Tax-free shopping for travelers to Japan

Japan is a shopping paradise with a variety of products, from essential items to complex electronic goods. To fully indulge in this shopping passion and save money on your trip, take advantage of the tax-free policies for travelers to Japan. Refer to this article for useful travel and shopping information when visiting Japan.

Firstly, let’s distinguish between duty-free and value-added tax (VAT) exempt items. Duty-free items are those not subject to import taxes and are often sold at specialized stores. VAT tax-free items are those not subject to the consumption tax (usually 10% in Japan).

Bic Camera

As a large electronics retail chain in Japan, Bic Camera provides a wide range of products, from mobile phones, computers, and cameras to household appliances and personal electronics. In Tokyo, Bicqlo Shinjuku East Exit is a store that combines the Bic Camera brand with the fashion brand Uniqlo.

You can purchase VAT tax-free items here or at other Bic Camera branches, choose the delivery method to the airport’s arrival hall, and explore comfortably without carrying heavy bags. Some staff may also speak English or other languages, so communication won’t be a problem.

Yodobashi Camera

Similar to Bic Camera, Yodobashi Camera is an electronics retail chain with a vast range of products, from technology to household goods and toys. Yodobashi Camera stores are often large and multi-story buildings, serving as a one-stop-shop for all electronics needs.

The chain is known for its competitive pricing and frequently offers a wide range of products at discounted prices. Yodobashi Camera has stores in major cities across Japan, including Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Fukuoka. The flagship store, Yodobashi Akiba, is located in Akihabara, Tokyo, a popular electronics district.

Don Quijote

Famous for its iconic devil mascot, Don Quijote (sometimes called “Donki”) is a multi-category store offering everything from food to toys, jewelry, and household goods. These stores also have numerous healthcare products and medicines, from vitamins and nutritional supplements to cold and flu medicine.

The largest discount stores in Japan for a 24-hour shopping experience are located in areas like Shinjuku and Shibuya in Tokyo or Umeda in Osaka.


As a tax-free store chain offering a diverse range of goods, including electronics, fashion, cosmetics, and jewelry. Some Laox stores have duty-free shops, catering specifically to travelers seeking duty-free goods. These shops are designed to make it convenient for international tourists to shop without paying certain taxes.

Laox stores may offer multilingual support, including English-speaking staff and signage, to assist international customers. Like other retailers, Laox may have special deals, promotions, and discounts at various times throughout the year. It’s worth checking their website or contacting the store for information on ongoing promotions.

Matsumoto Kiyoshi

Specializing in cosmetics and personal care products, Matsumoto Kiyoshi is a well-known drugstore chain, often sought after by tourists for purchasing Japanese beauty and cosmetic products. The stores carry both Japanese and international brands, offering a variety of skincare and makeup items.

Matsumoto Kiyoshi stores are widespread across Japan and can be found in various locations, including major cities, shopping districts, and residential areas. They often have a distinct orange and green logo that makes them easily recognizable. The chain is known for its competitive pricing, and customers can find a wide array of products at different price points. Matsumoto Kiyoshi often offers discounts, sales, and promotions, making it a popular choice for budget-friendly shopping.

You can also purchase VAT-tax-free items at grocery stores, small shops, and official retail outlets (outlet stores). Look for the red and white Tax-Free labels on the windows of these stores or at the counter.

In most stores, you need to spend a minimum of 5,000 yen per day to qualify for tax exemption. At some stores, you may receive an instant tax refund, or you can go to the tax refund counter at the airport before leaving Japan. Remember to bring your passport for VAT-tax-free shopping and be cautious not to open the packaging of any consumable items such as food, perfume, or alcohol before boarding the plane. In some cases, you may need to present the purchased items at the customs area when leaving Japan.

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