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Proxies and Forwarders

Many Japanese companies (including Gift and various resellers and storefronts) don't want to deal with shipping outside of Japan, for various reasons. However, people outside of Japan can still order from them through the use of a proxy or a forwarder. Keep in mind that, depending on your country, you may have to pay import taxes, customs, or other fees.

A forwarder provides a package forwarding service. They will provide you a Japanese address (similar to a P.O. box in the United States) for you to have goods shipped to, and will forward any packages that arrive at that address to your real, overseas address. Some forwarders also provide package consolidation services that can saving on shipping and customs costs. Note: to comply with Japanese anti-gang laws, forwarders will require you to demonstrate proof of address and identity before actually forwarding your package. Typically, this is a photo of your ID and a bill with your name and address.

A proxy is similar to a forwarder, except that they will place the online order for you. Typically, you provide a link to the item you want to buy and a brief description of the item, and then the proxy provides status updates as the order/delivery process proceeds. Many proxies require a deposit. Some storefronts refuse to do business with proxy services, although Gift is not known to turn away proxies.

Pros and Cons of Proxies and Forwarders
Proxies Forwarders
Pros Cons Pros Cons
Simple - minimal knowledge of Japanese needed. Unreliable - may fail to place an order if volume is too high or auction is too competitive. Reliable - you have full control over placing the order. Complex - requires some understanding of Japanese addresses.
If you can't pay directly, a proxy may offer alternate payment systems. Tends to be more expensive than a forwarder. Tends to be cheaper than a proxy. Requires verifying your identity to satisfy Japanese anti-gang laws.

The following is a partial list of Proxy and Forwarding services, with some basic information about each. Note: fees do not include shipping costs, since they vary dramatically based on destination and store. Please keep in mind that there are two shipping costs: one from the seller to the proxy/forwarder, and one from the proxy/forwarder to you.

This information is not guaranteed to be correct or up-to-date, but please let us know if it's wrong. Fees do not include shipping costs.

Name Cost per Package Consolidation Fees Notes
Big in Japan ¥500 ¥1500 for any number of packages
Blackship $1 $3 per package There is an optional monthly subscription service and many optional features
Japamart 5% + a commission based on total price - about $6 for a single Fumo Apparently free Does not accept forwards from auction sites; only accepts PayPal
JPN-DEPOT ¥200 ¥100 per package
Tenso Based on weight - about ¥150 for a single Fumo ¥200 + ¥300 per package beyond the first Partnered with Buyee

Sniper Bids are bids placed close to the end of an auction. Costs per order are often reduced when ordering multiple items from the same seller in a 24 hour period. Check the individual sites for more information.

Name Cost per Order Other Fees Consolidation Fees Guaranteed Sniper Bid Timing Notes
Big in Japan ¥500 + 15% Not offered Not offered Sends invoices via PayPal
Buyee ¥300; Optional ¥0-500 for insurance/inspection ¥200 per successful bid on Yahoo Auctions ¥500 for two packages or ¥1000 for 3 or more 5 minutes
From Japan ¥300, or ¥700 if you want insurance ¥200 per successful bid on Yahoo Auctions Free 10 minutes
J-Subculture ¥500, or ¥850 if you want insurance ¥50 per item won at auction Free for up to 5 items 15 minutes
Japamart 5% + $2 + a commission based on total price, about $10 for a single Fumo Some shenanigans if multiple Japamart users bid on the same item Apparently free Not specified, but near auction close Only accepts PayPal
Jauce 1300¥ + 8% for non-auction; 700¥ + 8% for auctions ¥300 per package + ¥120/kg 6 minutes
JPN-DEPOT ¥400 ¥200 per auction on Yahoo Auctions ¥100 per package Not offered
Kuboten ¥1000 + 10% 3.9% money transfer fee Apparently free Not offered Suggests placing orders 12 hours before auctions close
Noppin Non-auction: ¥1000 + 10%; 12.5% (minimum ¥500) for auctions Additional charges based on size and weight; 3.5% money transfer fee Free Not offered Packing takes about 3 business days
Proxy Rabbit Japan ¥400 + 5% 3.6% money transfer fee Free for up to 5 items Not offered Temporarily closed due to COVID
Sendico ¥500 ¥500 per item Not offered
Treasure Japan Rates vary by price range and weight; minimum ¥700. 4% money transfer fee Not offered Not offered Estimated total fee for a single Fumo is around 10%
White Rabbit Express $5 + 9.9% Free Not offered Partnered with Blackship.
Zenmarket ¥300 3.5% money transfer fee Free 5 minutes