Best Place to Buy Japanese Groceries Online

Originally posted Sept. 4th, ’18, and massively updated on Dec 1st, ’22

Living in the greater Los Angeles area, I was lucky to have three Japanese markets all within 6 miles from my home. Unfortunately, not everybody is that geographically lucky, so here are the best places to buy Japanese groceries online.

These are also the most reliable online marketplaces to buy Japanese groceries from sauces, snacks, desserts, dinnerware, health and beauty products, to rice cookers, all online.

You’re busy (most likely hungry too), but I got you. I not only got your stomach, but I also got your fingers from having to do their scrolling workout because right below is the quick guide. Beyond it with some scrolling are the full details.

This may be your daily challenge to test your attention span or to exercise your fingers.

The Quick Guide on Japanese Grocers

The TL;DR (“too long didn’t read) was added so that you can put your brain on idle.

Brick and Mortar Japanese Supermarkets (for Frozen and Fresh Produce)

This quick guide also includes listings that I have full articles on to take you directly to, and are not featured here such as where to buy sashimi/raw fish.

Along with every place to buy Wagyu (Japanese beef).

Check out the full dedicated post on the top 5 Japanese markets in SoCal (Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego) because how else are you going to buy frozen lau lau, seafood, or fresh wasabi, myoga, mizuna, or shungiku.

The Fastest Turnaround Times, TypicallyWhen you want it fast, Amazon is the place to go for fast turnaround times and shipping (for Amazon Prime members, free one-day delivery, two-hour grocery delivery times).
The Best Japanese Grocer for basic Japanese IngredientsSoy sauce, mirin, dashi, to rice wine vinegar can all be found on Amazon, although if you do not want to feed the Bezos beast. The other recommended sites are Gohan Market (Atlanta, GA)Yamibuy.com (Brea, CA)Umami-Insider (SF Bay Area), and if you are anywhere near Asia/Japan JapaneseTaste.com (Amagasaki, Japan).
Best Place to Buy Sashimi (Raw Fish)When it comes to buying sashimi online, the Ito family aka Riviera Seafood Club out of Los Angeles, California has you covered.
Best Place to Buy Wagyu Beef (Japanese, American, and Australian)I have a listing for that too, and you can find all the online Wagyu (Japanese beef) sellers here.
Best Place for Specialty and Artisanal Japanese Food ProductsThe Japanese Pantry (artisanal Japanese food ingredients), and Umami-Insider.store (vegan, organic, gluten-free, and any every other American “health food” industry buzzword).
Best Place for Japanese Instant Ramen/NoodlesIt used to be Tokyo Central due to their low pricing and diverse product line-up, but your best option now is Amazon.

The biggest Japanese brick-and-mortar grocers in the United States are: Marukai, Mitsuwa, Nijiya, Seiwa, and Tokyo Central,

Unfortunately, none of these Japanese markets proficiently sell online, and they are primarily brick and mortars on the West Coast (except Mitsuwa with TX, NJ, HI, and IL).

Who is the Biggest Online Japanese Grocer

Obviously the biggest site is Amazon, but here are the other sites on the web by size:

The biggest site for Asian food (Chinese, Korean, and Japanese) groceries is Yami, but as for a dedicated Japanese grocer, that #1 standing goes to JapaneseTaste.com out of Amagasaki, Japan.

I find this amusing that some of the top companies in Japan and below are not founded by ethnic Japanese (only by nationality) such as Softbank (Masayoshi Son/Korean), Nissin (Momofuku Ando/Taiwanese), and the list goes on. Japan needs to encourage more foreigners to come to Japan because of their plummeting population.
Peach Tree,
San Francisco,
New York City,
New York
Arlington Heights,
SF Bay Area/
New York City?
The monthly traffic estimates are just that, guesstimates utilizing SEO tools.

There is a battle between Google and Amazon going on and Google represents most American small to medium-sized businesses (SMB’s/websites), whereas Amazon has become the direct-to-consumer (D-T-C) portal.

Amazon has cut out the middleman, the retailers: strip malls and mom-and-pop shops that typically have an online presence (found via Google search). This blog helps to promote both, and not just Amazon.

The Criteria of Which Japanese Grocers Are Featured

Every one of these sellers, from Amagasaki, Japan, Atlanta, Georgia, to Los Angeles, California, in the United States, is focused on Japanese groceries for English speakers. If you are searching for a Japan-based grocer, do not expect the site to be in English or cater to international buyers (Japan lags far behind on the web for e-commerce).

North American (English Speakers) Centric Content
If you are in the U.S., you will want to buy as locally as possible to minimize shipping cost and turnaround times to receive your product(s).

Shipping Cost and Turnaround Times
It helps to get free or low-cost shipping because who wants to spend $25 on shipping a $4 bag of chips to either end of the American coasts (well, no one buys just one bag).

Specialized Online Sellers for Japanese Groceries
There are a number of sites online where e-commerce is an afterthought, and their central focus is on their brick and mortar. So turnaround times, issues with your order, or the ease of being able to place a transaction and the processing of your order online can be troublesome (*ahem* TokyoCentral).

Japanese Brands/Products
Some online grocery vendors may sell everything under the sun, while others will focus on a specific niche. This list will help you to discern which online marketplaces specializes in the products you want, so that you can get the best price, selection, and service possible.

The Top Eight Japanese Supermarkets Online

All the details are here to help you choose the right market for you.

Listed in alphabetical order

The numbers were added to make it easier to navigate the list.

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Photo Description: an iPad with a screenshot of Amazon.com. The image shows a shot of a Kikkoman soy sauce bottle.
Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 as an online bookstore, and now he has soy sauce to miso. Bezos also drove a ’97 Honda Accord that he used to drive all the time, but now he has a Lamborghini Veneno, times change (he still has the Accord).

There are some items you have to check Amazon for due to Amazon’s size because they dominate the web for product range and turnaround times which can be as fast as the same day or the next day.

Many sellers have their own e-commerce platform although they still sell through Amazon.

Where is Amazon Located/Headquartered

Amazon is headquartered in Seattle, WA, and they have fulfillment centers all over the U.S.

Shipping Details

If you are not familiar with or have bought anything off Amazon, you must be new to online shopping. If that is you, Amazon is constantly working on ways to improve their processing and fulfillment times, so you can get products the same day, to the very next day.

Specialized Online Retailer

There are a number of sellers who sell Japanese goods, but you need to be very savvy because some of the items can be ridiculously priced or deceptive (sold under the guise of being a Japanese product, but they are Chinese owned and operated and produced product).

Country of Origin of the Brands Carried

You can find 🇯🇵 and 🇯🇵🇺🇸, but Amazon is mostly products from China 🇨🇳 (38-42% of the top-sellers).

Product Focus

It’s a crapshoot! Sometimes you will get lucky and find everything you want, but you still have to be careful where your product is being shipped from and what price you are paying, here are 3 examples:

One such item is a shiro shoyu (a white soy sauce made primarily of wheat) that I can purchase for $15, but they have one seller who sells it for $109!

An instant noodle I like: Sapporo Ichiban Tokyo Chicken by Iron Chef Morimoto (3.44 ounces), and a 10-pack goes for 24.99. Yet during the height of the pandemic, some of these sellers had a field day jacking up their pricing. 

Although if you stock up on these ready-made curry sauces that you can store indefinitely, buying 5-packs for $22.12 or $4.42 each can still be a little pricey compared to Los Angeles brick-and-mortar grocery stores will have them on sale for around $1.

My Notes on Amazon

It is the recurring theme you probably read previously which is watch out how much you are paying because there are some reasonable pricing and some ridiculous pricing.

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Gohan Market

When it comes to “gohan,” some will think Dragon ball, a bowl of rice, or supper time.

Two years ago, the parent company of Gohan Market moved from Torrance, California, to Atlanta, Georgia, and in December 2021, they opened their first brick-and-mortar.

I highly doubt CEO dude is a noob, and it’s a good gamble to say he had worked for one of the five Japanese super market chains in Los Angeles.

Where is the Japanese Pantry Located/Headquartered

They are headquartered in Doraville, GA, and their brick and mortar is in Peachtree Corners, 4015 Holcomb Bridge Rd. (BTW, Sushi Mito, only a few block over looks legit!, even Denver, CO does not have an equivalent).

Shipping Details

An example of the shipping cost for 3 sauces: 1). Daisho Japanese BBQ sauce, 20.45 oz, 2). Kikkoman extra fancy prime umami soy sauce, 15.3 fl. oz (I want to try this product), and 3). Mimoya Kimchi no moto kimchee base, 15.87 oz. The total comes out to $24.14, and since I doubt I would ever have things shipped to CA, I used my CO address which starts out at $15.09 via FedEX Home Delivery (1–5 days), all the way up to $67.95 for Priority Mail Express and $276.90 for FedEx First Overnight® Saturday Delivery (let that sink in).

Specialized Online Retailer

If they are, they appear to be one of the smaller operations.

Country of Origin of the Brands Carried

🇯🇵 and 🇯🇵🇺🇸

Product Focus

It appears they have a great selection of products, and their featured brands are Miko Brand (miso), Ito En (green tea), Calpico (uncarbonated drinks, and not a surprise), Kikkoman (soy sauce), Otafuku (sauces, many of them are vegan), and Calbee North America (snacks like shrimp chips).

My Notes on Gohan Market

This site has the same vibes as Nijiya Market which is bad because their site is also cluttered with Japanese kana. This makes site navigation an eye sore, and if 80-90% of their web traffic is not coming from native Japanese speakers, why (except, I assume that is their sole goal)? Especially since they are located in Georgia, but they do not cater to American and English speakers (imagine moving to Japan, living in a rural part of Japan, and only catering to American ex-pats).

I had to nerd out and look up the percentage of Japanese in Peachtree there are, and the largest population of Japanese in all of Georgia is 1.42% out of a population of 32k. Whereas a second source cites Berkeley Lake with 1.5% (they are 7 minutes apart).

Why are they in Georgia, surprisingly because of Calpis (yea, I know, if you’re a Murican, you read that as “cow piss”). but Calpis makes cultured milk beverages in Japan, along with animal feed additives “utilizing a process of culturing drying and grinding a soybean based product into a pro biotic additive in powder form,” 

3-three icon

The Japanese Pantry

Photo Description: an iPad with a screenshot of theJapanesePantry.com. The image of shows an image of the inside of a soy sauce company with the text "Artisanal Japanese Ingredients."
Somebody had to fall into one of those vats at one time, if so that may be been where “oriental flavor” came from because what is that flavor?

If you are looking for artisanal Japanese sauces to basic ingredients that you won’t find anywhere else, other than in Japan, this is where you go to buy it (I bought the smoked soy sauce by Yugeta).

They come from the restaurant industry, so they know wassup.

Where is the Japanese Pantry Located/Headquartered

San Francisco/Bay Area due to the 415 number?

Shipping Details

I have in the past ordered a couple of items from theJapanesePantry.com, and I had absolutely no issues. The site may lack support information that other sites provide although I am sure if I give them a call or email, they will respond quickly.

Specialized Online Retailer

They are not as refined as the other online markets, and their e-commerce solution is through Shopify. So if you are familiar with or have ever bought anything on any website that utilizes it (a lot of sites out there), you won’t have any issue purchasing anything from here.

Country of Origin of the Brands Carried

Primarily, if not all are 🇯🇵

Product Focus: 

If MTC dominates at wholesale, Korin dominates with events, then the Japanese Pantry kills it with the very niche Japanese artisanal products.

Their content, imagery, and online presence via social media is also where they excel at because most Japanese companies suck in that respect, so Murica FTW.

Maybe the reason for that significant and welcomed difference is due to Greg Dunmore, a Michelin starred chef and co-founder Chris Bonomo who are passionate about Japanese food (yea, that comes through with their product line-up and their social media content).

So if you are looking for pottery, sauces, seaweed, sesame, soy sauce, spices, or vinegar, you have to check them out because where else are you going to find smoked soy sauce by Yugeta Shoyu for $16.

My Notes

I have purchased a couple of products from theJapanesePantry.com, and they delivered the product within a respectable amount of time, nice.

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Japanese Taste

I still read their name as “Japanese taste good,” and if you go to Papua New Guinea, the cannibals will agree.

A newly redesigned site by a company based out of Amagasaki, Japan (this is why Japan needs foreigners, like David).

This dude is a hustler because it seems as though they have had some phenomenal growth because they also operate Daitool which seems equally impressive.

Where is Japanese Taste Located/Headquartered

Expandy Co, is the parent company, and they are based out of Amagasaki, Japan (near Osaka Bay)

Shipping Details

We currently offer three shipping speeds for most of the countries. f you spend over a certain amount, you may be eligible for free shipping. Free shipping will be calculated automatically at the checkout page.

Country of Origin of the Brands Carried

🇯🇵 From the horses mouth: “Currently all the brands we carry on our website are Japanese and most of the products are made in Japan. In a few cases the products are manufactured in other countries, but always designed in Japan. By carefully curating our brand and product range we can offer high-quality products sourced locally and sustainably.”

Product Focus

It is quite expansive from groceries, snacks, beauty, health, home, office, and baby & kids. With these featured brands prominently promoted on their home page: Shiseido (beauty products), Meiji (snacks/candies), Muji (a lot of stuff, from food to stationary), Glico (snacks, what up Osaka), Kobayashi (pharmaceuticals), Biore (you should know this one, but skincare, especially those fun nose strips), Teraoka (soy sauce), and Sori Yanagi (industrial designer for kitchenware)

My Notes

Damn, ferocious, JapaneseTaste.com just seems to dominate, and that is all from a dude who went from Instagram to his newly launched site in 2022 in about 7 years, nice.

5-five icon

MTC Kitchen

Photo Description: an iPad with a screenshot of MTCkitchen.com. The homepage shows several products from sharpening stones, premium food products, to Japanese knives.
Both MTC Kitchen and Korin are the kings of customer service, and I’m talking about the online/over the phone. So I can’t imagine how good the experience is in in-store.

If you are in the restaurant industry, you will know who this company is because they are a dominant competitor for food products, ramen bowls, and rice cookers/warmers.

If you are a restaurant or a home cook, MTC is the spot.

Where is MTC Kitchen Located/Headquartered

New York City, NY

Shipping Details

They have a quick turnaround because I placed a 5-piece order at 11 pm on a Wednesday, and they shipped it the next day by 11 am (have your order in before 11 am Eastern Standard Time, and I chose UPS 3-Day select), and I got my order on the following Tuesday. The best part, is they notify you all along the way of where your package is.

Specialized Online Retailer

This company kills it on many levels, from wholesale to online sales.

Their product line-up (not primarily a grocery store): rice and mochi, soy sauce, sauces and dressings, dashi, oils and vinegars, salt, sugar, flour, starch, seasoning, seaweed, soy wraps, noodles, tofu and soy milk, beverages, and desserts.

Country of Origin of the Brands Carried

🇯🇵 and 🇯🇵🇺🇸

Product Focus

Japanese Knives, Sharpening Stones, Sushi Supplies, Kitchenware, Tableware, Bar Tools, Disposables, Uniforms, Decorations & Books, Clearance Foods, Free Shipping with over $100. Out of all the products they have, they are all very distinctive to them because they are most likely the source for many of the products as a major distributor in the U.S. for restaurants and the foodservice industry. Where else can you find an Auten maki sushi cutter ASM 250A for a measly sum of only $5,800, but if you think that is too pedestrian for you, they also carry the Sushi Master ASM 865A for $14,000.

My Notes

As I said before, both MTC Kitchen and Korin exemplify the service you would get from a Japanese company that is really good (attentive).

6-six icon

Nihon Ichiban

“Ichiban,” something I could not tout in school.

Another company, where all it takes is a one stellar employee, and I know exactly what sort of operation they have, an impressive one.

Actually, it was two people, and with most sites I reach out to, you will hear nothing (mostly Japanese companies).

Where is Nihon Ichiban Located/Headquartered

Headquartered in Odawara, Kanagawa, Japan, and they have been in operation since 2012. Since then, they have served thousands of customers.

Shipping Details

A message from Nihon Ichiban themeselves: PLEASE NOTE: As a result of the pandemic some shipping services are still temporarily suspended.  There may still be delays on international shipping routes, and some of our items continue to have longer handling times than usual. We may not be able to guarantee your order will arrive before the holidays. For any questions regarding shipping and handling times, please contact our Customer Support team here:  ichiban@chinriu.com. Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience.

Specialized Online Retailer

Yes (that’s all folks)

Country of Origin of the Brands Carried

Primarily, if not all are 🇯🇵

My Notes

Their core competency is not in web design or anything to do with design at all (their Japanese brethren, Japanese Taste are the ones who exemplify that), and I think they are a logistics company at heart.

Number 7 icon

Umami Insider

Photo Description: an iPad with a screenshot of umami-insider.store. The site is part blog and online grocery marketplace for all sorts of Japanese food products. This is one of the best sites to buy Japanese food online.
Is it a blog on food or are they a store? Well, they are no JustOneCookBook.com, but they do carry a number of very distinctive products Japanese products that seem somewhat unique to their marketplace.

I never heard of or bought anything from this company before (I do not have a need for gluten-free or organic), but they have a cool ass dude who reached out to me to answer all the questions I had about them, that makes me a fan.

That right there goes to show you how effective this company is, and why I would make purchases from them in the future.

Where is Umami Insider Located/Headquartered

Products are possibly shipped out of the Bay Area (why do they never state this?).

Shipping Details

I looked up Honda Shoten’s Izumo Soba Noodles for $6.90 to see how much the shipping cost on just one product would be. Since I am unfortunately in Colorado at the moment, a USPS shipment will cost $3.56 for an approximate total of $10.46. I don’t know the fulfillment times from order to doorstep as I do with the others, and maybe I should have taken their gift card to test out their service. Except I don’t need to when they cite 2-3 business days from the time-ordered which I hope is padded to give them wiggle room. I hope that because nowadays with some online entities from Amazon to small companies/businesses, the product goes out the day I placed my order to the next day.

Specialized Online Retailer

Yes they are, and they say they launched their online store only a year ago, yet they are quickly on their way of becoming one of the biggest online Japanese specialty grocery stores in the U.S.

Country of Origin of the Brands Carried

🇯🇵 and 🇯🇵🇺🇸

Product Focus

Well, it’s limited, but everything is uniquely Japanese with a focus on gluten-free to organic b.s., and what that consists of is categorized as “pantry staples,” sauce/mayo, dashi/seaweed, noodles, drink/dessert, to easy kits & ready-to-eat. That last one caught my attention because the products have to be shippable/non-perishable, so I had to see what they consider “kits” or “ready-to-eat.” One of those products is a douchey 4.94 oz gluten-free arrabbiata pasta sauce for $5.40 which is just the eff’n sauce. They sell their gluten free brown rice pasta separately that are not ready to eat unless a pot of boiling water and a stovetop are considered ready-to-eat. Although regardless of how they categorize their products, this product is distinctive because it uses a rice puree instead of using wheat flour for thickening. The product is by Akitakomachi Company.

My Notes

The reason this dude from Umami Insider was cool and cited “effective” is because the Japanese are non-existent when it comes their digital marketing, and they are the only ones that call social media “SNS (social networking sites).” Not only that, marketing and having an English speaking staff (even in the US) are not common which is why their guy who reached out to me is cool because he is the opposite of everything I just said about Japanese companies in general. I mean, everybody else could be dicks/clueless at Umami-Insider, but at least I know one legit contact that gives me a lot of faith in their company.

Number 8 icon


Mmmmmh, that’s so yami.

“Shop Asia: Japan, Korea, and Greater China” sums up Yamibuy’s massive product line-up that also includes Thai, Taiwanese, and other Asian brands/products.

Why is Yamibuy included because they are not predominantly a Japanese grocer? Because they are an American company, and I love this: “Yami was founded by Alex Zhou. While studying in Kansas, he experienced the inconvenience of driving two hours to reach the closest Asian market.” Somebody gets it through a firsthand experience.

Where is Yami Located/Headquartered

Brea, California (Orange County) and Xi’an, China.

Specialized Online Retailer

Yes, out of them all, this company is gaaaaaaaangsta, and they are committed to dominating the US amongst Chinese and Chinese American demographic.

Country of Origin of the Brands Carried

Primarily 🇨🇳 Greater China 🇯🇵 Japan and 🇰🇷 Korea

Product Focus (and Demographics)

“Is the leading Asian American-Centric Internet Company, dedicated to providing Asian snacks & food, beauty & health products, home appliances and books to Asian Americans. With rapid growth, Yami is now the most popular one-stop shopping destination among the Chinese community in North America.”

My Notes

I can tell you right now, this will be one of the businesses to potentially dominate the web and beyond because the Japanese brick and mortars will not focus on or pursue e-commerce. Only the large Japanese distributors such as MTC will pursue it, but I think they are primarily logistics companies (same reason why Nikon and Canon failed to maintain their lead in photolithography, a market they had dominated in but now have relegated themselves to the lowest rung on the totem pole with EUV).

In time, I can see them continually growing their other market segments which will be about their internal management ability and willingness to deal with the culture and language issues for Korean and Japanese products (since Zhou went to school in Kansas and lives in LA, it won’t be a problem).

With my limited knowledge, I feel Yami only has to worry about another American (like Amazon) or another mainland China competitor to be an issue for them in the future, well maybe JapaneseTaste.com.

Am I missing any? If I am, let me know.

Beyond Japanese Groceries

From kitchen equipment, noodle machines, or where to buy Japanese sake online.

There will be continuous updates made to this page, and if you had a standout experience with any of these businesses, please let me know.

Also, if there is anything you think is missing from this page, also drop a message.

Best places to buy Japanese dinnerware online

One of my newer dedicated posts to identify the best online Japanese dinnerware websites.

Best place for restaurant equipment/food supply

You can’t beat these two, MTC Kitchen and Korin.

Best place for everything under the sun/cool chit

Want cheap stuff that doesn’t suck? Well then, Daiso Japan is your “Japanese dollar store.”

Best place to buy sake online

These are the top online sellers to purchase from.

All the Changes This Page Has Undergone Over the Years

Why did I keep a log or timeline? To give you an idea of how the online marketplaces have changed over time.

In ascending order

UPDATED (4/12/20)

Placed an order with Tokyo Central on 4/4/20, and I have to say they have a poorly run online ordering system because they won’t notify you of anything (not via email or through their social media, so I had to reach out to them which is where they shine. Their one-on-one customer service is amazing, and they reassured me they are working hard to get orders out, but they are poorly equipped to do so which means I won’t see my order till about 4/27 (3+ weeks).

UPDATED (10/13/20)

Tokyo Central/Marukai (they can’t even get this message right by saying “Tokyo Central/Marukai”) has shut down their online operations.

UPDATED (12/3/20)

A “quick guide” has been added, along with Umami-Insider.store and a not recommended for Umamimart.com which I was initially skeptical of adding because even though I try to include ALL relevant places regardless if I have purchased products from them prior, I always want to make sure that you are buying from a reliable and reputable source. From my poor experience with Umami Mart, I will not vouch for them.

UPDATED (11/20/21)

I created a number of dedicated resources of specific items, so here are a few direct links to help make it easier on you: Sashimi grade fish to uni: from sashimi grade fish to Santa Barbara or Hokkaido sea urchin. Japanese knives: every top online website to brick and mortar knife shop. Sake: all the top online websites for Japanese sake.

Click the link if you want to know the “Top Japanese Supermarkets in SoCal.

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