Amazon Japan Buying Guide for Overseas Buyers (Who Don't Know Japanese)

Update Feb 2015: Amazon Japan has revised their shipping charges to make it slightly cheaper for overseas buyers buying small quantities. If you have questions, ask me below.


Here's the buying guide to help people overseas who're interested in buying stuff from Amazon Japan, especially for those who don't know Japanese.

The first thing you need to know is, not all items from Amazon Japan ships overseas. Books and discs are usually fine. Also, third party retailers usually do not ship overseas.

Amazon Japan Homepage

Amazon Japan Homepage English Link
Here's the homepage for Amazon Japan.

To translate the page to English, you just have to find that "In English" link which appears around the top right corner of the page.

They are circled in red in the images above.

After that, you'll be brought to the English translated page for Amazon Japan. Amazon help & information links are located on the left of that page.

Note that not everything is translated to Japanese, only the interface buttons. Even the drop-down categories are now in English.

Below's the second way to translate your page.

Amazon Japan Product Page English-link

Amazon Japan Product Page English
This is the product page. Again, around the top right corner, you'll be able to see a link called "Click here to see in English".

One thing I want to highlight here is the price of the item which includes a tax of 5%. For overseas buyers, you don't need to pay this tax and the amount will be deducted when you're on the checkout pages.

Sometimes Amazon Japan will issue Amazon Points. If you're lucky, you'll see them, although the amount isn't really much. One Amazon Point has the value of one Japanese yen which you can use offset your next purchase.

Even though there are third party merchants, so far I've not found any that ships outside of Japan. So it's just pretty much Amazon Japan that's shipping internationally.

Amazon Japan Shopping Cart
After you've added items to your shopping cart using the big orange "Add to Shopping Cart" button, you'll be brought to the Shopping Cart page.

At anytime if you want to look at your shopping cart, just click on the shopping cart icon that appears around the top right of the page.

If you're happy, you can click on the "Proceed to Checkout" orange button to checkout your items.

Checkout pg 1 - password
On the first page of Checkout, you can translate it to English as well using the link that appears around the top left, under the Amazon Japan logo.

There are two input boxes on the first page of Checkout. The top one is for your email. If you already have an Amazon account elsewhere, that's the same email address you'll use here. The second text box is for your password.

Check the second radio button to say you're a returning customer, or first if you want to create a new account.

Checkout page 2a - Address
On the second page of Checkout, this is where you provide your shipping address. You might need to provide a new international address if Amazon doesn't detect your old address from your other Amazon accounts.

Don't use the address form on this page because that's for Japanese addresses and you don't get to choose your country.

To add a new international address, just click on the "International (Outside of Japan)" link. I've circled in red in the image above.

Checkout page 2b - Address
This new page should appear for you to fill in your shipping address.

Checkout pg 6 - Payment
Here's the payment options page. Pretty simple to understand. They don't accept Paypal.

If you have an Amazon Japan gift voucher, you can enter the code on this page.

Checkout last page - Place Order
Here's the last page of Checkout where you review your orders. The few things that I usually check are:

  • Shipping address
  • Billing address
  • Item quantity
  • Total cost including shipping

Note that the price of the items doesn't include the tax of 5%.

Shipping rates

The shipping charge is calculated by adding one per shipment charge as well as the per item charges for the number of items you're getting.

There's only one international shipping option: International Express. Amazon Japan typically use DHL or Fedex for delivery services. So far for me, their services are fast. You can also track your packages on your account page. The account page link is near the "In English" link shown earlier.

The process is really quite similar to any other Amazon branches. Amazon's an online discount retailer so their prices are reflective of market rates or sometimes lower. The only charges to keep in mind are the shipping cost depending on where you live.



So I followed all your steps

So I followed all your steps to creating an account, however when I added an item to my cart, in the "view my cart" page there was an option to estimate shipping costs. When I clicked that it told me that some of the items in my order cannot be shipped to my address and to select a new address to see the total. Is there anything I can do about this? I don't have another address to use unfortunately. If I proceed to checkout, will I still be able to purchase and receive the product? Thanks for all your help!

Hi, I've setup an account

Hi, I've setup an account with Amazon Japan so I can order video game artbooks last year, and I'm very impressed with their efficient product shipping.

I do notice that I've accumulated over 2000 Amazon Points so far. I've tried to apply these points towards a purchase but everytime I tried that , the currency would convert back from U.S. dollar to Japanese yen. So my question is "Is there any way a U.S. foreigner like me use these Amazon points towards a future purchase?"

Hi, I live outside Japan but

Hi, I live outside Japan but am visiting Japan in a few weeks. If I order from Amazon (toys) and have it delivered to my hotel, will there be consumption tax charged? And if so, is there a process for refund once I show that I will bring it outside of Japan? Thanks so much

Amazon just revised the

Amazon just revised the shipping cost (on 1 May).

The per-order minimum went up a bit. This means that it is more expensive to make small orders with only a few items.

The per-item cost was scrapped. Amazon now charges a per-kg fee instead. Previously, the per-kg fee only applied to certain types of items, but now it applies to all items.

For example, B6 books are very light (about 120 g). At 750 yen/kg (to Europe), the shipping cost per item is now down to approximately 90 yen. On the other hand, a manga magazine (say, about 700 g) is now 525 yen per item. Previously, you paid 300 yen per item regardless of weight. This is good if you mainly buy light items but bad if you mainly buy heavy items.

Starting some time in March, Amazon suspended international shipping of items with unknown weight. The weight of a book becomes known to Amazon on the release date, sometimes up to a week earlier. Due to this new restriction, you can't pre-order books (earlier than say 1-2 days before the release date). Bad for me as I sometimes buy limited edition books which may sell out before the release date. You can't get these unless you pre-order them.


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