of EMS, direct shipping from Amazon isn’t much more expensive.

  24. Anonymous says:

    There is https://www.japantodoor.com/ which I used once before finding out about Dankedanke. The site offers surface parcels and it still seems to be able to combine several items into a big box. Fees are higher than what Dankedanke used to charge, though, and they are difficult to find (you have to look at several different price lists to find everything). I think that there were several 5% fees, charged on top of each other (and I didn’t manage to find out about all of them before using the services). To make it even worse, some fees are quoted in US dollars while other fees are quoted in yen, making it harder to calculate the total fee. On top of that, the site managed to get my shipping method wrong, first asking me to pay for EMS shipping so that I had to complain for it to be corrected into the requested surface option. Japantodoor also seems to accept cash payments, although it costs 15%. It’s not worth it to use the company’s services for proxy bidding/buying since there are too many hidden fees around.

    The 5% fees were, if I remember correctly, at least the following:
    * 5% Paypal fee,
    * 5% 消費税 (this is just fraud — the applicable 消費税 rate for international shipments is 0%!) and
    * mandatory conversion of all yen-denominated costs into US dollars in the final step (I think they charged 4円/$ which is approximately 5%).

  25. Reikon says:

    It seems like there’s a size/weight fee, $5 invoice/customs form fee, 4.5% Paypal fee, ~5% fee through their exchange rate, and the 5% tax (though I didn’t find any mention of it on their crappy site). I suppose it’s not that bad considering the alternatives.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Problem 1: It’s hard to find all of their fees. I think the tax is mentioned as a “by the way” in an FAQ or something, and it also appears on the final bill.
    Problem 2: The site only bundles shipments from at most 5 different senders (if I remember correctly). This made it difficult for me to buy everything I wanted since I had to use a few Amazon Marketplace sellers, each counting as a separate “shop”. Dankedanke used to allow more senders. I think the bundling fee increases with the amount of packages to bundle, but I don’t remember and I can’t find any price list for this.

    The best way to find the price list appears to be to just look at my invoice and hope that nothing has changed since April 2010 when I last used the company’s services. I had to pay the following:

    Bundling fee (5 packages): $8
    Surface shipping to Europe: 5650円 / $63.58
    Handling fee (the yen-based per weight fee): $33.76
    Invoice fee: $5
    Tax: $5.52
    Total: $115.86

    The site quoted the exchange rate as 1 JPY = 0.011253 USD. Normally, people would list the inverse (i.e. 1 USD = 89 JPY). Maybe the reason for quoting the exchange rate in this way is to make the fee in the exchange rate more hidden so that people won’t notice it. If the exchange rate is written in an unusual way, less people would notice that it’s different from the real rate. Because of the complex payment system, the Paypal fee is not listed at the invoice (and thus not above either) but only at the payment page.

  27. Error says:

    Seems Dankedanke charges a monthly fee (now?) to use their forwarding service, but if they don’t, it’s not very clear on their site.

    As an aside, listing the exchange rate as JPY => USD makes total sense to me if my invoice is in Yen, but then again, I prefer multiplication over division.

  28. Reikon says:

    Yep, as another commenter noted, Dankedanke does have a monthly fee now. I’m just too lazy to bother changing the guide to reflect it since there are probably other things I need to change on it when I do a revision.

  29. Minim says:

    I Want to buy popin cookin from japan But how?

  30. Pingback: Anonymous

  31. Anon says:

    This is pretty awesome!
    I just started buying stuff online and
    I was kinda of surprised that the store
    I wanted to buy from didn’t ship outside japan.

    I know what to do now XD!

  32. Nick says:

    Mail forwarding services are ok, but I prefer buying services. I save a lot of time becouse there is no need to go throught registration on each Japanese online shop, that I want to use. I used buyee couple of times. Now using zenmarket.jp/en/ It is even cheaper than “tenso” mail forwarding service. Comission is fixed (300 yen) no matter the price of a product. Paypal fee – 3.2% They also helped me to find rare model of casio watch I looked for.

  33. Sarah J. says:

    Oldschool deputy services are not so good for Yahoo Auctions with their fees anymore, they still charge bank payment fees and take huge % commissions for everything.
    New services like Remambo.jp are in trend now, low fixed commission, no bank payment fees even for yahoo auctions items, discounts for shipping prices and fastest customer support.

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