What is your experience buying from Japan into United States

I live in the U.S., but now I found the high quality stones and boards are made in China and Japan. Particular I have interest in Kuroki’s Go ishi shop as they appear to have very good reputation. The shipping is 12500yen by EMS for a typical set with table top board, but I could not find specific rules for import tax and custom fees. Have you had experience buying directly from Kuroki?

It seems less ideal to me to buy a 38000 yen set while paying a lot of shipping and tax. It would be more worth more to buy a better set or maybe another set for gift, utilizing the one-time shipping cost. Could you please kindly advise? Really appreciate your thoughts.

I’m not aware that the customer has to pay import tax? I’ve bought stuff (not go sets though) from abroad but I might be wrong. Sometimes the shipping company offers insurance( there are caps for how much they can insure) if you pay a few extra bucks.

If you’re planning to buy stones in China, note that there are local companies that offer cheaper shipping/transfer options. (In general, shipping service in China is much faster[popular online shops sometimes offer free 0.5 day shipping] and cheaper than those in US, but oversea shipping by smaller companies can be tricky)

It seems there are not many people on the forum gone this route. I am a little ashamed to admit I am pursuing quality “equipment” while being a beginner I should focus on play. Perhaps I should quit that thought for now.

Oh there are many that have gone that route. Just search for homemade boards or something along the lines here on reddit etc, and you will find MANY beginners who have already devoted much time to either buying epensive sets or making their own board at a very early stage.

Frankly all these are more likely signs of a short-term intense interest than a long-term one. However it’s your money, and if it helps the Go industry then go ahead!

I think having quality equipment could help motivate you to study/play more, but I do agree that as a beginner, your efforts should be on studying and playing rather than buying expensive equipment.

I think this thread is getting off topic, though I recognise that OP is the one who started us in this direction. But I want to chime in because this is one of my biggest gripes about the go community.

Before I heard about go, I really enjoyed playing chess. I wasn’t very good, but I enjoyed it. In chess, that’s perfectly fine. What’s also perfectly fine is for a person who’s only played a handful of games to drop $1000 on a Harry Potter chess set (or insert any other fandom).

But go? Oh no! You need be “good at go” (whatever the hell that means?) before you’re allowed to enjoy playing and you sure as hell can’t insult precious equipment with your terrible moves so don’t buy any of that until you “get good” either.
And this is why we lose large swathes of beginners and casual players, because they believe they’re not good enough at go to be able to enjoy the game.

Unless you’re intending to go pro, go will always be a hobby, such means skill is irrelevant as long as you’re having fun. And if a 20 kyu thinks S&S stones on a kaya board makes the game more enjoyable, why are they less worthy of such an investment than a 4 dan amateur?



Why would you want stones and a wooden board when you have a keyboard and a screen ?


Because I genuinely hate computer screens and try staying away from them as much as possible. In the meanwhile, I genuinely like the touch of paper and ink of physical books, like real wood from tree, like open air, like grass, like sun, like meeting people in person than phone call or text, the list goes on and on:)


Just to help move beyond the perception, I’m garbage at go yet I’ve got a nice floor goban and stones, because I value the aesthetics of the game as well as the mechanics.

@3mushroom3, to answer your question posed at the start, I don’t believe you’ll have to contend with any fees beyond what you pay the seller and shipper.

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Thanks driph! That’s good to know. Are you living in U.S. and did you buy directly from Japanese seller but not paid any import tax or custom fees?

I won my goban and bowls from Yahoo Japan auctions, via http://buyee.jp/, a proxy bidding service for overseas buyers. Shipping was rough, but otherwise it was a good experience.

I did have a chat on that specific matter with the ex secretary of the IGF (International go federation) and she was convinced that we underestimate the positive side of playing with nice material for beginners. She did really hate the plastic stones and me too :slight_smile:

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Well, I guess you shouldn’t expect everyone to like you. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Sorry, I couldn’t resist the bad joke. :roll_eyes:


Not to start an argumenr of grand proportions or anythinf here but i have a few issues with your arguments that has made me want to comment.

I do agree that any level player should have access to the materials they are willing to buy and for whatever price. I remember when I was around… oh I dont know… 17kyu that i bought my first set of board and stones… from amazon… it cost me in total near £40.00. Baring in mind that i am a man that hasnt got a lot of money to my name to this day and had even klss back then. It may seem insignificant, but that was just shy of a weeks worth of bills and food money for me. I did indeed save fore them.

BUT… an this is a big but… i was then, dedicated to the game. Ir at least i thought i wa or i knew it would be an interest of mine for a long time. I wasnt on OGS then, and had vary rare oppertunity to play go, i didn’t even have internet. Or friends to play the game with. In essense, it was a board and stones that would, to this day, not get enough use out of it.

I tried iver and over to get my friends to play… but the majority, the vast majority of people around me are not interested ir are inly becoming interested now.

In heindsight… i dont think i should have bought the board, even though it has had some use, and i use it a lot more these days than i did seven years ago when i bought the set.

Its not a matter of how good you are at the game. Its a matter of what you intend to use the goban and stones for. If you are buying a goban and stones because you watched Hikaru no Go and fancy yourself a pro player in a year or so… then think again and perhaps reconsider dropping a lot of money on something that isnt going to happen.

If however, you are buying a go board for decorative purposes then go ahead. You may even use it.

But… if you are a reletivly new player looking to dedicate yourself to the game… then think about perhaps buying a cheaper board. Not only is it going to be smaller, its far more likely going to be used as well. A smaller board has advantages that a larger one does not. A amaller board you can take to a friends place to introdice them to the game… or even on holiday, or even to a local hang out place. That way you know you are going to get some use out of it, you can still use it to study on. And if the go things does not work out and if you are like me and sometimes need a break from go for a few weeks then you can put it away out of sight and mind for a while as well.

I have however promised myself that when i reach one dan and get certfied by the BGA that i will then invest in a far more expensive board for myself as a reward.

I guess the moral of what im trying to say is this…

Getting an expensive go board is a great thing. They are fantastic. And beautiful and i want one too: but seriously consider why you are spending that money on something. If you can reasonably justify it with yourself then go for it.

As for the harry potter chess set… im qyite good at chess… i the secind best player i know of the people i have played and know in person. But honestly… id still not buy a harry potter chess set, i do love harry potter though.

Sorry for the long post and life story but i thought it worth talking over.

Thanks for reading.


Having a correct goban (normal size, pleasant stones) is more and less a must to me for anyone who likes the game. Now there are other consideration like if you can move it, the money you want to put…

I did start with a smaller size, small plastic stones and to play on the “real” size was one of my big dream.

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