5 things to know about Japan Post
Whether you live in Japan or you are just visiting, here is a useful list of things to know about the Japan Post!
1. Japan Post… a mailing service and much more!
Japan Post has a very good reputation. Some would say they provide one of the best postal services in the world!
Its promptly service is impressive and its 24 000 post offices in Japan offer proximity to the smallest corner in the country. They collect and send letters, packages, post cards, registered mails within Japan and overseas of course. But the Japan Post Group also handles other services such has insurance and banking.
In most Japanese post offices, you will find “International ATM Services” (look for the green sign) which allow you to withdraw money with your credit card or cash card issued by overseas institutions. An English menu is available on the screen so that you can easily follow the instructions. Japan Post Bank has about 27 200 ATMs across Japan and about 500 of them are located in the Family Mart convenience stores in the Tokyo metropolitan and Kansai regions. The withdrawal limit for one single transaction is 50 000 JPY.
On this link (click here), you will find maps to localise the International ATMs of the Japan Post Bank in Tokyo and at the airports (Haneda and Narita). Handy for the travellers!
2. Sending and receiving mails with Japan Postal Services
Japanese mailboxes are easily recognisable. They are red with the Japanese post office symbol of a "T" marked on it. Some have two openings: one for sending regular mails in Japan and one for overseas.
Stamps are available at the Japan post offices (at the counter or at vending machines) and in most convenience stores. You can buy them individually or in sets.
The postage charges depend on the type of mail, its weight and destination. For domestic mails, sending a postcard will cost you 52 JPY and 82 JPY for a standard size mail (up to 25g). The full list of postal charges is available here.
For overseas mails, sending a postcard will cost you 70 JPY and 110 JPY for a standard size mail to most overseas destinations. For more details about international mailing cost click here.
You can select the “track and trace” option for domestic and international mail and parcels. More information is available on this link here.
If you want to send a parcel overseas, they will usually offer you 3 options: Airmail, Surface mail and Economy Air (SAL). Each one varies by speed and cost, which depends on weight and destination.
- Airmail: this option is the most common even though the cost is relatively high. Delivery: 3-6 days
- Surface mail: reasonable cost but it takes 1 to 3 months to be delivered.
- Economy Air (SAL): delivery is faster than surface mail and the cost is lower than airmail. Delivery: 6 - 13 days. But note that this service is not available in all countries. More information available here.
At the counter, they may also suggest you the Express Mail Service (EMS). It is a fast way to send tracked parcels overseas (2-4 days for delivery all over the world). The cost depends on the destination and the parcel itself (weight, size, etc.). More information available here.
To send parcels across Japan, Yu-Pack is a popular tracked service. It includes picking up of parcel of 30 kg maximum and 170 cm length maximum. Japanese often use this service to send their luggage to the airport or their golf clubs or skis to their resort. It's very handy!
3. Delivery on time!
In Japan, you have 99% of chance to receive your mail on time. But if you are expecting a parcel, then you will likely not be home when they deliver it (usually in the middle of the day on a weekday). If so, you will find a white card in your mail box which is a “package undelivered” notice. Lucky you: in the back of the card, there is a phone number for those who do not speak Japanese. So you just have to call to reschedule the delivery. It’s very easy and it will only take a minute.
Bear in mind that the undelivered parcels and mails will be kept at the delivery post office for 15 days. So don't wait too long to reschedule your delivery!
Also did you know that Japan Post provides a forwarding service? Very useful when you move houses! You need to go to your local Japan Post office and complete one application form (tenso todoke) indicating the date of your move.
4. Extra service: transfer money overseas from Japan
Japan Post also does overseas money transfers from Japan in 233 branches of its Japan Post Bank. They provide two options:
- A paper money order (住所あて送金, じゅうしょあてそうきん) which means the money will be sent in an envelope to a bank or an address. Unsafe option!
- An electronic transfer (口座あて送金, こうざあてそうきん) which means the funds are transferred directly to an overseas bank account.
The money transfer costs about 2500 JPY per international transaction in most countries and 2000 JPY to US bank accounts (excluding receiving fees). To do so, you will have to fill in a form (English version is available) and show your Residence Card or passport.
5. Opening hours and contact information
Regular Japan Post offices are open during the week from 9am to 5pm (and until 4pm for other services such as insurance, banking, postal orders and bill payments) and are closed during the weekend and national holidays.
But the district post offices (usually located close to the major train stations) have a 24/7 counter and are open Monday-Friday 9am-7pm, Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday 9am-12.30pm. Outside those hours an all-night window operates for nighttime pick-up and posting.
Here is the link to the Japan Post’ website in English.
For inquiries by phone on International Mail, please call the following numbers. Please note that you cannot call from overseas. The lines are open from 8am to 10pm on weekdays and from 9am to 10pm on Saturday, Sunday and holidays.
- Customer Service Number: Tel: 0120 5931 55 (Toll free)
- English line: Tel: 0570-046-111
- From Mobile Phones: Tel: 0570-046-666 (Chargeable call)