Do you know the longest sushi roll ever made stretched from Los Angeles to Tokyo?

Now that we've whetted your appetite, let's talk about something equally complex: shipping goods between the US and Japan. This process is a minefield of rates, transit times, and ever-evolving customs regulations - enough to rattle even seasoned business owners.

Our guide breaks down this intricate process, illuminating freight options from air to sea, through to customs clearance, duties, taxes, and packing expert advice for businesses. The aim is to help you derive maximum value with minimum stress.

If the process still feels overwhelming, let DocShipper handle it for you! As an established international freight forwarder, we are proficient in smoothly navigating this process,turning potential challenges into tangible success for your business.

Table of Contents

Which are the different modes of transportation between US and Japan?

With the vast Pacific Ocean lying between the US and Japan, air and sea are your most realistic transport options. Picture trying to drive a car or a truck across thousands of miles of open water - that's not going to work, right?

Here, you'll need to choose based on time, cost, and the nature of your goods. Just like choosing between a speedy race car or a sturdy old pickup truck, both options have their advantages.

Planes are faster but pricey, while ships save your wallet but take a little longer. And certain goods prefer the slow, steady sway of a ship or the high-flying speed of an airplane.

How can DocShipper help?

Planning to ship goods between the US and Japan? DocShipper is your trusted adviser. Our experts offer end-to-end services, from transportation planning to customs clearance, making international freight as easy as a local delivery. Reach out now for a free estimate within 24 hours or speak to our consultants to get your questions answered, free of charge.


sea-freight-services from and to the USA

Sea freight from and to the US

Sea freight between US and Japan

Dive into the intricate realm of ocean freight between the might of the US and the innovation powerhouse that is Japan. With a strong trade bond strengthening their economic ties, ocean freight becomes a critical thread connecting the trans Pacific players. Infusing life into this bond are bustling seaports like :

the Port of Los Angeles and Yokohama Port,

pivotal in bridging the gap between US and Japan's major industrial hubs.

When high volume of goods comes into play, sea freight steps in as a reliable and cost-savvy partner. It might be shy on speed, but compensates with capacity and affordability.

But let's not sugarcoat it. Shipping across the Pacific isn't a breezy sail. Shippers often feel like they're battling a sea monster of challenges - convoluted customs, missed guidelines and even more paperwork. However, with some expert tips, handy best practices and learning from common mistakes, you'll be navigating the rough waters like a seasoned mariner. Gear up as we dive into the deep abyss of US-Japan freight, backstroking through complexities, to make your shipping voyage smoother.

But, why stop there? Let's anchor on some insider insights, helping you streamline your shipping operations, saving on time and cost, and ensuring your goods reach their destination just in time. We'll distil into simple language the vast sea of customs clearance process, duties and other essentials, making sure you become a savvy, mistake-proof shipper. Stay tuned for practical insights to transform your journey across the Pacific.

Let's embark on this voyage, shall we?

Main shipping ports in US

Port of Los Angeles:

Location and Volume: Positioned in San Pedro Bay, 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, this port is integral to Trans-Pacific trade, managing an impressive 9.46 million TEUs in 2020.
Key Trading Partners and Strategic Importance: Major trading partners are China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Japan, and South Korea. It's ranked as the top port in the U.S by cargo volume.
Context for Businesses: If you're aiming to penetrate the Asian markets, the Port of Los Angeles is a powerful hub due to its sheer volume and connection with key Asian economies.

Port of Long Beach:

Location and Volume: Just adjacent to the Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach had a significant traffic of 8.11 million TEUs last year.
Key Trading Partners and Strategic Importance: Prominent partners include China, South Korea, Vietnam, Japan, and Taiwan. It's home to the most advanced and green terminal in the world.
Context for Businesses: For businesses considering sustainable shipping practices, the Port of Long Beach, with its eco-friendly terminals, might be an ideal choice.

Port of New York and New Jersey :

Location and Volume: Located on the East Coast, this port handled 7.6 million TEUs in 2020.
Key Trading Partners and Strategic Importance: Key trading partners comprise China, India, Germany, Italy, and Belgium and it stands out as the busiest port on the East Coast.
Context for Businesses: Given its strategic location and expansive reach, it serves as a crucial gateway for access to the dense consumer markets of the East Coast.

Port of Savannah :

Location and Volume: Situated in Georgia, it processed 4.69 Million TEUs last year, making it one of the busiest ports in the U.S.
Key Trading Partners and Strategic Importance: Main trading partners are China, Vietnam, Germany, India, and Honduras. Savannah is rapidly growing due to its unique network of logistics and distribution services.
Context for Businesses: If speed to market within the U.S. is your priority, the Port of Savannah invigorates continental reach with its superior rail connectivity.

Port of Houston:

Location and Volume: Located in Texas, this port is pivotal for Latin American trade, handling 2.99 million TEUs in 2020.
Key Trading Partners and Strategic Importance: Principal trading partners include Mexico, China, Brazil, Netherlands, and Germany. It's a leading hub for breakbulk cargo.
Context for Businesses: Businesses with diverse cargo types would find the Port of Houston beneficial given its expertise in handling breakbulk cargo.

Port of Seattle:

Location and Volume: Nestled in the Pacific Northwest, it transported 1.6 million TEUs in 2020.
Key Trading Partners and Strategic Importance: Main trading partners involve China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, and Taiwan. It operates the fastest-growing container terminal in North America.
Context for Businesses: Port of Seattle epitomizes a strategic logistics option if you're targeting the flourishing Asian markets and desire quick turnaround times.

Main shipping ports in Japan

Port of Tokyo:

Location and volume : Officially residing in Tokyo Bay, the bustling Port of Tokyo handles an impressive volume of around 100 million tons in cargo annually. This port plays an integral role in facilitating exports and imports for Japan's capital city.

Key Trading Partners and Strategic Importance: The Port of Tokyo has crucial trade links with countries and regions like the United States, China, Southeast Asia, and Australia, among many others. It serves as a logistics hub with its state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure that support the massive cargo throughput.

Context for businesses: The Port of Tokyo is ideally suited for businesses aiming to penetrate the Asian and American markets, taking advantage of its robust trading network and sophisticated logistics services.

Port of Yokohama:

Location and volume : The Port of Yokohama is located southeast of Tokyo Bay and handles a cargo volume of approximately 90 million tons each year, making it the second busiest port in Japan.

Key Trading Partners and Strategic Importance: Its trade relations extend to various regions, including the United States, Australia, China, and South Korea. It not only plays a significant role in Japan's foreign trade but also enhances the global logistics chain with its exceptional capability to handle diverse types of cargo.

Context for businesses: For companies looking to diversify their cargo types and exploring the Pacific markets, incorporating the Port of Yokohama in their logistics strategy might provide pivotal advantages given its versatility and strategic location.

Port of Nagoya:

Location and volume : Situated in Ise Bay, the Port of Nagoya is the largest and busiest trading port in Japan, with a shipping volume of approximately 200 million tons per year.

Key Trading Partners and Strategic Importance: It harbors significant trade affairs with the United States, China, Taiwan, Korea, and Thailand. The port's strategic importance extends beyond its trading partners as it bolsters Japan's economy with its exceptional handling capacity.

Context for businesses: Businesses striving to access diverse markets and ensure efficient large-volume shipping should consider the Port of Nagoya, given its high capacity and expansive trading network.

Port of Kobe:

Location and volume : Located in Osaka bay, the Port of  is considered one of Japan's most important ports. It handles a shipping volume close to 80 million tons annually.

Key Trading Partners and Strategic Importance: The Port of Kobe's main trading partners include the United States, China, South Korea, and regions within Southeast Asia. Being one of Japan's most historical ports, it holds strategic significance in the nation's maritime trade.

Context for Business: For those seeking to build a robust logistics framework in North America and Asia, leveraging the Port of Kobe's well-established connections can be a strategic move to expand your operations.

Port of Chiba:

Location and volume : Nestled in Tokyo Bay's northeastern shore, the Port of Chiba boasts an annual shipping volume of almost 85 million tons.

Key Trading Partners and Strategic Importance: It has important trade alliances with various Asian countries, Australia, and North America. The port's excellent infrastructure and streamlined customs process boost its strategic value in international trade.

Context for businesses: The Port of Chiba can be an ideal choice for businesses aiming to streamline their import/export processes whilst capitalizing on its extensive trade network.

Port of Osaka:

Location and volume : Ideally located in Osaka Bay, the Port of Osaka manages an impressive volume approximating 70 million tons of cargo annually.

Key Trading Partners and Strategic Importance: This port conducts substantial trade with China, Southeast Asia, and North America. It plays a vital role in nourishing Osakan and Japanese trade with these key markets.

Context for Businesses: Incorporating the Port of Osaka as part of your supply chain could provide convenient access to key markets, leveraging Osaka's dense network of trade relations, especially if your business plan involves expanding towards the East Asian or North American markets.

Unlock hassle-free shipping

Struggling with choosing between consolidation and a full container for shipping between the US and Japan? Let DocShipper, your reliable freight forwarder, make it straightforward for you! Our ocean freight experts consider volume, weight, and timing to recommend the most cost-effective and efficient option. Don't get swamped in logistics; let us simplify it all for you. Ready to make cargo shipping trouble-free? Request a free estimation today!


How long does sea freight take between US and Japan?

Transit times over sea freight between the US and Japan generally range from 2 weeks to a full month. These times may vary depending on a variety of factors, including the specific ports of loading and unloading, the weight and volume of the shipment, as well as the nature of the goods being transported.

To assess the precise time and cost for your specific shipping needs, we advise you to reach out to a reputable freight forwarder, such as DocShipper, to get a personalized quote.

The following table provides an overview of estimated transit times, stated in days, between the four primary ports in the US and Japan.


American Ports Japanese Ports Avg. Transit Time (Days)
Port of Los Angeles Port of Yokohama 15 to 18 days
Port of Houston Port of Kobe 21  to 25 days
Port of Savannah Port of Nagoya 23 to 27 days
Port of New York Port of Tokyo 21 to 25 days

*Please note, these are tentative times and real-time data may vary. Contact your freight forwarder for the most accurate information.

How much does it cost to ship a container between US and Japan?

Determining an exact shipping cost from the US to Japan per Cubic Meter (CBM) is nuanced due to various influential factors. Ocean freight rates vary widely based on elements including the Point of Loading, Point of Destination, carrier chosen, nature of the goods, and the current market situation.

In light of these variables, and in our commitment to offer you optimum value, we don't advertise a standard rate. Instead, every shipping request receives a tailor-made quotation from our seasoned shipping specialists, who analyze your specific needs to provide the most competitive rates.

Rest assured, we're with you every step, ensuring transparency and cost-effectiveness in all your shipping endeavors.

Special transportation services

Out of Gauge (OOG) Container

Definition: Out of Gauge (OOG) containers are special shipping containers for oversized or overweight cargo that exceeds the dimensions of standard containers.
Suitable for: OOG containers are perfect for larger, heavier items that can't fit into standard containers.
Examples: Heavy machinery, construction equipment, or oversize spare parts are typical examples of Out of gauge cargo.
Why it might be the best choice for you: If your business involves moving particularly large or heavy items from the US to Japan that don't conform to standard sizes, OOG shipping can ensure safe and efficient transport.

Break Bulk

Definition: Break bulk is the method of shipping goods individually, or in bags, bales, or boxes, often loaded onto a pallet. Unlike container shipping, break bulk does not use standard containers.
Suitable for: Break bulk is best suited for oversized items and loose cargo loads that would not fit in a standard container.
Examples: Construction equipment, manufacturing machinery, or long steel pipes can be shipped as break bulk.
Why it might be the best choice for you: If your cargo doesn't lend itself to being put in containers and can be handled individually, break bulk shipping allows for greater flexibility in terms of the size and type of items you can ship.

Dry Bulk

Definition: Dry bulk involves transporting unpackaged goods in large quantities, such as grains or coal, typically in a ship's hold.
Suitable for: Dry bulk is perfect for loose, granular commodities like ores, coal, grains, or sand.
Examples: If you're a business that specializes in exporting large amounts of commodities like wheat, rice, or corn from the US to Japan, this method may be the best choice.
Why it might be the best choice for you: If your business deals with the distribution of large quantities of raw materials, dry bulk shipping offers an efficient way to get your products to Japan.

Roll-on/Roll-off (Ro-Ro)

Definition: Roll-on/Roll-off (Ro-Ro) vessels are ships designed to carry wheeled cargo. Vehicles are driven on at the point of departure and driven off at the destination.
Suitable for: Ro-ro is ideal for shipping cars, trucks, tractors, buses, or any other wheeled or tracked vehicle.
Examples: A US company that sells agricultural machinery like tractors or automobiles can use ro-ro vessels.
Why it might be the best choice for you: If your business involves transportation of vehicles or machinery with wheels or tracks from the US to Japan, Ro-Ro offers a simple, efficient method.

Reefer Containers

Definition: Reefer containers are refrigerated shipping containers for transporting perishable goods that need to maintain a certain temperature.
Suitable for: Ideal for transport of food items, pharmaceuticals, or any perishable goods requiring temperature control.
Examples: Businesses dealing with dairy products, fruits, vegetables, or medicine can utilize reefer containers for their shipping needs.
Why it might be the best choice for you: If you need to move perishable goods from the US to Japan, investing in reefer container shipping ensures they arrive fresh and undamaged, maintaining the quality of your products.

At DocShipper, we understand the complex nature of international shipping and work hard to provide you with the best possible options for your unique cargo needs. Contact us for custom advice on shipping methods and to receive a free shipping quote in less than 24 hours.

air-freight-services from and to the USA

Air freight from and to the US

Air freight between US and Japan

Imagine racing counterparts in a global electrifying sprint, but the commodities on the line are your high-value goods. That's air freight for you – a fast, dependable shipping mode from the US to Japan. Picture shipping Silicon Valley's cutting-edge technology or New York City's latest fashion designs – air freight positions itself as the perfect conduit for smaller, valuable shipments. Harnessing crucial speed and trustworthiness, it's as if your goods are flying in a business class cabin, where service is exceptional and punctuality matters the most.

However, one misstep, like miscalculating a package's weight, is like tripping on the starting blocks. Shippers often fail to factor in dimensions along with weight, misjudging the racing track and ending up paying the price of a wrong lane. Or worse still, not understanding the rules of the race, leading to exorbitant cost outlays.

This guide will help you train intelligently, avoiding the usual pitfalls that often chip away at your hard-earned victory. Knowledge will be your personal trainer in this race, ensuring you always beat your shipping deadlines without breaking the bank.

Air Cargo vs Express Air Freight: How should I ship?

Ever wondered about the most efficient way to whisk your goods from the US to Japan? It all hinges on choosing between traditional air cargo, piggybacking on commercial flights, or express air freight rabbiting on a dedicated route plane. Let's delve into these shipping modes and identify which one suits your business the best.

Should I choose Air Cargo between US and Japan?

Considering freight between the US and Japan? Air cargo might be your best bet. Carriers like FedEx and ANA Cargo are leading in this sector. FedEx, a US-based global courier, boasts speedy delivery and competitive prices. Check their official site here: FedEx.

ANA Cargo, a Japanese airline, prioritizes reliability and punctuality. Visit them here: ANA Cargo. Air cargo proves cost-effective and reliable, though note the longer transit times due to airline schedules. Particularly from 100/150 kg (220/330 lbs) of cargo, this option becomes increasingly attractive for your budgetary needs.

top global air freight companies in the U.S.

Should I choose Express Air Freight between US and Japan?

Express air freight involves dedicated cargo planes sans passengers, aimed for speedy deliveries regardless of the global destination. Ideal for cargo under 1 CBM or weighing 100/150 kg (220/330 lbs), it provides quick transits and comprehensive tracking.

Your logistics strategy could benefit from renowned courier services like FedEx, UPS, or DHL , guaranteeing on-time, express deliveries from the US to Japan, if speed is paramount and the shipment small. This choice could align perfectly with your time-sensitive shipping needs.

Top global courier express companies in the U.S.

How long does air freight take between US and Japan?

Estimating an average of 2-5 days for air freight shipping between the US and Japan, the true transit time is nuanced. It fluctuates depending on a variety of factors including specific departure and arrival airports, the weight of the shipment, and its nature.

For an exact timeline tailored to your unique needs, DocShipper, or another experienced freight forwarder, can provide a detailed estimate.

What is the difference between volumetric and gross weight?

Air freight shipping uses two weight concepts: Gross weight is the actual physical weight of your shipment, including packaging. Volumetric weight, on the other hand, is a calculation of your cargo's dimensions, reflecting its overall size rather than its actual weight.

Gross weight is straightforward: just weigh your entire shipment, in the packaging, and there you have it. For instance, your packaged goods might weigh 35 kg (or ~77.2 lbs).

Volumetric weight, alternatively, involves a bit more math. It's determined by multiplying the package's dimensions (length, width, height) in centimeters, then dividing by 6,000.

Suppose your shipment measures 50 cm 40 cm 30 cm. Multiply these together (504030 = 60,000), then divide by 6,000. The result is 10 kg (~22 lbs) for your volumetric weight.

This matters because freight charges are based on whichever number is larger - gross or volumetric weight. In our example, the chargeable weight would be the gross weight of 35 kg (77.2 lbs).

Understanding this can help you manage costs more efficiently, whether you’re shipping a lightweight, bulky item or a small, heavy one.

Door to Door Transport from and to the USA

Door to door transport from and to the US

Door to door between US and Japan

When it comes to simplicity and convenience, door-to-door shipping stands out. It's a comprehensive service that includes shipping your goods from their origin in the US directly to their destination in Japan, managing all logistics in between.

This method offers benefits like simplified logistics and potentially lower costs. In the following sections, we'll detail how it works and why it may be your best option. Let's dive in.

Overview – Door to Door

Understanding the shipping process between the US and Japan can seem daunting, given the intricate customs procedures, varying duties, and transportation hassles. But, here's where Door to Door shipping is a game changer - it's a stress-free solution handling all these complexities.

Beyond just transportation, it includes customs clearance, saving you headaches and time. Sure, it could be pricier than doing it yourself, but the peace of mind and streamlined process it offers explains why it’s a hit with our DocShipper clients.

Go on, keep reading to see if it's the precise fit for your requirements. Enjoy hassle-free shipping!

Why should I use a Door to Door service between US and Japan?

Are your logistics nightmares keeping you up at night? Say goodbye to the shipping blues, because Door to Door service is here to save the day, especially when shipping between the U.S. and Japan! Here are five compelling reasons why you might choose this superhero service.

  1. Banish Logistics Stress: With Door to Door service, you can outsource your worries! This comprehensive service kicks off with pickup from your site, smoothly sails (or flies) through customs, and ends with delivery at your recipient's doorstep—literally.
  2. Timely Delivery for Urgent Shipments: Tick-tock-watch that clock! Time-sensitive shipments are handled with ease, streamlining your logistics and reducing transit times. The service is tailored to meet the demands of your schedule, ensuring your goods are delivered exactly when you need them.
  3. Specialized Care for Complex Cargo: Delicate sculptures? High-tech machinery? No problem. Door to Door service offers intricate handling and special provisions for complex and fragile goods, ensuring their secure and safe delivery.
  4. End-to-end Convenience: The term Door to Door isn't just metaphorical. The service includes trucking all the way to the delivery point, taking the weight off your shoulders and handling all the grunt work so you can focus on other vital business operations.
  5. Complete Customs Support: Navigating the bureaucracy of customs can be as challenging as cracking a cryptic crossword. But with Door to Door service, all necessary paperwork and clearance procedures are handled professionally, simplifying the process for you.

So why choose Door to Door service for shipping between the U.S. and Japan? Simple. It's because you deserve a stress-free, reliable, and comprehensive logistics solution that caters to your needs at every step of the journey!

DocShipper – Door to Door specialist between US and Japan

Experience hassle-free door-to-door shipping between the US and Japan with DocShipper.

Our dedicated and proficient team handles the entire shipping process from A-Z. We take care of everything - packing, transport, customs, and more. Reach out to us for a quick, free estimate within 24 hours or consult our experts for premium advice. Sit back and let us turn this complex task into a breeze.

Your journey towards stress-free shipments with a dedicated Account Executive just a click away!

Customs Clearance in the U.S.

Customs Clearance US

Customs clearance in Japan for goods imported from US

Customs clearance is the process by which goods imported into a country are cleared through its customs authority - a crucial step in your international shipping journey. Particular for our topic, importing goods from the US to Japan is no simple task, littered with possible pitfalls such as unexpected fees and delays due to insufficient paperwork.

The ins and outs of customs duties, taxes, quotas and licenses can significantly impact your shipping experience, sometimes even resulting in your goods becoming stuck in customs. Luckily, further sections will delve deep into these topics, guiding you every step of the way.

Here's the good news: DocShipper offers comprehensive assistance for all kinds of goods, no matter where in the world. Need an estimate for your project budget? Simply provide the origin and value of your goods, along with the HS code, and our team will be more than happy to assist.

How to calculate duties & taxes when importing from US to Japan?

Understanding how to estimate duties and taxes for imports from the US to Japan can save you from unnecessary surprises and help streamline your operations. It is crucial to know certain key variables.

These include the Country of Origin, or where your products were produced or manufactured, the HS Code that classifies your goods for tariff purposes, the Customs Value which determines the tax base, and the Applicable Tariff Rate that will be applied on that base.

Also, bear in mind that other taxes and fees may apply to your products, influencing the final cost. The first step on this journey is to unmistakably identify the country where the goods were manufactured, as this often impacts tariff rates and preferential trade agreements.

Step 1 - Identify the Country of Origin

Understanding where your goods originate can make a world of difference to your bottom line.

  • First off, it can affect goods classification; the same item might have different HS codes depending on the country of origin.
  • Secondly, it influences the rate of duty, under specific trade agreements. Take the United States-Japan Trade Agreement (USJTA) as an example, which drastically reduces or eliminates duties for certain U.S. goods.
  • Thirdly, recognizing the origin country can help to avoid potential sanctions or restrictions. Japan has tight regulations on certain U.S. items, like perishable foods and agricultural products.
  • Fourthly, specific documentation may be necessary depending on the origin. This affects import compliance and the smoothness of your shipment.
  • Lastly, accurately determining the origin can save you from penalties if the information is wrongly provided. Not sure where to start? Look at the 'Made in...' label or check with your supplier.

Remember, an informed decision could be a brisk wind in the sails of your shipping adventure. Accurate information will streamline your customs process, save you from unexpected costs, and ensure your goods reach their destination as smoothly as possible.

Step 2 - Find the HS Code of your product

The Harmonized System (HS) code is a standardized numerical method of classifying traded products. It's used by customs authorities around the world to identify products when assessing duties and taxes and for gathering statistics.

You might find it easier to ask your supplier or manufacturer for the HS code of your products since they're expected to be familiar with the goods they're exporting and the relevant regulations.

In case you aren't able to get that information, there’s a straightforward process to find the HS code yourself. You can start by using the HS lookup tool also known as a Harmonized Tariff Schedule. You need to input the name of your product in the search bar and the tool will fetch you details related to your product. In the result panel, you will find the HS code listed under the 'Heading/Subheading' column.

A word of caution here; accuracy in choosing the HS Code is of paramount importance. A wrong HS code can result in delays in shipment clearance and could potentially lead to fines for wrongly declared goods.

To sum it up, here's an infographic showing you how to read an HS code.

hs code finder

Step 3 - Calculate the Customs Value

Confused about customs value? It's not as complicated as it seems. You might think it's the same as the product's price tag, but it's a bit different. Think of customs value as the total cost you or your business has spent getting your products right at Japan's doorstep. It's known as CIF value - Cost (of the goods), Insurance, and Freight (shipping costs).

For instance, if you bought a product for $1,000, paid $200 for shipping and $50 for insurance, the customs value won't be $1,000 but $1,250.

Remember, customs duties in Japan will be calculated based on this CIF value and not just the price of the goods. With this, you can plan your expenses more efficiently.

Step 4 - Figure out the applicable Import Tariff

An import tariff is a tax imposed by a nation on goods brought in from another country. For Japan, the primary types of tariffs implemented are ad valorem tariffs, where duties are based on the value of the good, and specific tariffs, which are based on the product's physical characteristics.

To determine the precise tariff applicable to your goods, it's essential to reference Japan's Customs Tariff Schedules, which can be accessed online. After you located the Harmonized System (HS) code identified during the classification process, you will need to follow these steps:

1. Navigate to the online tariff database.
2. Input the HS code and the country of origin (the United States in your case).
3. Check the duties and taxes currently applied to your product.

Here's a practical example for understanding: Suppose you are importing a miniature circuit breaker from the US with a HS code of 853620, having an ad valorem tariff of 3.9%. If your Cost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF) costs are USD 10,000, this would mean you'll owe USD 390 in import duties ((CIF Cost Tariff rate) = Import Duties).

Recognizing the import tariff is crucial as it directly impacts your costs and can significantly affect your competitiveness in the Japanese market.


Step 5 - Consider other Import Duties and Taxes

Getting your product through customs in Japan is not just about paying the standard tariff rate. Specific goods from certain countries may be subject to other costs. If you're importing alcohol or tobacco from the US, for example, an excise tax comes into play. This is a special duty levied on certain goods and depends on the type and quantity.

Anti-dumping duties are another scenario to watch. Let's say you're importing steel at prices lower than the local market – Japan might impose this tax to protect its domestic economy.

Then there's the elephant in the room – Value Added Tax (VAT), pivotal in your overall shipping cost. In Japan, it's called the Consumption Tax, and currently, it sits at 10%. Here’s how you calculate it:

(Cost to produce goods + shipping + insurance + standard tariff + other taxes) Consumption Tax rate.

For example, if your costs add up to $1000, your VAT would be $100 (assuming the rate is 10%). Always seek up-to-date local fiscal advice as rates may vary.

Remember, these are just basic examples. Your actual duties and taxes will depend on several factors including the specific product, its classification code, and the latest regulations. Always stay informed!

Step 6 - Calculate the Customs Duties

When importing goods from the US to Japan, calculating your customs duties can be complex but it's an unavoidable step in the process. Let's break it down:

1. For items subject to customs duty only: The charge is calculated as a percentage of the customs value of your goods – let's say that's 10%, so for goods valued at $1000, you'll pay $100 in customs duty.

2. For items subject to customs duty and VAT: Let’s assume you have goods valued at $1000 with a 10% customs duty and 8% VAT. Your customs duty would be $100 and your VAT would be calculated on the total value, including the duty – meaning $1000 + $100 = $1100. So, your VAT charge will be 8% of $1100, i.e., $88.

3. For items subject to customs duties, VAT, anti-dumping taxes, and Excise Duty. Here, not only should you calculate VAT on the sum of the customs value and duties, but also include Excise Duty and anti-dumping taxes. Suppose your anti-dumping tax is 5% and Excise Duty is 3%. For goods valued at $1000, your total tax will be calculated as follows: customs duty of $100 ($1000 x 10%), plus anti-dumping ($50), plus Excise Duty ($30), plus 8% VAT on the sum of these values.

Navigating these figures can be tricky, but you don't have to go it alone. At DocShipper, we handle every step of the customs clearance process worldwide, ensuring you never overpay. Contact us for a free quote within 24 hours. Ship smart, stay compliant.

Does DocShipper charge customs fees?

As your custom broker in the US and Japan, DocShipper handles administrative duties but doesn't charge customs duties - these go directly to the government. It's important to distinguish between customs clearance fees we handle and the actual customs duties. You'll be provided with official customs documentation as proof of all charges paid, assuring transparency on what's you pay. This way, you can clearly differentiate between our service fees and government taxes, keeping your business smoother and free from hidden costs.

Contact Details for Customs Authorities

Required documents for customs clearance

Understanding what paperwork is needed for customs can be a real headache. This section is your guide, simplifying the complexity around the Bill of Lading, Packing List, Certificate of Origin and Documents of Conformity (CE standard). Eliminate any confusion and be ready to ship without delays!

Bill of Lading

Picture the Bill of Lading as your shipment's passport. Critical for freight exchange between the US and Japan, it's the official seal, marking ownership transition. Just like when you hand over your passport at airport security, your goods surrender the Bill of Lading at customs.

Opt for electronic release or 'telex', and speed up your processes. No waiting for snail mail here, just a swift, secure transfer of documents. And if your cargo takes the air route, remember your Air Waybill (AWB), it's the Bill of Lading's air travel cousin.

Consider these your keys for a smooth, worry-free shipping experience between these two nations. Remember, proper paperwork first – you wouldn't travel without your passport, right?

Packing List

A Packing List is your road map for a smooth shipping journey from the US to Japan. It's not just a list; it's a keystone document for Customs, detailing everything about your shipment—contents, quantities, values, and more.

Think of a high-tech manufacturer shipping components from San Jose to Tokyo: without a clear Packing List, their consignment might face needless delays, a nightmare for just-in-time-production. It's your job to ensure that your Packing List is meticulously accurate, whether you choose sky or waves for transportation.

Remember, missed details can mean missed shipping dates. Keep it clear, comprehensive, and precise to prevent complications in your logistics adventure.

Commercial Invoice

Commercial Invoices between the US and Japan need meticulous attention. It's not just a list of traded goods, but a passport for your shipment at the customs. Be sure to include details like the seller and buyer's contact, terms of delivery, and a detailed description of goods including HS codes, quantities, and accurate pricing.

It's these details that influence your duties and taxes calculation. An inconsistent invoice might lead to customs hold-ups or penalties.

For instance, if you’re shipping semiconductor devices, ensure that its HS Code (854231) is correctly mentioned to avoid discrepancies. Double-check your commercial invoice against other shipping docs like the bill of lading for a smoother customs clearance.

Remember, a well-prepped invoice saves time, money, and frustration!

Certificate of Origin

Shipping your goods from the US to Japan? Then, you'll need a Certificate of Origin (CO). The CO acts as a 'passport' for your products, proving where they were created. Stating the country of manufacture is vital here.

Why? Because, for instance, if your goods were made in the US, you might be eligible for preferential customs duty rates under the US-Japan Trade Agreement. Think of a Michigan-based company exporting cars to Tokyo. By designating 'USA' on their CO, they may enjoy lower duties, boosting their profitability.

So, remember, always keep your CO in check - your bottom line will thank you.

Get Started with DocShipper

Navigating US-Japan customs can be complex and time-consuming. Let DocShipper take the reins! We help streamline every step, ensuring your shipments clear customs swiftly and without unforeseen costs. Why juggle logistics when you can focus on growing your business? Request a free quote today and receive a comprehensive breakdown in less than 24 hours. Remember -- simple, fast, and efficient shipping is just a click away.


Prohibited and Restricted items when importing into Japan

Unsure about what's allowed into Japan? It's a road bump many deal with. Some items get the red light while others come with conditions. Delve into the nitty-gritty of Japan's import regulations - it's your map to smoother shipping.

Are there any trade agreements between US and Japan

Yes, the US and Japan have forged the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement and the U.S.-Japan Digital Trade Agreement. These pacts lower tariffs on numerous goods and regulate digital commerce, easing your export-import endeavors. There's also ongoing dialogue for a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA). You might also find potential opportunity in the Fast Track cargo railway project expanding trade links. Stay attuned to these evolving opportunities to keep your shipping strategies sharp.

US - Japan trade and economic relationship

A long-standing economic ally, US-Japan trade relations have matured significantly since World War II. Over the decades, significant milestones such as the 1960 Treaty of Mutual Cooperation catalyzed bilateral trade relationships. Today, key sectors span automobiles, agriculture, and technology, with cars and machinery serving as major commodities.

In 2022, the US exported $80 billion in Japan, while Japan reciprocated with a staggering $150 billion in US imports all the way from the country where the sun rises.

This robust exchange speaks volumes about their symbiotic economic relationship. Despite global uncertainties, these partnerships show formidable resilience, testifying to the countries' mutual aspiration for sustainable growth.

Your Next Step with DocShipper

Shipping between the US and Japan involves both logistical complexities and strict customs regulations. Are you perhaps feeling overwhelmed by all this? From customs clearance to door-to-door delivery, DocShipper ensures your freight journeys smoothly across continents. Let us shoulder your shipping burdens. Contact us today, and experience a hassle-free international shipping process!


Additional logistics services

Unearth the seamless possibilities within your supply chain with DocShipper's additional services! We don't stop at shipping and customs; we've got your back through each step of your logistic journey.