Go Equipment from Japan

Has anyone purchase equipment via Ebay from Japan. There are several items that look to be a decent deal, but the shipping terms state the buyer is responsible for duties and taxes at customs. Has anyone done this? Was the taxes and duties a large percentage of the final price?

Many thanks in advance,

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You might want to say what country/continent you’re shipping to. I imagine it depends.

For Americans, I’ve heard the shop here has some good stuff, and I think they handle the shipping: https://store.baduk.club/

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I have not tried Ebay in particular. I imagine that shipping prices would vary between individual sellers on that platform, so it’s hard to give a good prediction.

I did inquire with a Japanese retailer about shipping costs for a basic folding 19x19 goban. I was quoted a shipping rate of about $50 for shipping to the USA from Japan. I decided not to buy it (since that cost as much as the board), so I don’t know how dealing with customs will go.

I can second @benjito’s recommendation of https://store.baduk.club/. They seem to have a mix of inventory located in either the USA or Japan. For the stuff from Japan, they usually having the shipping cost included.

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I have bought some used equipment from Japan via Neokyo and Buyee. They both buy, stock and package the item(s) for a standard fee before sending and their sevice is excellent. In my case (living in the Netherlands) I had to pay VAT and a small percentage import fee for the costs of the items AND shipping. This added about 25% to the total but it was totally worth it. The Japanese take good care of their belongings so it’s almost like buying new. You just need to have patience. If you choose well you’ll never be able to buy similar items locally for a competing price, depending on where you live of course. In Europe the price for a decent set of slate and shell stones and bowls is staggering. The waiting is the hardest part, especially if you, like I did, choose for the cheapest option for transport: by sea.
I also want to agree with the recommendation of the Baduk Club. They allways have very nice equipment on offer for fair prices.


This article might be of help to you about shops and customs:

Overall I’ve read that people had shopped from Kuroki and didn’t have any issues:

Aoyama also has a good reputations iirc, but their website is a bit of a relic:

As far as I am concerned I bought my board from Yellow Mountain Imports, which might be easier to tackle as far as fees and customs are concerned. As far as quality goes, this is almost the set I bought more than 10 years ago and it has been sitting in moisture (my village is built over an ancient swamp) and has had no damage at all:

I see that they improved the quality of the bowl bag (the handle used to be easily broken after a few times lifting all that weight) and the cover and the bowl. I do remember my set being cheaper, so maybe it is just that :stuck_out_tongue:


I have recent experience making a significant number of purchases through Buyee. They are an agent/middle man between sites like (in my case) Yahoo Auctions Japan and buyers in other countries like the United States where I live. The upside is that many sellers will not sell internationally, so you can purchase goods from private sellers that would not be possible to buy without using them as an agent.

There are, however, very significant downsides to this service. First, it will take much longer to receive what you buy because it will be a two-step process. More significantly, your final cost will be about 3-4 times the purchase price due to domestic and international shipping charges and fees.

So, what at first seems like a bargain, ie Size 33 shell and slate stones in keyaki bowls for only 15,000 yen or about 100 dollars or euros depending on the exchange rate when you purchase, ends up being more like three to four times that price once you have paid for everything. This makes Baduk Club a viable alternative in my opinion.

Buyee and other agents will not insure sea mail and often it won’t be an option at all for higher value purchases or larger sized packages, so you are stuck with some kind of air mail service such as FedEx and additional taxes and fees that have been recently introduced by the Japanese government. These extra fees cannot be accurately estimated at the time of purchase.

Also, while multiple purchases can be combined, they will simply take the shipping boxes purchases come in and throw them in a bigger box which you will have to pay for, in addition to paying for the service of them repackaging for you AND paying the extra shipping to ship all of that packaging.

I can’t go as far as to say ‘don’t do it’, but be wary. The advantage is being able to shop the same options that Japanese people have for buying new and used equipment this way, rather than saving you a lot of money.


Did you notice that the Yellow Mountain listing calls them Yunzi stones, but on the product profile pictures it says they are plastic?

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No, I hadn’t noticed, but it is possibly just a slight mistake. In the text it is explicitly made clear - three times - that you are buying Yunzi stones and I can tell you that mine weren’t plastic. The only review on that particular set also confirms that it was Yunzi stones that arrived with the product.

I also noticed they had a similar set with Korean glass stones for $20 less, so I have to believe you are right. There are a lot of things Yellow Mountain is doing right. The bags, straps and board sleeves are definitely useful. I have three of those bowl bags and they are very durable and practical for my club. I can fit three sets of plastic stones in one bag, they are that big.

On the other hand, their prices used to be better and I have seen a lot of their boards, especially the bamboo ones crack and warp within a couple of years or so, much like a bamboo cutting board. I suspect this is a QC issue that might resolve itself in time, but it’s hard to say since you won’t find out for a year after purchase anyway.

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As more general things to be careful

Size (board anf stones) China > Japan > Korea
Prize Japan > Korea > China


One last comment on this subject: Always be certain of the size of the equipment being offered. There are lots of listings on Ebay and Amazon for used equipment and sometimes even new which are very misleading, either unintentionally or on purpose about the size of the set you are buying and what they are made of. If the size of the board is not at least close to 18" or 450mm in one dimension, it is not a full-sized board and you might end up overpaying a lot for something that is too small for practical use.

Oh, i’m surprised, i own a 15yrs bamboo too (not from this shop) and it is like a new one. I even would recomand them for harsh use like weiqi clubs.

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This might have something to do with the relative lack of humidity here compared to where they come from…


As far as I’m concerned that still is a bargain. If I want to buy a similar set of stones with the keyaki bowls new from a domestic (or EU) retailer it would stet me back at least double that amount of money. You just have to accept the fact that decent go equipment is a niche outside Asia.

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No doubt, I agree with you it’s an option I have used. It’s just important for people to understand what they are getting themselves into. When you purchase the equipment, it is just the equipment price plus domestic shipping and a couple of small fees. So you make your purchase only to find out a week later when it gets to their warehouse near Tokyo that you will have to spend another 3x what you already spent to get it home.

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If you want to treat yourself with high quality refurbished equipment, I can recommend this shop:



I have also done business with the Happy Arrows Japan Ebay store. Their listings are accurate and priced appropriately for what they are:



You can check Buying Go Equipment and Supplies | American Go Association or Go & Shogi Board – KUROKIGOISHITEN

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As a percentage of price, how much are the duties and taxes? Looks like they include shipping.


That is difficult to answer because the purchasing and shipping domestically is a totally separate transaction from the transaction of paying for the international shipping and handling and associated fees. I am fairly certain shipping internationally is not included. I can’t really give more specifics than I have for this reason…and this is the reason for the original post. They do have estimation calculators that kind of get you close, but it’s difficult to estimate accurately.