Four Websites to Make Your Life in Japan Easier

By Elisabeth Lambert
August 21, 2013
Families, Lifestyle

Along with the boy band Sexy Zone and dubious English phrases such as “children are the orgasm of life,” Japan’s slow adoption of online shopping and the convenience it affords completely baffles me. Yet while your neighbors wait for their weekly co-op catalog to arrive before doing any shopping, there are a few online stores that every foreigner living in Japan should know about.

Flying pig

The Flying Pig Japan

This site used to be the only way people like me (as in people in Japan without cars who didn’t live anywhere near a Costco) could use and abuse the excess that shopping at Costco always affords you. Serving all of Japan, you can buy most of the Costco staples and seasonal products through The Flying Pig, as well as some personal import items.

See site for delivery costs and details.

Yoyo Market

YoYo Market

Yoyo Market has really beefed up its Costco offering over the past 12 months, and now gives the Flying Pig a run for its Costco customers. This site also shops and delivers Ikea items for those who cannot access the Swedish retail giant any other way. The site’s customer service is excellent too, even if the problem is an Ikea product fault, as I happened to learn.

Check site for delivery costs and details.

Amazon Japan

Amazon Japan

I utilize Amazon Japan a lot, particularly when shopping for baby and toddler products. Where possible, items that my family goes through regularly, such as diapers and wipes, I add to my “subscribe and save” list, an automatic purchase and delivery schedule, which can be altered at any time and provides a five percent discount.

Amazon Mom gives me a 10 percent discount on the kinds of products moms might need (again like diapers and wipes—so here I save 15 percent and don’t have the hassle of trying to manage large boxes of diapers on the bike along with two kids). Although the online application for Amazon Mom is in Japanese, you can get through it with Google Translate if your Japanese is a bit rusty. The first three months are free, and then an annual fee of ¥3,900 is charged to a nominated credit card—well worth it. There are plenty of other offers, and usually you can find brand new baby and children’s products far cheaper than in stores, with delivery being either free or only a couple of hundred yen.

The Meat Guy

The Meat Guy

The name of this website pretty much says it all. From Aussie, U.S. and New Zealand beef to kangaroo patties, chicken, turkey, duck, rabbit and even crocodile filets, it is fair to say that The Meat Guy has all of your meat—and dessert and cheese—needs covered. There are even a few vegetarian products, including veggie burger patties, although this range is small. Speaking from experience, this is definitely a good service to utilize when hosting a barbecue.

See site for delivery costs and details.

Have we missed any? Which online shopping sites within Japan do you utilize on a regular basis?


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