Food Business

Where to Buy Japanese Food, Kitchenware, to Health and Beauty Products Online from Japan to the UK that Caters to English Speakers

I was at a Korean hostess bar with a female friend, and we had gained the attention of the female staff, which a fellow patron did not like since we were only drinking beer. The guy was drinking some pricey whisky, and he was being neglected, which is why he came on over to let me know that he spoke the Queen’s English and that I did not (cuz Murica). Well, the women continued to ignore him, so he threw a fit. That laughable moment is why I dedicate this page to him because regardless of your English ability, these are the sites for Japanese products that cater to us (I’m speaking to our brethren in Canada, the UK, Australia, all you Pinoy/Pinay’s, and beyond).

The reason why we have countries throughout Europe that speak a combined total of 200 languages/24 official languages is that for centuries the technology for people to move big distances just did not exist (Germany is about 1.9x’s smaller than Texas, FYI, the more you know 🌈). Now with the internet, air travel, roadways, well-established shipping lanes, to rail transit, we are living in unprecedented times with access to products from all around the world. It is one reason why this directory on where to buy Japanese food online from locations throughout Japan to the United Kingdom exists (so that you can buy Sushi Jenga directly from Japan).

Ecommerce Websites for Japanese Products in the Queen’s English Outside of the U.S.A (Internationally)

If you are looking for websites that cater to Americans and are located in the United States, head on over to one of my other top posts “Where to Buy Japanese Food Ingredients and Kitchen Products Online in the United States.

Before Companies Are Listed, I Reach Out with a Basic Inquiry

I started to do this because there are all too many websites that should not be in business due to poor customer service or should not be trying to cater to English speakers. After all, if they struggle to understand questions/problems, all they do is compound the problem (I have left one egregious website off this directory because of that). 

Photo Description: round green icon with an "checkmark"
Green Checkmark Icon

The company was able to respond and communicate effectively.

Photo Description: round red icon with an "X"
Red “X” Round Icon

Failed to respond or understand correspondence.

Websites listed in alphabetical order.

Akazuki (Fukuoka, Japan)
www.akazuki.com

“Japanese Goods Store” specializes in table (bento boxes), kitchen (NANBU teapots aka tetsubin), drinkware (sake sets), to the coolest product, “SUSHI JENGA!!.”

Photo Description: the Akazuki website has a black header with a white background. On their landing page is a picture of Nanbu Ironware, "takoyaki at home," and a shot of several of their tableware.
Yea, you can buy an authentic Japanese NANBU tetsubin kettle, but for $34.95 you can own Sushi Jenga.
Photo Description: round green icon with an "checkmark"
Verified

Responded to initial email with no issues, but there was no follow-up acknowledgement which was not required (just not engaging).

What They Tout: “Our Japanese store guarantees a state-of-the-art manufacturing. Respectful of the values that have made the reputation of the Japanese manufacturing, we offer you a wide range of authentic Japanese products to the irreproachable quality!”

Shipping Costs: I am so glad this site has one of the best e-commerce features that all e-commerce platforms should have which is a feature where you can check shipping costs and to some degree transit times prior to checking out. One example, an Iwachu Tamagoyaki frying pan from Japan to Newport Beach, CA (92663) would set me back either $10.95 (AIRMAIL eco, insured and tracked) or $15.95 for DHL Express, 4 working days (phone required). Also, my concern was weight because an iron tamagoyaki pan weighs a whole lot more than Sushi Jenga, but the quote is still estimating the shipping costs to be the same.

Their Estimated Site Traffic: the guestimate is approximately a range from 7-21k monthly, and if you are looking for Japanese teapots and tea sets this is where people go. You can go purchase an enamel, iron, ceramic teapots from Nanbu, Ukogama, Shiromaru, Senkin, to Nodohoro all in one place.

My 2 Cents: Since 2010, so they have been in business for over a decade which is one reason why this is one feisty site although the cool thing is on their “About Us” page they say they have 10 employees, 40 destinations in the world? (I assume customer shipping destinations), 5 languages spoken (it’d be cool to know which languages they are), 12,500 satisfied customers, and 3 liters of coffee per day.


Bento & Co (Kyoto, Japan)
en.bentoandco.com

Saving the world through one bento box at a time although they carry a number of other products such as kitchen tools to tableware. Also, #1 for ease of communication should you ever have a problem, question, or issue.

Photo Description: a white background with a number of pics. The first being a ramen bowl with shoyu ramen in it, along with a totoro figure, and a third box with the words "sale, sale, sale."
A lot of “me too” products, but when it comes to bento boxes of all sorts, this is the go to spot for bento boxes for Japanese, French, and English speaking customers.
Photo Description: round green icon with an "checkmark"
AMAZING!

Out of them all, this company was the easiest of them all to communicate with because they have a native English speaker. On top of that, they have a French language and Japanese language store.

What They Tout: ” Since 2008, We help people around the world eat healthier, reduce their environmental impact and save money with authentic Japanese bento boxes.

Shipping Costs: So if I were to pick up 5 onigiri box medium, Norio obento boxes for a total of $48.50, the total cost with shipping would be $63.50 USD ($15 in shipping charges). The shipping method is called “Express Shipping” and is tracked, insured, with a 2 to 5 day delivery time. If that doesn’t sound enticing enough (I think it is), keep in mind that if you spend $180 or more, you do get free shipping.

Their Estimated Site Traffic: the guestimate is approximately a range from 9-15k monthly and when it comes to what they dominate in, if you have not guessed “bento boxes” you will never make detective. Beyond bento boxes, chopsticks, peelers, noodle strainers, to takoyaki pans is why people shop at Bento & Co.

My 2 Cents: it seems like everybody and their mother seems to be carrying ramen bowls now and Bento&Co has not missed the bandwagon – I highly doubt these companies produce sales personas that would help them “organically grow” although maybe they have and ramen bowls is the answer? Also riding along on the wagon are Japanese snacks where they say “can’t get enough Japanese food (more data from their sales persona)? “Check out yummy snacks, ramen, matcha green tea and more – many of which can’t be found outside of Japan!” Well, if that is the case, that they carry products that can’t be found outside of Japan, why not filter/feature a product list of what those products are? Nope, what gets displayed is Kewpie, Golden Hot Curry, Uji matcha KitKat, and Koala’s March. Sounds like a lot of common products available stateside. One other nitpick, if you are going to sell eff’n bento boxes, please show SCALE! I bet that is one of their more common issues (I could be wrong), but I personally can never tell how tiny or small these bento boxes are. On the upside though, they do have one of the better “About Us” pages because they actually give a back story to the owners who are Thomas Betrand who is originally from France, and his wife Erico who is a Kyoto native. They supposedly started off with about $300 in inventory and grew it to their present “flagship boutique” located in downtown Kyoto in March 2012. If that is the case, that is very impressive.


Dokodemo (Fukuoka, Japan)
www.dokodemo.world

“Welcome to Japanese Online Store” sounds FOBBY, but who cares when they are “delivering Japan’s Best-Selling Products Worldwide – as what those best selling products are remains a mystery.”

Photo Description: Dokodemo matches the look and feel of all the other websites although who am I to talk when Oishii-Desu.com is also predominantly white. The landing page of doko has a shot of Fukuoka? There's a girl standing in the middle looking off to left. The text overlay says "welcome to Japanese Online Store."
I do like how aggressive Dokodemo and Kokoro Japan store have been with their affiliate programs to Dokodemo offering up a bonus points campaign although from what I have seen, the efforts the Chinese have made seem to me to be the most impressive. They are eff’n killing it on so many levels, and if Japanese companies don’t step it up, their heyday as a country is going to be the 80’s. The most notable Japanese dot-com is probably Rakuten which acquired buy.com and eBates, and after well over billion dollars, and a decade later, they are packing up (they had a only 1.5% of the top 1000 retailers selling on their platform, even Sears had 4.1%).
No Contact Information

Good luck finding any contact information because they do not list it, so if you have a problem/question/issue, have fun with that. I just tried to message them on social media, so we will see how that goes.

What They Tout: “DOKODEMO is an online shopping site that delivers Japanese products all over the world. We offer the newest cosmetics, baby products, food items, and much more. We want more people from around the world to try and fall in love with Japanese products. It was from this idea that DOKODEMO was born. We welcome and encourage you to give these products a try.”

Shipping Costs: their international shipping page allows you to choose region and shipping country, and I landed on the settings of North America and of course United States. Out of all the countries, we are not on the metric system, our drug dealers our, but the rest of us our on the imperial system. I cite that because if I tell you that your 150g package with set you back $14.1 for express mail or $7.37 for a small packet/AIR, the vast majority of us quarter pounder eating Americans will not know if that is heavy or not. Although see for yourself, the international shipping rates.

Their Estimated Site Traffic: the guestimate is approximately 9-16k in monthly traffic for searches and content for Pururin (wtf? hahaha), Nissin Roah, and Mondom (??). Their overall ranking is for “Japanese store, Japanese products online, to Japanese goods.” What this says to me, is that they are severely lacking in their ability to rank for any substantial product such as their Japanese medicines because none of the other sites listed here carry medicine other than Dokodemo (my guess, the “corporation” status means they are a lumbering giant wandering aimlessly).

My 2 Cents: I want to say that they are using a proprietary ecommerce platform because it feels kind of slow with some quirks although I take it that the site is substantially big? That is my guess because they do have a customer base that requires a staff that speaks English, Japanese, Simplified Chinese & Traditional Chinese. As for the rest of their backstory, their corporation name is Vega-c, and they were established in 2004 although I only show data dating back about 5 years. So upon further research, I think the history of this company is partially invested in their home furnishings business low-ya.com.


Japan Centre (London, United Kingdom)
www.japancentre.com

Not the greatest customer service, but I suppose that is due to their size because the company has six brick-and-mortar locations throughout London, aside from their online presence.

Photo Description: the Japancentre ipad screenshot. The white page with black outlined illustrations minimize the visual clutter because of the monochromatic iconography. On the landing page, they have a promotion of "hina matsuri, sweet & sushi offers. Celebrate girls' day on 3 March with 25% off colorful candy & sushi essentials.
For a truly royal experience, you would be royally eff’d if you do not consider Japancentre.com when shopping online (remember when spelling it’s also center “centre” because “Queen’s English.”)
Photo Description: round green icon with an "checkmark"
Beep, boop, beep

Responded, but their customer service is like dealing with a bot.

What They Tout: “Japan Centre offers the largest selection of authentic Japanese food, drink and lifestyle products in Europe. From well-known Japanese kitchen staples from rice and noodles, to freshly baked goods, matcha and sake, shop from Japan Centre’s extraordinary range of over 3,000 different products on the UK’s favourite Japanese food site.”

Shipping Costs: a $41.86 USD “Shoryu ramen ceramic bowl” requires additional packaging costs of £6.94 ($9.69). They do state this early on in the checkout cue, but they frustratingly do not tell you that they can not ship a bowl to you till you sign-up for an account and try to check out, so I don’t plan on providing any specific shipping cost information. General shipping information is that they utilize the Royal Mail 2nd class, myHermes courier service, DPD courier service, and Parcelforce courier service.

Their Estimated Site Traffic: the guestimate is approximately115-377k in monthly site traffic which makes this the largest of the websites listed although not all of the site traffic is specifically for their e-commerce store, and some of the traffic may be for their restaurants and local businesses.

My 2 Cents: This is massive site with a wide range of products that they tout even in their search bar “search from over 3,100 products.” Although what I would like to know is how their ramen restaurant is because I don’t think Europe does Japanese food right, but I could be wrong.


Japanese Taste (Amagasaki, Japan)
www.japanesetaste.com

Aside from Amazon, it is still somewhat hard to find an extensive amount of Japanese products from food to cosmetics online if it were not for Japanese Taste.

Photo Description: The JapaneseTaste.com website screenshot. The white background with the featured image above the fold has an image of matcha tea set with whole tea leaves in the shot. The written copy says "Reliable Japanese Online Shopping Site for Japanese food, cosmetics, supplements, kitchenware, snacks and more." Out of all the sites, this is site on where to buy Japanese food online.
“Japanese taste” good? I don’t know if this is true, but supposedly cannibals of Papua New Guinea do say that Japanese taste good.
Photo Description: round green icon with an "checkmark"
Impressive.

Same day response and a real person who engaged.

What They Tout: “Reliable Japanese Online Shopping Site for Japanese food, cosmetics, supplements, kitchenware, snacks and more.” Along with a number of iconography that promotes “Genuine Items,” “Expedited Shipping,” “Money Back Guarantee,” and “24h Support.”

Shipping Costs: Their expedited shipping link just goes back to their index page due to COVID, Express International flat rate shipping is all that they offer currently. They also state “While economic shipping is free for most of the destination countries we strongly recommend to upgrade the shipping method to Expedited Shipping. Expedited shipping is a top speed and safe international mail service with an estimate transit time of only 2 to 6 business days from Japan.”

Their Estimated Site Traffic: the guestimate is approximately 8-11k a month, and if you are looking for Kewpie mayo, Salonpas, bonito flakes, to Biore products, this is your go to site.

My 2 Cents: it’s cool to see how these companies stack up against American based e-commerce platforms, and I really need to do a very, very, very time consuming competitive analysis of international and American companies because I know the U.S. is a large market although I bet China and possibly India are also emerging markets? Who knows who they are targeting, but if they do focus on the U.S., I really want to know how they stack up because I think it would be interesting.


Kokoro Japan Store ( Saitama, Japan)
www.kokorojapanstore.com

They claim to have prices close to what you would pay for beauty and healthcare products in Japan such as Biore UV Aqua Rich for ¥998, not to mention free shipping for orders over $80 (just like the screenshot says).

Photo Description: a plain looking landing page with a white background an a featured image with the words "FREE SHIPPING WHEN YOU SHOP and over $80 USD, premium shipping 6-9 business days with a tracking number." Directly below is their "Top 100 best sellers."
Beauty, health, and snack foods. So when you break out from gorging on snacks (sweets and carbs), it’s a one stop shop for you and your complexion.
Photo Description: round red icon with an "X"
WARNING!

Multiple attempts at contacting somebody, and I have had no response (how can they be this bad?).

What They Tout: “Kokoro Japan was launched in September 2019 by a team of passionate individuals with extensive experiences in e-commerce and knowledge in the Japanese market. Even though we have not been in the area as long as others, we pride ourselves as a store that priorities customers first and we understand how you feel more than anyone.” (they should have said “prioritizes.”).

Shipping Costs: sort of obvious if you are looking at the screenshot that Kokoro Japan Store offers up free shipping over $80 USD. This is for their “premium shipping which is 6-9 business days and includes a tracking number. Outside of Asia, Express shipping is 3-5 days and will set you back $20 for any order below $80 (another good site that has all their shipping cost prominently on each page).

Their Estimated Site Traffic: the guestimate is approximately 4-8k visitors per month, and if you are looking for Japanese sunscreen, this is your online seller. Although when it comes to Japanese beauty, makeup, to cleansers, Kokoro Japan store has it all.

My 2 Cents: what is up with everything in yen? I know the exchange rate fluctuates a lot, and maybe that is why they only display pricing in yen? If you are wondering a product that is ¥998 at the time of this post is $9.40 (maybe I over looked on the site the currency converter). The other thing I notice is that this company is not like your typical Japanese companies (well, they make the typical English grammar mistakes) because they seem to be more “business like” with their efforts to market their 4s’s which are “satisfied, seamless, supported, and safety.”

Conclusion, The Two Companies You Would Get the Royal Treatment (Service) From

The list isn’t long to begin with and when I say “royal treatment,” I mean can they simply reply to an email and understand the words and engage and respond. That might sound like lowly commoner service, but in this day and age, it makes a world of a difference.

From the research and interaction, the two companies that stand out from the bunch are Bento & Co and Japanese Taste, and you can’t go wrong with either two.

In Case You Wanted to See the Pics From Our Night Out

I know you are here to find websites that sell Japanese food, snacks, kitchenware, to cosmetics, but I am including some pics from my 2010 Korea trip just because.

Photo Description: two more of the females, the ones we spoke with and play games with most of the night. They are both doing some of the typical Korean poses.
Wow, I actually have pictures from my 2010 trip with pics of the dude and my homie (why include it? The page is dedicated to dude).

BTW, they only wanted to chat with us to practice their English (not like we were amazing company or big ballers).

Photo Description: in the beginning opening of this blog post it mentions a dude who spoke the Queen's English, and this is the guy who said it (scrawny guy, with a white sleeved jacket).
“Pardon me, can I speak with your friend” is how he interrupted us.

That’s the dude in the white jacket sleeves, and prior to our talk, he was was talking loudly about how much he pays monthly for his cell phone.

Photo Description: My friend from the U.S. of A and homie on our 2010 trip to Korea. This was a pic when we were in Myeong-dong. (she's chomping away on the free snacks)
He also crapped on my female homies Korean language skills too, she was unfazed because she knows it sucked (she does have extremely straight hair tho).

I really do wish I was multilingual (I chose swim lessons over Japanese language school).

Photo Description: two of the girls at the hostess bar in Korea.
I’m sure it was the female on the right that understood my expletive filled unloading on dude. Unfortunately his English wasn’t that great to understand the words that were coming out of my mouth, and only she did.
For Korea being fun.

Korea is all too much fun, and if you have never been, I highly suggest you visit, especially Myeong-dong.

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