Brief Guide for Importing or Purchasing Products from Japan

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by jacq, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. nraymond

    nraymond Rando

    Feb 1, 2018
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    Just stumbled on this thread, and wanted to mention a route I took to buying some headphones from Japan and getting them shipped to me in the US which wasn't mentioned here. I wanted to get my hands on the Maxell MXH-MD5000 at a decent price (under $300), which wasn't possible on Amazon/eBay/etc. I was able to find it for sale domestically in Japan via sellers on and Rakuten Ichiba, but Amazon Japan doesn't (from what I can tell) allow items that they don't directly sell to be purchased and shipped via other sellers on their site (I had no trouble purchasing JVC headphones shipped and sold by Amazon Japan, and they shipped via Amazon's global shipping system to my door in something like 4 days at a very reasonable price). Anyway, I noticed there was something called Rakuten Global Express which works as a re-shipping service where you are provided a Japan-domestic address to use as a destination for goods purchased in Japan which you can then have re-shipped individually or bundled together and then re-shipped to you via a non-EMS (so slower but less expensive) service, which does give you USPS tracking and takes about a month.

    Rakuten Global Express is designed to work with just about any Japan domestic company but it is a bit more integrated with Rakuten Ichiba. Now I already had a account, which is actually a bit different because that site used to be and was bought out (ha ha) by Rakuten, and operates independently of Rakuten Ichiba. However, it is possible I learned to link these accounts and while at first it seems impossible to sign up for a Rakuten Ichiba account if you are outside the country you can they have steps documented somewhere (can't find the page at the moment), as I recall I had to enter 00000 as the postal code and select "Other" as the Prefecture and could leave most address fields blank, then later on after the accounts were linked I could add in the Rakuten Global Express address. In addition to that, it was necessary to verify my identity with Rakuten Global Express (they say some sort of government requirement to show proof of address for people outside the country), which in my case meant the easiest things were scans of a utility bill and my ID (you can obfuscate information they don't need from the scans before uploading), and then wait a day for someone to review and approve.

    The store I purchased the Maxell MXH-MD5000 from I had to use machine translation to figure out the details and complete the order. I think in theory I could have gotten the Consumption Tax lifted from the order, since I'm not a Japan citizen, and could have saved another ~10% or so, but I was impatient and didn't feel like either checking to see if the seller spoke any English or relying on machine translation to work that part out, and figured it might be complicated by the fact that my destination shipping address from their perspective was one in Japan since it was Rakuten Global Express that was going to ship it out of the country to me.

    Anyway, everything else went fine after that, RGE got it in a couple of days, alerted me, I instructed them to pack it up and ship it to me, and it took about a month (I was concerned at the start because about a week went by without any tracking updates from the domestic Japan post office system, which isn't that different from USPS I guess, but I just didn't know what to expect). It was well packed overall and I'm happy enough with the experience.
  2. uncola

    uncola Friend

    Sep 27, 2015
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    Oahu, Hawaii
    Here's a question for your guide: Best Luxman Integrated amps to import, issues with voltage difference between japan and usa ;)

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