Today's Ippodo Japan e-mail to customers ("Featuring the Glass Teapot") included this announcement:
USA & Canada Online Shop now open!
We just launched a new site delivering directly to our USA & Canada customers. Visit the site here: https://ippodotea.com/
*Please note as this is a new website with a separate system, it's necessary to register a new account. We apologize for the inconvenience.
My ears perked up at the "& Canada" bit. My Canadian wallet has usually found it to be cheaper to order tea directly from Japan rather than via US sites. However, hope springs eternal.
So I did a quickie price comparison, which I'll share here for the benefit of any Canadian readers. Starting with the original site, Ippodo Japan, let's say I want to order a 50g bag of Rinpo (Y1500) and a 50g bag of Kanro (Y2000), totallying Y3500. Shipping at the cheapest rate for those two is Y1535 for SAL, Y2300 for EMS.
So, the total is Y5035 for SAL or Y5800 for EMS. In Canadian dollars, that's roughly $61 and $70 respectively.
Next, we look at Ippodo USA. They charge US $27 for a 50g bag of Rimpo (note that the -n- has changed to an -m-, by the way) and US $35 for a 50g bag of Kanro. There is a single flat rate shipping fee of US $5.95 for both US and Canadian destinations. Let's round that up to $6.
So, the total is a flat US $68 (shipping method not stated). In Canadian dollars, that's about $89.
Admittedly the US flat shipping rate may work out to be favourable if the order includes some very heavy items. However, I'm going to keep ordering from the mother ship in Kyoto. I'd rather wait a little longer for my tea and save the difference! However, this may still represent a great deal for American customers. You'll have to do your own number-crunching there
I looked around the Ippodo USA and Canada site for details of the shipping method is, whether shipments are trackable, etc., but couldn't find any clarification on that. Of course, it's still a young site.
The site doesn't actually state where Ippodo USA and Canada is based, but the Privacy Page gives an address on Pembroke Street in Toronto, so it looks like they're based in Canada. (Assuming that's the case, I'm disappointed that they don't offer an option of paying in Canadian dollars. This means that Canadian customers are effectively paying twice for currency conversion -- as you see above.)
In the meantime, for anyone searching for their favourite items on Ippodo USA and Canada, remember the Rinpo/Rimpo thing and be prepared to search under a slightly different transliteration!