Proxy Forwarding in Japan: Your Complete Guide

Proxy Forwarding in Japan: Your Complete Guide

Most of the time, many Japanese online marketplaces offer domestic shipping.

But what if you want something from Japan? That’s where a proxy forwarding service comes in handy.

This article explains everything you need to know about proxy forwarding in Japan.

What is a proxy service in Japan?

Proxy forwarding is a service where individuals can receive mail, packages, and parcels in one country and have it forwarded to another address in another country. 

This service is useful for expats, travelers, and international shoppers wanting to receive items from one country to another.

Mail forwarding and package forwarding are the same as proxy forwarding.

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How does proxy forwarding work in Japan?

Proxy forwarding works differently depending on the service. But here are the general steps:

  1. Registration: Sign up for your proxy forwarding choice. Some services will give you a Japanese address, while others function like shopping platforms that will handle the purchase and shipping for you.

  2. Shop: Shop on various Japanese shopping sites or in e-commerce. Input the Japanese address that was given to you. Some proxy forwarding sites are shopping platforms allowing you to buy directly through their sites without inputting a Japanese address.

  3. Receiving your items: The proxy forwarding service in Japan will receive your items on your behalf.

  4. Forwarding: Your items, usually in one package, will be forwarded to your home address to save shipping time and costs. You’ll receive a tracking number to monitor where your items are.

  5. Delivery: Your items are shipped to your specific international address outside Japan.

Costs vary depending on the weight and size of the package. So heavier packages will tend to be more pricer when sending it abroad from Japan.

Why use a proxy forwarding service in Japan?

Don't most Japanese sites have an English version that ships internationally? 

Yes and no. The answer has more nuance. 

1. Domestic-only shipping

Many Japanese shopping and auction sites, such as Mercari Japan, Yahoo! Shopping Japan, Tower Record, and Tokyu Hands, only ship to Japanese addresses, making it difficult for international buyers to receive orders.

2. Japanese-only products

Some Japanese online shops, such as Amazon.co.jp, Uniqlo Japan, and Rakuten, have Japan only products. Although these sites have an English version that offers international shipping, the full range of these Japanese items is only available on the Japanese version. 

So, proxy forwarding services in Japan let you shop freely from any Japanese site without worrying about whether or not the site offers international shipping.

4 proxy forwarding services available in Japan

For proxy forwarding, Japan has three well-known sites with one bonus service that users can consider for a long-term solution.

1. Tenso

Tenso

Tenso is a well-known proxy forwarding service in Japan that provides you with a Japanese address to send items and packages for various Japanese shopping sites.

Once you make a purchase, your item will be sent to their warehouses for storage, where you will get a notification of their arrival. Once everything is ready, your items are ready for international shipping. 

They will open the package so that the multiple items will be checked, weighed, and registered where then you will get notified.

If you want your items consolidated into one package, the cost will be 200 yen plus 300 yen per package. So, if you want to consolidate three packages, the total shipping cost will be 1100 yen. 

Tenso offers many international shipping methods. The total cost is the base shipping cost plus a handling fee (determined by the total weight of the package). So, an EMS item that weighs 300 grams will cost 4,300 yen for Tenso, not including package consolidation. 

2. Zen Market

Zen Market

Zen Market is a popular proxy forwarding service that simplifies the online Japanese shipping process.

Unlike other proxy forwarding services, you shop directly on Zen Market's website, as they have integrated various Japanese online stores from Amazon Japan, Rakuten, and Yahoo! Auctions onto their platform. 

You will not receive a Japanese address, so you will have to find your items on the Zen Market website.

ZenMarket's fees include the cost of the item, a 500-yen fee per item, a deposit fee, a domestic delivery fee, and an international shipping fee.

3. Buyee

④Buyee|多くのECサイトに対応しているので便利

Buyee is a little different from the rest of the proxy forwarding services as it’s better known for being a Japanese auction site that international shoppers can use.

They partner with major Japanese e-commerce sites like Yahoo! Japan Auctions, Rakuten, and Amazon Japan. With a wide range of sites, you can buy anything from clothing, asessies, technology, and Japanese goods all in one place.

Buyee fees are harder to calculate, but they include the consumption tax, a purchasing fee, a shipping rate (which varies between sites), delivery compensation, a domestic shipping fee, and an international shipping fee. 

They will also have additional services at an added cost, such as package consolidation, protective packaging, and photo service.

4. Bonus: MailMate

If you frequently buy from Japanese online shopping sites, consider MailMate. You’ll get a Japanese virtual address to use.

MailMate virtual address

MailMate is not the typical proxy service. It is a virtual address service that handles and forwards its customers’ mail and packages, making it a possible and reliable service for proxy forwarding.

a) Online dashboard
dashboard and package

MailMate handles surface mail as well as parcels and packages.

When an item arrives at MailMate, you’ll receive a notification via email or Slack. MailMate scans the outside content and will not open any of your items unless you request it with the “Open It” button. 

On your account, you can request a forwarding for your items.

b) Flexible forwarding
Mail forwarding on your request

Like any proxy forwarding service in Japan, MailMate offers the option to forward your items to your international address. 

The total shipping cost is the international shipping cost plus a processing fee (500 yen + 3% of the cost). So, if an item weighs 300 grams and is shipped with Japan Post EMS, it will be 4517 yen.

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c) Bilingual support

MailMate’s bilingual staff will handle your items with care for any mail room issues you may have. 

What items can not be shipped with proxy forwarding in Japan?

All proxy forwarding services must follow customs regulations and inspections when shipping internationally. 

Most items can be shipped internationally. However, some items can not be shipped due to legal and safety concerns. Here are some examples: 

  • Explosives and flammable goods: Fireworks, gunpowder, and flammable liquids.

  • Weapons: Including firearms, ammunition, knives, and other weapons.

  • Hazardous materials: Chemicals, toxins, and radioactive materials.

  • Drugs and medications: Illegal drugs, prescription medications, and certain over-the-counter medicines.

  • Perishable goods: Food items that can spoil or require refrigeration.

  • Alcohol and tobacco: Some countries have strict regulations on importing alcohol and tobacco products.

  • Currency and valuable items: Cash, checks, and certain high-value items like precious metals and stones.

  • Electronics: Items with lithium batteries may have shipping restrictions.

Additionally, some countries will have specific restrictions on certain products, such as cosmetics and personal care. Be sure to research these restrictions before making any purchases. 

Frequently asked questions

How to get a Japanese proxy address?

Sign up for a Japanese proxy address with a proxy forwarding service. Services like MailMate and Tenso will give you a Japanese shipping address on Japanese websites.

What is a Japanese proxy service?

A Japanese proxy service allows you to shop at Japanese online stores. Some services will give you a Japanese address on any online site. In contrast, others have integrated shopping platforms with popular online marketplaces such as Amazon Japan, Rakuten, and Yahoo! JAPAN Auction.

In closing

Proxy forwarding in Japan allows international shoppers to receive Japan-only products. Whether you are an expat, traveler, or fan of Japanese goods, these services offer a seamless way to shop and receive items from Japan. 

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