Buying products from Japan is notoriously difficult. Many Japanese websites won’t accept international credit cards and choose not to ship internationally. If they do, the online registration can be a headache for non-native speakers, even with the help of Google Translate. As such, the isolated consumer market has created exclusivity for certain brands and goods. But now, thanks to online proxy services, those Japan-only Red Wing boots, hard-to-find Seikos or pristine Mamiyas are available with relatively little hassle.
Not long ago, the only way you could get exclusive goods from Japan was to travel there yourself or ask someone there to buy it for you. Both pricey. Now, sites like ZenMarket, From Japan and Dejapan, among others, act as middleman — all you have to do is pay a small service charge and any shipping costs. Though paying a proxy service can seem sketchy at first — you’re paying a company to buy a product — it is secure and protected (and it works with PayPal). So, if you’ve been yearning for something from Japan, this is your chance to finally acquire it. To ease any apprehension, the steps below explain how the process works on ZenMarket.
Shop on ZenMarket. Use ZenMarket to browse sites like Rakuten, Yahoo Auctions and Amazon, or enter the URL of a site you want to shop.
Get a quote. If the item is available for purchase, add to your cart and ZenMarket will confirm the price and availability of the item.
Pay or Deposit Funds. If your item is immediately available for purchase, pay the confirmed price. If you are bidding on an auction, you must first deposit funds to your ZenMarket account to place a bid. The ZenMarket service fee is a flat rate of 300 Yen (less than $3).
Wait a couple days. ZenMarket will order your item and wait for it to be delivered to its warehouse. If you were shopping an auction, ZenMarket will buy your item from the seller and wait for it to be delivered (may take longer according to individual sellers).
Choose the shipping method. After your item arrives at the ZenMarket warehouse, choose your shipping method, specify your address and wait for confirmation of the shipping price. If you are ordering more than one item, you can choose to have multiple items shipped in the same box.
Pay for shipping. Complete the interaction by paying for shipping on your boxed items.
Receive your package. Depending on your shipping method, your item should arrive in one to two weeks.
Ask questions at any point. If you need assistance, simply type questions into ZenMarket’s convenient chat. ZenMarket employees can communicate with auction sellers, help you find items in Japanese online marketplaces, check your items upon arrival to the warehouse (and send photos) or explain any confusion that may arise in the process.