This post is now out of date as Japan Post raised rates again on June 1, 2022, see here.
On June 1st, 2021, EMS services via Japan Post will resume to the US after over a year of being suspended due to COVID19. Along with the resumption of services, EMS shipping rates will increase for the US/North America and Europe. Asia and South America will not have increases in rates at this time. In addition, all traced shipping methods to Canada have been suspended completely.
This post has a lot of information, as there are a lot of things happening with shipping here in Japan, especially in regards to shipping to the US and its territories. Please note that EMS services have NOT resumed to all places including (but not limited to):
Brazil, Russia, Australia, Greece, Romania, United Arab Emirates, Israel, and Canada. For Brazil, Russia, the only method of shipment available is Parcel Post Surface Mail (Sea Mail). Australia, Greece, Romania, United Arab Emirates, and Israel are serviced by the courier Yamato/UPS, and can use the courier service in addition to Surface Mail. There may be other countries on this list that I have not shipped to recently.
As of June 1, 2021, Japan Post no longer offers any traced methods of shipping to Canada. Yamato/UPS also does not service Canada, so unfortunately I cannot offer any direct shipping to Canadian. For Canadians that have package forwarding services, I am happy to send packages to these services.
Please check the general COVID19 related shipping information post here.
In regards to the US and its territories:
EMS services via Japan Post, which are handled by the United States Postal Service, will resume from June 1st. Due to a continued lack of space on commercial flights and new, tougher, shipping regulations enforced by the US government, a surcharge is being added to the pre-COVID19 rates. The base cost for EMS is now around $24 (up from around $20), however the surcharge increases at a growing percent with the weight of the package. Here is a list of the rates you can expect, up to 5 kilograms. EMS packages can be up to 30 kilograms, but most of my shoppers generally do not exceed 5 kilograms. This table is to give a basic idea of the rate increases.
Please note these rates will also apply to the rest of Zone 1, which includes Oceania, North America, Central America, and the Middle East. Not all countries in Zone 1 are accepting EMS yet (including Canada, Australia, and several countries in Central America and the Middle East).
|Weight in kilograms||Old Approximate Rate||New Approximate Rate|
Regarding shipping to the US specifically, please note that Registered Airmail/ePacket services remain suspended, although the rates for this service will also increase for the US when that service eventually resumes.
I will continue to offer shipping via the courier service UPS/Yamato Transport for the US and elsewhere that accepts it. US shoppers will now be able to choose either EMS or UPS/Yamato Transport on their shopping service request forms.
Pros of EMS over UPS/Yamato Transport if you are a US Shopper:
- Can ship food, tea, some cosmetics, and items with enclosed lithium and button type batteries. These items are completely prohibited in UPS/Yamato Transport packages.
- Cost is based on weight. If you are ordering bulky but light weight items, like plushies, parasols- EMS is going to give you a better rate that UPS/Yamato Transport, which bases rates on package size.
- Can deliver to PO Boxes. UPS/Yamato Transport does not deliver to PO Boxes, they will only deliver to residential or business street addresses.
- Easy claim process. If your package is lost or damaged, the claim process through Japan Post is very straight forward. UPS/Yamato Transport’s claim process is complicated and time consuming for both sender and receiver.
Cons of EMS over UPS/Yamato if you are a US Shopper:
- Services may be slower than you expect/are used to. EMS hasn’t functioned in over a year for the US. There are likely to be delays at first. UPS/Yamato operates with their own fleet of planes. Japan Post must rely on rented space on other aircraft.
- Only insured to 20,000 yen by default. While it is cheap to add insurance, please do not forget that you have to pay extra if you want it insured for more than this.
- Rates have increased dramatically for heavy packages. While the change in rates is not so dramatic for packages under 2 kilograms, rates increase quite rapidly at higher weights. The most extreme increase, for a 30 kilogram package, is from $365 to $605. If your package is extremely heavy, shipping it via EMS is going to cost you a lot more that it did pre pandemic. The max weight on UPS/Yamato Packages is 25 kilograms. Please keep this in mind if you are buying stuff that is extremely heavy (in the 25-30 kilo range) EMS will be your only option, and it will be pricey.
Please avoid asking me “which service will be cheaper” or “to go with whatever is cheaper” on your request form. I simply cannot give quotes as it is too hard to accurately guess in advance how much each type will cost, and it would be too time consuming to do for everyone. EMS is based on weight, and UPS/Yamato is based on size, neither of which are easily predictable before all your items are in hand. I ask that you consider what you are buying, and make a choice based on that as to which shipping type you want to use.
In regards to Europe:
While EMS services have already resumed for most countries in Europe, Japan Post will be increasing EMS rates from June 1st due to a continued lack of space on commercial flights and the associated increase in cost to rent the space on these flights. The base cost for EMS is now around $25 (up from around $22), however the surcharge increases at a growing percent with the weight of the package. Here is a list of the rates you can expect, up to 5 kilograms. EMS packages can be up to 30 kilograms, but most of my shoppers generally do not exceed 5 kilograms. This table is to give everyone a basic idea.
Registered Airmail/ePacket services are also available for most places in Europe, but please keep in mind that these packages have a weight limit of 2 kilograms and a size limit as well (box height + width + length must be under 90cm). As always, bulky and heavy items MUST be shipped via EMS. As always, the default insurance for EMS is 20,000 yen. If you want more insurance coverage than that, you must pay a small fee.
EMS and Registered Airmail/ePacket services remain suspended for Greece, Romania, and Russia (and perhaps some other countries that I have not shipped to recently, check the COVID19 related shipping information post here to find out how you can look up your country). The only option for these three countries is Surface Mail (Yamato Transport/UPS will also ship to Greece and Romania).
|Weight in kilograms||Old Approximate Rate||New Approximate Rate|
If you have any general questions about shipping I will do my best to answer them, you can use the contact form for general inquiries. The worldwide shipping situation continues to be complicated by the COVID19 pandemic, but hopefully things will continue to improve.