Japan has one of the best postal services in the world.
The approximately 24,000 post offices provide a range of postal services including the shipping of letters, parcels, post cards, postal orders and registered mail as well as banking and insurance services.
Small post offices are open from 09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday, and are normally closed on weekends and national holidays.
However, larger post offices may stay open until 19:00 on weekdays and open for restricted times on weekends.
Most post offices are equipped with International Automatic Teller Machines "ATMs". You can withdraw between 1,000 and 990,000 yen in cash depending on your credit limit.
Mailboxes are red in Japan and usually they have two openings: one for domestic and the other for international mails. The pickup times are marked on the mailbox.
Japanese Address Order
渡辺 謙 様
Mr. Ken Watanabe
1-5-3 Yaesu, Chuo-ku
- Postal Code: Consist of seven digits
- Name of the prefecture
- Name of the city, village, city ward, etc: In this case, it is Chuo ward
- Name of the subarea: In this case, it is Yaesu
- Subarea number, block number and residence number: In this case, it is subarea 1, block 5 and building 3
- In Japan, the person’s last name precedes the first name
- The person’s name follows by the title: "Sama" is the polite form of "San" and corresponds to "Mr.", "Ms.", etc.
Following the prefecture is the municipality. For a large municipality this is the city (shi, 市). Cities with a large enough population can be further broken down into wards (ku, 区).
For smaller municipalities, the address includes the district (gun, 郡) followed by the town (chō or machi, 町) or village (mura or son, 村).
Express Mail "Sokutatsu" – Express mails are usually delivered the next day. Express letter-post items which are not registered can be dropped in a mailbox.
Ordinary Registered Mail "Ippan kakidome" – Ordinary registered mail is insured and can be traced. In the event that registered mail is lost or damaged while being handled by the post office, you may claim indemnity for the amount of actual damage "within the claimable amount indicated at the time of postage".
Currency Registered Mail "Genkinkakitome" – This is ordinary registered mail that is exclusively used for sending cash.
Simplified Registered Mail "Kan-i kakitome" - Simplified registered mail is a cheaper version of registered mail. In the event that this type of registered mail is lost or damaged while being handled by the post office, you may claim indemnity for the certain amount set by post office.
Letter Pack "Yu-Mail" – Letter Pack is a service with which packages of A4 size up to 4kg can be sent throughout Japan at a flat rate. This service can be used for sending printed materials including catalogues, brochures and samples for commercial use, invoices and contracts. The postal rate of a Letter Pack is cheaper than the rate of an ordinary parcel.
Postal Parcels "Yu-Pack" – This allows the sender to send registered, trackable parcels throughout Japan. The weight limit for normal Yu-Pack is 30kg and the length limit is 170cm. Yu-Pack services include refrigerated goods, skis’ and golf clubs and goods sent to airports.
A full listing of postal services and charges are provided on Japan Post Website.
This can be arranged at the post office or online. To apply for the service, you should fill out a mail forwarding application form "Tenkyo Todoke - 転居届", at any post office, indicating the date of the move. An identification card is needed to confirm your identity.
Alternatively the service can be requested online, although the service is only available in Japanese.
International Letters - There are two types of letters: Standard-sized Mail and Nonstandard-sized Mail. With this service, letters and documents weighing up to 2kg can be sent.
International Postcards – A flat rate is set for surface mail and airmail. Exclusive international postcards for airmail are available at post offices.
Express Mail Service "EMS" - The express mail service is a fast and easy way to send tracked mail quickly to a number of different countries. The package can be up to 30kg in weight and no more than 150cm in length. Top priority among international mails is placed on EMS service.
Deliveries can be insured and traced online using a 13-digit tracking code. EMS mail must be sent from a post office.
An ordinary saving account "Tsujo Chokin - 通常貯金" is the most commonly used account. Depositors can withdraw money "yen" at about 500 Family Mart Stores in the Tokyo metropolitan and Kansai regions, in addition to all ATMs located in Japan Post Bank or post offices.
Anyone can open a postal deposit account. Take the money to be deposited and your hanko "Seal", and an identification card to a post office during business hours, and you can open an account immediately. A card and bankbook will be sent to you within a week by registered mail.
If your bankbook or the card is lost or stolen, you should inform the post office and your local police station. A bankbook or cash card will be reissued if you make a request in writing.