I have been to Japan a few times and really love visiting. One of the things I enjoy most is the amazing and well crafted products. While Amazon and other companies are increasingly selling Japanese products domestically, they often cost a fortune or still have a lot of things you simply can’t get in the US. Having a friend in Japan who can mail you your favorite items is one way, but not if you do a fair amount of this.
Enter marshalling and reshipping companies. They are companies that operate in Japan, provide you with a Japanese mailing address, and then re-ship anything sent to that address to you overseas. All with increasingly minimal handling fees. I used a few of these services a few years back, but they have become much more efficient and recommend.
Tenso is a complete but more manual solution. It provides you a bonafide local Japanese address that you can give to Japanese individuals or companies to ship your products to. When your package arrives at their shipping center, they re-ship it to your domestic address.
There are some hurdles. You must provide documented proof of your identity and it takes a few business days to get that registration done. However, you can quite literally give the address to anyone in Japan, have them mail things to you there, and receive them re-shipped to you. This is also one of the cheapest solutions, only adding a few dollars of handling.
Buyee is a more user friendly version that only handles the big online retailers in Japan. If you want to buy things on Yahoo! Japan auctions, Amazon.jp, Mercari, Rakuten, Aomori, and a few others, then this might be your best choice. They have a simple web plugin that you add items to your cart. They order the items from the retailer for you – filling in their re-shipping address and doing a lot of the legwork.
How much does this all cost? You pay the retail price, plus a $5-7 handling and re-shipping fee. Honestly, that’s incredible considering that’s the entire price – including the shipping to the US.