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My experience buying golf clubs from Japan using ZenMarket


wedgegame
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Hello fellow JDM enthusiasts, I've been lurking in this forum for months but haven't had anything worthwhile to share until recently.  As the title states, I recently bought a set of Yonex mb-501s from Japan using ZenMarket.  I wanted to share my experience as I figure others in the forum may be able to benefit.

 

First off, what the hell is ZenMarket? 

ZenMarket is a proxy service that allows you to purchase items in Japan and have them shipped to their warehouse and then shipped to you. The cool thing is it allows you to shop sites like Amazon, Yahoo Auctions (Japan's eBay), and Rakuten.  You can by multiple items from different sites and have them shipped to their warehouse.  They will then combine all of your orders together in one package to be shipped to the US (or anywhere else I would imagine).  I ultimately ended up buying a used set of irons and a wedge from the seller Golf Partner on Rakuten. 

 

Payment

Ok, so this was the scariest part for me.  Before you can purchase anything you need to deposit money into your ZenMarket account.  All prices are in yen, so you might find a little extra value depending on exchange rates.  You can browse the marketplace before depositing money, so once you find what you would like to purchase make sure to deposit the correct amount.  The mistake I made was estimating shipping and depositing what I thought would cover both the items purchased and the shipping to the US.  As it turned out, I over estimated how much shipping would cost and now have ~$40 left over in my account.  My advice would be to make two deposits, one for the cost of the items and another once you're quoted the actual cost of shipping.

 

Here are the costs for my order broken out:

Yonex mb-501 5-pw --> $620

Yonex w-501 --> $95

ZenMarket Commissions (flat 300 yen per item purchased) -->  $6

Domestic shipping (to their warehouse) --> $8

International shipping (DHL) --> $58

Package insurance --> $8

Total --> $795

 

Sellers on Rakuten

It seems like a number of different golf shops in Japan use Rakuten to list their used clubs.  I can't speak for any sellers other than Golf Partner, but the way they grade the condition of their clubs is from N (new), then A (like new)-E (worst).  The clubs I bought were graded a C, and if I were to compare this to 2nd Swing I would equate the to a 7.5 or 8 (YMMV).  While I'm not totally sure which party was responsible for this, the packing of the items was impeccable. Each iron head was individually wrapped to prevent them from dinging against the others, and there was SO MUCH bubble wrap I took me awhile to unbox them.

 

Timeline

So with anything ordered from overseas your not going to see Amazon prime like delivery times.  I placed my order on 1.22 and received my items on 2.3.  Here's the crazy thing, it actually took longer for the domestic shipping within Japan than the overseas shipping.  DHL received my package on 2.1 and I signed for it 2.3 (though I am in California).  

 

So I know there are options to buy new JDM equipment here in the states, but for me most of the options were a way over what I would like to spend for clubs I couldn't hit first.  The used market here is somewhat sparse (maybe I don't know where to look), so ZenMarket for me turned out to be a pretty great option. 

 

I'm happy to answer questions.  Thanks all.

 

Edited by wedgegame
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  • wedgegame changed the title to My experience buying golf clubs from Japan using ZenMarket

Thanks for posting that. It’s helpful to understand the pros and cons to each of these services. I’ve purchased using Buyee and through Rakuten’s Global Express program over the past couple months. I’m impressed with the ease of use and speed in shipping, although with no Japan Post available to the states you really only use the more expensive express options. 
 

One note if you do it again - neither Buyee nor Rakuten Global requires you to deposit in advance. I know that’s a common policy elsewhere though, as you’ve noted and I’ve seen with Jauce. 

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Good to know there are other options out there.  I forget which service it was, but one required a copy of your driver's license which I didn't feel comfortable giving.

 

The thing that can get confusing is the fees.  I think Buyee charges 10% of the item purchased, so it really depends on how much you are buying to determine which service to use.

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Good to know info!  Thanks!

Current "Bag of Tricks"

Driver:  Callaway Maverik 10.5 "Tour Issue" Single Diamond w/Graphite Designs AD-VR5 S 

3W:  Taylormade M1 3HL w/Graphite Designs AD-DI 6 S

Utility:  Taylormade GAPR 3 Low w/Graphite Designs AD-DI 95 S tipped 1"  

Irons:  Miura CB-301 4-PW, SHIMADA S-Shafts, ELITE grips

Wedges:  Titleist Vokey  SM6 F 52/12,      SM7 F 56/14,       SM6 M 60/08 Copper Lmt. Ed.

Putter:  Scotty Tei-22 Fastback 1.5   34"  

Ball:  Titleist Pro V 1X  

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  • 2 weeks later...

Could not agree  more with the original post , in fact many sellers  in Japan use Ebay  as well as ZenMarket sites , to sell  the same product  at  vastly  differing prices ( as I found out to my cost on my first foray ) , ZenMarket being the cheapest  option even including all the additional charges  ..IDNK why  ?

I have purchased premium / top end  goods at a fraction of the price  that even I was expecting to pay &  including  shipping which was described in detail in the original post . The only issue I had was  , just do not be expecting things to happen quickly in Japan  from your  initial purchase to shipping ... that  seems to take an eternity ...  but the wait is worth it ..

Trying to get  Japanese equipment  here in the UK is almost impossible off the shelf  ,  but this opens up a whole new world  & if you are patient and have an eye for  quality  you can pick up a bargain  .... eg Brand new in wrapper Yamaha 2018 UT  was picked up for  £90  = $125 .. retail would  have been close  to $250-$300 ..

I will  keep my other bargains  secret  .. untill I post up a WiMB ...

Give it  a look guys , well worth a dabble into the Japanese market 

Steven

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  • 4 months later...

I also purchased a set of Mizuno's on Zenmarket recently. Fedex 2-4 day shipping was expensive.. ~$87 for 6 irons (total shipping weight ~4500g). But they arrived basically 1 day after being picked up from Japan. Customer service was responsive and overall pretty happy with the experience. The Yen conversion to USD is tricky, and agree with original post to add funds in two parts, first when paying for the item, and second when paying for shipping.

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