What international shipping methods are available?

We offer you the following shipping methods for international shipping, which can be divided into two categories: Postal Service and Courier.

Postal Service: EMS, AVIA, Surface

Courier: FedEx, UPS, DHL, SF Express, ECMS Express

- SF Express is available mainly for Asian regions such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, etc.

- ECMS Express is only available for Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, Vietnam & the Philippines.

- The information is as of December 2022 and might be altered or revised.

Attention: Latest Shipping Updates

Which shipping method is the cheapest?

It depends on your package size and weight. For small items, like CDs and magazines, ZenExpress or AVIA are the cheapest options. For other packages, please refer to our Shipping Calculator. For best results, please remember to input the estimated parcel dimensions.

Which shipping method is the fastest?

FedEx/UPS/EMS are among the fastest and Surface is the slowest.

Which shipping method should I choose?

For cheap and small items, we recommend using Zen Express for parcels weighing less than 300g, or AVIA Small Packet for parcels weighing less than 2kg.

For other items, we recommend using EMS as it is the most reliable and most reasonable shipping method.

When should I use FedEx, UPS or DHL?

  • When it is cheaper than EMS.
  • When your package is too heavy or too long for EMS.
  • When you want to send books, equipment, and other heavy stuff.

What are the shipping fees?

You can check the shipping fees with our Shipping Calculator.

Can international shipping be free?

No, international shipping cannot be free. Some items sold on Rakuten and Amazon come with free shipping within Japan. In these cases we do not charge clients for shipping within Japan, but international shipping is always subject to an additional charge.

What is "small packet"?

"Small packet" is a shipping option for small items. It is the cheapest shipping method available, but it has size, weight and insurance limitations. "Small packet" can be sent by Airmail.

The maximum weight is 2 kg.
Length(a) + height(b) + depth(c) <= 90 cm.

What is Zen Express: Standard?

Zen Express: Standard is ZenMarket's exclusive shipping method. It is a good option for countries that don't have access to smaller packet shipping options or if you are just looking for a faster alternative to packet shipping.

As of December 21st 2022, Zen Express: Standard is available for 30+ countries, including USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Kazakhstan, the majority of European countries, and some others.

For more details on the available countries, shipping requirements and restrictions, check out our Zen Express: Standard blog.

*Shipping times on average can range from 10 - 18 days depending on the shipping destination country.

What is Zen Express: PUDO

Zen Express: PUDO is ZenMarket's exclusive Pick-Up Drop-Off shipping method. It functions the same way as Zen Express: Standard except is delivered to a designated drop-off box instead of to your home address. This makes it great for customers that may not be at home to receive the delivery.

Naturally, larger items that would not be able to fit inside one of the designated drop-off boxes cannot be shipped using this shipping method.

Currently Zen Express: PUDO is only available for Germany and France, with plans to expand the service to even more countries/regions.

Can you ship big/heavy/long items?

Shipping limits depend on your country and the shipping method you choose. You can check size and weight limits for your country with our Shipping Calculator.

What is “packing strategy”?

Each shipping method comes with its limitations by parcel weight or size. Sometimes the shipping method you choose may not allow to ship all the chosen items in one parcel.
For such a case we provide 3 packing strategies for you to choose from when creating a parcel.

1) Leave some items at the warehouse
We will pack as many items as possible, and the remainder will be returned to the warehouse.
As principle, priority is given to items that have been at the warehouse the longest; however, it is not always applicable depending on the items’ size and dimensions.

2) Use the next cheapest shipping option
We change the shipping method to the next cheapest available one to send all the items together.
Please note that this may not be applicable if the chosen shipping method is already the last available one.

3) Split items in two or more parcels
Your items will be split into two or more parcels fitting the chosen shipping method.
This is often used for Small Packet (AVIA) or for items that cannot be packed together (like a fishing rod and a fishing reel). Each parcel will be treated as a separate one, i. e. will need to be paid for separately and have its own tracking number.


Chosen shipping method: AVIA (Small Packet)

- Maximum weight = 2000 g (2 kg)
- Maximum length = 60 cm
- Height + Length + Depth: 90 cm or less

Contents: Three items (A, B, C). Weight of all 3 items packed together exceeds 2 kg. Item B is too long to be packed with the other items.

1) Leave some items at the warehouse
A and C are packed to be shipped via AVIA small packet and B is left at the warehouse.
*As principle, priority is given to items that have been at the warehouse the longest; however, it is not always applicable depending on the items’ size and dimensions.

2) Use the next cheapest shipping option
All 3 items are packed together; shipping method is changed to AVIA (standard).

3) Split items in two or more parcels Two parcels are created; A and C are placed into parcel #1 and B into parcel #2.
*Each parcel is treated as a separate one, i. e. needs to be paid for, reinforced separately if needed and is assigned a separate tracking number.

What items are prohibited for shipping?

There are various goods that are prohibited for export from Japan such as inflammable items, fauna and flora, items on the CITES list (more details here). Also, every country has their own list of prohibited items for import. Therefore, a certain item can be sent out of Japan and welcomed into a country, but the very same item might be rejected at the Customs of another country.
You can refer to the following Japan Post pages for more information.
Restricted items: English/Japanese (in more detail)
Information for countries (in Japanese)

There are other items not included in the above pages but are rejected for sending by Japan Post.

- Speakers (can be shipped by Courier)
- Mobile batteries, Smartphone batteries
- Electronic cigarettes (IQOS, etc)
- Items that may require provision of safety documents (sunscreen, liquid and cream deodorants, liquid foundation, detergents etc)

Also, there are certain items that are not available in certain shipping methods.

Postal Service
EMS: Accessories and valuable items such as rings, necklaces, pendants, bracelets, etc. consisted of precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum etc.

Surface mail: Items including Lithium-ion batteries can only be shipped to a limited number of countries. Please check if your country is included in the “Surface mail” column on page 3 of the following list.

As international shipping by courier is generally more strict than postal services, certain items that can be shipped by postal services are not sent out by courier. Some of these restricted items are as follows;

  • Food and beverages
  • Sanitary goods and cosmetic items
  • Alcohol drinks
  • Any type of liquid

Please note that for ECMS Express there are also additional forbidden items depending on the destination country. Malaysia (watch, helmet, CD, DVD, magazine etc...), Taiwan (health and beauty devices etc...). For more information please contact us.

Please note that for Zen Express there are also additional forbidden items (including hair wigs, magnetized items, items resembling weapons, etc) depending on the destination country. For more information please contact us.

If a parcel that contains these kinds of items are shipped by a courier there is a high likelihood the package will be stopped and disposed of by custom enforcement agencies.


What are the customs duties?

Usually, you can import a certain amount of goods without having to pay any customs import fees (customs duties, VAT and/or any other fees required by the import laws of the receiving country, etc.) The customer is solely responsible for covering these additional costs. As these fees and restrictions differ for each country, ZenMarket is unable to give an estimate beforehand. Please ensure you have checked the destination country's customs rules before shipping a parcel.

ZenMarket can pre-charge certain taxes in following cases:

1. Goods and Services Tax (GST, for parcels bound for Australia)

ZenMarket is required to collect 10% GST for all parcels sent to Australia with a total value of 1,000 AUD or less.

Please note that GST will be applied to parcels where the declared value is equal to or lower than 1,000 AUD. If it applies, the tax will be charged at the same time as the international shipping fee.

For high value goods (over 1,000 AUD), customs regulations and the GST payment process remain unchanged and will be processed and charged by customs offices in Australia.

2. VAT via Import-One-Stop-Shop (IOSS, for parcels bound for EU)

According to European’s Tax legislation, customers may optionally select to pay VAT in advance on any parcel sent to Europe with a total item value of 150 EUR or less.

In cases where it applies, the tax will be charged at the same time as the international shipping cost.

For high value parcels (over 150 EUR), the customs regulations and VAT payment process remains as before, and the applicable tax will be processed and charged by your local customs authority upon the goods arrival in Europe.

3. VAT via Delivered Duty Paid (DDP, for certain parcels shipped via ZenExpress)

For parcels shipped with ZenExpress, depending on the destination country and the total price of items in the parcel, VAT will be pre-charged as per DDP agreement.

For European countries and the United Kingdom, a uniform 25% VAT rate will be charged at the same time as the international shipping cost if the total item value is more than 150 EUR. * The VAT rate is uniform to comply with shipping route customs clearance and cannot be waived.

For Chile and Mexico, the DDP payment and handling fees apply.

For more details on other ZenExpress eligible countries and information about the VAT rate, please check here.

4. Goods and Services Tax (GST, for parcels bound for Singapore)

ZenMarket also offers pre-charging of GST for certain parcels shipped to Singapore.

This option is available for items valued at 400SGD or less, and is voluntary for customers. If selected, the GST (at a rate of 8%) will be charged at the same time as the international shipping fee.

For items valued above 400SGD, the applicable tax and customs regulations will remain the same and will be processed and charged by the local customs authority upon arrival in Singapore.

When will you ship my items?

After your items have arrived at our warehouse, you can decide when, where and how to ship them. To begin, go to the "Packages" tab on your account. Once you specify your shipping details and pay for the international shipping, we will ship your package within 2 Working Days.

Do you provide a tracking number?

Yes, all packages have tracking numbers. You will be able to track your package from your account once the package is shipped.

Do you offer package reinforcement services for fragile/expensive items?

Yes! By default, we consolidate your items and pack them securely based on the items fragility, size, etc. In most cases, our packages are strong enough to endure most situations. However, if your package is especially fragile, heavy, big, and/or you are worried about your items' security, we recommend using our reinforcement service. For 1000JPY per box, your package will be strengthened using hard-pressed carton angles fixed with tape, and/or other extra packaging materials as we see fit.
You might be asked by our warehouse staff to use the reinforcement service for certain packages if they deem it necessary

Items that we recommend using our reinforcement service for:

  • used machinery that does not come with original packaging (e.g. amplifiers, speakers, sewing machines)
  • pottery and other ceramic items
  • packages heavier than 10kg
  • other fragile items
*For turntables, reinforcement is mandatory. Claims for damages will not be accepted for parcels without reinforcement containing fragile items (pottery, ceramics, glass etc.).

Items that do not typically require reinforcement:

  • clothing items
  • plush toys
  • books
  • fishing rods (as a rule, they are packed securely in strong cardboard tubes and cannot additionally be reinforced)

Please note that our warehouse staff cannot refund your reinforcement fee even if it is later found to be unnecessary.

Also please note that we do not open new/sealed items without your permission. If you want to protect the inside of the item box, please make a request in the parcel comment.

Can I ask you to mark my items as "gift"?

Unfortunately, we are not able to mark items as "gift" in the invoice. We have to mark all of our packages as "merchandise." We thank you for your understanding.

I have created a package and received a quote, but I want to reorganize it. Is it possible?

If you want to change your shipping method, you can do it for free on the "Packages" tab. If you created a package, but then change your mind and want to repack it, it will cost an additional fee.
The fee is charged per box and is based on weight.

Up to 4,999g - 1,000 JPY
5,000g to 14,999g - 2,000 JPY
15,000g to 29,999g - 3,000 JPY
30,000g and heavier - 4,000 JPY

E. g. if you cancel a parcel with 2 boxes 14kg each, you will need to pay 4,000 JPY as a cancellation fee.

How much is the package insurance?

You don't need to pay the package insurance for AVIA or EMS. In case you send a parcel with Small Packet method, a ZenMarket special insurance fee may be charged in order to secure a full refund in case of a loss by the postal services. For courier services we might charge an insurance fee of 0 to 2% of the price of the parcel contents depending on the respective service insurance system, country of destination, parcel contents price and other factors.

I haven't received my package yet. What should I do?

All ZenMarket packages have tracking numbers and you can check your package's tracking record from your account. If there is an unexpected delay in the delivery of your parcel, we can submit an investigation request to your chosen shipping method:

  • EMS/Airmail - 30 days after shipping
  • Surface mail - 120 days after shipping
  • Courier services - 1 week after shipping

Investigations take time as shipping companies have to carry out their own internal investigation before reporting back to ZenMarket. However, you will receive either your package or your money back once the investigation has concluded.

* Although FedEx offers insurance for delivery delay, this is not applied to our services.

My package is damaged/missing an item. What should I do?

Important: If you discover any problem upon the parcel's arrival, make sure to keep all packing materials for investigation by ZenMarket and the shipping company.

For Postal Service & ZenExpress

If you see that your items are damaged or missing, declare the loss or damage by going directly to your postal office. Confirm that your claim has been accepted.

Once completed, send ZenMarket:
1. A copy of your registered claim (CN24 form or other claim forms provided)
2. Pictures of the parcel's packing materials (outer box and inner packing) 
3. Pictures of any damage to your items.

We can then send a request to the Japanese Post to start the compensation procedure.

For Courier Services
Please directly contact the shipping company within their allowed period for filing a claim:
  • UPS: up to 14 days after delivery date
  • FedEx: up to 21 days after delivery date
  • SF Express: up to 7 days after delivery date
  • DHL: up to 30 days after the shipping date

Once you have submitted your claim to your shipping courier, please send us the following:

1. Pictures of the parcel's packing materials (outer box and inner packing) 
2. Pictures of any damage to your items.

Some shipping companies will not start any investigation unless the "receiver" of the parcel reports issues to the shipping company first.

Please note that a courier representative may come to the delivery address stated to check the package reported damages directly during an investigation.

My parcel has been stopped at Customs. Is there anything that I can do? Where can I get an invoice for my parcel?

Suppose the parcel is at the destination’s customs office. In that case, firstly, we recommend contacting the local shipping company to inquire about the parcel and ask if it is necessary to take care of any formality or if it is required to submit your parcel invoice.

You can receive this invoice by asking our team via Messages tab.

Customs requires me to provide proof of the payment for the international shipping fee and the purchase price of the items in the parcel. How can I prove this information?

Since the payment method in ZenMarket is via deposit, we cannot provide an invoice for the shipping fee payment. You can search the payment for the shipping fee in your Payments tab and take a screenshot.

As for the purchase price of the items, you can also provide a screenshot or a link to the site where you bought the item. If the page is unavailable, please get in touch with our team.

I paid for my package’s VAT with ZenMarket; however, Customs is asking me to pay for VAT again. What should I do?

Firstly, contact us via Messages tab and inform us regarding this problem. We can provide you with an invoice for the VAT payment so that you can submit it to the Customs/shipping company.

If, after submitting the invoice, the shipping company does not acknowledge the VAT payment via the IOSS system, we strongly recommend you pay the VAT again to the local customs. Please make sure to receive a copy of the invoice to send us. Once we can check that the VAT for your parcel has been paid again to the local customs, we will be able to refund the payment made via ZenMarket.

I shipped my parcel with the postal service and it seems like it has not yet left Japan. Is there anything wrong?

Most probably, if the last update of the tracking information was “Dispatch from outward office of exchange,” your parcel is on its way to your destination.

In this blog, we explain how to read the tracking of Japan Post.

My parcel is being returned or I would like to return it to Japan. Is there any problem?

If you have been informed that your parcel is being returned to Japan, please inform us as soon as possible.

Depending on the shipping method, the return fee can be more expensive than the original shipping fee and must be covered by the client, so we recommend you proceed with the import of the parcel if possible.

Can you receive my returned parcel in your warehouse and send it back to me? Are there any additional charges?

Yes, we can receive your parcel and we will notify you when it arrives at the warehouse.

After repacking the parcel, we can ship it again; however you will need to pay the international shipping fee once more.

If you decide to repack your parcel as it is, the repacking fee will be 1,000 JPY. If you prefer to rearrange the contents, we will charge a cancellation/repackaging fee based on the weight of the returned package.

Good practices

  • Buy from one Japanese shop to reduce shipping fees within Japan.
  • Use your home address and not an office address for shipping.
  • Check your country's customs duties and postal method's size/weight restrictions in advance.

Still haven't found the answer?

Feel free to contact us. We will gladly answer your questions.