Buying fountain pens from Japan can be challenging. Most retailers only ship to domestic addresses and it can be hard to tell legitimate retailers apart from resellers.
Fortunately, there are ways to buy pens from Japan without paying hefty reseller markups. Some stores and pen clubs ship overseas, and there are affordable third-party shipping services available for stores that don’t.
Below is a list of retailers, pen clubs, and shipping services that I am aware of. I am not affiliated with any of them and have not used any of the shipping services myself. There are no referral links here.
See also my friend Alesa’s excellent video about buying pens from Japan. We researched this topic together.
Stores that ship overseas
Wagner is perhaps Japan’s most famous pen club. Wagner’s club-exclusive Platinum, Sailor, and Pilot pens are coveted by pen collectors worldwide. Club president Mori-san recently started selling Wagner pens to overseas customers. Contact him via email (English OK) if you want to be notified of upcoming releases.
Kansai-based y.y. Pen Club also sells club-exclusive pens, mostly Sailors, and ships overseas. Contact y.y. Pen Club directly via email to buy a pen. English is OK.
Proxies and forwarders
Many stationery retailers have online stores but only ship to domestic addresses. To buy from those, you need a proxy or forwarding service.
Proxy services are the easiest ones to use. You specify what you want to buy, and the service takes care of the rest. There is no need to create an account with any Japanese online store.
White Rabbit Express is one of the oldest and most well-known proxies. After pasting a product link into a form, you will receive a quote from White Rabbit. It is a manual process and works with any online store but can be slow.
Two other popular proxies are Buyee and Zenmarket. These support only certain stores, including Rakuten and Yahoo Shopping, but the process is automated and faster. Possibly cheaper as well.
Another type of service is a package forwarder. These give you a PO Box-like address in Japan to which you can ship goods you buy from online stores yourself. Later, you can request a bulk shipment to your home address. Package forwarders include Blackship, Buyandship, and Tenso.
Alesa’s video explains how to use these proxy and forwarding services in greater detail:
Once you have an account with a proxy or package forwarder, you can buy from online stores in Japan:
Please let me know if I forgot any good stores or shipping services! Also, if you found this list useful, please consider supporting me on Ko-fi.
Update: See also Reddit user 240snusit’s excellent guide, titled A guide on buying Japanese pens from Japanese auctions
- Giftionery Delta and Ginza Tsutaya ship overseas. H/T @penfriends_uk.
- Nagasawa’s Renga and Umeda stores have their own exclusives and corresponding email addresses. H/T @pollypan.
- Link to 240snusit’s guide (H/T berryrohse on Pen Addict Slack).
- Added link to Sunride Trading’s new online store.
#buy from japan