It’s been long overdue for me to write this, since I said that I would do it a number of times on the forum. Ordering stuff from websites that are in a different language can be a little intimidating, especially when you’re shelling out for hundreds of dollars worth of JDM parts. This DIY should give you the basics of what you need to do to order parts directly from Japanese websites, particularly rakuten.co.jp. Since most of these sites don’t ship internationally, I utilized a forwarding service, Tenso.com, to do the international shipping. The shipping can get a little pricey, especially for heavy/large items, since they will only ship by air, but it always comes extremely fast; faster than I when I order parts from within the US!
To give an example of the costs involved, I ordered some JDM body-colored splash guards from a vendor on rakuten.co.jp, which cost about $200 shipped to Tenso. Once Tenso received the package, the charges to get them to me were about $35, including their service fee. Their service fee comes out to about $7. You’ll be surprised to find out that getting items directly from Japan can sometimes be cheaper than getting the same exact items being resold by US retailers, even with the shipping, but usually it will be about the same. Rakuten.jp is where I have found the most of items that I have purchased from Japan, so that’s what experience this DIY is based on. The only thing you can’t get this way, are Honda parts that are not accessories. I have a different way of getting those, which I will go over at the end of the DIY.
There’s a bunch on the internet and I’m sure you already have one that you like to use. I usually just type it into Google and it just does the conversion. An example of what I type is:
99999 jpy to usd
With the answer, it will bring up a small currency converter on the search results page, which you can enter additional currency conversions as you shop for other items.
Get Google Translate Plug-in for Your Web Browser
It’s a lot nicer to shop when you can understand the pages that you are looking at, so getting something that works with your web browser to automatically translate pages for you is pretty much essential. Google translate has worked really well for me and that’s what I recommend. I normally use Google Chrome for web browsing, but sometimes the Google Translate plug-in for Chrome gives me some trouble when adding things to my cart, so it may be necessary to try other web browsers if you encounter issues. For web browsers other than Chrome, I think Google Translate comes with the Google Toolbar.
Register with Tenso.com
Tenso is a forwarding service that will receive your item from a Japanese retailer and then provide the international shipping to you. When you register, Tenso will give you a shipping address that you can provide to Japanese retailers, which has a unique number within the address that will be used to identify that a package is yours. When they receive a package sent to your unique forwarding address, they will send you an email saying that your package has arrived and you will then need to log in to complete the order. Registering with Tenso is pretty easy, since everything is designed with non-Japanese customers in mind. They have a few guides on the website to help you get familiar with how the process works, so I recommend that you look through them until you get comfortable with everything.
Link to Tenso is here:
Forwarding service connecting overseas customers and Japanese online stores [ Tenso.com ]
Using Your Tenso Address
My experience with Japanese online retailers is mostly through rakuten.co.jp, which is kind of like the Amazon.com of Japan. I had a little issue with figuring out how to input my Tenso address, since it’s not exactly straightforward on which part of the address need to be entered into which address field, but after a little research I got it figured out. There is a guide on Tenso, but I didn’t feel it was very clear, so I’ll try to explain it with an example here. I’ll use my address as the example, which will probably be very similar to the one you get. Each part of the address will be color coded to make identifying them a little easier. I don’t actually know if what I did is 100% correct, but this is what I did and it has worked every time.
My Tenso Address:
東京都 足立区 千住曙町４２－４ ＴＳ125103 通販商品配送サービス ＴＥＮＳＯ 取次ぎ
Postal Code: 120-0023
City, Ward (Island): 足立区
Rest of Address: 千住曙町４２－４ ＴＳ125103
Company Name/Organization Name: 通販商品配送サービス ＴＥＮＳＯ 取次ぎ
And that’s basically it. The address was the only thing I had some confusion about, so everything else that you would need to enter is pretty straightforward and you should be able to figure out. Also, try not not to send items to my forwarding address in the example; I will gladly ship your stuff to my house and keep them!
Shopping on Rakuten Ichiba
I really only have experience with shopping on Rakuten Ichiba (rakuten.co.jp), which has pretty much any part that you would want for your CR-Z. There is also global.rakuten.com, which is supposed to cater to international customers, but the selection of parts is pretty limited and I haven’t found it to be very user friendly. It might have been an issue with the vendor, however, so you may have some better luck with it than I did. But until that's figured out, I prefer rakuten.co.jp and shipping with Tenso more.
Anyways, Rakuten is basically an online marketplace where various vendors have a store to sell their items. I usually just try to order from one vendor at a time to keep things simple. Each store will typically have quite a few things from the same “type” of item that you are looking for. If you want Spoon stuff, the store will typically have the whole Spoon parts line up. If you want JDM Honda Accessories, they will have pretty much all of them. Same thing for Beatrush products, HKS, etc. Also, many of the sites will use the manufacture part numbers, so if you know the part number, just type it in Google, include "rakuten" as one of your search terms and you should find it.
Here is a link to the Rakuten Ichiba main webpage:
One issue that I encountered with Rakuten is figuring out how to pay; some vendors didn't have any payment options that I was able to use. The available payment options depends on the vendor and there's just going to be a few that you won't be able to buy from. Try to find out as soon as you can, by adding an item to your cart and clicking the red "checkout" button to see the shipping options on the next page.
There will be some shipping options as well. It might not be clear on which one you should choose; it wasn't for me, so I'll give it a mention. I usually choose "courier", which is the usually the first option, to ship to my Tenso address. Usually you can eliminate the options until there's one that kinda makes sense.
Another good place to look for JDM stuff is at rhdjapan.com. This is where I got my HKS LA clutch. It's all in English and should be pretty easy for anyone to use, so I don't need to get too in depth about it. One thing to keep in mind though, is to NOT order in US dollars; their conversion rate is horrible.
Order everything in Japanese yen and let your credit card or PayPal do the conversion.
JDM Parts and Racing Accessories direct from Japan: RHDJapan.com
Ordering Non-Accessory JDM Honda parts
While OEM Honda accessories are available on Rakuten, all other OEM Honda parts are not. For example, I could not have gotten all of the parts for my power folding mirror conversion from Rakuten; those are typically only available from Honda dealers. I only know one way to do this and it’s somewhat expensive, but we should just be thankful that there’s an option…
The website that I use to get my JDM Honda parts is japanparts.com. They also sell JDM Honda accessories, but they tend to be much more expensive than what you could get from a Rakuten vendor, so I wouldn't recommend buying those from them unless they had a sale going on. They also have a forwarding service as well, but I haven’t used them yet. If someone wants to try, please reply to this thread with your experiences.
Anyways, the main page that I use to get the JDM Honda parts, is their unlisted parts inquiry form. There are only three spaces for three parts on the form, so if need more than three parts, then you'd have to send a few inquiries to get all the parts that you need. It'll usually take a business day or two for them to get back to you. They will recognize that all of the inquiries are from you and email you a link with all of your parts together on one page. Link to the inquiry page is here:
Inquiries for parts unlisted on our web site
Anyways, that should get you guys started with getting parts direct. Reply to this thread if you used this method to get parts or if you have another method of getting parts from overseas, especially if you can get access to EDM parts. Thanks!