Shipping household goods to Japan: Export/import procedures to Japan

If you are planning on shipping household goods to Japan, it is important to be well-informed about the necessary procedures to ensure a smooth process. Firstly, you will need to familiarize yourself with the customs regulations in Japan to understand the kind of items you can bring and the duties or taxes applicable. In order to help you prepare yourself, Kokusai Express Japan has created a guide with all the important information that you should know regarding the procedures related to household imports in Japan. Continue reading, and ensure that you are well-prepared for this endeavor.

Reasons people are shipping household goods to Japan

People opt to ship household goods to Japan for a variety of significant reasons. But there are a few factors influencing this decision, and those include:

  • Relocating for opportunities: Many find themselves moving to Japan to pursue promising work or educational ventures. In such cases, bringing along household goods can aid in preserving a sense of home, helping individuals or families adapt more comfortably to a new setting.
  • Cultural enrichment: Japan has rich and distinct cultural tapestry. Expatriates drawn to the country’s unique lifestyle often choose to settle there long-term, shipping their household goods to harmoniously merge the comforts of home with the enriching experiences Japan offers.
  • Personal connections: Some individuals ship personal belongings such as heirlooms to family in Japan, fostering and maintaining familial ties. Additionally, people setting up vacation homes in Japan’s picturesque locales ship household goods to ensure their stays are both comfortable and familiar.

What is the protocol for shipping household goods to Japan?

First, you should know when planning your international relocation to Japan that everything you want to send will travel by shipping container. That means you need professionals who know how to ship household goods to Japan with Japan’s requirements. When the shipping container unit arrives at your location, you will need to sign the time and container number. Once you finish loading, the driver signs the paper as proof that the container is now in his possession and your household goods can be shipped. The company will use this information to prepare the final bill of lading once the cargo is on board the ship. The bill of lading is proof that cargo can depart. Bills of lading are printed at the destination as originals.

People unloading cargo
Once your cargo arrives, it will be inspected prior to the clearance

Also, don’t forget that the Japanese customs office inspects your goods. They inspect them prior to the clearance, and the goods are stored in a warehouse until the inspection is done. If the inspection doesn’t pass, the goods can be sent back or even demolished. For that reason, the safest way to ship your household items and comply with protocols is to hire a reliable Japanese moving company to transport your goods safely and without damage. Also, you should pay import taxes and consumption taxes.

Container service for shipping household goods to Japan

If you are in the process of organizing a move to Japan, using a container service can be a very practical option for shipping your household goods. Container services offer a secure and organized way to transport your belongings overseas. Containers come in various sizes, with the most common ones being 20-foot and 40-foot. Depending on the volume of goods you have, you can choose a size that suits your needs. Moreover, you have the option to share a container to reduce costs, a service known as Less than Container Load (LCL).

Before you book a Japanese moving service you can trust, make sure to research different companies and obtain quotes to find the most reasonable rate. Pay close attention to the services included in each quote to ensure you get the best value for your money. Remember, a reputable service provider will offer guidance throughout the process, making your relocation to Japan smoother and hassle-free.

Shipping car with container unit to Japan

Shipping your car with a container unit to Japan necessitates going through several customs protocols and customs clearance procedures. Initially, you will have to submit the necessary documents, including a bill of lading, proof of ownership, and vehicle registration. Following this, you will need to pay duties and taxes. For instance, an 8% consumption tax might be levied on the vehicle’s CIF value (Cost, Insurance, Freight). Upon the car’s arrival in Japan, it undergoes a rigorous quarantine inspection to ensure it meets the country’s strict environmental standards. Another important step is a detailed roadworthiness inspection to guarantee the vehicle’s safety on the road. After successfully passing all inspections, you can proceed to register the vehicle in Japan to drive it legally.

A black car
When shipping a car, expect to pay import taxes

Shipping household goods to Japan with sea freight

Embarking on the task of shipping household goods to Japan via sea freight requires the knowledge of several protocols to guarantee a secure and lawful transition of your items. Firstly, you will have to compile a thorough list of all the items that you are shipping. Alongside, you will need properly filled out customs forms and essential identity proofs such as your passport and visa. As your belongings arrive at a Japanese port with one of the overseas moving companies, they will be subject to rigorous inspections to ensure conformity with Japanese rules. Be mindful not to include prohibited items in your consignment, which encompass certain inflammable materials, explosives, and counterfeit goods. It is also essential to pack your belongings securely to safeguard them during transit.

A cargo ship for shipping household goods to Japan via sea
One of the methods of shipping household goods to Japan is by sea

Upon customs clearance, you will have to take care of the applicable duties and taxes, which can be a consumption tax of approximately 8%, depending upon the assessed value of your goods. As for the cargo import time, generally, you can expect to be around 3 to 4 weeks for the shipment from the USA and about 6 to 8 weeks from Europe. These timelines are approximations and can vary based on the specific circumstances of your shipment.

Shipping household goods to Japan with air freight

Utilizing air freight forwarders to ship household goods to Japan is a speedy option but generally costlier than sea freight. Before you ship, you will need to prepare a detailed inventory list of your belongings and fill out the necessary customs declaration forms. Carry important documents such as your passport and visa. Your shipment will undergo investigation by Japanese customs officials. They will have to ensure that no banned items — such as illegal substances or restricted wildlife products — are in your consignment. Same as when shipping via sea, upon the arrival of your goods in Japan, you will have to pay the requisite customs duties and taxes.

A flying plain that is shipping household goods to Japan
Shipping household goods to Japan via air is a faster but pricier option

If you opt for a Japanese freight forwarding company, it is certain that you are choosing quicker delivery. An estimated shipping time from the USA is about 3 to 5 days and around 3 to 7 days from Europe. It is, however, important to note that these are approximations, and actual times can vary.

Shipping exhibition cargo to Japan

When you ship exhibition cargo to Japan, you’ll find that the procedures vary greatly compared to regular cargo shipping. First, you’ll need to prepare documentation that is more detailed. This includes creating a comprehensive list of all items, noting their individual values and their specific roles at the exhibition, which helps in ensuring a smooth passage through Japanese customs. Exhibition goods often undergo stricter checks to confirm that they are for exhibition use only and not for sale. This requires you to provide extra assurances, potentially in the form of bonds, to pledge the re-export of the goods after the exhibition.

This process also necessitates working closely with freight forwarders specializing in project cargo because of the crucial timelines to ensure the timely arrival of items for event setup. For example, if you ship a distinctive art installation piece, you will have to provide special handling instructions to avoid any damage during transport. Moreover, if your art contains generally restricted materials, your agents will secure the needed permissions. Understanding these details and partnering with experts can help in transporting your exhibition cargo to Japan without any stress, leading to a triumphant event.

Keep all the important information in mind when shipping your items

As you embark on the process of shipping household goods to Japan, remember to take all the important details into consideration. From listing your belongings to understanding the customs protocols, every step requires special attention to detail. Also, choose the most suitable shipping method, be it sea or air, according to your timeline and budget. Stay informed and prepared to ensure a smooth, hassle-free experience, keeping the essence of the home intact in a new and vibrant setting. Your attentive preparation will lay the groundwork for a successful transition and a smooth move, setting a positive tone for your new chapter in Japan.

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