How to buy items from Yahoo Auctions Japan if you are not Japanese

I recently started to collect retro video games, mostly classic 16-bit stuff. One of the issues here, after you have made up your mind about the console systems you want to collect is to decide whether you want to limit the collection to a certain region.

Do you only want to collect European PAL games, North-American NTSC games or Japanese games? I made the decision to go all in and collect everything.

The main issue here is that it is nearly impossible to buy many Japanese games in Europe. And the ones that are on offer are quite expensive as well.

That's why I began to check out sites in Japan directly to order from there instead, and one of the greatest is Yahoo Auctions Japan.

This is one of the biggest auction sites in Japan -- eBay is not offering a platform there anymore -- but the problem is that if you are not Japanese, you cannot really register an account.

The first issue you will come across is the captcha verification. Since Japanese signs are displayed in it, you need to find a way to enter them. While copying and pasting from other sources works, it is not something that is done quickly unless you have access to a Japanese keyboard and know your way around in the language.

But even if you manage that, you may run into other troubles such as having to have a local -- read Japanese -- shipping address or bank account.

yahoo auctions japan

Solution

The only viable solution for foreigners is to use a proxy service. I have been using Japamart for that but there are others such as From Japan or Jauce and I will switch to another soon as the fees are lower..

You can sign up on these sites directly and how things go from here depends on the site. For Japamart and the majority of others, you have to make a deposit via PayPal or Credit Card payment first. The deposit amount multiplied by two is the maximum amount you can bid on auction on Japamart while it may be handled in a different way on other sites.

All services charge a variety of fees that you pay on top of the item's price and shipping to another domestic location in Japan.

It usually comes down to paying a commission and maybe other fees such as a bank fee and a transaction fee on top of that.

It pays to compare fees on multiple sites to make sure you are not paying more than you have to. These sites offer English pages and provide you with information about the fees that they charge.

Here is a quick overview of some popular Japanese proxy shopping services and their fees

Proxy NameCommissionBank FeeUsage FeeTotal Price
Buyee150 yen for items 3000 yen or less, or 5%200 yen service fee at least 350 yen
FromJapanfrom 500 Yen200 yen per depositat least 500 yen
Japamartfrom $5 on$2 per auction5%at least $7 + 5%
JaponicaMarketfrom 500 yenat least 500 yen
Jaucefrom 400 yen300 yen per auction8%at least 700 + 8%
Noppinfrom 500 yen3.5% deposit100 yen per 1kgat least 600 yen
remambo500 yen 500 yen

Note: 1000 yen are roughly 9.1 Dollar, 7.1 Euro and 5.6 British Pound.

As you can see, fees differ a lot between services. Some services let you combine shipping and handling (which comes on top of all that) so that all your goods are sent to you in a single package.

Some also let you combine shipping and handling for the domestic transfer, but only if you buy from the same seller on the same day, and if that seller accepts that.

Other tips

If you don't speak Japanese, use a translation service to translate the auction site. This should give you a rough understanding of what the item is about.

Rough because the translation won't be perfect but if you take into account the photos and the translation, it should provide you with enough information.

Chromium and Google Chrome support automatic translations which makes them excellent for this task. Firefox will support translations in one of the coming releases so that you should be covered here as well soon.

Summary
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How to buy items from Yahoo Auctions Japan if you are not Japanese
Description
How to order items from Yahoo Auctions Japan if you are not Japanese and cannot create an account on the site for that.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Responses to How to buy items from Yahoo Auctions Japan if you are not Japanese

  1. JamiroPt September 22, 2014 at 4:42 pm #

    Hi,

    This is a very useful and great publication, specially when you do many deals with Japan.
    But, at this moment, I shall give you one more place you can go to, and it works really well.

    http://www.buyee.jp

    It's a direct website, from Yahoo, which help people from outside Japan, to buy from Yahoo Japan Auctions.
    You've got only a very small fee to pay, and you must have a paypal account (required).

    Well, here's my suggestion to you, all.

    Best regards!

    • flyguy April 21, 2016 at 5:50 pm #

      i;ve been using buyee since 2013.. they have been give an ok service helping me buying & shipping product & item from japan te me in malaysia.. but past two weeks ago, buyee suddenly terminated my account and didn;t tell me why.. after i make a tons of purchase using their service, this is how they treat their customer/clients..because of that, i have to start all over again & find another 3rd party agents/site.. it really sucks

  2. Blue September 22, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

    Regardless, I bet you need a credit card or some sort of online payment method eh?

    • Martin Brinkmann September 22, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

      They accept PayPal or Credit Card, well those that I checked out.

  3. Nat September 24, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    Any suggestions on how to do the same for websites in Thailand?

    • Martin Brinkmann September 24, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

      Hm, was not able to find a site like those listed below, sorry!

  4. dara December 18, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    I use zenmarket.jp It is the cheapest and best buying service I' ve ever used. Highly recommend. They charge only 3$ per 1 item.

  5. Alex May 19, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

    Yes, actually Zenmarket is the cheapest and their service is really good. Please add it to the comparison table. The second in my list is FromJapan.

  6. phenklie June 8, 2015 at 2:03 am #

    Im using forwading service to get some Japan local address. But the problem is, I cannot pay using cc through their Japan auction service. They wont allow any aboard credit card. Only Japan credit card allowed. Pls help me how to deal with this. I dont have any bank or other facility to pay.

  7. Dan September 9, 2015 at 8:14 am #

    I'm living in Tokyo japan and used to export car parts from here to people around the world. I made yahoo auction accounts for customers who buy a lot or buy to re-sell to their own customers. It cuts out a lot of back and forth in communication about how much to bid etc. If anyone is interested in starting a business selling Japanese items in this manner let me know.

  8. Grant September 19, 2015 at 10:26 pm #

    I am interested Dan, let me know how I can get in touch.
    Thanks, Grant.

  9. Dan September 20, 2015 at 2:10 am #

    Hi Grant,

    You can find me on facebook if you do a search for yakamashi exports. My email is yakamashiexports gmail.com

    Dan

  10. Lynn October 7, 2015 at 8:33 pm #

    Do not use BUYEE under any circumstances! They have proven to be fraudulent, unprofessional providers re: packing/shipping. I had several (20) transactions with them and each very pricey. As packages arrived It became apparent that they forward the original packaging from the Yahoo seller, not at all what I anticipate from a professional buying/shipping service who charges a premium. Packages arrived in fair to excellent condition with NO standard. When I'd purchased an exceptionally expensive item, similar to all toys before, with no added fragility , I received their warning requiring protective over wrap be added to insure safe delivery of my purchase. Unhappily, I opted to receive an intact purchase and paid. The item appeared in the original manufacturers protective box, over wrapped by the manufacturer of the toy, never opened and in the manufacturers original shipping box.
    BUYEE EXTORTED a premium on top of their standard rate to forward the exact package and packaging which they received from my Yahoo JP seller! They refuse to refund my added cost with their reply being-"ask for pictures next time "! Who finds this acceptable? I thought they boxed and shipped received items, to the standard you pay for. Not them . AND BUYEE DOES NOT RESPOND TO VALID CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS ! Responding to my extortion by offering optional pictures next time is a slap in the face! STAY AWAY FROM BUYEE!

  11. Kevin October 31, 2015 at 9:29 am #

    Found total satisfaction for my purse and all my needs for Japanese stuff on http://www.remambo.jp
    Why it is not in your comparison table yet? Reasonable service fee, no bank fees, multiple shipping options, shipping discounts, credit cards or PayPal payments.

  12. Vince June 14, 2016 at 8:30 pm #

    This is a very informative blog. I'm glad I found it. It shares very useful information.
    I'd advice anyone planning to buy in Japan to read it carefully.

    I just finished reading the terms of service at the Buyee site.
    (http://buyee.jp/help/common/terms)
    It's extremely long and, in essence, it's an exhaustive list of what they DON'T cover
    They also state, they will charge all sorts of expenses with no possibility of appeal from the
    customer, even if problems arise with the seller and not the customer (which is logical since
    they explicitly state they are a "middle man" and nothing more)
    Moreover they WILL share your personal info with any third party for their own
    business purposes (they state so explicitly).
    Although everything is clarely stated in their terms of use, I must say it left a bit of a bad
    taste in my mouth, so to speak. I felt very uncomfortable, specifically reading the paragraph
    where they say they will charge all sorts of legal and indemnity fees if a customer
    "causes them damages", without specifying what those damages would be. They also
    waiver any and all responsibility if you're defrauded, the products you bought turn out
    not to be what was described, or they are simply out of stock or damaged.
    (check out the paragraphs where they say they will check ALL GOODS, and charge a fee for it, and then the paragraph right after it where they write they will NOT open sealed boxes, packages etc. That bit is hilarious)

    I suppose this is fairly standard practice, even at Ebay, Amazon or Yahoo, probably.
    Yet, I just can't shake a very uncomfortable feeling after having read their terms of use.
    Actually, what made me most uncomfortable, was the fact they do not mention anywhere
    how and when a customer can appeal, lodge a complaint or refuse specific costs.

    I'm not a customer of Buyee, but my advice would be, read their terms of use
    (http://buyee.jp/help/common/terms) and think twice before accepting their terms.
    Personally I don't think I will make use of their services.

    • Steve April 25, 2017 at 7:53 pm #

      Hi, I've been using Buyee for about 6 months and had items sent to the USA and for the most part haven't had many problems. The package storage and consolidation service is really good. 30 days in the warehouse without extra fees! I've probably bought over $10,000 in items from them... only a couple of complaints.

      The customer support is responsive though you can only contact them by email. I've had a 4 items arrive with something broken. In 3 cases I had paid the 500 yen for the insurance. After investigating and me sending clear photos of the damage with notes I was fully refunded all their fees and the item cost in 2 of the cases. In the 1 case I didn't buy additional insurance and package inspection they didn't do anything. In another case it was not possible to see the item "undamaged" in the yahoo auction photo so they didn't refund me. That's my only bad case out of the 50+ items I've bought from them. I've also used FromJapan but for much fewer purchases. So far no problems with them but I find the auction interface to not be as smooth as buyee's sometimes you miss an item because of it. Also you have to deposit funds first in order to make a bid. With buyee you do not. You only pay after you win.

  13. Ryan December 6, 2016 at 9:50 pm #

    From what I have seen, Buyee needs you to pre-authorize them to access your PayPal account, or to use your credit card to add funds to your account BEFORE you've even won an auction item. I certainly don't feel secure with either option. Will PayPal refund me if I do not receive an item that is ordered through a Buyee auction? Why does it have to be so complicated?

  14. Edson January 8, 2017 at 6:33 am #

    Hello guyz,

    Im living in japan for 24 years and decided to help users interested in buy on yahoo auction.
    What I will do is, help you to buy, reading or asking the seller for any info you want, and if you buy a lot to resell , we can discuss in making one account for you use by yourself redirecting your stuff to me, to be shipped later for you.

    If theres anybody interested, you can reach me on Facebook, or my mail is : esassaki2011 gmail com
    Please search for Edson Sassaki.
    Thank you all

  15. Lexie January 18, 2017 at 7:55 am #

    I've been using From Japan for a little while now and i've found their bidding system to
    be one of the easiest to use, and their service to be quite fast and friendly.
    They even offer to ask questions to Yahoo sellers for you if needed!

    They have recently changed their system fees and while i find it can be
    expensive for people wanting to buy small items from Yahoo auction
    (They now charge 300 yen/700 yen an auction) it is generally much cheaper to buy
    from them.

    So far i've only had good experiences with them!

    I haven't really tried any of the other proxies available but for now From Japan
    has been working out well for me!

    • Crista January 24, 2017 at 2:34 am #

      for Yahoo Japan Auctions there is also an additional 200 yen fee when using FromJapan so technically you will either pay 500 yen or 900 yen per Yahoo Japan auction item with their new fee structure

  16. Rach February 21, 2017 at 2:38 pm #

    Hi, how do i know if an auction is already close? thanks.

  17. Kei @ DEJAPAN April 13, 2017 at 8:31 am #

    Hi Martin,

    I work for a similar proxy site, and would appreciate getting our own details added to this post - what's the best way to contact you about it?

    Thanks,
    Kei

  18. Steve April 25, 2017 at 7:57 pm #

    HOW TO SELL AN ITEM FROM the USA ON YAHOO JAPAN AUCTIONS?

    Can anyone suggest a good and reliable proxy service for me to use? Preferably I can receive the money using paypal.

    Anyone with any experience? Thanks!

  19. reg May 5, 2017 at 6:30 am #

    You can also use one of the many vpn services. They will show that you are in Japan. Then you can even provide your own shop and ship service to those who aren't in the know : )

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