Your Comprehensive Guide to Shopping on Taobao from Japan

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Written By Sharline

Sharline is an expert on Chinese export trade. With 10 years of experience in the field of sourcing in China, she is familiar with all relevant regulations and laws about China's exporting. She loves to share her experiences with people and has written many helpful articles.

Taobao, the renowned Chinese online marketplace, is a treasure trove of products, offering a wide range of items from clothing and electronics to home decor and accessories. While it’s a popular platform in China, many people around the world, including those in Japan, are eager to tap into the vast selection available on Taobao. If you’re in Japan and interested in buying from Taobao, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the process, providing you with the knowledge and tools to make your shopping experience a breeze.

Why Taobao?

Before we delve into the “how,” let’s understand the “why.” Why would you want to buy from Taobao when there are plenty of local options in Japan? Here are a few compelling reasons:

  • Unique Products: Taobao is a vast marketplace where you can find unique and hard-to-find items that may not be available in Japan.
  • Affordability: Many products on Taobao are competitively priced, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious shoppers.
  • Fashion and Trends: Taobao is known for its fashion-forward clothing and accessories, making it a hotspot for those looking to stay on-trend.
  • Home Decor: If you’re into interior design and home decor, Taobao offers a wide selection of stylish and affordable options.
  • Customization: Taobao is a go-to place for customized items, from clothing with personalized designs to custom-made furniture.

How to Buy From Taobao in Japan

Now that you’re keen on exploring Taobao, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to make purchases from Japan.

1. Translation Tools

The first challenge you might encounter when browsing Taobao is the language barrier. Taobao primarily operates in Chinese, but you can use web browsers with built-in translation features like Google Chrome or add translation extensions to your browser. These tools will help you navigate the website and understand product descriptions.

2. Create a Taobao Account

To start shopping, you’ll need a Taobao account. Visit the Taobao website ( and sign up. You can choose to sign up with your mobile number or email address. Make sure to set your preferred language to English if it’s available.

3. Choose Your Items

Now comes the fun part—browsing and shopping. Use keywords in English to search for the items you want. You can also use image search or paste product links from other websites. When you find something you like, click on it to view the product details.

4. Product Details and Reviews

Always read product details and reviews carefully. This is where translation tools come in handy. Check product specifications, sizes, and materials. Pay attention to seller ratings and reviews from other buyers to gauge the product’s quality and the seller’s reliability.

5. Add to Cart and Purchase

If you’re satisfied with a product, click “Add to Cart.” You can continue shopping and add more items to your cart. Once you’re ready to purchase, click on your shopping cart icon and proceed to checkout.

6. Payment

Taobao accepts various payment methods, including Alipay, which is a widely used digital payment platform in China. You can top up your Alipay account using your Japanese credit card or other payment methods. Some sellers may also accept international credit cards directly. Ensure your payment method is set up correctly on Taobao.

7. Shipping Address

When entering your shipping address, be sure to input it correctly and in English characters. It’s crucial for your items to reach you without any issues. Some sellers may offer international shipping, while others may require you to use a Chinese shipping address.

8. Shipping and Import Fees

Consider the shipping costs and any potential import fees when making your purchase. Shipping fees can vary depending on the seller and the shipping method you choose. Be prepared for additional import taxes or customs duties when your items arrive in Japan.

9. Track Your Order

Taobao provides order tracking information, which you can access through your account. Keep an eye on your order’s progress and estimated delivery date.

10. Delivery and Receipt

Once your items arrive, inspect them carefully. If you’re satisfied, confirm the receipt of your order on Taobao. If there are any issues, communicate with the seller to resolve them.

Tips for a Successful Taobao Shopping Experience in Japan

  • Check Seller Ratings: Stick to sellers with high ratings and positive reviews to minimize the risk of disappointment.
  • Use a Taobao Agent: Consider using a Taobao agent or a shopping service that can assist you with language barriers, payment, and shipping. These services can make your experience smoother.
  • Understand Return Policies: Familiarize yourself with the return policies of both Taobao and the individual sellers. Some items may not be eligible for returns or exchanges.
  • Stay Informed: Keep an eye on Taobao promotions and sales events for discounts and deals.
  • Shipping Consolidation: If you plan to buy from multiple sellers, consider using a shipping consolidation service to save on shipping costs.
  • Check Size Charts: Pay close attention to size charts, especially when buying clothing or shoes, as sizes may differ from what you’re used to.
  • Use Secure Payment Methods: Whenever possible, use secure payment methods like Alipay to protect your financial information.


Shopping on Taobao from Japan opens up a world of exciting possibilities, from fashion-forward clothing to unique home decor items and much more. With the right tools, knowledge, and precautions, you can enjoy a successful and rewarding shopping experience on this Chinese e-commerce giant.

Remember to be patient, especially if it’s your first time navigating Taobao. Over time, you’ll become more familiar with the platform and find it easier to discover great products and deals. Happy shopping!