Many hobbyists, anime fans, and gamers in the United States would often import items from Japan to get exclusive items not found in their country. However, importing these items can be difficult, as people would usually pay more for shipping and taxes before they can get their orders. Because Japan is located in Asia and far away from the U.S., the shipping fees could often balloon until they are actually more expensive than the items themselves. Luckily, there are many ways for you to save money on shipping fees and taxes if you are planning to buy items from Japan. To help you know more about these methods, here are some tips on how to ship items from Japan to the U.S.A. faster, cheaper, and more hassle-free.
Japan Post is a post-service and air courier that is located in Tokyo, Japan. The company was once owned by the government, which operated it from 2003 to 2007, but it was subsequently privatized in October 2007 by the Japan Post Holdings group. Shipping items through Japan Post is one of the most popular ways for people in other countries to get Japan-exclusive products, although Japan Post is not recommended when shipping larger items. If you are only buying small items, it is best that you try Japan Post’s surface mail since it is faster and cheaper than other services.
International Courier Service
Another popular way for people to get items from Japan is through international courier companies like FedEx, U.P.S., and DHL, as they are probably more familiar with the features and services that these couriers provide. These couriers would typically have a door-to-door service, which means that you don’t have to pick them up at the post office or at their offices. In addition, the shipping fees for these couriers would depend on the size and weight of the items, so you will be able to save money if you are just buying small items.
Unfortunately, most of these international couriers don’t accept personal effects (personal belongings) to be shipped through them, so if you are planning to send clothes or other personal items to your loved ones, you would need to find other ways to ship those to another country. However, if there are no other couriers available, you can use a freight forwarding or moving company that will enable you to ship personal effects through international couriers.
As its name already suggest, air cargo is a shipping process wherein the items will be carried by aircraft to the country of destination. The minimum weight for using air cargo is 45 kilograms, although there are rates or services available that will allow you to send items that are weighing below 45 kilograms. However, if those items did not reach the minimum weight, the shipping fee would actually cost more. So, if you are planning to use air cargo, make sure that the total weight of the items you are shipping from Japan to the U.S.A. would be 45 kilograms, or else you would have to pay a bigger shipping fee.
L.C.L. (Less-than-Container Load) Sea Shipment
Besides an aircraft, you can also have a ship deliver your items from Japan to the United States, and there are two ways for it to ship the items to you, with the first one being the Less-than-Container Load or L.C.L. shipment. In this type of shipment, your items will be sharing one shipping container with items belonging to other people.
L.C.L. shipment is usually processed by international freight shipping companies, who will get the items from different customers and combined them to accommodate the required weight for each shipping container. Because there are multiple people that are paying for one shipping container, the shipping fee would be less expensive since the normal shipping rate for one container is divided for each customer. This service is recommended for people that are only buying small items from Japan and want to save money on shipping fees.
F.C.L. (Full Container Load) Sea Shipment
The second type of sea shipment you can use is called Full Container Load or F.C.L. For this kind of shipment, your items will be placed inside a shipping container without any items from other customers. F.C.L. seas shipment is typically used by people that will buy big items that wouldn’t be accommodated by L.C.L. shipment and would need their own shipping containers. Examples of these big items are home appliances, pieces of furniture, and even cars.
However, since your items are the only ones inside a container, you would have to pay for the shipping rate of that specific container on your own, unlike in L.C.L. where you will share the payment with other customers that will be collecting by an international freight shipping company. So, if you are only buying or sending smaller items, there is no need for you to use F.C.L. sea shipments since those items can be shipped through L.C.L.
Those are five of the best ways for you to ship the items you’ve bought or the personal belongings of your loved ones from Japan to the U.S.A. If you need to spend less money on shipping fees, it is recommended that you apply for L.C.L. shipment through shipping companies that will collect items you’ve bought in different shops in Japan and put them in one convenient package. However, that method could only apply to small items, so you would still need to pay bigger fees if you are shipping larger items.