5 Ways Businesses Leverage Their Brands during Sakura Season

 5 Ways How Businesses Leverage Their Brands during Sakura Season

The Sakura season is one of the most awaited events in Japan, with millions of visitors flocking to over 1000 locations to witness the beautiful cherry blossom trees. As a result, this season presents opportunities for businesses to leverage their visibility and reach in different ways. Brands can connect with large audiences to promote their products and services through creative marketing strategies.

Here are 5 ways foreign brands leverage cherry blossom season’s popularity for their businesses.

  1.  Limited-edition and Sakura-themed products 
Sakura Themed Products

Businesses create limited-edition products that are cherry blossom-themed. This includes food and beverages that taste like Sakura and other products. For Japanese customers, exclusive and time-limited items come with a sense of urgency to purchase. At the same time, they symbolize the season’s fading beauty. Customers will recognize your brand positively if you include the unique character of the season in your products.

Kit Kat is one of the most outstanding examples with their exclusive Sakura-flavored chocolate bars. When Kit Kat first came to Japan in 1973, they discovered that the Japanese pronunciation of its name meant “absolutely win”. That’s why students started using Kit Kats chocolate bars as lucky charms during the spring entrance tests. Kit Kat leveraged that fact by producing Sakura-flavored chocolates with motivational messages.

  1.  Partnership with local stores 

Godiva, a foreign chocolatier brand, collaborated with the convenience store Lawson in 2019. Together they launched the sweet pink and green duo called ‘Le Japonais du Printemps’ in luxurious and elegant packaging. It served as a present to bring when people gathered to view the cherry blossoms.

As a brand, you can partner with local stores to sell special Sakura-themed products. Additionally, these can come with discounts or free items to attract customers. That helps you reach a broader audience through different channels such as convenience stores, supermarkets, department stores, or even vending machines that Japanese people frequent daily.

  1.  Sakura-themed events 

Jack Daniels is a whiskey brand based in the US. During their promotional tour across Japan in 2017, they released a limited-edition whiskey box called “Back Sakura”. Only available in Japan, Jack Daniels presented a whiskey in a classy black box with a white Sakura-petal pattern. With this limited edition, Jack Daniels aimed to improve their brand recognition in Japan by attracting younger adults. Quickly it became a must-have for whiskey lovers and collectors.

You can host events and promotions during the Sakura season to increase your brand reach. By utilizing events to create an engaging atmosphere, you let your customers experience Sakura in an unforgettable way.

  1.  Social media marketing 

Social media is one of the key drivers to elevate your brand visibility in Japan.

Using the power of social media, Coca-Cola launched its first Sakura-themed bottle in 2017. It was a success and gained even more popularity over the next few years. They adjusted the bottle to a 250-milliliter slim size. They did that so that people could take easier pictures of the surrounding cherry blossom trees while holding their eye catchy bottles.

Having a Sakura-themed product is only one part of a powerful campaign. You can see that Japanese people interact online more with their favorite brands after the launch of seasonal-exclusive products. They post photos and videos, give feedback and use hashtags related to the season that build a buzz around the brand. Collaborations with influencers and artists can also boost your brand awareness.

Read more about the importance of content localization.

  1.  Outdoor advertising and in-store displays 

Outdoor advertising and an in-store display featuring Sakura-themed visuals are persuasive tools in your marketing kit. Starbucks follows that concept and provides a Sakura-themed atmosphere in all of its stores throughout Japan. Besides special beverages, they also offer limited-edition merchandise that boosts sales during the season. Furthermore, you can advertise in busy areas such as train and bus stations, shopping malls, billboards, tourist attractions, and more.


Brands have a unique chance to appeal to Japanese customers, boost sales, and raise their awareness during the Sakura season. You can take advantage of the season’s uniqueness and increase brand recognition and loyalty by developing exclusive Sakura-themed products, collaborating with regional retailers for promotions, and studying the successful marketing techniques of other brands like Coca-Cola and Kit Kat.

 Need help scaling your business in Japan? As your local operating partner with End-2-End solutions, COVUE can help your brand navigate Japan´s regulations and mitigate risks of market entry.

Japan Food Import Restrictions

Thriving Cosmetics Beauty Industry in Japan: Watch these Consumer Trends in 2023 

By the end of 2023, Japan’s beauty market will be worth US$40.62k. Consumers are eager to discover the latest products from local and international brands. They look for technical innovations, personalized engagements, and safe and trustworthy products with high efficacy.

Let’s dive deeper into consumer trends and what business opportunities they hold.

 Top 7 Consumer Trends of 2023 in the Beauty Industry 

  1. Technical-driven beauty

Japanese consumers are sophisticated and well-informed about products and their effects. Moreover, they look for products that suit their skin type. Desirable skin care items can be multipurpose or designed for one purpose explicitly. The Japanese salon brand Lady Bio did it with its versatile, water-based mist that helps to combat dry and acne-prone skin. Seleia is another Japanese brand specializing in scalp care. They use micro-needle technology to penetrate the scalp’s skin with its serum. Accordingly, innovative products that effectively impact the skin and improve its condition are an emerging market opportunity for businesses.

  1. CBD as a substance

Among Generation Z consumers in Japan, the popularity of CBD (Cannabidiol) as a component of beauty products has risen. The market is still developing in Japan as laws are strict. For example, Migoto’s Sugoy offers essential CBD oils to help you relax. Japanese brands import most of these products from Europe or the US. That can be a business opportunity for foreign brands to explore as the demand for CBD goods increases.

  1. Femcare and Femtech

This category is a growing opportunity in the Japanese beauty space. It targets women and their overall well-being. Nutritional supplements, lubricants, intimate washes, and lotions with or without CBD show a wide range of possibilities in this category for brands. Furthermore, femcare enhances women’s health during menopause, menstruation, and pregnancy. It also includes female sex toys. Fermata is a femtech brand that started selling online in 2019 and moved into retail in 2020. Their product scope includes menstrual underwear, sex toys, and more female-related items. The market’s response to female-specific products seems slow. However, it is happening and shows potential and rising demand. For example, the drugstore Matsumoto Kiyoshi started to place femcare goods in its 30 stores called Matsukiyo Lab in 2021 that target single households with beauty products.

  1. Product and brand authenticity

Product safety, quality, and performance are more critical to consumers than ever. To compete, brands like L’Oreal invest in skin care, hair care, and skin devices that offer greater efficacy. Additionally, Cosme rankings for 2022 are dominated by popular products from past years, such as Kiehl’s Ultra Face Cream. This fact underlines that Japanese consumers prefer their good-old favorites, whose claims have already been proven to work. For brands, that means focusing on the authenticity and efficacy of their products and claims. Also, they can center their product lines more on their core expertise instead of reinventing the wheel this year.

  1. Sustainability

Brands seek ways to tackle environmental issues as consumers’ concerns about the planet’s future growth. Some brands, such as Shisheido with their “SEE, SAY, DO” campaign, shift their focus toward minimizing waste by developing eco-friendly packaging. Other approaches may be sourcing organic ingredients or supporting fair trade. That leads to business opportunities for those who create sustainable products that speak to the current concerns of consumers.

  1. Emphasis on one feature

During the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, Japanese people wore masks. As a result, many consumers decided to highlight their eyebrows rather than their lips since the mask covered them most of the time. With mask requirements being lifted, Generation Z consumers in Japan have started to look for products that help them express themselves. This year, they will likely use products of flattering color and smooth texture for their eyes or lips. It is imperative for you to understand the cultural nuances of the market and its consumers to be successful here.

Read more about the successful strategies of established foreign brands in Japan.

  1. Ultra-personalized shopping experiences

Japanese consumers can enjoy a versatile and competitive beauty market under the constant pressure of innovation. The choice of products from such a wide variety of brands causes a higher demand among customers to know what is best for them. A brand can create individualized communication with its customers through online questionnaires, one-to-one consultations, artificial intelligence skin analysis, try-on AR filters, custom-formulated products that fit each customer’s skin type, and more. For example, Estée Lauder offers online and in-store consultations in Japan to connect with its audience. You can also build loyalty with subscription boxes or special rewards as a brand. The more you learn about your customers, the better you can serve and bond with them. That can be one of the competitive edges for beauty companies in Japan.


In 2023, Japanese consumers will look for authenticity and innovation in the brand and their products. You can enter this market with personalized communication, sustainability, and high-performance and versatile products. CBD and Femcare are small but growing and promising categories. Knowing these trends can help you understand and leverage the market’s current dynamics.

 Need support to expand your beauty brand to Japan? 

COVUE is your operating partner in Japan who strategizes and executes your vision. Our team’s mission is to support your goals in the most effective way possible to amplify your success in Japan. We help you with import compliance, logistics, setup of eCommerce, and more.

Black Friday in Japan

Is Black Friday Sale A Success in Japan?

Does Black Friday exist in Japan? The answer is yes! However, you can´t compare the Japanese version with the American one. The popularity of Black Friday has risen rapidly in the last few years. Therefore, this day has enormous potential for your future sales in Japan.

How Black Friday Became a “Thing” in Japan 

Here is a brief history of Black Friday in Japan:

2014: Toys “R” Us hosted the first Black Friday sales.

2015: The fashion store GAP adopted the concept.

2016: AEON, one of the biggest retail chains in Japan, started a successful campaign with TV commercials and ads in stores.

2019: Amazon Japan officially joined Black Friday with special promotions across various product categories.

Since then, both e-commerce and retail have utilized Black Friday to increase their sales during the holiday season in Japan. Now Black Friday is an event for determined shoppers to get a great deal on a variety of products such as electronics, games, furniture, and more. Additionally, products on sale aren’t just old items that are sitting in stock. Even newer product generations are offered with discounts ranging from 30% to 70%. There are several brands and retailers participating in Black Friday sales, including Amazon, Rakuten, AEON, and UNIQLO. Therefore, it is a smart way to leverage your sales.

Get to know the top 6 product categories of the holiday season.

 Save These Dates for 2022 

Amazon´s Black Friday is on the 25th of November.

Amazon´s Cyber Monday takes place on the 28th of November.

Top 9 Japan Black Friday Facts 

  1. It has become an annual event in November in some stores.
  2. The beginning of Japanese Black Friday can differ from store to store.
  3. Amazon Japan aligns its start of Black Friday with the US.
  4. It does not adhere to a specific duration. It depends on the store.
  5. It can be considered as the start of the holiday sales.
  6. Unlike Americans, Japanese people do not celebrate Thanksgiving the day before Black Friday.
  7. It often offers special bonus points campaigns with rewards for customers.
  8. You can buy limited-edition and Japanese-exclusive items at a low price.

Some retailers started to sell “fukubukuros” (the New Year´s mystery bag) on Black Friday.


Taking advantage of Black Friday helps you attract customers from the start of the holiday season. With low prices, you can penetrate the market offline and online. It is common for Japanese customers to spend their yearly winter bonuses on highly discounted items from November to January. To unleash your full holiday selling potential, it’s advisable to run different promotions that include Black Friday, Christmas, and New Year´s sales.

How COVUE Can Help You

COVUE can help you streamline your business operations every day of the year. With our End-2-End Japan Market Entry Services, we unlock your business potential in Japan. Our services include eCommerce, Importer of Record, Inbound Logistics, and more.

Common challenges for foreigners who wish to expand in Japan

 6 Common Challenges for Foreign Businesses Who Wish to Enter Japan

Despite being the 3rd largest economy in the world, Japan lies at the bottom for ease of doing business. The number of regulatory hurdles and cultural factors can make Japan a difficult country to penetrate, which is why it is essential to have a local partner on board when doing business in Japan.

Here are the common challenges you can expect when doing or expanding your business in Japan.

  1. Language Barrier  

Less than 10% of the Japanese population is fluent in English according to this study. You might have difficulties complying with import regulations, marketing your product, and generating revenue without language skills and consultation.

  2. Cultural Differences  

When expanding your business to Japan, you need to be aware of cultural differences. Japanese customers differ from other customers. Meeting their taste, needs, and demands will determine the success of your brand.

Content localization is one strategy to overcome these distinctions.

Read more

Challenges in doing business in Japan

  3. Incorrect Information  

From import compliance to taxes and other laws, the information is often inaccurate that you can find on the internet in English. Either it is outdated or it does not apply to your situation. You should seek the assistance of Japanese and English-speaking experts to discuss your business case and strategy individually.

  4. Not Having Enough Resources  

Scaling a business in Japan requires resources. It´s a very bureaucratic country and it takes time and effort to overcome the hassle. Consulting an expert and assigning one person to your team to Japan can be beneficial. Moreover, it is crucial to be able to deliver the product on time. In other words, you should prepare the operating management in your country to handle the production and shipment to Japan.

 5. Misunderstanding the Cost Implications  

The costs of expansion are often underestimated by many foreign sellers like you. The Japanese and Western markets, for example, differ significantly, so you cannot expect instant success when importing and selling your product. In the Japanese market, domestic brands are dominant. For your product to meet the demands of Japanese consumers, you must conduct market research and adjust your products for the launch. Costs will increase as a result, but it´s a necessary expense to do business successfully here. Furthermore, you have to determine which investments are crucial, cost-efficient and effective for your market entry.

  6. Thinking Product-oriented Instead of Customer Centric  

Your brand might be doing well in the European or US markets. Despite that, your brand can fail in Japan if your mindset revolves mainly around your product, not your prospective customers. Being open-minded can set you apart from the competition. Your brand will not be trusted from the start. Don’t count on the success you already have in other markets. Concentrate on how your product can fit into the Japanese market.


You are one step ahead of your competitors when you know what the most common challenges are. When you are aware of the mistakes that others have already made, you can avoid them. Being successful here requires resources, accurate information, and a thorough understanding of the market. Save time, resources, and costs by consulting an expert.

 How COVUE Can Help You 

Local help is essential to the smooth operation of an overseas venture. Our End-2-End Japan Market Entry Services are designed to support your expansion in every aspect. We handle your business in Japan so that you do not have to deal with the most common challenges a foreigner usually faces when expanding to Japan.


Japan Importer Of Record And Import Compliance: Here’s What You Need To Know


Japan is not only an advanced and leading country in today´s world but also a safe and convenient environment to do business. If you are thinking about expanding your business, Japan is a game-changer for you. Aside from in-depth market research for your products, it´s also important to think about the best way to import to Japan.

The key to entering Japan successfully is to understand the significance of an Importer of Record and import compliance.

What Is Japan Importer Of Record?

Japan Importer of Record is a Japanese resident or company with an import license who handles all taxes, customs charges, and other compliance issues.

Responsibilities Of An IOR Company.

Having an IOR in Japan is your responsibility while the IOR itself has to ensure that everything import related complies with Japanese law. Therefore the IOR will submit all the mandatory paperwork for you. Besides that, the Importer will…

… check if compliance with the products being imported.

… pay consumption taxes and duties at the customs.

… deal with customs clearance and possible issues.

During the import process, all accountability lies in the hands of the IOR at the customs.

Customs And Compliance Considerations.

Getting to know Japanese import requirements and compliance documentation is crucial when doing business there. No matter where you are exporting from, for entering the Japanese market you need to abide by the principles of the country. Your Importer of the record must secure compliance at the Japan customs. This includes the three following steps:

  1. Classification and identification of the imported cargo.
  2. Determination and payment of tariffs and duties.
  3. Submitting a commercial invoice, packing list, signed bill of lading, or an air waybill.

Each item in your shipment must be described in the commercial invoice in as detail as possible.

Your packing list should contain the exact contents and measurements of each container, as well as their gross and net weights.

Besides that, you also need to be aware of the fact that your IOR has to submit additional paperwork sometimes depending on the product category.

For example, your IOR is required to get approval from the Japan PMDA in advance to import cosmetics.

Learn more about the different import categories

There are items that cannot be imported to Japan, like narcotics, firearms, explosives, counterfeit currency, and more. Other goods like hazardous materials, animals, plants, perishables, or in some cases high-value articles are demanding not only an IOR but also further paperwork. Additionally, import quota items require an import license, which is usually valid for four months.


To successfully enter Japan, you need a partner who will guide you through the complexity of customs and compliance. Having a trusted Japan IOR company is the best way to keep the import process as smooth as possible.

Your Japan IOR Partner of choice: COVUE

COVUE is your local Japanese IOR partner that supports your market entry into Japan. We know how to deal with compliance and customs. No matter what your product category is, we will help you document it appropriately and manage compliance, tax payments, and more. Over 95% of our licenses apply to food, cosmetics, electronics, and medical devices (class I-III), so you can be confident that we have your category covered. We set up an online IOR system to simplify your market access to Japan. With us as your IOR partner, you can monitor the whole process from anywhere at any time.


私たちが暮らす消費社会は急速に変化しており、その結果はしばしば驚くべきものです。経済状況は私たちの買い物の習慣に影響を与えますが、今ではお金の使い方が賢くなっているようです。 以前のように必要のないものは買わなくなり、衝動的に買うのではなく、よく考えてからお金を払うようになったようです。しかし、これは何が何でも買い物をしないようになったということでも、買い物の回数が減ったということでもなく、単に消費者がお金の使い方に慎重になったということです。
























Ray-Ban Stories」は、音声で写真や動画を撮影することができ、アプリを使ってFacebookのプラットフォームにワイヤレスで接続することができます。

「Ray-Banの製造元であるEssilorLuxotticaグループのグローバルリサーチ&デザインディレクターであるFabio Borsoi氏は、「1952年に誕生したWayfarer(フレーム)のデザインを再構築し、クールなテクノロジーを盛り込みました。

2013年に発売された「Google Glass」は、内蔵カメラにまつわるプライバシー保護の反発を招き、ハイテク企業はこのデバイスの焦点を一般消費者から遠ざけることになりました。









「Facebook Reality LabsのプロダクトマネージャーであるHind Hobeika氏は、「ユーザーが自分のキャプチャー体験を完全にコントロールできるようにする必要があります。



ユーザーは、ソーシャルネットワークのアカウントを使って、メガネのFacebook Viewアプリにログインします。












  • 製品を輸入する際に適用される可能性のある税金や関税規則の決定
  • 輸入規制により輸入品が禁止されていないかどうかの確認
  • 貿易統計のモニタリング











  • 6桁の識別コード
  • 五千個の商品群
  • それらのグループには、99のチャプターがあります。
  • チャプターは21のセクションから構成されています。


  • HSコードのセクションIIは「野菜製品」。
  • セクションIIの第10章のタイトルは「Cereals」。
  • 第10章の見出し06は、「米」ということになります。
  • 06の小分類30は「半精米または全精米の米で、精米されているか否かを問わない」と明確に定められています。


























Pervasive connectivity - IoTやソーシャルテクノロジーを通じて、今、人々はより多くの人とつながっています。人が他の人とつながっているだけでなく、デバイスともつながっており、それらのデバイスはお互いにつながっています。

広範なモビリティー - モバイルはコンピューティングのパワーを私たちのポケットに入れ、いつでもどこからでも「プラグイン」できる自由を与えてくれます。これにより、常にオンでアクセス可能な世界が実現します。

オンデマンドでの拡張 - デジタル経済は膨大なコンピューティングパワーとストレージを必要とするビッグデータで動いています。クラウドサービスは、無限のパワーと、必要に応じてリソースの消費量を調整できる柔軟性を提供します。

インテリジェントなマシン - マシンやソフトウェアは、もはや人間のプログラマーに頼る必要はありません。その代わりに、AI/MLを使って膨大なデータセットを精査し、自分自身で問題を解決するようになります。




この継続的な混乱のサイクルは、「I Love Lucy」のエピソードを彷彿とさせます。ルーシーとエセルは、高速で動くベルトコンベアの上でキャンディを包む仕事を任されました。最初のうちは、そのペースに慣れていました。しかし、ベルトが速くなるにつれ、彼女たちは圧倒され、口の中にキャンディを詰め込むことに頼ってしまった。幸い、工場長がベルトを止めてくれたので、ルーシーとエセルは安心していた。しかし、デジタル・イノベーションのサイクルには、そのような安全弁はありません。企業は、より良いユーザー体験の開発に取り組むだけでなく、期待通りのスピードでそれを実現しなければならないのです。











美しくあることは、世界中の何百万人もの人々にとって最優先事項の一つです。しかし、美しさと肌への配慮を同時に求める消費者は、日本の化粧品を選ぶ傾向にあります。国内だけでなく、海外のお客様からも信頼を得ており、今では "資生堂って何?"と聞かれることも少なくなりました。確かに、日本の美容製品は中国や韓国の化粧品に比べて価格が高いことが多いです。しかし、安物は有害であり、ダメージは永久に続くことを知っています。それよりも大切なことは何でしょうか?日本の化粧品、メイクアップ、美容製品を購入するのに最適な5つの場所。


第5位 ドラッグストア



第4位 コンビニエンスストア



例えば、セブンイレブンには自社ブランドの「ParaDO」があり、ファンケルとのコラボ美容・スキンケア商品「Botanical Force」があります。また、カネボウがファミリーマート向けに制作した美容化粧品シリーズ「mfc」は、無印良品の化粧品を含む商品の独占販売権を持っています。


第3位 ディスカウントストア




第2位 百貨店

最新の高品質な化粧品を求め、5つ星の接客を期待するなら、伊勢丹三越高島屋松坂屋松屋です。そごう京王小田急東急ららぽーとPrince PePeなどは、少し格下になりますが、非常に洗練されたサービスを受けることができます。これらのデパートの1階には、日本や世界の最高級の化粧品が並んでいます。

新宿伊勢丹は、日本全国で最も高級で人気のあるデパートです。何としても新宿伊勢丹に行って、その後に新宿高島屋に行ってみてください。また、銀座の高級デパートで日本の化粧品を買うのも楽しいものです。銀座三越 松屋は、銀座スタイルで癒されるにはうってつけの場所です。