This page contains Information on ordering go-equipment directly from Japan.
Where to buy
Customer Recommendation: I give the highest marks for customer service to this company My wife purchased a special grade kaya board from Kuroki Goishi for my birthday; however, when I opened the box, two thin cracks had developed where the wood was joined. I took pictures and emailed Mr. Hirotaka Kuroki about it, and he explained the cracks probably developed due to the humidity differences between Japan and the US. But beyond that, he offered to replace the board with one that had been aged longer at no cost, and did not ask for me to return the cracked board! Kuroki Goishi is the place to buy! - Todd Sprang http://www.kurokigoishi.co.jp/english/index.html
Other Customer Recommendation: Todd Sprang is right: kurokigoishi may be the best place to buy go equipment. I live in France and i ordered a 11cm goban wih legs. The board got damaged during transportation. I showed Mr Kuroki pictures of the board. He sent me another board at no cost and he explained to me how to repair the first board. I know where I will buy stones and bowls to complete my set. :)
More of this on http://www.kurokigoishi.co.jp/igoblog/cat02/
hnishy: Another candidate is Aoyama Gobanten near Shinjuku. Delivery by EMS and payment by PayPal?. 'Aoyama' is the owner's name, not the placename. He was a chessplayer in his youth and has some working knowledge of English.
lkdavn: I have made two recent purchases from Aoyama Gobanten (over the internet from California). Delivery by EMS and payment by PayPal? worked very well. High quality items and very nice experience.
Anybody know something?
Taylor: I bought a board, bowls and stones in Japan recently and paid no duty on them when I brought them back to the U.S. As far as I can tell there is no U.S. customs duty on board games, unless imported from Cuba, Laos or North Korea. See page 2 of chapter 95 of the U.S. tariff schedules.
gG: Japan Customs does not collect any duty and tax from outbound shipment.
Kris: But you might need to pay tax in your home country (I was charged 20% VAT when importing into Belgium).
Masuran: I recently bought a great Go set from Kuroki Goishi. It was sent to Belgium for a total cost of 181EUR (equipment + shipping) and I only had to pay 9.90EUR for customs. So not sure if the 20% (or 21%) VAT is always applicable.
Shipping rates etc.
A 13kg Package (Table Board, Stones, Bowls) from Japan to Germany takes approximately 1 Week at a charge of 21000 Yen (160 EUR) and 6 to 8 weeks at a charge of 7800 Yen (60 EUR)
Go stones ,Gosu,and Gosu box gross weight about 7kgs to Europe. You can choose one of the following transportations. EMS(Air) 12,300JPY takes about one week. SAL(Air) 9,400JPY takes about two weeks Ship 5,100JPY takes about 7 to 9 weeks Go board Katsura size 60 with Kiri coverand cloth cover Gross weight about 23kgs EMS (Air) 33,100JPY SAL (Air) 21,650JPY Ship 11,300JPY
Tamsin: If you don't mind buying second-hand equipment, you can often find free-standing gobans in second-hand shops at very reasonable prices. For example, when I was in Nikko last summer, I found a "Recycle Shop" (as the Japanese call it) that offered a goban and stones for 10,000 Yen. I would have bought it had it not been the beginning of my holiday (meaning I did not know yet how well my money would last) and it would have been a bit bulky to carry around with me. Admittedly, these items will be scratched and the stones chipped, but often they're still very usable and acceptably attractive to look at. And it would not be too hard to repair and restore used equipment by yourself. The Japanese do not like second-hand things, as a rule, and that is why second-hand goods in Japan are often very cheap.
Go Boards and stones can be purchased from Yahoo Japan readily through the www.rinkya.com buying service. The process is convoluted and the shipping costs from Japan are steep. Inspecting go boards on Yahoo Japan is a delight. They are likely though to have the corners dinged when shipping. Used boards are 1/3 to 1/2 what they sale for on Ebay and in great numbers. A good deal of retail sellers sale through Yahoo Japan at higher prices for new go merchandise.
You should be discouraged from actually trying this. If there is interest I could post a how-to.
Click on the phrase 画像のみ in the header above the items, above "STORE" and two phrases to the right for pictures
gG: It seems like on ebay, nobody is willing to ship internationally.
The Nihon Kiin Shop
If you have problems reading the PDF files in your Acrobat Reader you can try the html version of the catalog.
Mahasattva: There is a well-stocked Go shop on the Ginza, very close to the Mitsukoshi department store. They sell a wide range of gobans, stones, bowls, magnetic travel sets and some English-language books. However, they only take cash or Japanese cheques. Their telephone number is 03 3561 0574.
Some more links to japanese go shops:
A good shop in the Shinjuku area is Ohkubo Gobanten, prices not too high: http://igo-shogi.game.coocan.jp/
Mahasattva: The owner of the Ohkubo Gobanten is very welcoming but does not speak English, although I managed to communicate with a mixture of sign language, a smattering of Japanese words and general good humour! His stock is wide ranging and cheaper than the Ginza Go centre. He only stock wooden gobans, no magnetic travel sets and similar "modern" equipment.
isshoni There's a Go shop in the 1st floor (or was it B 1? or B 2? not sure) of Umeda Eki Mae Yon Biru; it's a 2mn walk from JR Osaka Station or from the many Umeda subway/private railways stations. If you show some interest and speak a bit of Japanese, the owner may offer you a game :) (not a board!)
PeterHB: Summary of info by Kex:
Tuuhankan. Looks like a garage, no signs around, but just went in and shouted Konnichi wa! Very nice, and they had go stuff on display (although covered in black dust)
The address for the interested. A short walk (100-150m perhaps) north from the Imazato metro station...
The Kansai Kiin Shop
Miwagobanten Appears to be at the high quality end of the market.