Translated by Jay Issei Karslake
Duty Free Shops In Japan - How To Use Them?
When traveling abroad you can enjoy duty free shopping. We have compiled how the duty free shops in Japan work, the details regarding the paperwork required as well as information on some of the shops that are duty free.
Written by OsawaKimie
What is a Duty Free Shop?
People naturally want to avoid wasting money 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, why not head to a duty free shop. Here you’ll likely find exactly what you were looking for, for a discounted price.
Duty free shops, located in airports and around town, are stores where the shoppers who met certain requirements (like staying in Japan for less than 6 months) can be excluded from paying the standard 8% sales tax on goods in Japan.
If you need to buy many souvenirs, why not take a look at the household appliances that Japan prides itself on, or some of the delicious regional foods available? Travelers planning on buying numerous souvenirs or wanting to make a large purchase would do well to take advantage of Japan’s many duty free shops and shop smart.
This article features various duty free shops located throughout Japan, in both airports and shopping centers.
What is Eligible for "Duty Free" in Japan?
The items sold at duty free shops are sold with the intent of being used outside of Japan. If the intent behind your purchases is not every day or personal use, but for business or resale purposes, you may not use duty free shops.
The products available are broken into two main categories: general items (household electronics/appliances, clothes, jewelry, folk crafts) and consumable items (food, drinks, cosmetics, perfume, medicines/personal supplies).
An important point to remember is that your purchase will not count as duty free unless you reach a certain price point. For general items, this amount is usually over 5000 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 5000 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 items and consumable items cannot be combined in order to meet the price limit for duty free whatsoever.
* Duty free information: August 20016-now
Duty Free - Where and How to Sign-up
How to sign up for duty free varies from place to place and store to store. In some places, the duty free sign-up is done at a counter where you will be exempt from paying sales tax. At other places, you will need to pay full price at the register and then go to a duty free counter or center within the shop. Here you will fill out the necessary paperwork and have the sales tax that you paid returned to you.
Please check below for more information on filling out duty free paperwork.
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 the 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 place 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 your duty free signup will be complete.
Duty Free Shops - Where to Find Them
Japanese duty free shops are mainly located in airports and downtown areas. However, there has been an increase in the number of shopping centers, department stores and major clothing stores with duty free counters inside.
Take advantage of 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?