Best shopping service: Tenso!

Like the ones from Ungrid, Liz Lisa or GYDA.

(I’ll be talking about Ungrid and GYDA next post  :upheart: )

I’ve discovered Tenso is a great shopping service. It’s saved me money and headaches so I thought I’d pass along why it’s good. :upheart:


I was really happy using Japonica, but the problem is they only use paypal. Like many services they ask you to pay at the time of payment then at the time of shipping.

Using paypal it means paying the paypal fee PLUS the horrible yen exchange rate of paypal TWICE. If you haven’t noticed the exchange rate in paypal is usually off and you pay a bit more without getting anything. It’s not Japonica’s fault, it’s just any service that goes through paypal screws you over on paypal’s side (Lauren commented she has a workaround for their bad exchange rate, read below). :x So it’s very expensive to order from a service that requires paypal.

Instead I decided to check out tenso. They take cards! :upheart:

Tenso is a forwarding service. It’s not a buying service.

What’s the difference?

:star2: With a buying service you tell someone what to buy and they pay for the item and order it to their place.
:star2: With a forwarding service you order the item from the clothing website and ship it to the company (tenso). So you have to sign up for a website, and deal with the Japanese enough to sign up and order.

However because you’re ordering the item, the payment goes through your account and there’s NO FEE.

Here’s a little flow chart to explain what I mean:


Tenso step one: Sign up at Tenso

It’s free and can be all in English if you choose. After you register you’ll be given a personalized shipping address.

Your own special address looks like this. :upani:

You insert it in the store’s address you want to buy

Your number will be a specialized number just for you, but everything else is the same.

Tenso step two: Signing up at shop site & buying your item

At the webstore. I’m using Runway Channel since I just ordered from them. You have to put in the address they gave you.

On the webstore you want to buy from you give them your credit card details.

They charge you and there is no fee only the exchange rate your bank puts on cards.

Step three: Your item arrives at Tenso

Once your item is shipped from the webstore to Tenso you’ll get a mail.

You can buy from more than one store and for a fee they’ll ship your two packages together.

For customs they will have a form filled out with the prices you paid. HOWEVER you can change your purchase to lower money amounts for customs if you so desire.

Step four: Paying the tenso fee and shipping

Tenso charges by weight. If you’re buying clothing, especially non coat items then your fee should be quite inexpensive. In my own experience (two orders) I have found the fee is ridiculously cheap.


I ordered the four items I talked about in my Fall gets and my fee was 980 yen. You simply pay by either paypal or credit card via Tenso. Since I hate paypal fees I used credit card.

warning: Tenso only ships EMS which is expensive. Although most forwarding services do. :worries:


Once you pay you’ll get an e-mail like this (it’s my e-mail).

Then when they ship it (which is usually same or next day) they’ll send you an EMS tracking number and poof clothing  :upheart:

I really love this service. It’s so easy to use. I don’t have to deal with anyone, and it’s just really two steps: buying from the webstore and paying tenso. You can use it on any site that takes credit cards, not just clothing. This is my second time using the service and I’ve been really satisfied.

Lauren says about paypal and Japanese yen:

There’s a way to get around paying paypal’s shitty currency exchange rate! If you pay with your credit card instead of your bank account, there’s an option to be charged in JPY. After you select to pay by credit, it’ll say:

Payment Method

Credit/Debit Card : Visa XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-
And directly under that is “other conversion options”. Click that and you can select, “Bill me in the currency listed on the seller’s invoice.” It’s a good way to save yourself a little money for when you can’t use tenso.

This is great advice, thanks Lauren! Still have to pay paypal’s fees but less money is less money  :upheart: Lauren has a lot more information below in her comment, let her know you enjoy it. I certainly did  :up:



  1. September 5, 2011 / 9:21 am

    Thanks for this, I had been wanting to look more into Tenso so it was really helpful :hearts: :yayyay:

    • Mitsu
      September 5, 2011 / 10:00 am

      I hope it works for you! I know some shopping services are so expensive >_<

  2. September 5, 2011 / 10:08 am


    As much as I like Japonica’s service, the emailing back and forth can be annoying at times. I like it when things are simplier! I’ll give Tenso a shot soon :)

    • Mitsu
      September 5, 2011 / 5:53 pm

      Absolutely! I hate how much time it takes from the time you want an item to actual purchasing. I know they have to do their job and confirm but with the time difference it can take a few days >_<

  3. Kari
    September 5, 2011 / 10:54 am

    I also recently stumbled on Tenso, and it seemed like such a convenient thing. My question, though, is I only have a non-Japanese credit card, so do a lot of Japanese webstores now also accept those? Thanks!

    • Mitsu
      September 5, 2011 / 5:52 pm

      Definitely! Visa is visa and mastercard is mastercard. Mine works always in Japan and on Japanese websites without a problem!

  4. September 5, 2011 / 11:29 am

    What a great review on this shipping service! * o * I def was kind of iffy about it but it looks like a great one then! I’ll def use them when I decide to snag myself some emoda and murua items :)

    • Mitsu
      September 5, 2011 / 5:51 pm

      Emoda and Murua…. girl girl girl I cannot explain how much your tassle earring get from f21 has made me think about tassle earrings. I was searching for some last night through etsy and ebay because I’m not feeling black and really want the beige ones from Emoda. LOL

  5. September 5, 2011 / 11:53 am

    Thank you! I’m about to move back to Sweden and I’ve been feeling cranky about having to use shopping services (everyone’s gotta make some money to eat, but nevertheless…), and this seems great! Will definitly try it out this fall! :happydance:

    • Mitsu
      September 5, 2011 / 5:49 pm

      Shopping services are such a pain, but I think even paying a friend through paypal is more expensive than this was. Hope all works out for you!

  6. September 5, 2011 / 2:13 pm

    Just this past week, I signed up for Tenso so I could order from the Ma*rs site but they wouldn’t accept my information. I retried it like 3 times with no success.

    I ended up using Treasure Japan which I know will end up being expensive!!

    • Mitsu
      September 5, 2011 / 5:48 pm

      Really? I have account with the MARS website since a long time ago and I tried for you to change my information to my tenso address and they accepted it. If you need me to help you set up an account let me know! We can probably fix it through twitter!

      • September 5, 2011 / 8:56 pm

        Really? Hmm, then I’m doing something else wrong. I took a screen shot of the error page, I’ll tweet it to you if you don’t mind taking a look! :-D

        • Mitsu
          September 5, 2011 / 11:55 pm

          Sure! We can fix it together!

  7. September 5, 2011 / 2:40 pm

    Hi, i’m really sorry for bother you again, but i never get the glad news tunic, i had send you a couple of mails, so that’s why i’m writing here, if you don’t know where the tunic dress can be, i’ll assume that get lost on the mail, next time we try a better way, ok?

    i never managed to understand tenso, you make it so simple, thank you mitsu!

    • Mitsu
      September 5, 2011 / 5:40 pm

      I sent you a message previously about asking your country’s customs but I never heard back from you :( You’re more than welcome to do a paypal claim request, that’s perfectly fine with me. It’s the same thing I’d do if I was in your situation! If you don’t get the item, then you shouldn’t pay for it. Like all the packages I send out I put my return address yet I have not received anything. :worries:

  8. September 5, 2011 / 5:47 pm

    I discovered tenso some time ago but never used it until just recently. I used it to shop at runway channel too :P I love the way their service is really quick!

  9. Lauren
    September 5, 2011 / 5:54 pm

    A few things worth noting for other people interested in tenso: 1)You need to make sure the shop takes credit cards. One of my favorite Japanese webshops only does COD and credit card COD. Since the site doesn’t process my card and tenso won’t do COD, I have to use a regular shopping service. 2)If there’s a problem with your order, you’re on your own. If your Japanese skills are good, it’s probably not an issue, but if you rely heavily on google translate, it’s something to consider.

    Also, Mitsu – There’s a way to get around paying paypal’s shitty currency exchange rate! If you pay with your credit card instead of your bank account, there’s an option to be charged in JPY. After you select to pay by credit, it’ll say:

    Payment Method

    Credit/Debit Card : Visa XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-
    And directly under that is “other conversion options”. Click that and you can select, “Bill me in the currency listed on the seller’s invoice.” It’s a good way to save yourself a little money for when you can’t use tenso.

    • Mitsu
      September 5, 2011 / 5:56 pm

      Wow this is a wonderful selection of information, thank you for taking the time to write it! I’ll be adding pieces to the article, with your name of course! :stars:

  10. September 6, 2011 / 12:16 am

    Oh, this looks glorious. I’ve been back in the States about 5 weeks now and I’m going into fashion withdrawal. Thank you so much for the info! :hearts:

    • Mitsu
      September 6, 2011 / 11:41 am

      LOL I absolutely know what you mean. It’s so hard to go from immediate gratification then you have to deal and wait with so much mess when you’re overseas. It’s sucks, but at least tenso helps it out a bit!

  11. Ruthie
    September 6, 2011 / 2:13 am

    That’s fantastic, I’ve been wondering if any of those services were good. My friend uses something similar to shop on US sites. I assume it also works for Yahoo Auctions too?

    • Mitsu
      September 6, 2011 / 10:39 am

      Nope japonica does. Auction sites in Japan are usually bank transfer only. Sorry!

  12. September 6, 2011 / 3:38 am

    woooooowwwww you went through so much trouble writing and making this post! :!: :oooo
    thanks so much, im sure thisll be more than helpful for so many of us, especially with people like me with no close contacts in jpn getting the GYDA we want for us ;)
    take care girl! :heartsmile:

    • Mitsu
      September 6, 2011 / 11:40 am

      LOL it was no trouble at all. Besides any girl who loves to shop, i love that girl LOL

      GYDA is doing such cool original clothes, can’t wait to see what you get!

  13. Harumi
    September 6, 2011 / 4:40 am

    WOOOOOOW thanks for all the info!!! very useful >w< i'm so tired of paypal fees…. i hate that. With tenso seems very easy, then I can order calmly from co&lu shop yay! :heart:

    thanks! best regards

    • Mitsu
      September 6, 2011 / 11:30 am

      Yes it was really the paypal fees that stopped me from shopping a lot. The yen to dollar exchange rate is horrible, but knowing paypal fees were going to be added on top of that, it’s just too much!

      A commenter below had problems with co&lu, but I’m not sure. I’ll try to register there and also contact tenso since I know cocolulu fans just have one option.

  14. September 6, 2011 / 7:46 am

    Thank you for breaking this down! :heart:
    I signed up for Tenso a while back & attempted to complete an order on Runway Channel, but I got totally confused & just said f*ck it :^_^;;: I feel like I understand it now though, so thank you! & the final shipping price is wowamazing~

    • Mitsu
      September 6, 2011 / 11:20 am

      Let me know if you need any help setting up your account on Runway or anything! You know I’m happy to help a fellow shopping addict :D

  15. September 6, 2011 / 11:44 pm

    awesome! That’s so cool! Do you know any similar sites for chinese websites? thanks ♥

  16. Mitsu
    September 8, 2011 / 10:18 am

    Sorry I’m only interested in Japanese fashion (as far as Asian fashion goes) so I don’t look at Chinese websites! If you’re into taobao or such look up taobao shopping service and maybe see what they can do?

  17. September 9, 2011 / 12:38 am

    i’ve been using tenso for a while and it’s so great ! the only problem for foreigners is that if they don’t know Japanese setting up an account may be difficult since often times they ask for your name in katakana and suchh

  18. Katrin
    September 11, 2011 / 10:07 am

    I use White Rabbit Express, they’re also simple and great :) they use PP, butyou can choose between regular airmail, airmail with tracking and EMS, think Tenso only offer EMS, or at least it was the only option they had when I used them last year.

  19. September 14, 2011 / 6:01 am

    I have a tenso account but… it doesn’t seem to work with mbok, which is where I do most of my shopping right now. Do you have any recommended services for that? Great article though! I’ll definitely use tenso in the future!

    • Mitsu
      September 15, 2011 / 3:36 pm

      mbok users don’t take credit cards, mbok (and other japanese auction sites) uses bank transfers between a japanese bank account and another japanese bank account. Tenso is only for credit card purchases. Japonica I use for mbok.

  20. September 22, 2011 / 7:51 pm

    This seems really useful and I was just thinking to try it – but now I wonder if customs will eventually call me if I declare a lower price and the receipt/invoice they put tells a higher price than the one I said ;<
    Anyway, thanks for the review! Things like this are always very useful :cheery:

    • Mitsu
      September 24, 2011 / 3:07 am

      I can understand that, I just know some people’s customs taxes are half of the price of the goods so it makes overseas buying very painful. It’s definitely each persons choice, I just thought I’d point it out for those concerned.

  21. February 19, 2012 / 2:00 pm

    Quick question :hearts2: Are there any webstores that take paypal? or is it strictly creit card?

    • Mitsu
      February 19, 2012 / 2:43 pm

      Strictly credit card. But if you have a bank card most work as credit cards.

  22. Vivian
    August 19, 2012 / 2:24 am

    I have a question :0 My dad signed up for tenso since I don’t have a credit card and then I signed up for liz lisa, putting tenso’s info in the right places. When I got to the payment part, I selected credit card, and in bulk. When I typed in my dad’s credit card number though and clicked next and continued to confirm the order, it stopped and said it couldn’t make the transaction. I doubled checked the credit card number and the expiration date and when I made sure everything was right, it still wouldn’t process my order. So I was wondering if the number in TENSO was typed incorrectly and it’s not matched up to the one in lizlisa or if lizlisa just won’t accept an American VISA card?

    • Mitsu
      August 19, 2012 / 12:42 pm

      Liz Lisa partnered with Tenso so that should be okay and all sites take credit cards, they recognize it as a Visa (which is used in Japan as well). I’m unsure what the error was or how to fix it. I might order something from Liz Lisa soonish so I’ll let you know if I run into any problems.

      • Vivian
        August 19, 2012 / 1:26 pm

        thanks! I actually checked my dad’s credit and typed it in precisely and just when Im at step 5 for the order confirmation, lizlisa says that it it couldn’t make the credit card transaction. It basically said this, “クレジットカードの決済に失敗しました。このカードでは取引をする事が出来ません。” So I sadly had to use google translate and it said that it couldn’t make the transaction. Do you think it’s the credit card’s problem or lizlisa won’t accept it?

        • Mitsu
          September 3, 2012 / 5:36 pm

          I just purchased from the site. They did do an overhaul so maybe that helped, but my purchase was painless! So easy!! American Checking Account card used as a credit card and it was fine :)

  23. Charlene
    September 15, 2012 / 8:46 am

    Hi did u anything from Runway channel lately? I have problem trying to check out my order because of the mobile number details. I am going to use tenso btw and tenso only provides normal land line. Please help!!!! I hope my emoda & murua items wont be sold out anytime soon. Pls email me. Thank you!!!! :)

  24. Dann
    January 14, 2013 / 10:57 am

    Hi! can I use Tenso for Taobao?

    • Mitsu
      January 14, 2013 / 11:25 am

      No I don’t think so. Tenso deals with Japan.

  25. Pauline
    February 19, 2013 / 8:02 pm

    Hi Mitsu

    Could you advice on how do I sign up for an account on Runway Webstore? Trying to order some stuff from Emoda and Murua.

    Thanks alot!

    • Mitsu
      February 19, 2013 / 9:28 pm

      I’ll do a new post with that and girls walker soon

      • Pauline
        February 20, 2013 / 1:46 am

        Thanks so much!!

  26. Mikael
    February 25, 2013 / 3:05 pm

    I’ve used tenso before to order from Liz Lisa etc.
    But I always wondered if you could buy from any shop and just enter their adress? So far I’ve only bought off sites that explicitly said, that you could use tenso.

  27. Tammy
    March 2, 2013 / 7:33 pm

    HI Mitsu,
    Do you know how to register an account at runway channel.
    I try to register them but somehow it didn’t process.

    Thank you

  28. Sailorjess
    June 4, 2013 / 2:56 am

    I signed up with tesco (which is all good) I then tried to buy a top from GARULA, and it was all In Japanese! Google translate wasn’t that great :( I wish I could read it. I just want the darn top! Haha.

    • Mitsu
      June 4, 2013 / 12:29 pm

      If not there’s shopping services to buy for you. I mention one above.

  29. Sailorjess
    June 4, 2013 / 2:58 am

    Sorry *tenso

  30. Erika
    June 17, 2013 / 12:03 pm

    The thing I don’t like about Tenso is that you can’t order nail polish (like PA dear laura, perfume, cosmetics, etc), I mean it’s good if you just want clothing and jewelry otherwise it’s pretty much useless :/. Like it would be a bummer if you purchased some nail polish or something, and Tenso just tells you that you can’t have your goods.

  31. Sammie
    July 9, 2013 / 11:04 pm


    I have a question about Liz Lisa. So I use the cart system and put in my card #, but the next page I wasn’t sure what to put in so I tried to go back but the Vent Cart said that some items changed so I wasn’t able to finish my purchase, but my bank account was charged a $1 transfer fee to Vent because I put in my card # and I allowed the money to go through. I wasn’t able to finish my purchase though, do you think that Vent is going to take my money out of my bank account even though I didn’t finish the confirmation of my purchase but put in my card #?

  32. ruki
    August 20, 2013 / 5:18 am

    Hi, I just registered for since I’ve been wanting to buy some products from Japan-based websites. I think the concept is really cool and hopefully will use it on the long run if my first few purchases goes well.

    My only concern is, after registering, it (the site) says something about having to submit proof of identity. Is it really necessary? If I must, is it safe to do so?

    Has anyone tried continuing the service without submitting their proof of identity?

    • Mitsu
      August 23, 2013 / 12:37 am

      It’s a new law for all forwarding companies (blahblahterrorism). I haven’t yet but thus far they’re still letting me shop.

  33. Fany
    November 30, 2013 / 10:26 am

    Hi! I have decided to try out tenso, either manually or the option which they will help me purchase it instead. However, while looking at Rakuten JP, item selection stated 予約販売中 what does it mean? Some told me advance sales, some said reservation sales. :( But I am still able to add the item in my cart which I assume I could make payment too..

    So does it mean that the item is available for purchase? Or only available upon reservation or would be “ordered” for me after I make payment? Sorry if I ask too many question… ><

    • Mitsu
      December 1, 2013 / 1:47 am

      It means reserve. If you’re ordering from Yumetenbo/Dreamvs or such expect a lot of reserves.

      • Fany
        December 1, 2013 / 5:52 am

        :( Thanks for answering. As I really wanted a particular color for the item and sadly it’s on the reserve status. :'(

  34. ixmiffy
    January 25, 2014 / 7:22 am

    Hi, I am curious if you actually knows how to read japanese :/
    Because I am facing some international shipping issues and think that the seller wants me to contact shipping agencies such as tenso.




    Will they cancel my order or will they send out as international shipping to solve the problem? Or do i have to change the address to tenso address? :<

    • Mitsu
      January 25, 2014 / 11:34 am

      They are canceling and suggested you use a service. Btw actually was a bit…. ._.

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