Shipping from China to Japan – Air & Ocean Freight

Shipping from China to Japan - Air & Ocean Freight

Transferring goods to different parts of the world is of high value these days because of seeing world as a universal village. Shipping goods from China to Japan is one of the concerns which can be the best source of business for both of the countries without wasting time, energy and cost.

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Complete Guide to Shipping from China to Japan

Both China and Japan are two economies in Asia and tend to work together because of reasonable costs and services provided. In the past, these two countries were considered as rivals but recently they try to cooperate with each other to apply a Free Trade Agreement in the future. While there is not a special trade policy between them, a lot of goods are transferred between them to show their similar challenges and interests. Although this trade has some difficulties at first but it can be useful later. Paying attention to cost, time and customs can improve their economical values because these two countries are very famous due to their innovations in different fields and if they work together well, more achievements will be fulfilled. Following all these reasons, shipping from China to Japan has a high value around the world today.


It is usually a difficult task to start shipping, so the best suggestion is selecting an experienced freight forwarder to help you in this way. If not, it is better to ask the distributer to help you. There are some steps which are provided in a variety of Japanese shipping websites:

  • Submit an import declaration, including the number, value and size of goods
  • Goods are inspected by the Japanese customs office to be stored in the warehouse
  • Taxes, including import and consumption, are paid. Also, other taxes may need to be paid depending on the type of the goods
  • Goods are ready for customs clearance and then are moved to Japan

When all these steps are done correctly, the importer can make sure that all his or her goods will be delivered based on the desired plan.

Sea Freight from China to Japan

Sea Freight from China to Japan

Sea Freight from China to Japan

Japan, the third maritime power in the world, has 7000 islands and makes the way easy for sea freights. Based on the size of goods, FCL (Full Container Load) or LCL (Less Container Load) is selected. When the goods are transported by sea, the costs will be lower. It is also possible to transfer several products ranging from small ones to the large and heavy ones which are highly recommendable. If furniture, vehicles, textile and clothing, food and beverages, machineries and heavy armatures are going to be imported in Japan, sea freight is the only solution. It is often suggested importers use FCL when more than half of the container will be filled. It is also used when the importer does not want to expose his or her goods with others’. Therefore, selecting a FCL is a cost efficient and convenient method. Although the time of sea freight is long, planning in advance can give you the best chance to deliver goods on time. In addition, when there is a system to get updated points and steps, delays do not affect the whole process because the agreement between supplier and importer is precise and accurate. Furthermore, the costs may be changed in different seasons and times but try to quote the freight forwarder in order not to be surprised in this way. Totally, sea freight from China to Japan has usually fixed schedules with in time delivery and different freight forwarders try to offer more competitive sea freight rates per CBM or tons.

shipping-from china to japan air ocean freight


The number of ports located in China is a lot but some popular ports that can be punctual and planned for shipping goods from China to Japan are mentioned in the following list:

  • Shanghai Seaport: this port is a really busy cargo port which sends and receives a big number of products.
  • Shenzhen Seaport: this port is near Guangdong which is an industrial city that can transfer different products to different destinations.
  • Ningbo Seaport: it is situated near Shanghai and handles a lot of cargos every year.
  • Qingdao Seaport: Qingdao is a really important city because of its logistics developing unique services for the importers.
  • Guangzhou Seaport: this port is situated near a city with the same name which is one of the famous cities in China because of its developing industry

Main Seaports in Japan

Japan is a well-known country because of its ports. Some of the popular ones are:

  • Port of Tokyo: one of the largest seaports in the Pacific Ocean with a capacity of 100 million tons of cargo annually.
  • Port of Nagoya: the largest and busiest cargo port in Japan because Toyota Motor Corporation exports most of its cars from this port.
  • Port of Osaka: it is situated in Osaka Bay which has some sister ports such as Busan port.
  • Port of Yokohama: it has 10 piers for different purposes and destinations. More than 40000 ships are served in this port every year.
  • Port of Akita: it is one of the old ports and its cargo shipment is more than that of the passengers.

Air freight from China to Japan

Air freight from China to Japan

Air freight from China to Japan

China and Japan are also connected by air. There are only six international airports located in Japan; so most flights from China should land in these places. Selecting air freight as the preferable shipment method depends on the budget. There is normally a direct flight from China to Japan every day and it will be expensive but it takes about 5 to 8 days, including export and import processes to deliver a package in Japan. Generally, if the goods are smaller than 2 CBM and 200 kg, air freight is the best option. Also, it can be considered when there is lack of time and the importer or exporter is in a hurry to receive or send the goods. Most products which are transported by air are test or samples of products, goods needed for exhibitions and the fragile ones. The other point which should be considered regarding to the airports is its cheaper storage fee but be aware to check this service if you need more time for storing goods. In general, main international airlines for air freight from China to Japan are responsible for this shipment which is usually popular because of competitive rates that freight forwarders offer to attract more customers.

Main Airports in China

In order to transfer air freights, airports are the necessary basis to achieve this goal. There are a lot of international cargo airports in China that five of them are listed below:

  • Shanghai Airport: it is one of the busiest airports in the world and a lot of cargos are loaded and taken off in this airport.
  • Beijing Airport: this airport transfers both cargos and passengers and is located near the capital city of China.
  • Guangzhou Airport: there is a mixture of old and modern buildings in this airport which is under construction to develop it.
  • Shenzhen Airport: the good point about this airport is its accessibility; it means it is possible to get these by ship, car or train.
  • Chengdu Airport: it is an important airport in the western part of the country and facilitates most of the cargo shipments to different cities around the world.

Main Airports in Japan

Air freight from China to Japan is very popular but the number of international cargo airports in Japan is limited and three most famous ones are listed below:

  • Narita International Airport: it is the largest airport situated 60 km east of Tokyo. This airport is accessible by different ways especially bus and train which depart from there fast.
  • Kansai International Airport: it is a main airport in the western part of Japan and is situated 40 km southwest of Osaka. It is the nearest international airport to Kyoto.
  • Chubu Centrair International Airport: it is located in the center of Japan, about 30 km south of Nagoya. It is easy to take a bus or train to go there.

Shipping from China to Japan Cost

International shopping costs are defined as the prices which should be paid to transfer goods from a country to another one and depends on some factors:

  • Transportation method: air, sea, rail, and road
  • Weight and volume of the cargo
  • Type of the cargo: dry, fluid, general, dangerous, refrigerated
  • Type of the shipment: FCL, LCL

It is advisable to ask a freight forwarder for freight forwarder from China to Japan because it is a complicated process especially for those who are the beginners. All in all, a freight forwarder can easily ask for the discount to ship goods and he or she knows the ropes to avoid wasting time and energy; and delivers goods at the destination on time. Therefore, there is not a stable shipping cost from China to Japan and you need to quote before starting the process depending on a variety of mentioned factors.

Sea Freight Cost

As the number of freight forwarders is a lot in China and different shipping companies offer different prices for sea freight from China to Japan, it is needed to find a trustworthy freight forwarder to do all necessary tasks with competitive rates without wasting time and having potential headaches. Sea freight can help you save your money for shipping. Although you need to wait longer for your goods to be delivered, less money is paid. In addition, if you try to plan your shipment in advance or in a bigger container, you will pay less. Some information related to sea freight from china to Japan is provided:

RouteFOB PriceMinimum OrderTransit Time
Guangzhou – Japan$ 5 – 451 container1 – 15 days
Shenzhen – Japan$ 1 – 1001 CBM20 – 25 days
China – Japan$ 2001 20FT container30 – 40 days
China – Japan$ 5001 piece20 – 25 days
China – Japan$ 1500 – 180020 pieces14 days

Air Freight Cost

The price of fuel increases every year and fuel consumption of an airplane depends on its weight and distance. Therefore, the shipment cost is calculated based on the weight of cargos and the distance that an airplane should fly. This cost is more for charter services. It is usually more expensive to transfer goods in shorter distances because a long amount of time is spent on the ground and in the air for landing and taking off; so in order to save costs, it is better to transfer goods on road for shorter distances. There is some related information about air freight from China to Japan:

RouteFOB PriceMinimum OrderTransit Time
China – Japan$ 0.7 – 1. 2100 kg7 days
Shenzhen – Tokyo$ 5 – 101 kg2 – 3 days
China – Japan$ 21 kg1 – 5 days

Express Cost

Express or courier shipping from China to Japan has different types; including DHL, UPS, EMS, FEDEX, and TNT which are door to door delivery. This service is really great for those parcels which are not very heavy and they have a high value. The weight of each parcel cannot be more than 2 kg. The post office or the shipping company gives you a tracking number to track the parcel from China to Japan in the website. There is not a specific time to deliver the package but it is about 3 to 7 days by express shipping. There are some websites that by entering exact destination, size and weight of the parcel; the costs are shown because they are inseparable. Express shipping is also expensive. All parcels cost fuel charges and insurance of €25 plus its own shipment cost. All in all, shipping costs is high which is because of the following reasons:

  • An inappropriate method of shipment may be selected.
  • FCL is selected when the weight and size of the cargo is small.
  • A wrong comparison is done between Japanese market and international market’s logistics cost standards.
  • A Japanese local freight forwarding company is selected for shipment.

Shipping from China to Japan Time

freight forwarder from China to Japan can be really easy if you try to counsel people who are professional in this field. In order to do this process, some steps will be followed:

  • Consult a freight forwarder about your requirements to find the best shipping method based on the type and size of goods
  • Transfer goods bought from different suppliers to the warehouse
  • Pack all goods based on the needs and put special labels on them
  • Transfer goods to the nearest seaport, airport or post office depending on their conditions

Generally, it takes about 6 to 10 days to transfer goods from China to Japan. It is about 3 days for doing the same job by air and it is usually about 3 to 7 days by the express method for freight forwarder from China to Japan.

Sea Freight Time

Japan has some basic ports such as; Tokyo, Nagoya, Yokohama, Osaka, Kobe, Moji, Hakata. There are also some partial ports which are more such as; Osamu, Niigata, Hiroshima, Chiba, Maizuru, Ube, Naojinjin, Iyo Mishima, Wakayama, Yokkaichi, Toyama New Port, Takamatsu, Imari, Dunhe, Matsuyama, Akita [16]. All these ports provide services for shipping to Japan, so the destination of sea freight is going to be one of the mentioned ports by sea freight. When sea freight from China to Japan is considered, the average transit time is varied from 6 to 10 days depending on the source and destination ports.

Sea Freight Time China to japan

Sea Freight Time China to japan

Air Freight Time

There are only five international airports in Japan which can be the destination of air freight from China to Japan which are named: Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), Narita International Airport (Narita Airport), Chubu International Airport (Central Airport), Osaka International Airport (Idan Airport Osaka Airport) and Kansai International Airport (Kansai Airport). It is needed for a plane to move from China to Japan with a door to door service in 6 hours. If the express shipping is selected, the products will be delivered in 3 days. But this process takes about 8 days with regular air freights.


There are a lot of questions asked in shipping from China to Japan. Two most important ones are listed:

  • Required documents:
  • Import permit in Japan: inform the exact value and quantity of goods
  • The certificate of origin: showing documents to declare the originality of goods
  • The bill of lading: giving information related to cargo and its payment process
  • The customs duty payment
  • The commercial invoice
  • The packing lists
  • Prohibited items:
  • Dangerous materials: explosives, biohazard, chemicals, corrosive, flammable, poisonous
  • Dangerous and illegal things: drugs, drug contraband, counterfeit, firearms, batteries, knife, tobacco, gambling
How Long Does It Take to Ship from China to Japan?

This question is one of the popular questions in shipping because time is really essential in business and people need to manage their plans based on the time in order to get the best services. The shipping method has a great role in time and cost estimation. It usually takes about 7 to 12 days by air while it is about 3 to 7 days by express shipping from China to Japan.

What Is the Cheapest Shipping to Japan?

Sea freight from China to Japan is definitely the cheapest shipping method but you are required to pay attention to some points regarding to it. Firstly, this service is suitable if the suppliers who you are intended to buy goods are situated near Chinese ports. Secondly, sea freight is good when the goods are bigger than 2 CBM because if the goods are smaller, they cost you a lot of money. Thirdly, it takes a longer time in comparison with the other services; so if you are not in a hurry to deliver goods, it can be helpful. Generally, sea freight from China to Japan is considered as the cheapest, but longest, shipping method among all of the other methods [1].

How Can I Track the Shipment?

There are some websites which are designed by shipping companies or the national post office to provide a tracking system. When the tracking number is entered, more details of your parcel and goods are shown and it is easy to track them online.

Do I Need Insurance?

As shipment, especially shipping from China to Japan, is always in danger of accident, theft or storm, it is highly recommendable to insure the goods. Most shipping companies offer a variety of insurance services because they work with big insurers in their area to be able to cover your goods in every condition. If your goods are damaged, they are refunded which only costs 1% to 3% depending on the type of goods, transport and shipment cost. Therefore, selecting a supportive insurer can improve the security of the goods based on the specific insurance policy . The insurance cost will be calculated by this formula :

(goods’ value + freight value) * 1-3%

There are two types of the insurance for your goods. One of them is the transfer insurance which supports costs for non-delivery of goods but you need to remember that this insurance is not related to delays in goods delivery. It is recommendable for expensive goods. The other type of insurance is called marine cargo insurance which is used for sea, air and road transports. The goods are insured against any damages occurred due to loading or unloading, accident, climate, theft, piracy, and other problems. So this insurance is mostly suitable for international transports.