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Where is the best place to purchase products from Japan?

Disclaimer: This article has been supervised by our director, who has over 10 years of experience in international trade, and is based on various reliable information and data available at the time of the article's release. However, we do not guarantee its accuracy, relevance, or completeness.

When purchasing products sold in Japan as an individual, you have the following options. Each option has its own advantages, so please choose based on your specific situation.

1. Purchasing from Amazon Japan

Amazon is a globally trusted online shopping mall originating from the United States, and Amazon Japan is no different. It offers a wide range of products, high reliability, and fast shipping. When purchasing products directly stocked by Amazon Japan, you can expect prompt shipping, and you will also know the shipping fees and import duties in advance. Additionally, returns are easy. If you can find all the desired products on Amazon Japan, purchasing directly is the most preferred option.

However, due to Amazon Japan's unique policies, some products may not be eligible for international shipping even if it is legal. Additionally, many third-party sellers on Amazon Japan exclude international shipping due to Amazon's lenient return policies, as it is very difficult to return items from overseas warehouses back to Japan.

2. Purchasing from eBay

eBay is another globally trusted online shopping mall originating from the United States. It is said that there are around 6,000 Japanese sellers on eBay. When purchasing from eBay stores, you can usually know the product price and shipping fees in advance, and some stores even accept returns (import duties will be charged separately at the time of import). Some sellers who operate stores in Japan have also opened stores on eBay to expand their sales channels, and it is recommended that you purchase products from such sellers.

However, according to our research, only about 20-30% of Japanese sellers actually hold stock and sell products. The remaining 70-80% resell items from flea market sites or online stores and do not keep inventory. eBay generally has a lenient return policy, and due to eBay's average selling fee of around 20%, these non-stock resellers often sell products at 50-200% higher than the domestic sales price. When searching for the product you want, if you find multiple listings with identical product photos despite being used items, visit each store and check the list of items they are selling. If the image compositions are inconsistent and the handling time is set to more than five business days, it is likely that they are selling without holding stock. Purchasing from such stores carries the risk of the order being canceled due to stock shortage after about a week to two of waiting. If you purchased it as a birthday present for your friend or a Christmas gift for your child, your plan might be ruined.

3. Relying on Personal shoppers (Sometimes called "Smugglers")

Personal shoppers have a long history and remain an option when buying products from Japan. You can ask someone who travels to Japan for business or a friend traveling to Japan to help. You can often do so at a relatively low cost, and you may receive the product as soon as they return by plane.

However, many of them bring back products exceeding the duty-free allowance as personal use items without declaring them, causing a loss of import duty revenue for the country. This has led to stricter customs surveillance on personal shoppers recently. If undeclared imports are discovered at customs, they may be fined or have the products confiscated at the airport. If you paid in advance, there is a risk of not receiving the products. If you rely on a close friend, they may face criminal charges.

(Source: Xinhua News Agency:

4. Relying on Purchasing Agent Services (including 8mart)

With the spread of the internet, these services have emerged around 2010. They allow you to purchase from various sites, including Japanese online stores and flea market sites. Since these services merely act as intermediaries for your purchases, it is often difficult to calculate shipping fees and duties in advance or return items if there are issues. When purchasing from multiple sites, they can consolidate and repack the items to save on shipping fees. However, the fee structure and service quality vary by service, and you need to verify the reliability of sellers yourself.

At 8mart, unless there are special requests, you can use the service for a clear basic service fee of 500 yen per item (including inspection, consolidation, shipping procedures, and payment handling fee).

However, some other services may charge additional fees. In addition to the seemingly low basic service fee, there may be additional fees such as 500 yen for inspection, 3.5% of the payment amount as a payment handling fee, 500 yen or more per package for shipping procedures, and about 7% of the payment amount as a currency exchange fee (which is more than 5% higher than the 1.2%-2% foreign exchange fee set by card brands).

8mart aims to provide satisfactory services that meet various customer needs under the motto "safe, easy, and fast." If you have any products you are looking for, feel free to contact us. If you find multiple listings with identical product photos on eBay despite being used items, please send the product URL to 8mart. We will quickly search for links to products being sold at reasonable prices within Japan.

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