How2: Buying Online in an Offline Culture.

In a culture where ATMs charge after 6pm, close at 8pm and restrict your withdraws to a limited number of machines, where credit and debit cards are non-existent, and online banking hasn’t even been translated into Katakana – how do you shop online in Japan?

Japan is renowned for its crazy ass-technology, out of the box thinking and future-creating design. Unfortunately, nobody has told 99% of Japan this, and even today persists a cash culture.

Ordering on

Thankfully computers and internet are as prevalent as any Western culture, in fact 4G is freely available across the country, even in the remotest of areas, making accessing shops online, easy.

Amazon JP straight out the packet

Whilst once upon a time even the most optimistic, die-hard Gaijin would have despaired at the cacophony of Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana assaulting the senses above, good old Google saves the day and once again allows the Gaijin to prosper.

Amazon JP Eng
As translated by Google Translate

However the products are still in Japanese. Here I found looking at the American/UK Amazon allows you to find the product you want, and just copy and paste the exact brand and model across and plonk it in your basket – almost done!

Paying and Delivery – How konbini-ent!

As touched on before, the konbini is the lifeblood and soul-saver on Japanese society. In much the same way that in the UK companies are clocking onto the fact that some people actually work during a regular 9-5 delivery time, and have introduced delivery lockers into supermarkets, the konbini has been doing this since the dawn of man. It also doubles up as your offline payment method, bridging the void between cash and the online.

Shop Choices
Using your postcode, you can search for konbinis that hold deliveries

Using your Zip code, it’s possible to bring up a map of every konbini in your area where you can have your goods delivered too – double check with your own map to ensure you select the right store! Choose konbini as payment method and Bob’s your ojisan!

**It’s worth noting that only good purchased directly through Amazon can be paid for this way, not through marketplace.

At this point, only a few more hurdles remain… The ticket machine at the konbini! Having received your email from Amazon, the small matter of payment is due. Following the instructions for the specific konbini you selected, locate the ticket machine, and spend several minutes deducing which buttons to press and which string of numbers go in where! With your receipt, head to checkout to pay and await your parcel!


The simplest and most exciting part. You’ll received a confirmation of payment! A delivery email and arrival at the konbini email. Print this and look lost at the cashier and they’ll do the rest!

By J.Molkenthin

James Molkenthin is an enthusiastic and energetic British Designer, with a background in Graphics, Website and Product Design.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.