I want to order a new laptop to be delivered to my airbnb in Japan. Basically the same as if I were carrying it with me in the airport, and leaving a month later (in which case customs need not apply) --- only seemingly more tricky.

Do customs apply when the product is sent in, rather than carried in?

What can I expect? Will it arrive to my residence, or will I have go clear it at local customs?

  • 9
    Is there a really strong reason you want to ship a laptop from overseas to Japan? You can easily and cheaply purchase export-model laptops locally in Japan, which would avoid all the customs hassle. Oct 4, 2018 at 0:11
  • 1
    What's your motivation to import electronics into Japan? Japan has the cheapest electronics compared to literally everywhere. priceoftravel.com/2357/…
    – Max Payne
    Oct 4, 2018 at 7:07
  • @jpatokal I didnt go all the way with my market research, but from what I saw so far, prices aren't much different - for the specs on the linux ready galaga pro I want to order, I saw similar prices in Japan. system76.com/laptops/galago - - - cheaper laptops can get much cheaper. Please let me know if you have better leads.
    – joeav
    Oct 5, 2018 at 10:22
  • So if the prices aren't much different, why not just buy in Japan? Check out eg. Yodobashi or Kakaku.com. Oct 5, 2018 at 11:23
  • Slightly better specs on the Galaga than a lenovo I saw for 140000 yen, and linux-ready. +supporting a small business. I tried checking out kakaku.com, but there's no English version and it doesn't translate well through google (inactive button links)
    – joeav
    Oct 5, 2018 at 11:44

2 Answers 2


When you enter japan by air, you’ll be asked to fill out a customs declaration. Fill it out in duplicate and check the box where it says “unaccompanied items.”

japan customs form

On the reverse side where there’s an itemization, it’s helpful to be as detailed as possible, for example including the laptop serial number.

You’ll get to keep one of the copies of your declaration form stamped by the customs officer.

When sending the laptop be sure to declare its value but write in big letters “UNACCOMPANIED BAGGAGE.” Having the serial number on the customs declaration on the package is useful too. Assuming you sent it to your home or hotel, it’ll arrive there. A postal official might want to see your customs declaration. Sometimes, they’ll want you to pick it up at the local post office so they can get the form.

Keep copies of everything just in case returning to your home country you encounter an overzealous customs agent who wants to duty your laptop coming back.

More info here: http://www.customs.go.jp/english/c-answer_e/keitaibetsuso/7102_e.htm

  • 2
    While this is technically the correct answer to the OP's question, unaccompanied baggage is usually meant for moving permanently to Japan: it's going to lead to a lot of paperwork and potentially some awkward questions, particularly if the OP is there on a tourist visa. Oct 4, 2018 at 0:10

As to your first question: this will be much easier to accomplish if you carry the laptop with you into Japan. That way, there'll be no question that it's your property, acquired before entering Japan, and that because you're going to be present only temporarily in Japan, no Customs duty should be assessed.

・Source: A page in English from the Japanese customs authority

If the computer arrives separately from you, the box must be specifically labeled so as to "connect" to you, and you must declare the contents when you yourself enter Japan. These requirements are set forth in the Japanese Customs page linked above under "Unaccompanied baggage."

The page linked above says that upon your own entry and declaration about unaccompanied baggage, you receive a "clearance" document which allows importation of this property without duty. It's unclear what happens to such package if it arrives before you do. I also wonder how you could complete the declaration during your own entry if the computer is new, hadn't been in your hands, and presumably you wouldn't have or be able to disclose its serial number.

As to your second question: I have no idea, never having done this.

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