The Tax-Free Programme in Japan allows shoppers using a foreign passport to be exempted from paying 8% tax on specific range of goods. Although the assortment is quite wide, it’s reasonable to ensure whatever you are willing to purchase is included. In my case the shop assistant stepped ahead of me and asked right away if I want to save money (duh!).
What products are tax-exempt?
General goods such as electric appliances, clothing, accessories, but also medicine, sweets, snacks and plenty more. There is no limit to how much you can buy, but your bill has to represent minimum value of￥10000 for the former category and￥5000 for consumables. Other than that, let the shopping spree begin!
Once you decide to buy an item (or a few), you will receive a proof of the tax exemption attached to your passport.
I visited Yodobashi (ヨドバシ) in Shinjuku, Tokyo – the biggest seller of electronics and got myself a camera lens. The original price was ￥24798, but I actually paid￥22815, which saved me about￥1983! Taking the lens was cheaper than in UK to begin with, I saved about £40 by making the purchase in Japan. Cool!
What happens if I need to leave Japan?
Make sure you don’t lose the record of purchase left in your passport as you will need to submit it to the Customs on the departure from Japan. Also remember you can’t open consumables. They must be sealed in their original packaging. You are allowed to remove the proof once you departure from the country.
What if I lose the item or the affixed receipt in my passport?
If you are not in a possession of item(s) purchased tax free, you will be asked to pay the consumable tax that was exempted before you departure from Japan.
Simple regulation, which saves you money!