Some of you probably know that I’ve already made a „How-to Guide“ about this, but since I’ve bought quite a lot of Japanese Manga, Doujinshi and Magazines lately, I thought why not update what I’ve written before and give you a more detailed and useful guide.
This guide will mostly focus on how to buy Manga, Doujinshi, Magazines and Visual Novels, but it will also be useful to those of you who want to buy Anime, Figures, Japanese Food etc.
There are tons of online shops, where you can basically buy anything your otaku heart desires but there are quite a few problems that you might encounter.
First of all, most Japanese online shops don’t offer international shipping and if they do, the shipping costs are usually beyond expensive. Furthermore, if you can’t speak/understand Japanese it’s really hard to not only find what you are looking for but also to actually make a purchase there. So in the following I will answer some of the most commonly asked questions regarding this topic and hopefully, this will be useful to some of you.
Ebay I think before looking anywhere else, check if ebay got it. I found some pretty rare doujinshi there already.
JBOX This is probably one of the most famous online shops of this kind and that’s no surprise. They sell Anime, Manga, Doujinshi, Games, Magazines, Japanese Food, Cosplay, Figures and whatnot. But even though they sell stuff from so many different categories, their selection is quite limited. Also please note that the prices are a little higher in this shop.
Mandarake This is one of the best shops when it comes to variety. They especially have a wide range of doujinshi that I thought I would never find in a shop like this and even if you can’t find what you’re looking for, just write them an email and ask for it. Sometimes you’re lucky and the items you’re looking for will be restocked within a few days.
Yesasia Best thing about this shop, free international shipping and trust me this will save you a lot of money. They have a large collection of Anime, Manga, Magazines and CDs, but at least I couldn’t find most of the stuff I was looking for. Still this is a great shop you should definitely consider using since free shipping is pretty awesome.
HMV Online Here you’ll find books, magazines, Manga, Anime, games and CDs. The selection is not that wide but the prices are fair.
Akadot Prices are rather high and their selection is not that big, still check it out if you can’t find your desired items elsewhere.
Tokyo-Archive They mostly sell hard to find (18+) Doujinshi, Manga and Magazines, but their prices are pretty high.
Akibadaisuki They mostly sell Doujinshi there, but also other stuff like Anime, Manga and Games. I recommend this shop to those of you who are particularly looking for adult doujinshi.
NapaJapan Great candy shop
JapaneseTreats Another great candy shop that focuses on monthly candy box subscriptions.
AmiAmi This shop is the English version of Japan’s largest internet figure shop. There’s a HUGE selection of goods, so if you’re looking for something in particular, chances are you’ll find what you’re looking for here.
Otaku Republic Selling everything from doujinshi to figures to anime-related clothing, this shop is a pretty good choice for otaku everywhere.
Doujin Republic This is the sister-site of Otaku Republic that specializes in doujinshi. New, used, SFW, or R18; there’s a large selection to choose from.
Anime Dakimakura Pillow If you’re looking for an anime-related pillow or body pillow, this is our first choice. If your favorite character isn’t anywhere to be found, you can even upload a picture and have a custom pillow made.
Shops in Japanese only:
Amazon.jp I don’t think buying something from the Japanese Amazon is really a good option, since they never had what I was looking for and especially the shipping prices are pretty high, but still it needs to be listed here.
If you’re having problems searching specific items in these shops, use programs like “Rikaichan” or even “Google Translator”, which are both add-ons for firefox and have specific words or even the whole website translated into English.
If you can’t find what you are looking for in any of the above mentioned shops, then you should probably consider using a “mail forwarding service”, but please note that this will probably cost you quite a lot of money.
So what is a Mail forwarding service?
In short, you give them a list of what you want (or order it by yourself); your items arrive at their company in Japan and then they just send it over to you.
To help you decide whether to use a service like this, here are some Pros and Cons:
Pros: You can buy stuff from almost every single Japanese online shop; the prices in such Online Shops are relatively cheap; chances are very high that you will find any Japanese item you are looking for
Cons: High costs; you mostly need to speak Japanese to be able to buy anything from Japanese online shops (even though some forwarding services do that for you); it will mostly take long till your delivery arrives
And to give you an idea of what kind of costs you can expect by using such a service, here’s a short list:
- Price of your desired items
- Domestic shipping costs
- Shipping costs from Japan to your country (You usually have the choice between SAL, airfreight and EMS)
- Handling costs
- If you can’t speak Japanese and need them to order your stuff, you’ll also have to pay for this service
- Banking fee
So everyone that is not put off by the amount of costs, here are some forwarding services you can use:
Onegai Kaeru My personal favorite. They’re fast, competent and have fair service prices
SuToCorp I would not recommend this service, since they are neither competent nor fast, but their service costs are pretty low.
And now you might wonder what kind of Japanese online shops you should brows to find what you are looking for. So let me name some of the ones that I found most helpful so far:
Suruga-ya Definitely check out this shop, they mostly sell used goods but everything I got from them looked pretty new and unused to me. Also note that some of the Doujinshi they sell can be purchased for fewer than 100 Yen, some even for only 50 Yen and that is really really cheap.
- In most cases you need a credit card
- Paypal is mostly only an option when you’re using a mail forwarding service
- Japanese language knowledge will come in handy but it is not necessarily needed as long as you’re either using English shops or a mail forwarding service
So I hope this was actually helpful to some of you~