Who’s eligible: Non-Japanese tourists staying in the country for less than six months. Residents (short-term included) are not eligible
Taxes you’ll avoid: The 10% consumption tax
Purchase value limit: Minimum ¥5,000 per shop per day. For consumables, there is also a maximum limit of ¥500,000 per shop per day
Paperwork: Required – see below
Where to pick up your items: Upon purchase
Tax free shops are marked with ‘Japan Tax-free Shop’ stickers and can be found all across the country. These are basically just regular shops that offer tax-exemption service. They differ from duty free shops in the sense that you’ll need to complete tax-exemption paperwork for all purchases.
Also note that tax-free consumables may not be opened while in Japan and need to be taken out of the country within 30 days of purchase, while the same limit for non-consumables is six months.
As for the paperwork, most tax free shops make use of the following procedures:
1) Show your passport upon purchase
2) Pay and sign the tax-free agreement provided (this will be attached to your passport)
3) Display your passport at customs when leaving the country
Large malls, shopping centres and other retail outlets consisting of several independent shops often have joint tax-free counters. The procedures are slightly different here:
1) Make tax-inclusive purchases at each shop
2) Bring your items, receipts and passport to the joint tax-free counter
3) Sign the tax-free agreement provided (this will be attached to your passport)
4) Receive your items and a tax refund on all purchases. Note that some facilities with joint counters may charge commissions.
5) Display your passport at customs when leaving the country