If you’re living in Europe, it may seem difficult to buy Japanese manga and books. You don’t have any shops that sell the stuff you want and when they do, it’s so overpriced that you decide not to buy anything after all. But you really would love to do so because Japanese books and manga are just plain awesome.
Want to order clothing and other goods from Japan? – Check my guide for more awesome resources for everything that is not printed on paper.
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You’re still reading, which means that we’re on the same page here. We both love Japanese stuff and just need a valid source with reasonable prices to buy all the printed goodness we ever wanted. Here comes the ultimate solution:
Amazon.co.jp – Why it became my ultimate source for Japanese books
I know Amazon Japan wasn’t a good choice for ordering Japanese books internationally just a while ago. Why? Because they were only offering very very expensive express shipping via EMS and DHL. And on top of that refused to ship a lot of stuff internationally. Like Nintendo games, consoles, a lot of video games in general, and nearly all merch. To make it short: A lot of cool stuff we could be interested in.
So what changed?
In short: Amazon Japan changed. You practically get DHL Express shipping for roughly the same amount you pay for SAL shipping at CDjapan/Honto. Tons of stuff is now available to be ordered, custom duties are pre-paid and I received my parcel in 3 days! DHL Express surely is amazing.
- Extremely fast shipping with DHL Express for very good prices
- Japanese taxes are deducted at checkout
- Pre-paid custom duty charges
–> you’ll get a receipt/refund a few weeks after the parcel has been delivered
- Good, practical packaging (products sealed on fixed cardboard in the parcel)
- English friendly
If you can’t read Japanese you can easily adjust the site language to English right next to your login. Attention: You’ll need to register a new account for Amazon Japan. The one you’re using at home is working for nearly every other Amazon store out there but not for the Japanese one.
Shipping costs for one manga start at a whopping 1400¥ to Germany/EU. But they don’t increase a lot. It pays to put in bigger orders at once.
When you’re checking out pay attention that you’re actually paying in ¥ and not in $/€. Amazon’s very own conversion rate isn’t the best one. The best way is to pay in Yen and let your Credit Card provider take care of the currency conversion.
Plus: Manga-Collections count as one item! So you’ll only pay the shipping charges for one item. Just take this small collection of the new しろくまカフェ manga as an example.
When added to an existing order the shipping costs only increase slightly even if these are actually three items (and it’s a very nice read for Japanese beginners).
CDjapan, English friendly with Japanese prices
Many readers did complain that honto.jp didn’t accept their credit cards (mainly problems with Visa) or just canceled their orders. I recently discovered cdjapan.co.jp again, a very reliable shop for Japanese books, video games, CDs & DVDs.
Their prices on books are exactly the same as on honto.jp and you don’t have to pay Japanese taxes when shipping outside of Japan which is extra sweet. They also have a nice points system which rewards you for being a loyal customer. You can even pay with PayPal for all the people who don’t own a credit card (or for me who loves it for the simplicity).
But what’s most important is that everything is in English, the shipping options are vast (including cheap SAL) and you can even add a Japanese video game or CD to your order. The only thing I always missed at honto, was not being able to sneak in a game with my book order.
- Shipping to Europe, Germany: Takes around 2 weeks via SAL.
- Payment via PayPal
- Japanese Taxes are already deducted on the website
- Good packaging (bubble wrap + paper for padding)
- Many shipping options
I started using CDjapan again because you can check the shipping rates at checkout and sneak in a video game to your order. Another important factor is that magazines and limited edition manga (which contain some extra goods like Drama Cds or a Dvd) are sold out fast at honto.jp. In most cases, CDjapan still has some in stock.
If you want to support Japanese Tease click on the button below or the links above. These are affiliate links and will earn the site a small percentage from your order at no extra cost to you. Thanks a lot for this, it really helps to support the site.
Just a few pictures of CDjapan’s really great packaging which you can even especially choose if you’re just ordering a few small books. For me, it was just the latest issue of Weekly Famitsu :)
I’ve used them countless times over the years and was never disappointed. Because many readers askIed this over Twitter, Mail and in the comments: Shipping to Germany takes around two weeks give or take using SAL. I’ve yet to get into trouble with customs but so far none of my orders was fished out and I’ve nearly always ordered well above the magical 100€ mark for books.
For my German readers (might be the same for all European readers): There is only 7% tax on printed matters and you only have to pay taxes after reaching a tax total of 5€ (give or take here as well) for your order. So – happy book shopping from Japan.
I’ve ordered quite a lot of stuff from CDjapan over the past years. Be it the よつばとcalendar or my latest shipment with some Japanese magazines. The stuff was always perfectly wrapped and securely shipped. Shipping times with SAL were the same as with honto and even their service is on par. Here are two pictures of how the stuff is packed by CDjapan. Manga get bundled (many 4/5) and then wrapped as a whole in bubble wrap.
Honto.jp ships internationally as well
With a little trick which I’ll explain in a jiffy. The good thing about honto is their vast selection in general and their option to download Japanese manga and books digitally. Shipping costs will be determined after! ordering. You can choose which shipping speed to use and you will get an email with the total you’re charged when the package is ready for dispatch. I always use SAL which is best explained by the Japanese Post itself. It results in something like 2 weeks for the delivery from Japan to Germany and probably Europe in general. Until now, I made about 30+ orders in total and none came in later than 2 weeks after dispatch.
Unfortunately, as of September 2020, honto canceled all my new orders. They introduced a buyee (expensive Japanese proxy shipping service) banner on their site for international orders. It has been there for quite some time already but recently I can’t order physical books from honto to my German address without them being canceled.
Orders for digital books are still working.
Concerning shipping costs. A rough estimate is: 4 volumes of よつばと！, or any other medium-sized manga, costs 1300¥ (SAL). Not a bad deal, if you ask me. But don’t worry too much about shipping costs. As I said, I already ordered a couple of books there. Mostly kinda big packages and for none, I was charged more than 3000¥. And one was a big order with several (heavy) fashion books for my girlfriend.
How to signup for honto.jp?
I thought about doing a guide myself but there is already a perfect one out there that explains everything in great detail. It will make the registration process a breeze for you. You will need a Credit Card but that shouldn’t be a problem. If you don’t have one – get one. You can save a lot when ordering directly from Japanese shops, avoiding the middleman. But you will nearly always need a CC for this.
- Shipping costs are determined after checkout
–> generally a bit cheaper than CDjapan
- Many shipping options
- Excellent packaging (really top-notch)
Ordered around 100+ books/manga from honto and always received them in pristine condition
- Japanese taxes are deducted at checkout
What are these points for and how can I use them?
Like nearly every Japanese store (CDJapan and Amazon have a point system as well), honto.jp is offering a frequent customer model. Depending on the value of your purchase you get a certain amount of points (or 得点) when your order is shipped. Each point equals 1 ¥. You can decide to use your points when you check out your order but this is well explained in the guide as well.
Normally you’ll only get a few points for each book but honto is nearly always hosting a special event that will double your points or give you 1000 points for a 10,000¥ order. Each event is announced with a big banner on the starting page so you can’t miss it.
Which manga and books should I pick up and how do I know how they look in reality?
That’s a tough one. I love browsing through bookstores. It’s just great to check out which selection of books are on display, to check the paper and binding, and everything that makes a good book so special. I tried to recreate the feeling with my small section of Japanese books but I’ve been slacking the last few weeks.
You sure know where to find some easy Japanese manga and pictures of them but if you want to check out the more recent stuff (especially 少年) then head over to Reading Japanese Manga (defunct). A nice blog from a guy about his (frequent) manga orders.
Update: I made a nice searchable list with all manga titles I featured on this site. It’s conveniently called the Japanese Manga Index.
Sorry for the bad picture but it was the only one I was able to find. That’s how honto ships small orders. It doesn’t really look like it but the books are very well protected in there.
Never experienced anything like this and I order a lot of stuff from abroad. I will do some proper pictures when my next order arrives.
I hope my post was helpful to you. Please drop a line in the comments and let me know how it went with the signup. Don’t be shy and share what you put in your first order.
Nice! Very useful information. I’m always on the lookout for new posts, especially the ones about books. Looking forward to reading the one about beginner manga without Furigana -which I think are called seinen manga, but I could be wrong- soon :D
Thank you :) Really glad you like the stuff over here.
Sorry for taking so long for the Manga without Furigana post but I actually started with it a couple of days ago. I just have to take the pictures. It will be out next week – I promise.
Thanks for your support :)
I tried using honto, the accepted my card (they verified it twice every time i place order) but when it come to actually paying for the order my card doesn’t seem to work. They said my bank blocked it but when i called my bank they said no problem with my account. I told them to try again but to no avail. Now they going to cancel my order if i dont make payment in 7 days. Well i had to choice but to have my orders cancel considering i only have 1 card. My card is visa by the way.
I’ve heard about quite a bunch of people who had problems with their VISA cards when ordering from honto. Never experienced anything like this. I’m using a normale VISA card myself and haven’t had any problems as of today.
Do you normally buy stuff from japan using your VISA card? Maybe it’s because a foreign country wants to charge your card for the first time when you just used it in your homeland and thus VISA thinks your card was stolen and blocks it.
i used normal visa as well and has been using it for other online japanese store with no problem. i dont think it has anything to do with my card though considering the card passed the verification. They make a spoof transaction of JPY1 everytime i place an order just to verify my card.
Really sad to hear that. Maybe I’m just lucky then. Never had any problems ordering from honto so far. Maybe you could try it with another card of your friends/family?!
This is a good list I just found: http://kaizora.wordpress.com/where-to-buy-japanese-manga/
Also, kind of random, but entertaining: http://www.japanesegeek.com
Thanks for these two links Brian, great stuff!
Where can I get the manga in pdf?
I wrote another guide about this. Just have a look:
Are the mangas on cdjapan in english or japanese :)?
They are all in Japanese.
Do you know any sites for manga in english? :)
Amazon is probably your best bet :)
I normally buy on Amazon from Japan. I’ve never had any issue using credit card (Mastercard)
Try cdjapan for a change as well. They are especially great for smaller manga volumes which are pretty lightweigth. You will save a lot on shipping when using SAL.
I use Amazon because of sets and not single volumes ;)
Does the site sell novels as well? I usually use Amazon, but most of the novels there are in English, which doesn’t help me at all.
Oh yeah, they have everything. Light Novels as well.
I somehow managed to purchase a few novels from Honto but they gave me a coupon (expires today I guess) and it doesn’t have a coupon code, so I can’t use it :P I can’t use points as well. It says the amount of the points exceeds the amount I have. But I write the exact amount :S
Just thought I’d chime in even though this is an older article. Amazon Japan is a great place to find manga. Most new books will be covered by Amazon international, so you’ll have no problem sending them stateside. If you really do some digging though you can find some amazing bargains in the used market. I recently picked up volumes 1-9 of Saint Oniisan for 20 bucks and volumes 1-63 of Bleach for 60. Just have to keep your eyes peeled for a seller willing to ship internationally!
Thanks for letting me know. But did’t amazon themselves only shipped using EMS? Apart from that great deals which I’ll definitely look into.
Ah, sorry, those prices I said included the shipping costs. So Saint Oniisan was $10 plus $10 EMS Shipping. Bleach was $50 plus $10 EMS shipping. $15 dollars is usually the highest I’ve seen my shipping from Amazon Japan. The best part is that you’ll get your books in about 2 or 3 days. Usually the used sellers that are willing to ship overseas will have “Amazon Prime” listed as an option, that’s how you know they ship from Amazon’s warehouse. Might make searching through all the used stuff a bit easier.
Thanks for this review! I would love to order some manga from cdjapan, but I was a bit worried about the shipping. Good to know you had no problems at all getting orders shipped to Germany. I live in Netherlands so it won’t be a problem as well I guess. So I suppose the relatively cheap SAL shipping option would be fine.
SAL definitely will be fine. Don’t worry. I suppose EU wide shipping times should be around 2 weeks. Let me know which titles you picked.
Thanks for the review but I was just wondering if there was any website where I can buy japanese books in a epub or pdf format?
Honto is great for buying Japanese ebooks and digital manga. I even made a specific post about buying digital manga in Japanese. Just have a look. Same applies to books as well :)
Hello! Really happy to see this review. Could you please indicate any website that sells full collections of used (or new) mangas like amazon.jp? It has been very rare to find sellers who ship internationally. These sites you’ve specified are great, but it looks like they do not sell collections = Please, give me a hope @_@
Collections are rarely any cheaper if I’m not mistaken so you could just add each individual volume to your cart. But guess you already had that idea yourself :) Honto actually does have these collections but again – not any cheaper. And if you’re shipping internationally I would split the order as well. Prevents you from having to pay custom charges.
I know this website where they sell full collections or individual used mangas (also English friendly).
I had never order from there, so I can’t give a feedback, but it seems really nice!
Mandarake is a fantastic store. If you have the chance to visit one in person – do so. I never ordered from them directly but wanted to at some point. The shipping charges were quite steep which didn’t make it worth it for me.
I placed a hypothetical order to see what the shipping costs would be.
On the Mandarake website, I found a complete manga collection that interests me (used, 10 volumes in good condition) for half the price (30€), shipping costs through DHL (the only one that currently ships to Portugal) are 36€, with a total cost of 66€.
On the CDJapan website, the same (but new) collection costs € 58 and shipping costs via FedEx (the cheapest option) are 26€, with a total cost of 84€.
In total it is cheaper to order from Mandarake, however, the books are used and the shipping costs are higher than the cost of the product (which for me it doesn’t make sense to order under these conditions). On the other hand, the difference between buying the used and new collection is 16€. Taking all this into account, I think it pays to buy the new collection.
(On the Mandarake website, I don’t know if they only have the option to send to Portugal via DHL due to the Covid-19 situation, or if it’s always the only option they have. In the future if they’ll have a cheaper option, I might try to order through the Mandarake website).
I’m learning Japanese on my own and I hope I can go to Japan in 2 years from now (maybe I’ll visit first and then move).
When I do visit, I would like to go to many different stores, Mandarake included.
Thank you so much for creating this site. It has such good articles!
Hey Maria, really glad to hear that you enjoy the site with its articles. And great that you did the test for yourself to see what shipping would actually pan out to.
You mentioned that you’re thinking about moving to Japan. Any special job-reason or are you just in love with the country (like me)?
And regarding Mandarake: So I see that nothing much has changed. Many only ship by EMS/DHL/FEDEX so shipping charges for heavy books skyrocket easily. I would go the buy new route as well.
Hi Jakob :)
I’ve been reading more and more articles, they are really nice to read and have such nice photos. It motivates me to buy good stuff and keep studying.
I want to go to Japan, but I still don’t know in which area I would like to work. I think it dependes on my Japanese level and on my qualifications, but, since I’m interested in agriculture and art (specially music) I think I would like to do something related to that, although it may not be easy since I don’t have qualifications in those areas (I’m a self taught person).
And yes, I’m in love with Japan!! I can’t really explain this fascination.
I’ve tried to purchase some of the books you recommended from CDjapan (I already ordered from them in the past), but I found out that a lot of them (maybe around 80% from a list of 27 mangas) are sold out and the only shipping options to Portugal are DHL (24,69€) and FedEx Priority (25,75€). There are only 3 more options but they are temporarily suspended, due to Covid-19: EMS (32,05€ ), Registered Airmail (27,55€) and Airmail (24,08€).
So I think I only have these 5 option and the cheapest one is 24,69€.
Do you still have SAL options to ship to Germany at this time?
(I made a question about Honto shipping charges but you explain everything above, so I edited and deleted that question)
I definitely can relate that you want to move to Japan and live in that fascinating country. Food for thought: Read about some ex-pat experiences or even better get in touch with one. Depending on your work it may be a nice alternative to work for a Portuguese/European company that allows you to spend some time in Japan working for them. I once had a tandem-partner that was working for IKEA in Japan and transferred to my little hometown in Southern Germany. It’s been a few years but back then she told me that IKEA actually encouraged their personnel to switch locations. And I’m sure IKEA is just one of many companies that makes living and working in a foreign country possible. They help you with everything. From finding a flat to a visa and insurances. So not such a bad deal. Especially since finding a place to rent as a foreigner isn’t the easiest task.
Unfortunately, this is all me speaking from the experiences of a friend but maybe it helps you out a bit and gives you a new angle :)
Regarding honto: Shipping costs are usually on par with CDjapan. I always shipped via SAL and everything arrived in roughly 2 weeks in pristine conditions. Great store.
Thanks for letting me know that so many manga are out of print nowadays. A shame. A bit puzzled that such classics like the Slam Dunk Complete edition (which really is gorgeous) is not in print anymore.
I haven’t thought about this! I’ll try to find some ex-pat.
this is really a nice idea! I’ll search for that! Maybe I can also contact Japanese people who are interested in Portugal and have some business related to that. I can also try to find some Portuguese communities in Japan… I really have some research to do :)
you help me a lot ;)
I just found out that yesasia.com has a free international shipping (to Germany is available from orders above US$ 75), unfortunate they don’t send to Portugal. Have you tried ordering from this site?
Do they sell light novels in English? I think I saw that all their books are in Japanese. :(
Only Japanese ones.
is the article up-to-date?
I am also old user for cdjapan.com from France,
but I’ve discovered shopnippon.com https://shopnippon.com/ recently.
already bought some goods there (and some manga too as always :))
when I buy just some manga, then at cdjapan since I have some coupons yet.
otherwise Im also buying some goods at shopnippon.com, it’s my options.
yes the article is still up-to-date and I still use CDjapan for most of my purchases. When I can’t find something there (rarely) I’m using honto.jp.
Just had a look at the site you mentioned (shopnippon) and they are far more expensive with inflated prices than cdjapan (where you only pay Japanese retail). Just stick to Cdjapan manga/book wise.
hey! great article but just to let you know about honto that right now unfortunatelly it no longer has the sal option, only ems.. :(
SAL is still showing up for me as a shipping option on honto.jp. Maybe they brought it back, I have o clue. Been a few months since I ordered some Japanese books.
$50 AUD for a comic book !? Wish I had your job !!
Found your post while googling for cdjapan shipment to Germany! Hope you can help me with this. I ordered something from CDJapan (it’s below 100 EUR) and I am not sure about the custom fees payment. What is your experience? Do you need to pick up the package from the custom office or they will just deliver the package to you and you can pay on the spot? Thanks!
Hey Fanny, it depends largely on what you ordered. If you only bought “printed matter”the tax rate is 7% which means that if the whole amount is around 100€ customs usually doesn’t care and will just forward the parcel to you without any ocurring charges.
Dvds, figures etc. are another thing and you’ll have to pay the 19% German tax. CDjapan is enclosing a detailed bill on the outside of the parcel – ideal for customs. Usually they’ll just process the parcel directly at the customs office inside the Airport and you’ll have to pay the taxes directly on your doorstep to DHL.
In some rare cases you’ll have to pick it up at your local customs office and bring a detailed bill. Never experienced this with CDjapan but with other retailers.
To sum things up: You’ll probably pay directly at your doorstep.
Awesome – that’s much better than picking up the package from the Zollamt :) Thanks a ton!
CD Japan is very reliable if you are willing to wait the advised delivery time. I got hit by customs once but that’s because I ordered around ten volumes at once (it was a little frustrating but wasn’t a massive fee in the end).
I placed an order via Buyee recently why will bid for you, then have the item shipped to their warehouse and then shipped out to you (I think they are owned by or affiliated with Tensō). I’m still waiting for my package as I chose to have it delivered by Seamail as it was cheaper (I’ll update once I receive it). If you’re interested in checking the site out you can do so via the following link:
How much are Buyees fees nowadays? The last time I checked they were far above the ones by fromjapan? I like to use it for clothing and other things (like bar stuff) but was never worth it for books for me.