How To Find a Manufacturer or Supplier for Your Product Idea in Japan

As a small business owner, it’s easy to get excited about your product ideas, but lose your drive when it comes time to source products from overseas. Your know that “made in Japan” signifies quality, and that’s what you have your heart set on. Japan is an innovation market and a sophistication hub and this is known the world over. Whether you want to find a manufacturer for an original product, or find a supplier and purchase wholesale from them, the task of finding one is Japan can seem daunting.

Why find a Supplier in Japan?

First, take comfort in knowing you’ve made a sound choice. Here are some advantages to having a supplier in Japan:

  • Higher perceived quality from customers
  • Detail-oriented product design
  • Good IP or intellectual property protection
  • Typically lower manufacturing costs
  • High number of manufacturers to choose from
  • The web has made it easy to find a supplier

What kind of Supplier?

Using a search engine for terms such as “made in Japan” or “Japanese supplier directory” will draw forth plenty of online supplier directories such as Alibaba’s Japan pavilion. However, before we delve into how to navigate these results, it’s important to first consider exactly what you are looking for.

First, you should determine what type of supplier you’re looking for as this will help you with search terms. There are several options, with the most common being:

  • A manufacturer in Japan to produce your own product idea
  • A supplier, who may also be a manufacturer, wholesaler or distributor to purchase already existing brands and products
  • A dropshipper to supply products and fulfill orders of your already existing brands and products

Beware that you are not purchasing from a Chinese manufacturer of Japanese products. Now that you know what kind of product you are looking for, you can start looking in online directories. They vary in quality and layout, but we are going to focus on just one that we know is reliable: Jetro’s.

Looking for a Supplier in Japan Using Jetro

Jetro, or the Japan External Trade Organization, is an initiative of the Japanese government to facilitate trade. There are two ways to find a supplier in Japan using Jetro, one is to look for trade fairs to attend, and the other is to look directly for companies that you may contact online.

Searching for a Supplier in Japan Using Jetro’s Online Trade Fair Database

There are two way to do this. The first is to look at the listing of trade shows by industry in the left-hand column of the homepage. Once you’ve chosen an industry, further terms to refine your search will appear in the right hand column, so you can find trade shows by date and by location.

The other way to do this is to go to the homepage and do an advanced search to begin with, which you will find at the bottom of the right-hand column.


Consider for example that you were looking for a Gyuto knife (Chef’s knife). In the search bar you might type “knife.”
Once you hit enter, you’d see that the International Washoku show is coming up:Jetro_screenshot_2

Then it’s up to you to go to the fair for your industry to find a supplier in Japan.

Searching for a Supplier in Japan Using Jetro’s International Business Matching Site

From the homepage go to the left-hand column and click on the industry for your product. You can then enter more specific search terms. It’s then up to you to contact the supplier you find in Japan and make an order.


Again search for a Gyuto, typing knife into the search tab on the left:Jetro_screenshot_3
You will then see a list of 45 potential suppliers
You will see that entry 7 is good option. Clicking there you receive this screen:Jetro_screenshot_5
Scrolling down the page you can see a button to send an enquiry:
send inquiry

Making Payment to Your Supplier in Japan

Take the stress out of international payments and transfers. By introducing Veem to your Japanese business partners, you can both enjoy hassle-free transactions that traditional banks just don’t offer. There are no hidden fees, a competitive rate of exchange, and your payment is trackable from end-to-end. The Japanese will admire you for your efficiency.

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