How to buy Pokémon trading cards in Japan
Pokémon is the craze that never went away. Whether it’s Pokémon memorabilia, the ever popular games on Game Boy, DS and Switch or the famous Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG), it’s amazingly accessible for people of all ages. In the early days of the Pokémon TCG you’d find kids with giant stacks of the highly collectible cards who knew little about the game itself and simply wanted to trade the likeness of Pikachu and friends.
Over the years since, the trading card game has only grown in popularity, with every new generation of Pokémon adding a wave of new and exciting cards into the game. You’ll find cards for legendary Pokémon like Shadow Lugia through to mega-evolutions like Mega-Rayquaza or the latest Eevee evolutions.
And now, more than ever, there is a thriving competitive community with extensive collections, looking to get their hands on the most powerful cards. Building a competitive deck is tricky and ordering new additions, whether it’s Awesome Kyogre or just your favourite shiny, from Japan is one of the best ways to do it.
We see numerous card games coming through our Japan forwarding warehouse every day, so we’re here to help you get your hands on the best cards Pokémon TCG Japan has to offer.
Can I order Pokémon cards from Japan?
When it comes to getting your hands on the latest Pokémon cards straight out of Japan, you may have to jump through a few hurdles, especially if you want to add cards to your collection before anyone else.
It’s worth understanding that you can’t use Japanese Pokémon cards competitively outside of Japan.
Many shops in Japan don’t offer international shipping, and that’s where we come in. You can order Pokémon cards from Japan to our warehouse and we’ll get them shipped to you, wherever you are. When you sign up for a Japanese forwarding address, you can shop at any Japanese store online that sells Pokémon TCG items, get them shipped to our warehouse and then re-shipped to you.
WHERE CAN I BUY JAPANESE POKÉMON CARDS?
Getting your hands on Pokémon card packs, a limited edition shiny or a whole booster box can be much simpler if you’re shopping in Japan than on the second hand market online, where you could easily get ripped off simply for the convenience.
There are a number of Japanese online stores you can shop on. Some of these may have limited international shipping options, on certain items, but generally you’ll need to order via a Japanese shipping address.
SHOPS THAT STOCK POKÉMON CARDS IN JAPAN INCLUDE AMAZON.CO.JP AND RAKUTEN.
Amazon Japan is one of the most popular places we help ship items from, not just Pokémon cards. You’ll find that many sellings on the platform don’t post internationally. There’s even an official Pokémon store on the site, known as the Japanese Pokémon Center.
You’ll find an array of Japanese exclusive TCG sets and boosters. You can change the language to English and shop to your heart's content. When you want to order a new booster that doesn’t ship outside Japan, simply enter your forward2me Japanese forwarding address at checkout. Check out our guide on how to order from Amazon Japan.
Rakuten is a platform that lets multiple resellers, which means you’ll be able to shop for Pokémon TCG from multiple retailers based all over Japan.
In Japan, Rakuten is one of the biggest online retailers. Their lack of international shipping is one of the reasons it’s not so popular globally, but we can help you shop on Rakuten Japan online using our free Japanese shipping address. Check out our guide on how to order from Rakuten Japan.
ARE JAPANESE POKÉMON CARDS WORTH MORE?
Japanese Pokémon cards can be worth significantly more than their English counterparts. While it’s never a given that they will be, there are a few reasons why they often aren't.
Japanese cards are often made from better, more hard-wearing materials
Many cards still have first edition markings
Cards often release in Japan months before they’re released around the world
Some designs get altered for the international market
This doesn’t mean they’re more to buy though. Cards, especially directly from legitimate sellers, cost the price set by the manufacturer. When you shop with proper Japanese online stores and buy these cards through our warehouse, you’ll not be paying over the odds.
While many around the world simply collect the cards for the sake of completing a set, in Japan more people collect them to compete and play. This means that different cards have very different values inside Japan than outside it.
ARE JAPANESE POKÉMON CARDS RARE?
Japanese cards in general aren't necessarily rarer. Sure, they’re harder to get hold of outside of Japan, so you may not see as many of them, but as with any other language of Pokémon card, they’re still broken down into different levels of rarity.
A Japanese Pidgey card isn’t rarer just because it’s Japanese, for example. There are certain cards that are much rarer in their Japanese form than elsewhere. This could be for a number of reasons.
Generally the Japanese cards are rarer when: They have only been released in Japan and won’t be released elsewhere
They have only been released in Japan and won’t be released in other countries for a while yet
They are cards from a promotional event only in Japan. This may mean they are incredibly common in Japan, but just won’t ever turn up in a pack elsewhere. While some are fairly common, like ones that come with a magazine, clothes, like the Pikachu Illustrator card or the Magikarp Tamamushi University Promo Card, are incredibly rare.
Whether a card is playable or unplayable - playable cards may be harder to get your hands on
WHAT IS THE NEWEST POKÉMON CARD SET IN JAPAN?
There are new sets released regularly in Japan. These often line up with the new generations of Pokémon TV shows and video games, but amongst all that you also have other releases.
At the time of publishing (03.07.2021), the most recent Pokémon TCG releases in Japan are: Eevee Heroes
Jet Black Spirit
Single Strike Master
The most recent generation is the Sword & Shield series.
ARE THERE ANY JAPANESE EXCLUSIVE POKÉMON CARDS?
As we’ve already touched on, not all cards make it out of Japan. This could be because they are simply exclusive and limited run, or it could be that they’ve been created for a promotional release.
These promotional cards are often exclusive to Japan and vary in how they’re released. Some are available at stores like McDonalds while others are only available for people who place well in tournaments. Japanese exclusive Pokémon cards include packs like:
McDonald’s Pokémon-e Minimum pack
10th Movie commemoration
Pikachu’s New Friends