Love Japanese stuff? I do, too, and that’s why I decided to live in Tokyo. But when I was living back home in Australia, it was difficult, if not impossible, to buy all the goods I wanted from Japan easily. Not everyone gets to live in Japan just because they like Japanese cosmetics, sushi, matcha, Evangelion or Hello Kitty, like I do.
So here is what I think is the 5 Best Ways to Buy Goods From Japan. Going to Japan is not the only way to purchase Japanese things of your dream. One word of caution before we start, though.
There are quite a lot of products out there that are made to look like Japanese. I’ve met many people who paid a premium price for “Japanese” products” that were produced by non-Japanese companies overseas. Even if Japanese companies are producers, many of them are also produced outside Japan.
If you don’t mind where they are made, or who produces, as long as your ramen looks like Japanese, that’s okay, too. But if you are a devoted fan of made in Japan goods, then, be smart and always check the country of production before you purchase from Japan and elsewhere.
There are almost always Japanese grocery shops in every major city. But even fans of Japanese things often don’t know that there is a great Japanese shop in their own town. The best way to find Japanese shops is simply ask a local Japanese where he or she shops for Japanese grocery goods. Local Japanese magazines and newspapers are also useful for gathering information about local Japanese shops – just look for ads.
In Australia, I was lucky enough to have a lot of friends who often traveled to Japan. I asked them to buy goods from Japan, making sure that these things weren’t too heavy or bulky. Shopping for friends on a trip is a hassle, so in return, I gave them a bunch of useful tips as to where to stay, visit and eat, as well as unique ways of enjoying their stay there. Your friends might learn a few thing from your shopping list – don’t be shy and just ask.
Even if your friends’ destination isn’t Japan, you could ask them to buy Japanese goods at airports for you. Most duty-free shops around the world carry Japanese brands and they are often cheaper.
Also, check if your favorite Japanese shops are operating in their destination countries. When UNIQLO wasn’t still in Australia, I asked a friend travelling to Thailand to buy me a few things from UNIQLO in Bangkok. I also bought a MUJI T-shirt in Paris for a friend in Sydney, who unfortunately had to ask “What’s MUJI?”.
This is obvious and an expensive option, but going to Japan isn’t as expensive as used to be. There is an increasing number of cheap flights to Japan, and once you are here, you will find to your delight that everyday things such as food and transport are quite reasonably priced.
For instance, you easily pay AUD15 to 20 dollars for a mediocre ramen in Australia, while you get an amazing ramen from 500 yen (AUD 5.70). Also good to know is the tabehodai (lit. all you can eat) and nomihodai (lit. all you can drink) system. Unlike some other countries, Japanese tabehodai and nomihodai are really great ways to enjoy Japanese food and drinks, and here is best 5 buffet restaurants in Tokyo. You also have access to cheap public transport if you get the JR Pass before leaving home.
Cheap accommodation can be found, too, if you look in the right place. Airbnb operates in Japan, and online hotel booking such as Rakuten Travel always has a number of highly affordable accommodation available.
From matcha to manju to obento lunch box to men’s grooming products and Japanese face masks, you get to buy as much as your wallet allows you once you are here. If you need some assistance, we’d be happy to take inquiries!
As great as a trip to Japan is, it still costs a bit and takes time. Because you have limited time while travelling, you tend to shop hastily and regret what you bought once you are back home. Shopping online allows you all the time in the world to find and choose the best items from Japan, in the comfort of your own home.
Online shopping could be pricier than shopping in Japan, but it’s not really so in reality if you think about the cost of travelling or a hassle of begging friends and waiting for a long time.
A few tips on buying goods from Japan online. As mentioned earlier in this post, not all things online are made in Japan. If you don’t mind Japanese products that are made in other countries, that’s fine.
Take Japanese cars as an example, though. There is apparently a noticeable difference in quality between Japan-made cars and overseas productions. That’s why the former is more expensive than the latter, and this is not necessarily only about Japanese cars.
If you are a discerning online shopper, we can be your favorite online shop. It is our promise to our customers that what they purchase from us are Japanese products that are made in Japan. We do not list products that are produced by Japanese companies if they are not made here.
Thanks to the expansion of online businesses, it is increasingly easy to buy goods from Japan. Be smart and keep yourselves informed about smart ways of shopping Japanese goods:-) And we are always here at your service!