You are not going to get complaints from me about living in Japan. I am generally happy here, but still, I prefer to use products and eat foods from my own country in a lot of cases; decent peanut butter, for example. Maybe in your case, Vegemite? There are lots of products from home that I could do without, but prefer not to. My brand of bathroom soap, deodorant, toothpaste, and vitamins are hard to give up. As is the fore mentioned peanut butter, real pancake mix and syrup, granola bars, re-fried beans, salsa, and really big jars of mixed nuts… OK, now I am making myself hungry.
If you are looking for western products in Japan, there are a few places online where you can find them. Several sites simply stock the exact same things you find in Costco, but sell the products separately, rather than in bulk. You can also get items shipped from Ikea, and at least one site imports products themselves direct from the United States. Some of it is expensive, some of it is cheap, and you may or may not be able to get the brand you are looking for, but you can usually find what you need online if you are looking in the right place.
The first list is of sites with an English page, the second are fantastic sites that are only available in Japanese.
Internet Shopping Sites Available in English
- Rakuten – Japan’s most popular shopping site; you can pretty much get anything here.
- Amazon – Amazon is also very popular, but offers less of a selection than Rakuten in general.
- Alishan Organic Center – Previously Tengu – This site imports organic and vegetarian foods from different parts of the world.
- Village wine cellars – Village Cellars sells wines with a wide variety of styles, price points, and from different regions. They have over 200 current vintages in stock.
- Expat Express – Based in the US, they sell and ship common, everyday U.S. grocery items. They may be able to special order for you pretty easily.
- Next – Sells Women’s clothing in reasonable sizes; “exciting, beautifully designed, excellent quality clothing, accessories and shoes.”
- The Foreign Buyers Club – sells common, everyday U.S. grocery items. Some are from Costco, some are imported directly.
- The Flying Pig – sells items available at Costco in Japan. They keep it simple!
- The Meat Guy – sells the best meat in Japan, as well as other specialty food items. I kid you not he has full turkeys for Thanksgiving, turducken for Christmas, and even odd bits like croc tail. Well worth a look if you are a fan of meat.
- Yoyo Market – Resells Ikea, Costco, and other company’s goods: common foreign grocery and furniture items.
- Japan Zone – Interesting items from Japan; they sell those cool ninja socks, among other things.
- Fake Food Japan – Interesting! This site sells plastic replica food and novelty gifts. If you know Japan, you know what I mean!
- Ikea – Western style furniture in Japan! Do I need to mention how cheap it is? This is a great spot for anyone who wants to live nice on a budget. I wish they had one closer to Nagoya!
- iHerb.com – iHerb is the largest provider of natural products in the world, and shipping to Japan is simple!
Internet Shopping Sites Available in Japanese Only
- Nissen – Lots of items available, very good for bedding and furniture.
- GMarket – Lots of items available.
- Kakau – My friend said it all “you can get anything for the cheapest price.” This is a great place to shop or check prices on electronics.
- Aeon Shop – You can buy your groceries online, among other things. Spend over 5000 yen and get free shipping.
Why live without it, when you go online and BUY it!