Amazon Japan: How to Shop and Order in English
Amazon Japan offers a variety of services for domestic customers in Japan, including shopping, unique delivery options, Amazon Fresh, Prime Video, and Amazon Music Unlimited. Amazon Japan has an option to display pages in English. Keep reading to find out how to get the most out of your Amazon Japan account!
Adjusting Language and Currency Settings
When you first visit Amazon Japan, it may default to Japanese language settings. Fortunately, it’s possible to easily change navigation and account settings into Japanese, though product descriptions and reviews will not be translated.
To change the language settings, either you click the flag on top of the website or you can also simply scroll to the bottom of any page and find the language and country settings. Then, change the option from “日本語” to “English” in the language menu.
Also, certain product pages or services will allow you to toggle currencies, so your credit card can be charged either in Japanese yen or your home currency, an especially helpful tool if your credit card has high foreign transaction fees.
Searching for Products
While Amazon Japan’s shopping experience may feel more natural than Rakuten, the only difficulty of using the service is knowing how to find the product you want. Here are a few options you can try.
Start your search in English
Oftentimes, the product you’re looking for will appear when searching in English, especially if it’s a Western item.
Use Google Translate
While this method can be hit or miss due to the limitations of Google Translate, it’s definitely worth trying either for the product or the brand name.
Use Amazon Japan’s category filters
This method can be slow, but if you’re familiar with using Amazon in your home country, you should be able to navigate through the categories easily.
Ask family, a friend, or a colleague to provide a translation
This is almost guaranteed to be successful, since you can explain exactly what you’re looking for.
Search by the product number
If the product you want is listed on your home country’s Amazon site, you may be able to search the product number on Amazon Japan. This method occasionally works; however, many times sellers will change the product number based on the country.
Ask a forum
If all else fails, you can go to an expat forum group, like Reddit or Facebook, to help you figure out the best search phrase.
Creating an Account
When you create an Amazon Japan account, there are a couple of differences compared to creating one on Amazon.com. For example, in Japan, they will ask you for name pronunciation, much like any official Japanese document you may have filled out at your local government office, bank, etc. Unlike official Japanese documents, however, you can simply write your name in English characters exactly as your real name is spelled — no fussing with trying to type katakana.
You can even add an international address to your account if you have an order that you would like to have shipped to your home country. Please be aware that international shipping is quite expensive as Amazon Japan uses standard couriers like DHL or FedEx.
Picking up Packages at the Convenience Store
Before discussing this option further, it’s very important to remember:
You must pick up your package from the convenience store within seven days or the store may return it back to Amazon.
Another great feature of Amazon Japan is that you can have packages shipped to your local convenience store. You can deliver to just about any konbini in Japan, making it a great option if you’re going on a domestic trip or need to send something to a remote location that’s difficult for courier services to access. Of course, there are some drawbacks:
・It’s better to keep purchases on the smaller size due to limited storage space.
・Try to group as many products as you can from one Amazon seller so that multiple items can be boxed together.
To send a shipment to a convenience store, proceed to Amazon Japan’s checkout page as normal, and next to your shipping address should be an option to choose a pickup location. If you have not yet designated a default shipping address, then you need to select the option “choose a new store”.
Choose the prefecture or city first, then select the desired pickup location from the listed convenience stores. Depending on the area, there may be hundreds of locations to choose from, so the more precise you can be when selecting the prefecture or city, the easier it will be for you to pick up your package.
Once you have selected your desired store, complete the purchase process as normal.
To pick up your package from the convenience store, use your smartphone to take a screenshot of the confirmation code and tracking number located either in the delivery confirmation email or in your Amazon Japan account orders section. If you don’t have a smartphone, print the provided barcode on a piece of paper and bring it with you.
You will either need to enter this information at a touchscreen terminal inside the convenience store or show it to the store clerk who will guide you through the pickup process.
Amazon Japan Services
In Japan, these three services are available in addition to Amazon Prime.
Shipping is often free for Prime members, making it a convenient way to get orders delivered to you more affordably.
・Amazon Prime Video
・Amazon Prime Music
Amazon Fresh is the grocery service that has partnered with LIFE brand supermarkets to deliver fresh food to your door. Orders can be delivered in as little as two hours, making it perfect for busy people, since you can add items to your cart at your leisure and schedule a delivery time that works for you.
Read More: Online Grocery Shopping in Japan
Amazon Prime Video and Music
Amazon Streaming services cover Amazon Prime Video as well as Amazon Prime Music. Like Netflix and Hulu, Amazon Prime Video includes both third-party media (back catalogs of movies and TV shows) as well as Amazon Prime Originals that have been created especially for the streaming service.
Read More: Media Streaming Options in Japan
Amazon Fire TV Stick
Amazon Fire TV Stick is a very easy tool to watch Amazon Prime Video and YouTube. You can also enjoy Hulu, Netflix, Tver etc. if you have the subscription.
Amazon Music also has its own dedicated artists, but it’s more like Spotify or Apple Music in that it’s simply a streaming platform. With over two million songs, the catalog is also used when you search for music on devices like Alexa and can be used offline as well — a great feature to reduce data usage while riding public transportation.
One drawback of Amazon Music is that to truly get full access to all that the possible songs, you need to sign up for Amazon Music Unlimited for an additional fee. This will give you access to an extra five million songs. You also get a completely ad-free experience that is comparable to Spotify Premium.
Simplify Your Shopping and Entertainment with English-friendly Amazon Japan
While Amazon Japan targets the Japanese market, that doesn’t mean that it’s not equally useful for Western expats. From setting up your user account to completing your order, the entire process is relatively English-friendly.
However, that doesn’t mean that the courier delivering your order is! If you find yourself unavailable during the scheduled delivery time, be sure to read our full guide to redeliveries in Japan. It will help you find out what your options are and give you step-by-step guidance on making sure you get your package.
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