Translated by Jay Issei Karslake
Duty-Free Shopping Guide In Japan - How And Where To Use Tax-Free
Written by OsawaKimie
Japan is filled with stores offering tax-free shopping, from airports to chain shops around the country. Learn how to save money with tax-free in Japan, rules and procedures, and where to find duty-free stores.
Guide to Duty-Free Shopping in Japan
People naturally want to save yen and have fun while out shopping in Japan. If there’s something that you’ve had your eye on but been putting off buying during your stay, head to a duty-free shop. With duty-free shops, you’ll likely find exactly what you were looking for while getting a discount.
Duty-free shops, located in airports and major cities, are where the shoppers meeting certain requirements can be excluded from paying the standard 10% consumer tax on goods in Japan.
If you need to buy several souvenirs or are making large purchases, shop smart and take advantage of Japan’s many duty-free shops. This article introduces various duty-free shops located throughout Japan in airports and shopping centers.
What is Duty-Free in Japan?
The items sold at duty-free stores are supposed to be used outside of Japan for personal use. If you plan to use the items in Japan and/or for business or resale purposes, do not purchase items duty-free. Also, shoppers who are able to use the duty-free system in Japan must be leaving the country within six months and must not be employed in Japan.
The products applicable for tax exemption are general goods (household electronics, appliances, clothes, jewelry, folk crafts) and consumable items (food, drinks, cosmetics, perfume, medicines, and personal supplies).
Your purchase will not count as duty-free unless your total is above a certain amount. For general items, this amount is over 5,000 yen in one location. If your purchase total exceeds 1,000,000 yen the store will make a copy of your passport.
Consumable items become duty-free if your purchase total is over 5,000 yen and under 500,000 yen. If you intend to purchase more than 500,000 yen in consumable items, duty-free loses its effectiveness, so please shop carefully.
It is important to note that if you open the seal on a consumable item before leaving the country there is a chance that you will be taxed when departing Japan. General goods and consumable items cannot be combined in order to meet the price limit for duty-free.
How to Shop Duty-Free
Check below for the procedures for tax-free shopping.
Step 1: Submit your Passport
A passport is necessary in order to fill out the duty-free paperwork. When you arrive at the duty-free counter you will be asked to present your passport. In the case that you have purchased your products at the register and are coming to the center to reclaim sales tax, you will need to present your passport as well as the sales receipt for your purchase. You also have to bring the purchased goods themselves.
Step 2: Sign the Contract
Sign your name on the purchase contract that you are handed.
Step 3: The Purchase Record Seal
After signing the contract, they will stamp a purchase record seal on your passport. They will also confirm that you have received a tally stamp between your passport and purchase record seal.
Step 4: Final Paperwork when Leaving Japan
When leaving Japan, customs will take your purchase record seal and you can take your tax-free goods home with you.
Please note, you will have to fill out paperwork each time you purchase something duty-free, and please note that procedures vary by store. At some places, the duty-free sign-up is done at a counter before you make your payment.
Sometimes, however, you will need to pay full price at the register first and then go to a duty-free counter or center within the shop to have the tax amount returned to you.
Duty-Free Shops - Where to Find Them
There are many Japanese duty-free shops located in airports and major metropolises, like Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. In addition, most shopping centers, department stores, and major clothing stores have duty-free counters inside. These include but are not limited to retailers like Don Quijote, UNIQLO, and Tokyu Hands.
Look for the red mark shown above, issued by the Japan Tourism Agency, to find duty free shops in Japan. For more information on duty-free shop locations nationwide and how to sign up for duty-free, please take a look at the Japan Tourism Agency Site.
Enjoy Tax-Free Shopping
When traveling abroad it is fun to explore local goods and get souvenirs. Why not get the most out of your money by shopping at duty free stores in Japan?