If you’ve been following me on my social media other than this, you might have noticed that I like buying a lot of anime and game merch from Japan. I also like supporting small creators. So having the opportunity to treat myself to things from Japan every now and then? That’s pretty amazing.
In the past, that would’ve meant scouring eBay or using the one Japanese site that I’d found and trusted. But over the last few years, I’ve been finding more and more places to buy stuff. Including straight from Amazon Japan. And out of all those sites, the one that’s come to be my favourite is Buyee.
What is Buyee?
Buyee is a Japanese proxy buying service. For most companies that offer this service, you usually have to find links to the product, send them it, and then ask for a quote and for them to buy it for you. With Buyee, they’ve made it so you can add to the cart and click buy, automatically providing you with the quote before they buy it. It works the exact same way as other proxy servers. They’ll buy the product, ship it to their warehouse and then ship it to you, but you can do so more practically.
If you’re looking for second-hand goods, which I highly recommend looking into, you can scour the Japanese Mercari site on Buyee’s own website. You’ll also have access to Yahoo Japan Auctions, Rakuten, and ZOZOTOWN directly. If you don’t want to be scouring the web and trying to translate web pages, this can be your best option.
However, these aren’t the only stores on their list. Buyee has deals with multiple stores selling a variety of different products. You can download a plugin that will allow you, on these stores, to click a button and add the products to your Buyee cart. This includes stores like Animate for my fellow anime and manga fans. You can even preorder from these sites. I’ve preordered and received a CD from Animate and have a towel coming later this year from there too. So if you’re hoping for specific order bonuses, it’s definitely worth looking into.
Finally, Buyee has also partnered with BOOTH. Now, you might not have heard of BOOTH unless you spend a lot of time on Pixiv. But this is the store where Pixiv artists can sell their products. You don’t have to use the plugin to buy with Buyee on there, as it’s automatically an option for international purchases. If you like supporting small creators, you can find both fanart and original art products on there. Just be warned some sellers will limit the number of a product that can go to a single address. Since Buyee buys them at their warehouse, that can limit the number of people who can buy products. But this has only been a problem for me once.
Is shipping expensive on Buyee?
Unfortunately, depending on where you are in the world, shipping will likely be expensive. You’re getting products sent straight from Japan, and that’s not the cheapest.
But Buyee does have things in place that means you can save money on shipping.
When a product arrives in the Buyee warehouse, you have 30 days where they’ll store it for free. Once they’ve updated the status, you’ll see how much shipping is. If you’ve ordered a few different things that are arriving separately, you can consolidate your order into one package. They tend to pack everything up in boxes, so shipping may still be a little pricier than you’d like. But it’ll pretty much always be cheaper than paying the shipping cost of all your orders separately. Unless there’s really nothing else you want or you need something fast, I’d always recommend using the free storage period to get a few products you can ship together that’ll make the shipping cost feel worth it.
If you’re worried about the packaging that your product will come in, you can also pay extra for protective packaging. But only really do this if I have something fragile coming.
Is buying off Mercari Japan trustworthy?
When it comes to second-hand products, we can all be wary. You don’t want to spend £30 on an out-of-stock CD only for it to be missing the disc or not the product you wanted. It’s always a risk. But my experience of using Mercari Japan has actually been pretty damn good.
I’ve bought a variety of products from books and magazines to figures to CDs and DVDs. Everything I’ve ordered has been in the condition advertised and usually for a damn good price too. I’m not going to say all Japanese people will look after products they’re willing to sell. That’s obviously not true. But I’ve only received things in excellent condition, and products I’ve seen that haven’t been had all been clearly marked and advertised as slightly damaged.
Many sellers even say that the products have been stored by amateurs. So if that concerns you, then don’t buy. It’s a fair note to have in place, but one that hasn’t worried me at all.
I’ll be continuing to buy products from Mercari Japan and recommend you all do too if you’re after Japanese goods for a decent price.
I want to end this post by giving Buyee a mini-review. I’ve been using their service for well over a year now, and despite how expensive, shipping can be, I don’t think I’ll ever be looking back. If I ever really want a Japanese product, it’s the first place I often look.
Buyee is so simple to use and has an easily accessible site. If you have any problems, you can contact them easily. The one time I had an order cancelled on me, they refunded me fully. I do wish they’d contacted me as to why my order had been cancelled, but I at least got all the money back with no problem.
The number of sites that I can use it for means that no matter what type of product I’m looking for, I can find it. I use it as an otaku. But even people who just want clothes, homeware or gadgets from Japan will be able to find what they’re after. They’re always adding obscure shops to their list and offering coupons for them.
I love using Buyee and if you ever want to do some Japanese shopping, check them out.