It’s my pleasure, having you read this buyer guide of mine. If you are looking for are rewarding shopping experience, then you will go on well with amazon.co.jp. It’s user-friendly, straight forward and you enjoy the same high client protection as on any Amazon site. I hope the guide will be insightful and facilitate your shopping on the marketplace. Here we go!
Amazon Japan General Service Information
amazon.co.jp is open since the year 2000 and has become one of the most profitable pillars of the Amazon group. Given the Japanese characteristics of handling objects with great care and hospital customer treatment, you can expect a top-notch service in all aspects. Moreover, you will find many unique categories and products that you won’t find in other Amazon locations (incl. blue films「プルーフィルム」 😋). If you are into Japanese pop-culture like cosplay, manga & anime for example, the Otaku Store might just be your pleasure ground, you have always been looking for!
Amazon Japan has put much into appealing its services to the expat community within Japan, but also strengthen its efforts in recent years to serve international clients in abroad. If you belong to those lucky, residing in one of the 65 eligible countries under the AmazonGlobal Program, you will benefit from the import fee deposit and customs clearance features (⇒scroll down to bottom of page), which will spare you the hassle of any unexpected customs charges in advance. However, even if you are not in a eligible country, from my own experience, with Amazon having established its distribution channels, the chances of getting extra costs, is smaller than with other services. Furthermore, through the program, shipping outside of Japan becomes exempt of Japanese consumption tax (VAT), which poses yet another advantage.
Buyer User Guide
The setup of your account works just like on other Amazon marketplace locations, so you will be through in no time. All the relevant tools you find in the upper right corner in the menu bar. Change the language to your preferences with the little globe sign, afterwards go to ‘Your Account’ to enter your personal details. Once you are registered you can use the drop down of the same tab to navigate easily in your user account environment:
Unless for digital content or Kindle e-books, for anything you find the blue PRIME (プライム) sign, it can be shipped to abroad. There might be some non-Prime sellers, but you want to choose a Prime Seller, with which the risk you running into any trouble with your transaction from Japan, is negligibly small.
Prime basically means that it will be fulfilled out of Amazon’s fulfillment centers, directly from Amazon or from them on behalf of marketplace sellers that joined the seller program. In either case, you will enjoy the full customer protection of the Amazon guarantee. You don’t have to be Prime member (entails membership fees) though to purchase from Prime offers. If you are not a frequent buyer or not local, it’s not necessary to subscribe for the service.
Now let’s get into the shopping part, here what to look for, illustrated on an example with this beautiful Totoro puzzle 😊:
1.) If you place your order right through the product pages, your order will be processed by the seller, whoever holds the seller box at the given time. In most cases, it’s Amazon or Prime Seller, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be the case for all offers, therefore be cautious there. Best go through the seller information list by clicking, where the arrow points:
2.) This will bring you to the following screen, which is the seller information overview page:
On the left hand side you can check those boxes, if you want, which will extract all Prime offers available for this particular product. If you see amazon.co.jp as on the right side, this will always automatically be Prime fulfilled. If another name is mentioned check for the Prime sign as explained above or as pointed with the arrow in the middle of the screen shot.
The yellow circle is the place, you usually can find the product condition details. For amazon.co.jp, this will be usually empty, since the products are brand new and sufficient stock available. Although Amazon Japan has an foreign language feature (see also Otaku article), these ‘fine print’ details are not translated. The language function mostly applies to site operation at present. If you get stuck or want to know more about the seller information section, simply employ the helpful Amazon staff via the chat (Japanese support 24h, English support until 9.00pm Japan time).
Put all objects of desire into your shopping cart and once you are all set, proceed to the checkout. In case you need any modifications, you can do so before finalizing the order. During the checkout process, you can select the desired shipping modes. Assure your address details are up-to-date and complete. Also if you are not really a business, I would avoid having products sent to your working place because the customs office could assume that goods are for business purposes, if they see any company name. The likelihood you being subject to customs fees will be higher therewith as well.
Should you realize that – oh bummer – you made a mistake, you can directly cancel from your user account within 30min to 1 hour – be quick because Amazon will be, too. For later cancellations you will have to write in or chat to check on the conditions.
After your order is completed, you can lean back and conveniently await the goods to arrive at yours. The shipping times are generated, right after checkout and can be looked up in your user account for the order, so can the tracking details.
Product related Info
As exciting it is to order all the way out of Japan into your own home, please keep the following in mind, to avoid any undesired surprises:
Video Gaming: Amazon Japan ships out pretty much everything for gaming goods, even consoles. Where you need to pay attention to, is regional locks, for which you find an overview here:
- Accessory: Gaming accessory, for instance Nintendo amiibo figurines, are never region locked and can be used around the world without any restrictions. Product packaging and instructions will be in Japanese though.
- Nintendo DS Software: no lock applies for the games.
- Nintendo 2DS + 3DS Software: regional lock applies. If you buy the Japanese version, you got to have a Japanese console.
- Nintendo Wii + Wii U: like for the 3DS, you need Japanese hardware.
- Sony PlayStation Software: whereas PS + PS2 games are restricted, PSP, PSVita, PS3 + PS4 games are not.
- XBox One: regional lock applies to all software.
For all the software above, please be aware that DLC (Downloadable Content) and bonus content are usually tied to a Japanese game account, thus not available, if not in possession of one. Gameplay and operation language are, if not otherwise mentioned, in Japanese only. Game on HERE (scroll down to the product category)!
Electronics: For electronic appliances of any kind be it for the home, kitchen, bath or office, Japan uses 100 Volt and 2-prong outlets are common in the country, so depending on the power standards in your region, you will need an adapter plug to have it function properly and to avoid any damages to your devices. If you are uncertain, consult with the client support prior purchase. Be cutting-edge technology HERE (scroll down to the product category)!
DVD & Blu-ray: Japanese movie versions have A/1 for Blu-ray and Code 2 for DVD in both maps marked with orange color. But don’t just go by the colors because you might notice for Europe for example that DVD is same as Japan, but Blu-ray is not. Carefully check for your region. Among the offers you will find however, also many imported titles. So if you are looking for a movie, which is sold out in the U.S., you mind find it with Amazon Japan. Get your movie fever satisfied HERE (scroll down to the product category)!
Beauty & Cosmetics: Amazon Japan is like your perfect beauty parlor with all the popular Japanese beauty brands available. Note though, Japanese manufacturers usually don’t indicate expiration dates on their products or product packaging, this is because on an annual basis renewals are made and former versions withdrawn from the markets. Products themselves are usually good for 1-1.5 years, so you will have that constant cycle avoiding outdated products. Treat yourself HERE (scroll down to the product category)!
Fashion & Clothing: Like most Asian countries, the Japanese cuts are usually smaller compared to other regions, i.e. by thumb 2 sizes with Western fashion. So a Japanese L size would convert to about an M elsewhere, M to a S and so on. Dress up HERE (scroll down to the product category)!
In addition to the regional features above highlighted, please be aware that product packaging and user manuals are in general mostly in Japanese language.
I tried to keep it concise without cutting out any relevant details. The guide is not yet complete with some categories missing, but should give a good first orientation. I will do my best to precise and expand it with more useful data as I go on. If you have any suggestions how to improve this guide or discover something that is totally off, please let me know, so I can make this page better.
Disclaimer: MyLittle Dejima is not a seller and products are not sold via this blog. It’s not guaranteed that the above stated information is accurate or complete. The information merely serve the purpose of introducing an online shopping services not connected to this blog. Responsibility of any nature pointed towards MyLittle Dejima will be strictly refused. MyLittle Dejima will not hold any liability for financial damage or loss suffered by using the mentioned services.
- Words in maroon color link to other articles/pages on MyLittle Dejima
- Words in indigo color link to external references/pages
- Words in simple bold or orange, titles and article relevant information without external reference
Edition: First release: December 1st, 2016