Sunday, April 15, 2012

Shopping Service Reviews: Part 1

Hey guys! I was actually asked by a member of the Arpakasso Online forums to write up some reviews of some of the Japanese shopping services I've used. I figured I'd provide the same information here in my blog in case anyone wanted to know more about certain services and my experiences with them =)

The two services I've used most recently and with the greatest frequency are Japonica Market and Tenso, so those are the two I'll be reviewing here!

Let's get started.

Service Name: Japonica Market (

General Information
: a proxy bidding/shopping service located in Japan that provides auction bidding service and website shopping service. You place an order through their website, they invoice you, and bid/buy on your behalf.

: offers both EMS and registered airmail (up to 2kg) as ship options
- personal example shipping: 1 large 50cm arpakasso = 2400yen EMS international shipping

Usage Fees
- 800yen fee for auctions/items up to 2500yen
- 1000yen fee for auctions/items up to 5000yen
- 1200yen fee up to 15000yen and so on
*There is also a discount offered on multiple items purchased from the same seller (example: first item from seller has an 800yen fee, second item from same seller has 400yen fee, etc. Check their website for more detailed info.)

My experience
: I have used Japonica Market to place both web orders and auction bids. Very quick responses, friendly staff, and excellent service. I found the website very easy to use.

Bonus points
: open 7 days a week 9:00 ~ 17:00 Japan time

? Yes

Service Name: Tenso (

General Information
: Tenso is different from most shopping services in that Tenso offers a Japanese forwarding address for you to ship packages to from Japanese websites.
*Tenso does also offer traditional shopping services but they are a bit pricier than others I've found (1500yen fee for items up to 10000yen) and I've not tried that so I can only review their forwarding service.
Tenso offers free sign up. You will receive a Japanese address that you can use in shopping on Japanese websites like Rakuten,, etc. You pay for the item(s) on the website and for domestic shipping within Japan. The seller ships your package to your Tenso address. When Tenso receives it, they notify you and invoice you for usage fee and international shipping. They also offer package consolidation if you have several packages from different sellers and wish to save a bit on shipping costs.

: EMS offered
- personal example EMS shipping costs: 1200yen for several small (16cm and under) Arpakassos or 3200yen for two 35cm Arpakassos

Usage Fees
: usage fee starts at 490yen for packages up to 1kg in weight

: they are closed Saturdays, Sundays, and Japanese holidays

My experience
: Tenso has provided me with excellent and prompt service. I've been more than happy with my orders through them.
*Tenso may be a good option if you want to pay a lower usage fee and feel comfortable placing your own orders. Japanese websites can be confusing so I personally have only placed my Tenso orders through Rakuten because it saves my user information and address, making it much easier for me to place subsequent orders. Just a thought!

? Yes

I hope these have been helpful! I'm trying a new service right now so hopefully I'll be able to provide another review soon.


  1. Caitlin! Haven't seen you around flickr much lately but that's probably normal since your grandmother is in the hospital :( I hope she's doing better!

    Thanks for posting these! These Japanese shopping services intimiate me though...just like all the Japanese auction sites :(

  2. Hi Richelle! I've definitely been a ghost on flickr :< I've been posting some on the Arpakasso forum, though. Are you gearing up to post some of your kawaii for sale?

    Aww, you shouldn't let the services intimidate you! The staff are always really friendly. The only downside that I have found is that it tends to get expensive quickly, eeeek! Just adding up fees and shipping.... I've gotten a few of my plushes for pretty good deals, though. I scored my big birthday boy for 950 yen! Of course he had domestic and international shipping charges and the service fee so he wasn't such a great deal in the end, haha. BUT he was cheaper than he would have been from a web store.

    I hope you're doing well! Thanks for stopping by :)