Imaginatorium Shop
Covid-19: Shop status

We are gradually beginning to accept orders, 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 below for more details.

Jigsaw puzzles from Japan

Titles in stock:
1011
Around 2500 by special order

Welcome to the Imaginatorium Shop, now in our nineteenth year!

From our base in Japan (here!), we send jigsaw puzzles anywhere in the world. Most of the hundreds of puzzles we have in stock feature oriental themes, but the high quality of Japanese-made puzzles (exquisite printing, really solid card stock, and clean cutting) also makes "reverse imports" highly desirable — puzzles of Peanuts, Disney, and lots of other Western characters popular in Japan. In general, if a puzzle is available in Japan, we can get it for you within a week or so - see the special orders page.

Covid-19: Shop status updates

End August: progress report! We are operating, with severe restrictions, but the situation is gradually improving. For example, in July we saw the resumption of limited postal service to Indonesia and New Zealand, and one or two at a time, countries are being added to the "operating" list. There are still many countries (e.g. United States and Australia) to which we can only offer either Yamato express (handled by UPS in the States) or surface.

As well as having a huge backlog of puzzle requests to address, we are having supply problems. Ironically, the pandemic has brought record sales of jigsaw puzzles (as people work out how to live indoors!) and the manufacturers are battling to keep up production to meet demand.

So for the time being, please use the form on the checkout page to make a request for puzzles. The options are more suitable for quantity orders, and it will help if you indicate whether you are looking for (relative) speed, at higher than the normal cost, or economy, which will take even longer than normal.

So how long will it take?
  • EMS is the Post Office express courier service; where is it not available we can use Yamato. Delivery times are similar for both services: normally 5-7 days, but with universal delays nothing is guaranteed, and it is better to anticipate two or three weeks.
  • Airmail, where available, is taking much longer than normal. For example to Canada we have had several cases taking one month; in practice this is the SAL service at the regular airmail cost.
  • Surface is the only economy option, and it is slow, typically 8-10 weeks to North America or Europe, somewhat less to Asia or Australia. But it seems that surface is hardly affected by the pandemic, so extra delays are not common.
How much will it cost?
  • EMS express (where available): as always, this costs a premium over the regular airmail parcel rate, proportional to the weight. For example, two 1000-piece puzzles to Canada: 4700 yen.
  • Yamato express: unfortunately uses a crazy system of "sizes", based on the sum of the dimensions of the package. There are huge jumps from each "size" to the next, and the cost varies from less than EMS to several times as much, depending on how close the shape of the package is to a cube! We cannot calculate any of this automatically, because we have to measure the actual package size. For example: four 1000-piece Ghibli puzzles to Canada: 4900 yen; but two 1000-piece Haruyo puzzles to Canada: 9300 yen.
  • Airmail: for example, two 1000-piece puzzles to Canada: 3050 yen.
  • Surface: the only real economy method available at present. For a single puzzle it costs almost as much as airmail, but the real saving comes with a larger order of at least three or four puzzles. For example: four 1000-piece puzzles to Canada: 3600 yen.

The above examples are to Canada: Europe rates are the same, except for slight increases for Yamato and EMS. Asia and Australia generally cost somewhat less.

Other issues
  • Our most popular shipping method has always been SAL, economy (low-priority) airmail. This is suspended everywhere, and since it relies on the vast overcapacity of commercial airlines is not likely to return in the near future.
  • We still have big supply issues: 150+ titles temporarily unavailable. This situation is gradually improving. If you want an out-of-stock puzzle, just ask and we will get back to you when we have stock.

Please also see more details below

(Puzzle of the month suspended)

Latest additions

New Evangelion puzzles...

More children's characters: Sumikkogurashi, all about living and studying

Hello Kitty and friends — latest smaller puzzles...

...and more children's anime characters

Latest Peanuts! New size: 2000 tiny pieces...

And more...

Chit-chat

Brian Chandler

—July—

Operating in a pandemic

The situation is improving, gradually, but there is still a bewildering range of restrictions in different countries. Because of this, we are still having to handle all orders manually, meaning delay all round.

And delivery delays continue. For example, airmail packages to Canada seem to take around one month. So as always, if you need a special puzzle by a special day, EMS (or Yamato where not available) is the only choice.

A problem which is likely to be around for a long time is the absence of the SAL service (economy airmail). Jigsaw puzzle enthusiasts are by definition patient, and in exchange for a wait of two or three weeks, SAL offered a very reasonable shipping fee. For example, a 1000-piece puzzle costing 3000 yen could be sent for about 1000 yen. By comparison, the regular airmail rate for the same puzzle is at least 2000 yen. The secret to economy is to order two or more puzzles together – you might like to think of being ready for the next wave of the coronavirus. Puzzles typically weigh just under 1kg, and in almost all cases, a single puzzle by airmail goes at the 1.25kg rate, whereas two puzzles go at the 2kg rate, which is very little extra. Then for real economy (and patience), order four or more together and have them sent by surface; this will come in under the equivalent SAL rate.

We are also still having supply problems, with lots of puzzles out of stock. The manufacturers are working hard to restore stocks after the record-breaking sales during the beginning of the pandemic, but currently supply is simply not keeping up with demand.

Other issues

Tenyo puzzle prices were all officially raised in April, but we have been holding our prices at the previous level. But we cannot maintain this indefinitely, so at the end of July we will be switching progressively to the new prices. If we have given you a quote for an order with the old prices, we will honour this, so if necessary just remind us!

PayPal have recently changed their refund policy, effectively introducing charges for refunds. Previously for special orders we could ask for payment in advance and simply refund for any puzzles that were not available; PayPal's calculation, with a part-refund of the fees, was scrupulously fair. Now, however, if we do that PayPal charges the standard fees for the part of the payment we did not receive, making it difficult to plan on refunding.

Whereas the SAL small packet service which provided such excellent economy is untracked, now every package we send is tracked. So even if severely delayed, we know that a package cannot just disappear.

Read more of these blog entries

Mural

About ordering

The details under each puzzle show the price, with approximate equivalents in US dollars, euros, and pounds sterling. Click "Buy this puzzle" to go straight to the checkout with a single puzzle, or "Add to basket" to carry on shopping. At the checkout, you can select the shipping method, then choose how you are going to buy the puzzle(s). If you have any questions or problems, just use the forms provided to ask, and we'll get back to you. Once we receive confirmation of a payment, we aim to despatch puzzles by the next working day.

PayPal (verified member) You do not need to create a PayPal account in order to make a payment; the total is in yen, but you will be charged in your 'home currency', and you will be able to check the final amount before confirming payment.

Credit cardseChecks
You can pay by major credit card, eCheck in the US,
and bank transfer in many countries.

As you can see in the pile of puzzles on the left, most of the writing on the box is in Japanese, so we also include printed details with each shipment. Click these thumbnails for descriptions...

(Sorry! You can't see the "pile of boxes", because your browser does not support the functions necessary.)
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Finally...

The Shop is only part of my website, the Imaginatorium - I hope you will have time to explore some of the other pages!

 
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