You are not going to get many complaints from me about living in Japan. I am generally pretty happy here. But I still prefer to use products and eat foods I am familiar with from my own country; decent peanut butter, for one thing. There are lots of products from back 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 go to the right place!
I have gathered a list of places online you can find western products. This is of course a partial list, and I am very interested to hear your feedback on other sites to get what you need to survive in Japan without going a bit crazy. (I am still looking for a place where I can get 100 proof Southern Comfort; any ideas?) If you do not have a credit card, like me, you can usually pay at the convenience store, or cash on delivery is available from Amazon. Being horribly lazy, I find COD is the best option for me and try to buy from Amazon whenever possible because of it.
So, here are a few sites I was able to come up with; like I said, if you can think of anymore please let me know! 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
- Radish Lawson Supermarket Radish sells basic necessity items and groceries. Brand new, and the English is bad, but the shop looks really useful; especially if you live in the sticks!
- 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.
- BeerFly – Great selection of beers from around the world; delivered! No US beer though…grrr. It is not all Budweiser! Try a Mac & Jacks beer and tell me again the US has terrible beer! Stock it guys! Please?
- 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.
- Fit Life Japan – Health, fitness, and lifestyle items from Japan. Not imported items, but probably easier than trying to find healthy products and figure out what they are in a Japanese store.
- 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? Go online and BUY it!