Shipping from Japan to California

Shipping from Japan to California

For more than twenty four years, Japan Luggage Express Ltd. has established itself as one of the leading overseas moving and shipping companies specializing in international transportation. We serve the whole of Japan, handling shipments by both air and sea and we arrange shipping to worldwide destinations including the USA. We handle both personal effect shipments and commercial cargo.

Shipping to California

The USA is one single vital destination country for international transportation from Japan. California in particular plays an important role in shipping from Japan to the USA because shipments from Japan to the USA arrive first in Los Angeles/Long Beach in containers (in the case of LCL shipments); from there, they proceed along inland transportation to various destinations within the USA.

To learn about the transit time from Japan to California and other cities in the USA, please visit the page for transit time from Japan to the USA. We also have a page about shipping and moving from Japan to the USA.

Rates for airfreight

When you are shipping from Japan to California by air, service to international airports in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego is available. As of this writing, Japan Airlines, United Airlines and other airlines from Asia offer services for both personal effect shipments and commercial cargo.

Air rates

Los Angeles Airport Y950 per kg
San Francisco Airport  Y950 per kg
San Diego Airport Y1,000 per kg

The minimum weight for airfreight service is 45kgs. If a shipment weighs less than 45kgs, it will be charged as 45kgs; it does not mean that shipments weighing less than 45kgs are not accepted. In fact, there are rates for shipments under 45kgs, but because they are not discount rates, it is less expensive to ship *as 45kgs* rather than to pay the standard rate.

Please note that the chargeable weight of air cargo is the higher of the actual gross weight and the so-called volumetric weight, i.e., the volume of the shipment is also considered in calculating the freight charges. This is done by converting the volume to kilograms using the equation of length (cm) x width (cm) x height (cm) divided by 6000. This is a rule set by the IATA (International Air Transport Association) to ensure that airlines are able to charge a reasonable amount when they carry cargo that takes up significant space in aircrafts but that is low in weight density. Dimensional weight is another name for volumetric weight.

To learn more about the minimum requirement and also about volumetric/dimensional weight, please read the information on this website about service by air.

(Hint: Various airlines and freight forwarders also have pages with explanations about volumetric weight. You may wish to refer to such web pages as well. Note, however, that courier companies use the formula of length (cm) x width (cm) x height (cm) divided by 5,000 instead of 6,000; this would make shipments of low weight density sent via courier service quite expensive compared to air freight.

The above charges of ours are exclusive of "destination charges" at the destination airports in the USA. Destination charges refer to the charges that will be incurred at the destination airports, for example, the airline’s (or their agents’) handling or terminal service charges, storage fees or the like, and delivery charges from the warehouse at the airport facility to an address or customs clearance charge*. *A customs clearance charge will be incurred only if you hire a local customs broker. If you go to the customs office yourself to clear customs, there will be no customs clearance charge.

Our handling charges on the Japan side:

Y5,900 per shipment* *Shipment means all the packages shipped at one time; therefore, the number of packages is not a pricing factor. Depending on the commodity, there will be a surcharge.

Pickup charge:
Using our services, you can ship from virtually anywhere. The pickup charge is approximately 50 yen to 200 yen per kg depending on the distance from the Tokyo/Chiba area. Free pickup service, with the exception of oversize packages, is offered in the Tokyo metropolitan area (23 wards) and some parts of Chiba prefecture.


A packing list is required for both insurance and customs clearance purposes.

You declare the value of your contents on the packing list; the insurance premium is 1.5% of the total value declared in your packing list, with a minimum premium of Y3,300.

Example of rate calculation:

A shipment of 70kgs to San Francisco: Y72,400 (Y950 x 70 +5,900)

While the minimum weight is 45kgs for service by air, if you are shipping by sea, the minimum is one cubic meter. If you are shipping a small amount, air freight is a cost-effective method of transportation compared to sea freight.

Rates for service by sea to California

Service by sea is available for terminals in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. Please contact this office for information about the charges. We will gladly send you a quote for your shipment to California.

ISF submission

In 2010 the United States government implemented a regulation called ISF (Importers Security Filing) and each importer in the USA is responsible for ISF submission. Please contact us for more details about ISF. (ISF is required for personal effect shipments as well, but submission for personal effects is quite simple.) Click here for more information about ISF. ISF is required for sea freight only; you do not need to do this if you are shipping by air.

Personal effects shipments

Unless you are a returning resident of the USA, a proper visa will be required to bring your personal belongings to the USA. Entry of the goods will be denied by US customs if you have only a tourist visa.


When packing your goods, please use sturdy cardboard boxes, whether you are shipping personal items or commercial cargo. Wooden materials that meet the worldwide standard of ISPM15 must be used if you are shipping your goods to the USA in wooden boxes, crates or pallets. Plywood can also be used.

California remains a very popular moving and travelling destination

Whether or not they are shipping to, moving to or travelling to California, USA, it has been known as the Golden State and one of the reasons may be because the Golden Gate Bridge is located in California. Another reason is the amazing golden beaches which is found in California and which is attracting so many visitors annually. Regardless of the individual reasons which people might have California still one of the most popular moving and travelling destination states and it is visited by millions of US residents and also by many tourists. Millions of people who have not yet been to California actually have this state on their bucket list as something which they simply have to do before they run out of options. But even for those people who have never considered California as one of their preferred destinations, it should not be too difficult to convince those people on exactly why California thoroughly deserves to be at least one of the top 10 moving destinations for any person living today. There is so much to choose from such as the amazing scenery and dozens of interesting destinations scattered all across California.

California offers a lot:

One of the big attractions in California will always be Hollywood and this is because the moviemaking industry has always been attracting a lot of attention not only for US citizens but also from international tourists including those from Japan. This is exactly why millions of people are coming to Hollywood annually in the hope of seeing one of their well-known celebrities. Then there is also the well-known Silicon Valley with all of its manufacturing corporations which has had such a large impact on the electronics industry for many decades. Statistics clearly show that California has the largest population and it also has the largest gross domestic product significantly larger than the GDP of any other state. Some people will find it surprising that the GDP of California is larger than the GDP of many global countries. In fact the GDP of California is roughly equal to the GDP of Italy. Therefor it makes sense that Los Angeles is one single most important shipping destination as far as shipping from Japan is concerned.

Exploring California

For those people who would like to explore California by motor vehicle they should note that the journey from north to south can easily take up to 12 hours. However for those who are focusing on the most scenic routes, this journey can take significantly longer. There are significant climate variations throughout the state of California with some areas which is predominantly sunny and warm while especially the mountain areas are some of the places where the visitor can often encounter snow. The demography of the state is also interesting and some parts in the North of California has several mountains but there is also large forests and several scenic and beautiful valleys. There are also parts of California where there is actually deserts and furthermore the entire western side of California consists of beaches and the views of the ocean. In many ways California has more to offer than many countries elsewhere on the planet and this is why California will always be a popular moving destination in the USA for people from Japan or elsewhere in the world.

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