Shipping from Canada to Japan Guide (2024)

shipping to Japan
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Shipping from Canada to Japan: Guide (2024)

Japan, known for its rich culture, advanced technology, and beautiful landscapes, has always been a fascinating destination for many. But when it comes to getting a slice of Canadian retail in Japan, things can get tricky. Whether it's the latest tech gadgets, unique fashion pieces, or any other product from Canada, understanding the shipping process can help bridge the retail gap. In this guide, we will delve deep into the process of shipping from Canada to Japan.

1. Understanding the Basics Shipping From Canada to Japan

a. Customs and Duties: Shipping from Canada to Japan

When shipping items internationally, the customs and duties that apply can often be a complex and sometimes unexpected expense. Navigating these waters is crucial, especially when shipping between countries like Canada and Japan, which have distinct customs regulations and tariffs. Here’s a closer look:

1. Customs Declarations:

Every package sent from Canada to Japan must be accompanied by a customs declaration. This document provides information about the sender, the recipient, the contents of the package, its intended use (e.g., gift, sale, or personal use), and its value.

2. Duties and Taxes:

Japan uses a 'CIF' system (Cost, Insurance, and Freight) to calculate duties. This means the duty is calculated on the value of the imported goods as well as shipping and insurance costs. Here are key points to consider:

  • Threshold for Customs: Generally, consignments valued up to 10,000 JPY can be imported duty-free. However, this can vary based on the item type, and there might be exceptions. It's wise to check the specific category of goods you're shipping.

  • Consumption Tax: Japan has a consumption tax, similar to Canada's GST. It's applied to the CIF value plus duty.

  • Alcohol, Tobacco, Perfumes: These have specific duties and are usually higher than standard rates.

3. Restricted and Prohibited Items:

Japan is particularly strict about the import of certain items:

  • Medications: While it's possible to send some over-the-counter and prescription medications to Japan, there are strict guidelines, and many drugs that are legal in other countries might be prohibited in Japan.

  • Food Products: Given Japan's stringent food safety standards, some food products may be restricted or require additional documentation.

  • Cultural Artifacts:

    Unauthorized export or import of cultural property can lead to heavy fines and even imprisonment.

4. Tips for a Smooth Customs Experience:
  • Accurate Documentation: Always ensure that the customs declaration is filled out accurately and truthfully. Misdeclaration can lead to delays, fines, or confiscation of the package.

  • Gifts: If you're sending a gift, make sure to mark it as such. Gifts up to a certain value might be eligible for reduced duties, but there's usually a cap on how many such consignments a person can receive in a year.

  • Invoices: Always include an invoice, especially for commercial shipments. This provides clear evidence of the item's value.

5. Useful Links and Resources:
  • Japan Customs: Official website provides detailed information on customs procedures, restricted items, and duty calculations.

  • Japan Post's Guide on Prohibited and Restricted Goods: Website gives a clear list of items you can't ship or that have restrictions.

Remember, customs regulations and tariffs can change, and unexpected situations can arise. It's always best to consult with official resources or professionals in the logistics field when planning a significant shipment or if you're uncertain about the regulations.

By understanding and respecting Japan's customs and duties regulations, shippers can ensure their parcels arrive promptly without unnecessary delays or added costs.

2. Shipping Carriers

Top Local Carriers in Japan

When it comes to local shipping within Japan, several carriers are trusted by the Japanese for their reliability, speed, and service quality. Here's a rundown of the top local carriers:

1. Japan Post (日本郵便 Nippon Yūbin)

  • Website: Japan Post

  • Overview: This is Japan's official postal service and is also one of the largest. They offer various services, including regular mail, express mail, and package delivery. Japan Post is widely used by businesses and individuals alike.

2. Yamato Transport (ヤマト運輸 Yamato Un'yu), known as "Kuroneko"

  • Website: Yamato Transport

  • Overview: Easily recognizable by their "Black Cat" logo, Yamato is one of Japan's most popular private parcel delivery services. They offer time-specific deliveries and have options like "Takkyubin," a popular door-to-door parcel delivery service.

3. Sagawa Express (佐川急便 Sagawa Kyūbin)

  • Website: Sagawa Express

  • Overview: Another leading private courier and parcel delivery company, Sagawa Express is widely recognized in Japan and is often preferred by e-commerce businesses for its efficient and prompt service.

4. Seino Transportation (西濃運輸 Seinō Un'yu)

  • Website: Seino Transportation

  • Overview: While Seino does provide standard parcel services, they are especially well-regarded for larger shipments and logistics solutions.

5. Nittsu, or Nippon Express (日本通運 Nihon Tsūun)

  • Website: Nippon Express

  • Overview: Nippon Express is more than just a local carrier. It's a global logistics company, but within Japan, they're known for their reliable and comprehensive parcel and freight services.

When shipping within Japan or even importing into Japan, leveraging these local carriers can be highly beneficial. They're attuned to the local landscape, customs, and delivery challenges. Furthermore, their vast network of offices and drop-off points ensures timely and safe deliveries. If you're doing business in Japan or sending parcels regularly, it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with these carriers and their specific offerings.

Carriers and Delivery Times to Japan from Canada

Shipping from Canada to Japan involves multiple carriers, each offering a variety of services with differing delivery times and costs. Here's a breakdown of the major carriers and their typical delivery times for shipments headed to Japan:

1. Canada Post:

  • Website: Canada Post

  • International Parcel – Air: Delivery times are typically within 6-10 business days.

  • Xpresspost – International: Offers faster delivery, usually within 4-7 business days.

2. FedEx:

  • Website: FedEx

  • FedEx International Economy: Delivery within 4-6 business days.

  • FedEx International Priority: Faster service with delivery within 2-3 business days.

3. UPS (United Parcel Service):

  • Website: UPS

  • UPS Worldwide Expedited: Delivery is generally within 3-5 business days.

  • UPS Worldwide Saver: A more expedited service, with delivery within 2-3 business days.

4. DHL:

  • Website: DHL

  • DHL Express Worldwide: This is DHL's standard international service, offering delivery to Japan within 2-4 business days.

5. Purolator:

  • Website: Purolator

  • Purolator International: While primarily focused on North American shipping, Purolator, through partnerships with other carriers, offers international shipping to Japan. The delivery time varies but is competitive with other major carriers.

Things to Note:

  • Customs Clearance:

    While the above-mentioned delivery times provide a general estimate, actual delivery can sometimes be delayed due to customs clearance procedures in Japan. It's essential to ensure all documentation is accurate and complete to avoid such delays.

  • Remote Locations:

    Delivery times can be longer for remote or less-accessible regions in Japan. Most carriers provide a detailed breakdown of delivery times based on the destination's postal code.

  • Service Variability:

    The exact services and delivery times offered might vary based on the shipper's location within Canada and the specific destination in Japan.

When selecting a carrier, it's crucial to consider the nature of your shipment (e.g., is it time-sensitive?), your budget, and any other specific requirements you might have. Always check the carrier's official website or contact their customer service for the most up-to-date and accurate information on services and delivery times.

Types of Shipments from Canada to Japan

When shipping from Canada to Japan, you have several types of shipment methods to choose from, depending on your specific needs, budget, and shipment size. Here's a detailed breakdown of the various types:

1. Express or Courier Shipments:

  • Description: This method is best suited for time-sensitive shipments, documents, or smaller parcels. Couriers offer door-to-door service, which includes pick-up from the sender's address and delivery directly to the recipient.

  • Carriers: FedEx, UPS, DHL, and Purolator offer express services.

  • Delivery Time: Typically 2-5 business days, depending on the chosen service level.

2. Air Freight:

  • Description: For larger shipments that are still time-sensitive, air freight is a preferred choice. This method involves transporting goods on commercial or cargo planes.

  • Carriers: Airlines such as Air Canada, ANA, or Japan Airlines, as well as freight forwarders that book space on these flights.

  • Delivery Time: Generally 5-10 business days, including customs clearance and local delivery.

3. Sea Freight:

  • Description:

    This is ideal for very bulky or heavy shipments, especially for businesses. Shipping containers can be full (FCL) or shared (LCL - Less than Container Load).

  • Carriers: Shipping lines like Maersk, COSCO, or NYK, with freight forwarders often managing the booking.

  • Delivery Time: Varies greatly based on the shipping route and customs, but typically takes 20-40 days.

4. Postal Services:

  • Description: This is a cost-effective method suitable for individuals sending non-urgent parcels, letters, or small packages.

  • Carriers: Canada Post in Canada, which liaises with Japan Post once the shipment reaches Japan.

  • Delivery Time: Typically 7-20 business days, depending on the selected service.

5. Consolidated Shipments:

  • Description: A method wherein multiple shipments are grouped together to ship as one. This is particularly beneficial for businesses or individuals who have several smaller packages that can be combined.

  • Carriers: Offered by freight forwarders or specialized consolidators.

  • Delivery Time: Varies based on the underlying shipping method (air, sea, etc.).

6. Temperature-Controlled Shipments:

  • Description: For goods requiring specific temperature conditions, such as perishables, pharmaceuticals, or certain chemicals.

  • Carriers: Specialized services by most major couriers and freight forwarders.

  • Delivery Time: Varies based on chosen transport method but tends to be on the quicker side to preserve the goods.

7. Hazardous Material (Hazmat) Shipments:

  • Description: For items classified as hazardous, special protocols, packaging, and documentation are needed.

  • Carriers: Most major couriers, air freight, and sea freight providers, but with specific conditions.

  • Delivery Time: Might be slightly longer due to additional checks and regulations.

When choosing the type of shipment, factors such as the urgency of delivery, the nature of the goods, the volume, and weight of the shipment, as well as the budget, must be considered. Always ensure compliance with both Canadian export regulations and Japanese import regulations, irrespective of the chosen shipping type.

Shopping in Canada from Japan with Reship

For Japanese consumers eyeing Canadian products, the distance between the two countries might seem like a significant barrier. However, with services like Reship, shopping from Canadian stores and shipping to Japan has never been easier. Here are some top Canadian stores that Japanese customers might find intriguing, along with the kinds of products they offer:

1. Hudson's Bay:

  • What to Shop: This iconic Canadian department store offers a vast range of products, from fashion to home goods. It's an excellent place to purchase Canadian brands and luxury items.

  • Website:

    Hudson's Bay

2. Roots:

  • What to Shop: Known for its quality leather goods and comfortable casual wear, Roots is quintessentially Canadian. Their leather bags, jackets, and the iconic salt-and-pepper sweats are especially popular.

  • Website: Roots

3. Best Buy Canada:

  • What to Shop: For the latest electronics, gadgets, and appliances, Best Buy Canada is a top destination. You can find unique models or versions of products not available in Japan.

  • Website: Best Buy Canada

4. Amazon Canada:

  • What to Shop: Similar to its counterparts in other countries, Amazon Canada offers a vast array of products, from books to electronics, home goods, and more. It's especially useful for hard-to-find items or exclusive Canadian releases.

  • Website: Amazon Canada

5. Walmart Canada:

  • What to Shop: For a wide variety of products at competitive prices, Walmart is a go-to. From clothing and toys to household items and groceries, you can find almost anything.

  • Website: Walmart Canada

6. MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op):

  • What to Shop: If you're into outdoor activities, MEC is the premier Canadian store for all things outdoors - from hiking gear to winter sports equipment.

  • Website: MEC

7. Lululemon:

  • What to Shop: While now internationally recognized, Lululemon originated in Canada. It's a prime choice for high-quality yoga wear and athleisure.

  • Website: Lululemon

8. Aritzia:

  • What to Shop: A popular Canadian women's fashion brand known for its stylish and high-quality apparel.

  • Website: Aritzia

How Reship Makes it Easier: With Reship, Japanese customers can shop from these Canadian stores seamlessly. Once registered, you get a Canadian address to use for your purchases. Reship will receive your products, and upon your instruction, consolidate and forward them to Japan. This service breaks down geographical barriers, allowing Japanese consumers to enjoy the diverse range of products that Canada has to offer without the usual shipping complexities.

Signup With Reship Today!

FAQs for Shipping from Canada to Japan

1. What are my options for shipping from Canada to Japan?

Several carriers offer international shipping services from Canada to Japan, including Canada Post, FedEx, UPS, and DHL. Each carrier provides different service levels, from economy to express shipping, depending on your budget and delivery time requirements.

2. How do I calculate the shipping cost from Canada to Japan?

Shipping costs are determined based on the package's weight, dimensions, and the selected shipping service. Most carriers have online calculators or provide quotes through customer service to help you estimate the cost of shipping your package.

3. What is the estimated delivery time for shipments from Canada to Japan?

Delivery times vary based on the shipping service selected. Economy services may take 10-15 business days, while express services can deliver within 3-5 business days. Delivery times may also be affected by customs processing.

4. Are there any restrictions on what I can ship from Canada to Japan?

Yes, both Canada and Japan have specific restrictions on items that can be shipped internationally. Prohibited items typically include dangerous goods, perishable foods, and illegal substances. It's important to check with the chosen carrier and the Japan Customs website for a detailed list of restricted and prohibited items.

5. Do I need to fill out customs declaration forms when shipping from Canada to Japan?

Yes, a customs declaration form is required for all international shipments. This form includes information about the package's contents, value, and purpose. Accurate and complete declarations are crucial for smooth customs processing.

6. Will the recipient in Japan have to pay customs duties and taxes?

Yes, the recipient may be subject to customs duties and taxes, depending on the value and nature of the shipped items. Duties and taxes are determined by Japan Customs. The recipient is usually responsible for paying these charges upon delivery.

7. How can I track my shipment from Canada to Japan?

Most carriers offer tracking services for international shipments. You'll receive a tracking number once your package is shipped, allowing you to monitor its progress online through the carrier's website.

8. Can I insure my shipment from Canada to Japan?

Yes, shipping insurance is available for international shipments and is recommended for valuable items. Insurance can be purchased through the carrier or a third-party insurance provider, covering loss or damage during transit.

9. What packaging should I use for my shipment to Japan?

Use durable packaging materials to protect your items during transit. The carrier may have specific packaging requirements or recommendations, especially for fragile or valuable items. Ensure the package is properly sealed and labeled.

10. What should I do if my shipment is delayed or lost?

Contact the carrier with your tracking number for assistance. They can provide updates on the shipment's status and help resolve any issues. If you purchased insurance, you might also initiate a claim for a lost or damaged shipment.

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