6 Indispensable Shopping Sites to Buy Japanese Goods from Overseas
Whether you’ve just had a wonderful trip to Japan and realized you forgot to go shopping for that one important souvenir, or you read up on the latest must-have Japanese gadget but are in despair to learn it won’t come to your country for another year, it can be difficult and heartbreaking trying to buy Japanese goods while overseas. No matter your situation you’re in luck, because today we will be discussing online Japanese proxy sites that help you buy and ship Japanese goods outside of Japan.
Aug 22 2019 (Feb 21 2020)
What Is a Shopping Proxy Site?
First and foremost, what exactly is a shopping proxy service? Simply put, a proxy service allows you to place an order for the Japanese item you desire. The service will buy that item in Japan for you and ship it to your address overseas. There are a variety of proxy services, some specializing in clothes/fashion, others focus on electronics, and others still are like the large online marketplaces that we have become accustomed to where a plethora of goods can be obtained.
Is It Really Worth Using a Shopping Proxy Site for Japanese Goods?
As mentioned in the lead-in to this article, you may want to use a proxy shopping service for any variety of reasons, but is it effective and worth your time? Well, these sites can be very useful if you forgot to purchase something while in Japan or if the item you were looking for was out of stock when you tried to buy it. Such a situation can leave you quite disappointed during your trip to Japan if the item won't be back in stock before you have to leave back to your home country. It is in scenarios like this that proxy sites can offer you another path to find what you’ve been looking for.
How to Use a Proxy Shopping Site
Using a proxy shopping service for Japanese goods is fairly straightforward, and will resemble any other online shopping experience you have had before, but with just a few additional steps. As the proxy service will go through the trouble of ordering and buying items for you, there is a small handling fee in addition to the international shipping fees, which will depend on your country but should be somewhere in the range of 1000 to 2500 yen. All in all, these fees are totally worth it when you consider the price of international travel to Japan to buy these goods in person.
Popular Japanese Shopping Proxy Sites
Now it’s time to introduce and take a look at a few popular Japanese proxy shopping sites. While there are a variety of services out there, the six sites that we have selected below stand out for their ease of use, large selection of goods, and the many countries they can ship to.
First up is Zenmarket, which is one of the most well-known Japanese shopping proxy sites. It allows you to buy from many different stores and even lets you bid on Yahoo Auctions Japan. The two shopping experiences go as follows:
To order from stores on ZenMarket, add items to your cart and calculate the total quote based on package weight. Pay for your items and wait a few days. Specify shipping details and pay for shipping to get your package asap.
Bidding on Yahoo! Auctions through ZenMarket is similar but with additional steps: Add funds to your account before bidding on an item. Like any Yahoo auction, you must be careful to pay attention to the auction deadline and make bids accordingly to win your desired item. Once you’ve won the item, shipping and payment are the same as the details above.
Yahoo! Auction is very popular and widely used in Japan, making it a great place to find more obscure or used goods. Although the site is only in Japanese, ZenMarket translates item listings into English and makes the whole experience seamless and easy.
ZenMarket charges a handling fee of 300 yen for item purchases, which seems to be the industry standard, and offers buyer assistance in 9 languages. You can use ZenMarket to shop for goods on Amazon Japan and Rakuten among a large selection of other sites.
Next, we have From Japan. The shopping method follows a similar flow to ZenMarket, with the flow of, shopping/bidding, waiting for confirmation from the shipping center, receiving shipping instructions, paying fees, and receiving goods. They also offer support in a variety of languages (Japanese, English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, French and Spanish), and some auction bidding services that allow you to place a higher bid ahead of time and have it placed automatically 5-10 mins before the auction closes. Finally, you can submit a request for an item you cannot find on your own, and they will look for it for you at no additional cost.
Fashion items from ZOZOTOWN and BAPE are also notable shopping options available on From Japan. These two widely popular street fashion brands are often seen worn by youngsters on the streets of Harajuku. Both brands provide must-have items for anyone interested in the younger Japanese generation's fashion.
White Rabbit Express
White Rabbit Express is another major Japanese proxy site that sets itself apart by offering help with procuring limited edition items and pre-order items. They pride themselves on their customer services, such as free consolidation, live chat assistance, and real-time order status information. Examples of some of the sites you can buy from by White Rabbit Expresses proxy include Mercari, Tora no Ana (comics), and Square Enix, among many others.
Buyee is a bit different from other proxy sites insofar that it offers access to over 160 Japanese sites to buy from with their downloadable Google Chrome extension. With the extension installed, access the Japanese shopping site you wish to buy from and click the extension icon on your browser to add an item to your Buyee cart. Return to Buyee's site to confirm items in your cart and place your order. Buyee’s service fees operate by percentage (5% of total purchase) rather than a flat rate per item.
Amazon Global Japan and Rakuten Global Market
These two are not proxy services per se, and all the proxy services listed above allow access to a large range of the items they both offer, but perhaps you were not aware of the fact that you can easily switch to Amazon or Rakuten’s global market sites on your own. Through either of these global market sites, you can browse Japanese items in English, as well as ship internationally. It depends on the product, but international shipping is available to over 65 countries with Amazon Global Japan, while 170 countries are available to ship to with Rakuten Global Market.
Japanese proxy shopping sites can certainly make your life a lot easier and assure that you are able to buy the Japanese goods you either forgot or that were out of stock during your trip to Japan. So even if you can’t make that second trip to Japan just now, don't forget that you can make use of these great services to fulfill all your Japanese shopping needs!
title image credit: oneinchpunch / Shutterstock
If you want to give feedback on any of our articles, you have an idea that you'd really like to see come to life, or you just have a question on Japan, hit us up on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.