Info for first time visitors
Q: What is HobbyLink Japan?
A: Started in 1995, HLJ is an Internet mail-order business located in Japan which ships hobby products, toys, anime items, books, magazines and more to customers all over the world. HLJ was started and is run by Scott T. Hards. While living in Japan, Scott noticed that the great hobby products available there were either too expensive or not available at all overseas. So in 1995, he started a business to ship hobby products around the world from Japan at domestic prices.
Since then, HobbyLink Japan has grown steadily, and expanded its catalog offerings to include many items from Europe, North America and around Asia, too! As of 2012, the company has a full-time staff of 40 people.
Q: What about HLJ's prices?
A: It depends on the item, but HLJ's prices are generally 20-50% lower than in North America or Europe when converted into the local currency. Nearly everything is permanently discounted by 10to 20% from list price, and between that and special sales, HLJ is a great place to shop! Even with the higher shipping costs from Japan and the high yen rate, most products are still lower than when acquired outside of Japan.
Q: Your prices are in yen! How am I supposed to pay?
A: HobbyLink Japan accepts PayPal and all major credit cards for payment. It's just like shopping at any other e-commerce store! We will charge you in yen, and PayPal or your card issuer will do the conversion to your local currency. For reference, a convenient currency conversion guide on each catalog page shows you about what you'll expect to pay in your local currency, too. We've posted more information about payments on our payments page.
Q: Isn't shipping going to be very expensive and take forever?
A: Since shipping usually involves crossing one or more oceans, it naturally costs more than domestic mail-order, but our Private Warehouse system, which allows you to combine or split orders for shipping as you see fit can help you keep costs down. Expect delivery times of 1-3 weeks for Standard shipments, 5-7 days for Express shipments, and 3-5 business days for Courier to most countries. Complete shipping details are available to give you a good idea of costs and to help you choose the shipping method that best meets your needs.
Q: What about import duty and taxes?
A: For customers in the U.S., there is no import duty or taxes on hobby items or toys. Customers in other countries will usually have to pay some import duty and possilbly other fees. Duty and fees vary greatly from country to country. However, advantages in our selection and prices in most cases mean it's still cheaper to buy from HLJ and pay duties than to search locally. Please note that any customs duties and fees are the responsibility of the customer.
Q: How do I know what's in stock? Is everything listed on these pages always available?
A: While many of the items shown on our pages are almost always in stock, a good portion of the figures and some toy items are either low-production collectibles, "garage kits" or other items which are only manufactured once, or once every few months, or less! The stock status of the items in our database are currently shown in our search engine results, and after you place an order, you can check the availability of what you've ordered at any time using My Account. We've posted comments regarding availability of the kits you can order to give you an idea of what's out there and what's just wishful thinking. For more info on availability and item page stock status displays, please see HERE. Availability of hobby products can be very spotty, but unlike most online stores, we're happy to accept orders for currently out-of-stock items, and then watch backorders for our customers, shipping when things do become available, even if that means waiting for months.
Q: Okay, how do I order?
A: It's easy! While browsing our product catalog, just click the "Add to Cart" button that you'll see on the product pages, just like most other Internet mail-order sites. When you've selected your final item, click on the "Checkout" button to confirm your purchases, and then proceed to the checkout page (review the checkout process HERE). Before you get started, however, please read our Policies Page to make sure that you understand some of the details of how we operate to avoid unpleasant surprises. Please note that we do not accept orders by postal mail or fax.
If you have any other questions, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .
Scott T. Hards