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How to shop for Japanese goods online!

Hey guys! So I know that many of you face problems when you wish to buy some exciting goods (such as DIY candy kits and cute toys/stickers) from Japan and have no idea where to buy them from. Worse still, you find them but they do not provide international shipping!

If you have came across those problems, then this post is perfect for you! Instead of going to your favorite youtubers and begging and hoping that they would help you buy some items or send you stuff for free (lol, fat hope!), you can actually buy what you want YOURSELF. :D Perfect, no?

If you have not known by now, there are many forwarding and personal shopping services available. I will break them up below so you can understand the difference between the two.

Here are the "Contents" of this post (color-indexed):
1 - Forwarding Services
2 - Personal Shopping Services
3 - Tips on using such services
4 - Sites to shop from

1 - Forwarding services:

Forwarding services tend to be more "professional" in the sense that they are usually an actual company that helps you ship items you have purchased from Japanese online shops to your home. You can use a forwarding service if the online shop does not provide shipping to your country.

If you are familiar with Rakuten, you should know that their recommended forwarding service is Tenso.

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How it works is that Tenso actually provides you with an address in Japan where you can deliver your items to after you have paid for them online. They then charge you a service fee according to the weight of your items and international shipping fee to ship your package to you.

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^ This is an approximation of the total fees you will incur for a package that weighs less than 1kg. For more details please click HERE.


  • Service is relatively fast and secure.

  • If you do not have a Japanese credit card, or simply have trouble navigating the site, they are able to buy the product on your behalf, for a fee, of course ;)Screen shot 2013-12-21 at AM 12.00.54

  • They offer a Package Consolidation Service where you can consolidate your packages together (duh!) to save on shipping.


  • The sign up process is rather tedious. You have to provide an image of your identification for verification purposes. Some people might feel uneasy with this. Also, the verification takes about one working day to process. If you are in a rush to purchase, do make sure you have signed up for Tenso beforehand.

  • If the online shop only accept payments via bank transfer or convenience store payments, Tenso is unable to purchase for you at all.

  • Tenso only provides services for online shopping.

  • Tenso only ships via EMS, which means that shipping is costly.

2 - Personal Shopping Services

Personal shopping service is well, basically what the term suggests ;) They actually do your shopping on your behalf. This means that you can practically shop ANYWHERE or buy anything you want from Japan, as long as it is allowed for shipping. And yes, when I meant anywhere and anything, I meant it! You can have them purchase a concert ticket for you, some goods from an Akihabara store, anything, really, if you are willing to pay for it. You can even be as vague as telling them that you want a "Hello Kitty Humidifier" and they will search it up for you.

There are many of such services out there, and all you have to do is do an online search to find the one that suits you. Every site has their own fees and service charges so it will be good to do a little comparison to see which one suits you best.

Since I have personally only tried Personal Shopper J, I will only be able to give "reviews" based on my experience with them. [Disclaimer: I have not been paid in anyway by Personal Shopper J to write about them.]

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Shopping with them is really simple. Simply email them and tell them what you want. They will actually search for the item for you, and give you a price estimation, for free! That is pretty good service I would say. ;)



  • You can literally buy anything you want from Japan.

  • They accept paypal payment.

  • They are even able to travel to stores to shop for you, if you are willing to pay the traveling fee.

  • They provide several types of shipping (SAL, EMS), which means you can save cost on shipping.

  • They respond really fast, even on weekends.

  • They are able to do a search for you even if you have no idea what the product's name is. Just show them an image. ;)

  • They can even place bids in auctions for you!


  • There is a handling fee from each shop/location you choose to shop from. So if you wish to shop from several locations, be ready to spend a lot.

3 - Tips on using such services

  • There is always an extra charge when you want to buy your items from more than one shop. So try your best to buy everything from the same shop.

  • Do your own research to search for the best prices. You can always depend on the personal shopping service to search for you, but they might not be able to find one at the lowest price for you.

  • Don't be shy to ask for price estimations. I have realized that sometimes using a personal shopping service saves me a lot more money then trying to buy the thing I want off eBay, simply because the item was way overpriced as compared to the original price in Japan.

4 - Sites to shop from

Here are some online shops that you can shop from to buy your favorite Japanese products ;)

I hope you have enjoyed this post and found it useful! I will be adding more information as and when I feel that it is necessary. Also, if you know of a good site, please do not hesitate to comment and share your experiences! I will then add it to the list ^^

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