In late January, a lovely user /u/kjj17 shared instructions for navigating the Amazon Japan website as an international user on the Asian Beauty subreddit. Another user /u/apidae92 also shared her awesome haul! Intrigued by their posts, I decided to try out Amazon Japan myself.
Amazon has drastically increased the availability of skincare products from Asia since I started using Asian skincare products in 2014 but discovering Amazon Japan has opened up a whole new shopping experience for me! I have to admit the website was quite confusing to use at first. I hope this step-by-step guide will help you guys out. This guide will be most comprehensive for US customers but the Amazon.JP has FAQs for other countries as well. You can see if your country is listed here.
Language Settings and Making an Account
I definitely recommend using the Google Chrome browser for its translating capabilities. Here is what AmazonJP looks like when you first get on the website:
If you only turn on Google Translate like I did below, some of the words will be translated weirdly. Go to the upper right hand corner where there is a globe icon to change the language settings. Now the site will look a lot more like the Amazon we’re all used to.
Save those language settings and remember to turn on the Google Translate function on Chrome to make your shopping a lot easier!
Now that you’re done setting the language, your next step should be creating an AmazonJP account and adding your address. Your regular Amazon account will NOT work but you can still use the same email. You can also consider signing up for a free AmazonJP trial at this point. Your shipping costs won’t be lowered but you will get slightly lowered prices for certain items. Make sure you remember to cancel or you’ll be charged $32 USD for a service you won’t regularly use. Yikes!
Shopping and Checking Out
One very important and time-saving tip is to only show items available for Global Shipping. See these beautiful Japanese bath salts for less than $6 USD? Well… they’re going to disappear shortly!
In my picture above, I did not turn on Google Translate so the listings are all in Japanese. If Google Translate was on it would say ‘EarthPharmecuticals Bath Roman’ with the appropriate flavors listed. This is why Google Translate is so helpful.
At this point you can just browse the site for as long as you want. Remember, the site has a lot more stuff than just beauty products such as Japanese stationery.
Now, let’s try checking out! If you forget to sort items by their shipping eligibility and accidentally (…maybe purposefully) added an item that is restricted, you will see a notification when you try to checkout. Busted!
Generally, foods, drinks and products containing alcohol and aerosols will be prohibited (yes, that includes the Biore Watery Essence). Once the system approves your items, you will be taken to a page to select shipping. There is only one option for US customers, Amazon Global Priority.
After this page, you will be brought to a page to enter in your CC number. And after that you will come across your order summary which includes shipping fees. Don’t worry, you will have the option of paying in USD.
Shipping Rates and Delivery
Below is a very important chart for estimating shipping charges. AmazonJP will add the base price per shipment and the rest will generally depend on the item’s weight. (When I tried to only purchase an 80g jar of Gatsby hair wax for my boyfriend, the shipping cost was 736 yen instead of the estimated 696 yen so there will be slight differences in the final cost).
Amazon JP will do their part to take care of the fees in Japan but there is a disclaimer that the recipient may be subject to additional fees:
The recipient is the importer of record and must comply with all laws and regulations of the destination country.
Orders shipped outside of Japan may be subject to import taxes, customs duties and fees levied by the destination country.
The recipient of an international shipment may be subject to such import taxes, customs duties and fees, which are levied once a shipment reaches the recipient’s country.
Additional charges for customs clearance must be borne by the recipient; we have no control over these charges and can’t predict what they may be.
The best thing about Amazon Global Shipping is that you’ll get your order very quickly –HALLEJULAH! I placed my order on the night of February 2nd, and it was shipped the next day via DHL Express and delivered on February 7th. DHL requires someone to sign for the item but if no one in your household will be available, there is a link in your shipping confirmation email to leave an electronic signature or to hold the package at a DHL location.
Is AmazonJP worth it? Well it depends on what you’re trying to buy! People with smaller purchases in mind might benefit more from eBay and international sellers on the Amazon US site. I know the shipping prices seem steep but keep in mind that you’re getting a package from a country thousands of miles away in just a few days. Amazon JP is particularly worth it if you fall in love with something on the website that is difficult to get elsewhere. For me, it was the LeCreuset ramekin set (that turned out to be really tiny). Ask your friends and family if anything on the website catches their eye.
Since I’m one of those people who likes seeing how much I saved, I broke down my purchase below to compare the cost of AmazonJP and other reputable sellers. Most of the others were from eBay with 2-8 week shipping estimates (yuck). I did not include one thing which was the Japanese cat toy I ordered.
The differences in cost was a little over $30 which is pretty great in my opinion considering I had one ‘exclusive’ item! Plus, I didn’t have to worry about lost packages in the mail.
Previously, I attempted to use Japanese buying sites like Tenso and FromJapan but they weren’t that user friendly and I don’t like having a middleman when I’m spending $100+ on a foreign transaction. Additionally, the two-way shipping and fees really add up, some estimates I had were around $60-80.
Overall, I loved my experience with AmazonJP and had a smooth transaction. I will continue to use AmazonJP and I hope that more items will be available for global shipping in the future.
PS, this is my first blog post ever and I’m really excited to share more content! If you have any questions feel free to message me here or to send me a DM on Instagram @honeynlacquer 🙂