A Guide On Sending a Gift To Japan

Japan can seem like a far-off place to a lot of people. Historically, it has been a secluded country, focused on its own culture and history. This is why nowadays many find it both interesting and intimidating at the same time. But, if you have someone living in Japan, you might be able to push through that veil of mystery. You might have learned more about their life, how their work is going or what international moving company Japan they used. You might also want to make these people happy. So, why not send them a gift? We all know that shipping things to another country might be a scary experience. You don’t know what passes through customs and what is forbidden. That’s why today we give you a guide on sending a gift to Japan.

Things to remember when sending a gift to Japan

Even though mailing something to a friend in Japan might be scary to you right now, it can actually be quite an easy process. It is actually quite similar to mailing something to a person in your country. You only need to consider customs here, as well. And even though it may seem intimidating, you can separate the whole process in four steps:

Steps to take when sending a gift to Japan.
There are four easy steps.
  1. dealing with customs and paperwork for sending a gift to Japan,
  2. thinking about what you pack,
  3. noting special things about sending gifts and
  4. figuring out where you are sending it in Japan, as well as methods of package theft prevention.

Japanese customs and paperwork

The scariest thing for anyone sending a gift to Japan might be what will happen at the customs, and how to deal with the paperwork. This can be a bit easier when you realize that Japan is just like any other country. They too have items they prohibit, and items they let through. The best bet is to visit their customs’ website and read up on what you can and cannot ship as a gift.

Then, you will also need to get the proper paperwork for the stuff you are sending. The reason for this is twofold. First, the customs officers need to charge based on what the price of the items are, and the respected fees they use. Secondly, these papers will help when determining if you can even send your gift to your loved ones in Japan. If your items are on a no-go list, then you will not be able to send them. So, make sure you declare your items thoroughly before sending them away.

Paperwork you will (not) have to fill in when sending a gift to Japan.
There is not that much paperwork!

However, a good thing to know is that you don’t need to pay any duties or tax if your gift is worth less than 10,000 yen. If it is more, then the receiver will need to pay this fee. You can cut in and pay it for them, but you will need to contact their Customer Services first.

Watch out for the prohibited items

There are two things to consider when looking into the prohibited items. Ones are the items that the country will prohibit, and the others are things your post or handlers will not ship. For example, Japan’s customs prohibit drugs, firearms, and explosives to cross their borders. They also include some chemical items, germs, and even money. You can find even more items on their website.

Then, you should also talk to your post office or the handlers. They might have a list of items they will refuse to carry – through these lists are often similar. If they refuse to help to send a gift to Japan, you will need to find another handler, like Kokusai Express.

Think when sending a gift to Japan

When you want to surprise someone in Japan with a gift, there are certain things you need to take into account. Sending a gift is not the same as sending packages to Japan – you might want it to be some sort of surprise! So, if you are wrapping your gift, you should be careful about it. The wrapping can tear up during the transport, and it will just be ugly when it arrives. Instead, wrap your item, and then place it in a safe box or something that will protect the package. This way, the recipient will be able to open your gift the way you intended it!

A wrapped gift ready for shipping.
Watch out for the wrapping!

However, you still need to carefully book your gift the way we mentioned before. Saying “a gift” is not enough. You need to write down what’s in it. Don’t be general, though, as“electronics” is not a substitution for a “game console”. You can even add the brand for better clarity! Also, be very careful not to send a prohibited item. Even though perfumes are a nice gift, most of the handlers will refuse to take it because it’s flammable!

Think about where you are sending your gift

The final thing you need to worry about is the location where you are sending your package. As you already know, Japan is not as small as it seems. Its landscape is as diverse as it is wonderful! This comes at a cost – sometimes, the carriers need to take your gift to a remote location. If you are sending a gift to Japan, and it is somewhere off the beaten path, then you might be charged extra. The fee is usually £0.40 per kg to the total distance that the carrier needs to travel. The alternative is a standard remote area fee – so talk to your handlers about it.

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