Tuesday 8 November 2011

CDJapan Review

It's time for another import site review! Are you looking for books that are out of stock in all the other import shops you've been to? Maybe you're looking for some soundtracks or albums that are difficult to find! Well, dear readers, it's likely you'll find some of those awesome goods you're looking for at CDJapan. Just be careful with their shipping prices and (occasionally) slightly damaged products!

 Product Availability

CDJapan has a wide variety of products, including Japanese novels, manga, CD singles, complete soundtracks, magazines, magazine subscriptions, apparel, DVDs, blu-rays, art books, game guides, and game software.  You can also find Japan-exclusive products sometimes.  Just be aware that the prices might be higher because of service charge and automatic EMS shipping.

CDJapan also carries figures, but from what I am aware of, they do not ship internationally.  Either way, their prices aren't that great compared to Amiami, Hobby Search, and Hobby Link Japan.

Product Information

Sometimes you’ll get some English descriptions, but more often than not, you'll just get the Japanese ones.  For soundtracks, CDJapan will sometimes provide a list of songs and a very short description of the album.  The most you’ll get out of art books, manga, or magazines sometimes is the number of pages, estimated weight, and/or date of release.  Sometimes, if you're lucky, you’ll also be provided with some brief descriptions in Japanese.  I feel they should be in English since everything else on the site is in English.  Fortunately, we have Google Translations to help us out.

I usually have to visit other import shops for more information on the items I want to purchase.  When it comes to determining the actual weight of art books or figures, I usually run to Hobby Search.  Sometimes I scout eBay for samples because users will list the contents of their products or provide pictures, which is excellent for art books.  I’ll compare prices, determine how many pages an art book has, or check out the weight of specific products.  I look at weight because I’m certain half of CDJapan’s estimates are inaccurate.


The prices are almost the same here as they are in Japan.  There may be a slight difference (perhaps a few hundred yen at most), but sometimes they’ll have discounts, special promotions or sales on their products.  Fortunately, you can also apply any points you have gained from previous purchases to your orders.

If you’re looking for more discounts, especially on figures, you’re better of checking out AmiAmi, Hobby Search or Hobby Link Japan.

By the way, you receive 300 points for making an account on CDJapan.  Whenever your birthday comes by, you receive another 300 points.  Also, you receive points for every purchase.  The number of points varies depending on what the item is and how much it costs.

Shipping and Shipping Cost

CDJapan will allow you to calculate shipping costs before actually making an order. You simply go to "View Cart" and then use the shipping calculator available on the side. The shipping cost is usually based on the overall weight of your order, but be warned, CDJapan's weight listings for products are inaccurate.

For example, my last purchase, which was the Tales of 15th Anniversary 1995-2001, actually weighs around 1100g but CDJapan originally had it listed as 690g.  As a result they sent me an e-mail a few days after I placed my order claiming that this book (combined with another book) exceeded the weight restriction for the SAL shipping option.  They then changed it to EMS, which was ridiculously expensive, so I ended up cancelling the order.  Afterwards I just ordered the Tales of 15th Anniversary 1999-2001 on its own.

If you're buying a lot, and your overall order is too heavy, you might just feel more comfortable splitting your orders just to avoid insane shipping fees.

Shipping cost for single volumes of manga tend to start around 700 yen (which is more than the price of the book itself, so you might want to order more than one)
Shipping cost for CDs usually go for about 500 yen
Magazines and guidebooks sometimes start around 700 yen 

Shipping cost for heavier books can start around 1000 - 1200 yen. 

Like I said earlier, I usually have to visit other import shops for more information on the items I want to purchase. 


CDJapan takes Paypal and credit card.  If you use Paypal, you don't even need an account, though I highly recommend you get one if you plan on purchasing a lot from this site.  For every order you make (with the exception of special orders) you will receive points which you can use for your future orders.  The number of points you receive varies.  I usually don't get much for books, but I think you can get a bit more from CDs.  In any case, each point counts as 1 yen.

Packaging/Condition of items upon arrival

All orders are packaged in a box and are also protected by a layer of bubblewrap and occasionally some tissue paper.

All items on CDJapan are brand new, but occasionally there may be some physical damages.  I’ve only received two slightly damaged products out of several orders.  I honestly can't determine whether or not it's the supplier's fault or CDJapan's fault for not storing their products properly, but I wish they wouldn't send me products that have obvious flaws.

I included pictures of my Persona 4 manga.  If you look on the left side of both images, you'll see that the protective sleeve has curled up against the edge of the book itself.  I have three other volumes that don't have this problem, so this one stands out a bit.

These flaws don't compare to what they did to my Pandora Hearts Odds and Ends book, which to me is worth a lot more than a few volumes of manga.  It irked me greatly when I opened it up.  The bottom corner looks like it took a huge blow from something.  God knows what.  But it damaged the entire book, so every page has this same bend/bump/flaw.

The damage is so obvious, it hurts every time I open the book.

As a collector, it bothers me when my products aren't in mint condition.  However, it doesn't bother me so much I'd be willing to go out of my way to ship it back to them.  I'm not even sure they would reimburse me.  I think I'd only make a big deal out of it if I spent over 100.00 or some limited/special edition product.

Latest packaging for books

I just received one of my packages recently and it looks like CDJapan is using a different (or new) method for packaging books. The Rorona & Totori & Meruru no Atelier Premium Art Book was protected by a sheet of bubblewrap, followed by a sheet of tissue paper, and then a layer of cardboard. It makes the package look flatter, but it certainly does the job. The bubblewrap is also taped to the cardboard on the inside so the item(s) don't rock around and get damaged during the delivery period. Check out the close up shot below!

The Rorona & Totori & Meruru no Atelier Premium Art Book came in mint condition!

Site Navigation

Navigating this site can be easy if know what you are looking for.  Enter some keywords into the search bar, filter your search (or don't), and begin. If you can't find what you're looking for, don't give up too quickly.  Sometimes CDJapan spells item names differently depending on the original Japanese characters.  For example, I'll look up Okami (the game) products, so I'll type in Okami.  However, I won't get all the results because some items have the name Ookami.  This doesn't happen for a lot of items, but I figure I would make note of it so you, my dear readers, will be aware.  Also, if you're having trouble finding the item you want, don't filter out your search.  You'll get more results.

When you're viewing items, you can scroll down the page and find a link or two that CDJapan put there.  They'll either give you a link to related products, or a link that will lead you to more products from the same series.  For example, if I'm looking at Tales of Xillia books, I'll get a link to the Tales of series products. Below that, I'll see a link to more guidebooks/art books.


I have only ever queried them once about shipping in the past.  The staff member(s) responded promptly to my satisfaction.  As mentioned earlier, the shipping cost of your goods may change if the overall weight is higher than estimated.  CDJapan will send you an e-mail with information based on the change and will request for your approval to have the items shipped at a higher cost (ex/ EMS).


Product Availability: 9/10 (Great selection of books/CDs/games.  You just can't buy figures from them)
Product Information: 6/10 (They could include more accurate information such as product weight)
Prices: 8/10 (Usually the same price as they would be at retail stores in Japan.  Also, you can apply points to reduce the cost of your order)
Shipping/Shipping Cost: 7/10 (Calculating the total cost of shipping can be painful sometimes, but overall it's pretty good.  Just avoid EMS because the cost can be ridiculous)
Payment: 9/10 (Standard straightforward payment)
Packaging: 8/10 (Box, bubblewrap, and then some.  Pretty good, but somehow, not all items come in mint condition.)
Communication: 9/10 (e-mailed once, got a quick reply)
Site Navigation: 8/10 (Most items are categorized.  Make sure you're spelling what you want out correctly.)

Overall: 8/10

I like shopping at CDJapan for manga/art books/guidebooks and occasionally some CDs.  It's the only place I can buy certain books for a good price anyway.  It definitely beats Play-Asia and YesAsia. 

CDJapan will have you coming back for more with their awesome selection and discount points. Just try not to spend too much!




  1. Thanks for the informative review!
    It helped a lot with my choice!

  2. I'm from Brazil and I'm looking for Yuya Matsushita's CDs XD
    What type of shipment do you think is the best for me? (the CD is about $53 and the shipping cost (by EMS) is about $20....) Do you think it worth?

    Thank you =3

    1. Hi there! I usually use SAL and get my items just fine, and usually within 2 - 3 weeks. It's cheaper and it's good enough for me.

      I wouldn't recommend EMS in case you get hit by customs, in which case you'll be paying a lot more than you should. It depends on how desperate you are for the product as well. If you need immediate results then yes, EMS is a good choice, but that's if you're really willing to shell out that much money for a CD. Otherwise, SAL, or even air mail works just fine. Just make sure you double check your shipping address. That's always important! =D

      Thanks for checking out the review! If you have any further questions, feel free to leave another comment!


    2. I'm thinking to try the Registered Air Mail XD
      This CD will release in the beggining of December. Of course I want it soon, but I can wait XD (if you want to check, this is this item: [CD]Yuya Matsushita / U - BEST of BEST - [2CD+Photo Booklet/Limited Edition Type-B])
      How works the SAL method?

      And thank you so much =D and I'll double check my address, thank you XDDD

    3. Ah, now that I know the CD you want comes out in December, I'll change my recommendation, mainly because postal services are really busy around this time of the year. And by busy, I mean chaotic.

      Packages will take longer to arrive to their locations during December because everyone is trying to send Christmas gifts to...well, EVERYONE. Because of that, I recommend registered air mail (which is the one you want to try) or EMS just to be safe. Having packages registered means you'll be compensated if they get lost. Registered air mail should be more than enough!

      I'm not too sure about Brazil's customs, though. I've been hit a few times in the past but those were random shots, and I live in Canada. You will need to familiarize yourself with Brazil's laws. If your location has a record of charging taxes, then be prepared to pay extra for your CD.

      Also, some info on SAL.

      SAL is the slowest shipping method and unless it's registered you receive no compensation if your package gets lost. However, none of the items I've ordered from CDJapan have ever gotten lost in the mail and I've only ever used the SAL method for this store. Packages usually take around 2 - 3 weeks to arrive using this method. However, there's a possibility that it may take longer. An example would be if customs decides to hold onto it for a while.

      If you would like to read up more on the shipping methods for CDJapan, here's a link

      I hope this helps! If you have anymore questions, feel free to run them by me!

      Good luck!


    4. Did your order come through Canada Post or another mailing company? Im curious :)

    5. Hi Brittany,

      I get my orders through Canada Post. That goes for SAL, SAL Registered, Airmail, and EMS.


  3. Yes, I know that will take longer to arrive... And I'm afraid that the cd gets lost... So thank you so much about the information and opinion!!
    Oh yeah, here in Brazil have customs too, but I don't think a 50-dollar CD will be hit... But, it's a mess... You don't have how to know if the item will be hit or not... =/
    Well, one more time, thank you so much! I'll see this and try to get my CD ♥

  4. Hi~ I'm from the PH and I'm really thinking where's the best place to get mangas and jpop cds. My first choice is YesAsia because I order my kpop cds there and avail their free shipping and I'm sure that I won't be taxed by the customs. (And I receive my orders in a week or less!) I'm considering cdjapan because YesAsia overprices their items. I'm not sure what shipping method to use because EMS is expensive and there's a chance I'd get taxed. For SAL, they won't provide a tracking number right? It's ok for me to wait as long as I'm sure I'd get my order. And, do I still need to go to the post office to get my package or will it be delivered at my doorstep? I really want to avoid paying tax >< Sorry for the long comment, it will be my first time ordering at cdjapan if ever. :D

    1. Hi Camille! I personally like going to CD Japan for books/manga and soundtracks since their prices are standard, or slightly less than retail at times. YesAsia's prices are usually a bit too high for me, so I rarely ever shop there.

      There's always a chance you'll get charged by customs even if you use SAL. It happened to me a couple of times in the past, but they weren't so bad. I find that if you use EMS, there's a higher chance of getting hit by customs.

      If you would like to track your package and avoid using EMS, you can always opt for Registered SAL. It costs just a little more than SAL (around 450 - 500 yen extra) but you'll get to see where your package is. Chances are it will take around 2 - 3 weeks to arrive but that also depends on the postal services in your area. Sometimes it could take up to 6 weeks from what I've read. Airmail costs a little more than that but I believe you get up to 6000 yen in insurance and you get a tracking number as well. Your package would also arrive sooner than later (most likely two weeks if the postal services are good).

      Here's a link to CDJapan's shipping guide: http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/guide/help/shipping/available_shipping_methods

      In terms of delivery, packages are usually delivered to your house, or whichever shipping address you use when you make your order. It has always been like that for me at least. If you have a tracking number, a signature is normally required upon arrival. If you aren't available to sign for your package it will be sent to a post office where you will have to pick it up. I'm not sure if it's different for other countries but my packages are normally delivered straight to the shipping address.

      On another note, if you register at CDJapan they automatically give you 300 points. 1 point is equal to 1 yen, so you'll have 300 yen right off the bat! You also get points for your purchases and another 300 on your birthday, so at least you earn a little back as you shop.

      I hope this helps! If you have any other questions feel free to ask!

      Thanks for reading!


    2. Yeah, I was planning to buy a Japanese album of a Korean group there but it was overpriced by like $15. I already ordered there once and their service is good, I get a tracking number even though I choose a standard shipping method.

      Ok, I'll try using registered SAL but I'll still try to use just SAL one time. I've read reviews that here in the PH there's a higher chance I'll get charged by the customs if my orders cost $50 above, and the tax is too large.

      Thanks for the tips and info! :)

  5. Hello; this review has been very helpful to me, so, thank you so much, not only for the objective assessment but also for sharing your personal deliberation on the overall performance of the import site. This comment may be long overdue, but as soon as I had read this I finally decided to settle for CDJapan (I ordered JoJonium from them). I got my parcel two days ago and was thrilled by their shipping speed (I vouched for Air Mail unregistered) which only took a week. Like everything you wrote here, it was exactly with my package (including the minor damages). I was delighted about the packing; however, it just seemed ironic that they should secure a product for it to avoid getting damaged when it already has already been damaged, no matter how minor. I guess, it's just the common case with books/manga? Especially when they are not in hard cover? The JoJonium comes with a slip case and that's where the most obvious damage is from. On the corner of the case are wrinkles. The book itself, at first, looked unharmed, but I soon learned I was deceived for the color scheme is dark, hence, you wouldn't notice it right away. But after some probing of my own, I saw minor marks on the book itself, like the plastic material that gives the gloss on the cover was slightly coming loose. Then on the edge of the back cover was a small crease. It was my first time ever purchasing anything from them, and although the service was fast and convenient, the condition of the product was a little underwhelming for me. I also cringe everytime I take out the book from its case.

    On another note, I chose just to accept that the merchandise is bound to get slightly damaged, due to the shipment, or due to the retailer's carelessness, etc. And since all items are, to a degree, fragile, no matter how careful, they may still get damaged. Therefore, I just accepted it. Lol. I do wish that next time I order (w/c would be next week) is that they'd be considerate with the condition of the items they send. This may not happen to every one (I may have been just unlucky), but, still.

    Just felt like sharing this fresh experience with you, folks. And also, to show my gratitude for your effort on giving a straight review.

    I also live in Canada, btw. ;]

    1. Hi Anne and thank you for sharing your experience with us! I'm sorry to hear about your damaged product... I think you were just unlucky this time. Unfortunately I still get slightly damaged products every now and then but at least that's not the case with all the items I order.

      Most of the soundtracks and manga I purchased in the past arrived in perfect condition. When didn't come in perfect condition the damage wasn't too deadly. Some slight creases here and there on the sleeves, sure, but at least my books weren't torn and my soundtrack cases weren't cracked. Still, I feel there's good chance of getting something damaged when ordering from CDJapan, which does suck, but it's the risk I take when importing goods from that shop. We can always hope things come in perfect condition but I guess we should expect some issues like damage/delays to come up as well.

      In any case, I hope your next order comes in mint condition! I'm not sure why CDJapan sends out damaged goods. I sometimes wonder if it's the suppliers who just send them over to CDJapan like that, but they shouldn't send them out to us if they're not in "new" condition.

      Thanks for reading and leaving a comment! Best of luck with your future orders!


      P.S. Woo! A fellow Canadian! =D

  6. Hi, I was wondering how good is their service when it comes to pre-ordering items. Does it arrive on time like it's stated?

    1. Hi there!

      Sorry for the delayed response. CDJapan's service is pretty good. I've pre-ordered items like manga and games in the past and they usually ship on time for me, which is the day before or the day of release. The shipping method I normally use is SAL (1 - 3 weeks) and my items arrive within 2 - 3 weeks after being shipped out. 1 week if I'm really lucky. It depends on what shipping method you use as well. EMS is obviously quicker since you're paying for express delivery. Keep in mind there can be delays because of customs.


  7. their shipping prices when you ship more than one item are absolutely ridiculous. i plan on buying stuff from them, but i have to buy item one at a time.

  8. Hi there! Thank you so much for this review! It's been years since you posted this but I still wanted to thank you.
    I was looking forward on buying from CDJapan for months but I've never actually bought anything because of the fear I have I could be hit by customs and pay taxes and stuff (I'm Spanish and here if your product costs more than 21€ you have a really high chance to pay taxes, and I don't want to pay, say, twice the price a single costs).
    I've bought many times at Yesasia and had more or less the same problems you mentioned here (the damaged products, even though it's not really noticeable, I have at least three damaged CDs) but I bought a limited edition CD there because it costs 35€ more or less and I'm sure it won't be retained in customs (is it said like that? lmao I can't English today).
    But in my opinion, it's useful because even if your items are more expensive there I won't be paying taxes (and if you buy products that cost more than 39$ it only costs like 2 or 3€ more expensive than in CDJapan).
    But well, I'll buy there a single pretty soon and it was really useful reading the comments about the shipping methods. I think I'll choose the Registered SAL because even if it's slower than the Air Mail, I'm not in a rush so... I can wait until it arrives home~
    Once again, thank you very much!

  9. Personally I'd never buy from them again, when things are good then everything is brilliant. A true test is when things go wrong and that's when you find out that CD Japan is useless after one week no one has responded to my emails and that is unacceptable and looks like I'm going to ne left with a faulty CD.


    1. wait...what happened? faulty cd?

    2. I have seen this on some other reviews (that they don't do very well when things go wrong). So I plan to do a small order as a test (just some manga) and see what that gives.

  10. I'm really upset because I received my manga quite bent and damaged on certain areas. Will you have to return the product for them to send you a new one, or how does it work? It's the first time it's happened..! So I'm pretty sad because I'm a perfectionist with my items.. !

    I sent them an email, but I forgot to put in the catalogue number D,; .. and at the same time I don't want to be a pain in the ass, however I did pay ! .. I'm just upset that it came in a damaged condition.. My CDs arrived fine with the manga, but.. I'm just so sad.. : ____ ; )..