Ok so I get the occasional PM about buying stuff from Japan, so I thought I'd throw together a quick guide to get people started.
Here's the summary:
- Create a tenso.com account
- Create an amazon.co.jp account (if you want to shop on amazon Japan)
- Buy stuff
There are other popular Japanese shopping sites (for example, Rakuten), and there are other proxy services too, but if you knew that, you probably don't need this guide. If you have specific questions about other sites, I'm happy to help.
How It Works:
Tenso.com is a forwarding service. When you register with them, they give you a unique address, which is simply a physical warehouse address that includes an ID number that identifies packages that they receive as belonging to you. When you register yourself on a Japanese shopping website such as amazon.co.jp or rakuten, you do not enter your real address as your residence, you enter your tenso address. I think you can see where this is going The reason for this is that many online sellers/stores in Japan will not ship internationally.
Some sites (such as amazon) allow you to enter multiple shipping addresses, but I suggest you just keep it simple and enter your tenso address unless you know what you're doing. You can always change the information later if you need to.
You make your purchase, they ship it to your address at Tenso. When your package arrives at Tenso, they send you an e-mail, you pay the handling and shipping and they send your parcel out via EMS and give you the tracking number.
Registering at Tenso:
1. Go to http://www.tenso.com
2. Click 'English' in the Top Right
- Tenso will hold your items for 60 days if you wish to combine on items to save shipping.
- Tenso's fees can be found here: http://www.tenso.com/en/guide/fee/index.html
Registering at amazon.co.jp:
1. Go to http://amazon.co.jp
2. Click 'In English' at the top
This really depends on where you are shopping. If you're shopping on Amazon, it's pretty straight-forward:
1. Find your item (Google Chrome + Auto Translate is your friend here)
2. Add it to your cart and proceed to checkout
3. Log in (if prompted)
4. Select your address (this is where you can edit or add new addresses to your Address Book)
5. Choose your shipping option
6. Choose your payment option (NOTE: You will need a Credit or Debit card for most purchases from Japan)
7. Place your order!
So most of this guide is pretty straight-forward stuff. The good thing is that most of these online shopping site forms are pretty much the same (how many ways can you ask for someone's details anyway?) so when you know how to register at amazon or rakuten, it's the sky's the limit really. You might run into the occasional site that use images instead of text for their forms which is a bit of a pain in the arse, but stick to your Tenso guide for entering address and you should be OK.
Some other suggestions:
- Order "direct" from PFU Japan!
- Sign up to http://buyee.jp and check out Yahoo Auctions Japan. Keyboards are here
Hope this is of use to some people. If I've missed anything or something isn't clear, please let me know.
Mods: Wasn't sure if this belongs here or Off-Topic. Up to you if you want to move it.