Imaginatorium Shop
Covid-19: Shop status

We are accepting orders again, but with very limited shipping options, which we have to handle manually. Please use the checkout form to request puzzles, and we will get back to you when we can. Please see the front page for more details.

Jigsaw puzzles from Japan

"Frequently Asked Questions"

On this page: Selecting puzzles - Checkout - Other questions - The small print (legal: about us)

Selecting puzzles

How do I find puzzles?

Use the links at the top of each page to the puzzle pages for each theme or artist - you'll find more details of these pages in the Contents page. Use the Search page to look for particular themes, sizes, and so on.

What then?

For a single puzzle, you can click "Buy this puzzle" and go straight to the checkout. Otherwise, click "Add to basket", to make your selection.

How does the shopping basket work?

Very simply (and we don't use cookies). You will notice as you add puzzles that the codes appear in the address (something like 'bskt=A10309+E11128'): this means that you can save the address in your bookmarks ("Favorites") or email it to a friend, and the same basket selection will appear again. Be careful not to use your browser 'Back' button, though, as this will remove a puzzle that you have just put in the basket. (Please note that the basket does not work outside the Shop: if you wander off to other Imaginatorium pages, I suggest you open a new browser window for this. Or of course, you can save the page address (URL), including the basket.)

What if I can't find the puzzle I'm looking for?

We can order any puzzles from the manufacturers we sell, so if you find a puzzle you want in one of the manufacturers' catalogues, please ask. There is no extra charge for special orders, but there may be a wait depending on our ordering schedule.


How do I pay?

When you click the "Checkout" link, you will go through the following sequence:

  1. Shipping: select the destination country and the method of shipping. This allows us to work out the total cost.
  2. Payment: check the final details, and choose the method of online payment. If you want to ask about other methods of payment, please use the form at the bottom of any of the checkout pages.
  3. Transfer the payment to us through PayPal. Please make sure you supply the correct card billing address where required, even if the shipping address is different.

I don't want to use a credit card. How else can I pay?

In an increasing number of countries (USA, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada as of February 2004) you can use PayPal without a credit card number, transferring money directly from your bank account. Additionally we can accept cash in dollar bills, or banknotes in yen, sterling, euros, or NZ$; cheques and bank transfers in sterling; bank and Post Office transfers within Japan. (These "off-line" methods will generally be slower.)

What are the shipping options?

SAL Low-priority airmail: this generally takes 10 to 14 days to arrive, but can be faster or slower. At best it is as fast as regular airmail, but in the occasional worst case, it may be four or five weeks.

Airmail Regular airmail: this generally takes around one week to arrive.

EMS Express courier service: around four or five days to most locations.

Can I have a puzzle shipped directly to someone else as a present?

Yes. Please make this clear with a note in the comments box on the PayPal form, or on the "follow-up" form when you reach my confirmation page. We will send the puzzle with a gift message in the place of the invoice.

Can I save by ordering more puzzles together?

We send SAL and airmail shipments as "Small packets", limited to 2kg (generally equivalent to 2000 pieces). So if you want to be a regular customer, the most efficient way is to order two (or four) 1000-piece puzzles at a time. (Particularly for airmail - see next question.) The EMS service is almost unlimited in weight, and becomes progressively more reasonable the more puzzles you order.

How is the shipping charge calculated?

The checkout system calculates a best estimate of the actual postage cost, based on the puzzle weight, so you know in advance exactly how much you are paying.

There is an exception: a few of the 1000-piece puzzles are rather heavier than normal, and in pathological cases two puzzles cannot be sent in a single package. For SAL, this hardly affects the cost, so we ignore it, but the airmail rates climb in an odd zig-zag. So if the predicted weight is just over 2 kg, there will be a note on the payment page: if you ask, we will weigh the exact combination, and with luck we can quote a lower figure.

Other things

What are the prices based on?

We sell puzzles for the standard Japanese retail price before "consumption tax" (which does not apply to exports).

Why aren't the prices in dollars (euros, pounds, zloties, etc.) ?

All our costs are in yen, so the only way we can offer stable prices is in yen. The checkout pages also show approximate equivalents in US dollars, euros, and pounds sterling.

How will the charge appear on my credit card statement?

When you pay by PayPal, the debit will appear as "PAYPAL IMAGINATORM" (they only give me up to 12 characters!).

What does PayPal mean by "unconfirmed address"?

Any address that does not match your credit card (USA only). So if you are outside the US, did not use a credit card, or want the puzzle shipped as a present, this message will appear. Generally it can be ignored.

What exactly does the price include?

The puzzle and shipping to you. If there are any customs charges or taxes, you will have to pay them. Please note that in some cases the Post Office (or whatever it styles itself as) may charge a "handling fee" for passing the charges on to the authorities, and this "handling fee" can be any amount. In particular in the UK, Parcelforce charges £8 for SAL/airmail, and £13.50 for EMS packages if any import VAT ("tax") is payable, regardless of how little. More details

Can you say it's a gift or write zero as the value on the customs form?

No, we can't, I'm afraid. We are bound to declare the true value.

What exactly does the box contain?

See details for each manufacturer: Apollo - Appleone - Artbox - Beverly - Epoch - Road - Tenyo - Yanoman

What language is most of the box written in?

Japanese. We include a printout of the puzzle details from the web page, so even if you are sending a present to someone with no Internet access, they will still know what the puzzle is.

Are the puzzles all in stock?

Unless indicated, we have puzzles in stock. And if there is a sudden surge in demand for a particular puzzle, we can get new supplies from the manufacturer in only a few days. Please note though, that puzzles may go out of print, or sometimes be out of stock until the next season.

What sort of packing do you use?

Bubble pack, plus a corrugated cardboard sleeve. This is light and simple, but protects the boxes well. (After all, the pieces are in a sealed bag, inside a box, inside a shrink wrap, so putting it inside another box really would be silly.) If you unpack carefully you will get two convenient rectangles, which you can easily reuse for packing something else.

Will you use highly respectful language on the address label?

This is a difficult one. In Japanese it would be so simple, since we would paste in the name from PayPal, and add -sama at the end. In English I would have to make tricky Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms/Dr/Ps decisions, which are just too difficult with names from all over the world. So I apologise for simply copying your name, with no title.

Can you send me a printed catalogue?

No, I'm afraid not. We only have the manufacturers' catalogues, and to post copies would be prohibitively expensive. But if you want to know about a genre - works by a particular artist, for example - please ask, and I will give you all the information I can. The manufacturers page includes links to online catalogues where I have been able to find them (but I'm afraid these links keep breaking, as they rearrange their websites at frequent intervals).

Do you sell frames?

A qualified "Yes". We can get frames, but there are dimension limits on shipping, making it implausible to send (standard) 2000-piece size frames to the USA for example. Please see the page Jigsaw puzzle frames — frames are not yet integrated into the checkout system, so please use the form on that page to ask for more details.

The small print

Who exactly is "Imaginatorium Shop"?

It is an enterprise run by me, Brian Chandler, as a sole trader. (It is not incorporated.)

Where is it?

Postal address: Horigome-cho 3942-9, Sano, Tochigi, Japan 327-0843. Here's a map.

How do I contact you?

Please use the contact form (link at the top of each page. You can also email me (shop at, but to avoid being classed as spam, please: put the word 'puzzle' (or 'puzzles') in the Subject line, and switch off html. In extreme circumstances (you have made an order, and are not getting responses to email): telephone +81 283 229194 or fax +81 283 229142. Please remember we are 9 hours ahead of GMT: the local time in Japan when you accessed this page was 0721 (7:21am), 2022n Wednesday.

I expected an email, but it did not arrive. Why not?

One possibility is that your mail software is set up to discard mail from any unknown addresses as spam. Please check that you are accepting messages from the domain, then try contacting us again. If you use the contact form: you should receive an immediate email confirmation. (Please also double-check that you have entered your email address correctly!)

What personal information do you collect? And what about email privacy?

When you make an order using PayPal, we receive the details we need to send the order. (But we do not see your credit card details.) We also use your email address to contact you; we do not normally do any sort of "mailshot", but I might write again - for example, to tell people who bought puzzles by a particular artist that some long-awaited new puzzles are available. If you ask about missing pieces, for example, we may pass your query directly to the manufacturer, if they will send replacements directly.

Otherwise, we will never disclose your email address or other details to anyone else.

What is your policy on returns?

If you return a puzzle in the condition we sent it, we will refund the cost of the puzzle (excluding shipping). The relatively high cost of shipping means that this is not usually worthwhile. But of course if there is any defect or problem with the puzzle, please contact us, and we will do our best to rectify it. If there is a defect, we will either replace the puzzle or refund your entire payment.

What about missing pieces?

Ah! Well, please look everywhere again, including under the carpet. Then contact us. We will do our best to get a replacement from the manufacturer. Please note that this cannot absolutely be guaranteed, because the sometimes the puzzle die is changed (so pieces only fit in puzzles from the same batch), and sometimes puzzles do become completely unavailable.