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Japan Travel Guide

Japan Taxes



A five percent consumption tax is levied on virtually all goods sold in Japan. Sometimes this tax will be included in the advertised price, and sometimes it will be added at the time of payment, so you should check first for large purchases.

Foreigners can buy duty-free items (that is, without consumption tax), but only in certain tourist shops and the larger department stores. Perishable goods, such as food, drinks, tobacco, cosmetics and film, are exempt from the scheme, and most stores only offer duty-free if the total bill exceeds ¥10,000. The shop will either give you a duty-free price immediately or, in department stores especially, you pay the full price first and then apply for a refund at their "tax-exemption" counter.

The shop will attach a copy of the customs document (warriin) to your passport, to be removed by customs officers when you leave Japan. Note that regulations vary for foreign residents, and also that you can often find the same goods elsewhere at a better price, including tax, so shop around first.

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