Writing the Address
- When writing in Japanese
In Japanese, the address is written in order from largest unit to smallest, with the addressee's name last of all.
Please write the address in the following order:
- Name of prefecture (to, dou, fu, ken), Name of county (gun) - optional
- Name of city (shi), town (chou, machi), village (mura, son), or ward (ku)
- Street and block name (chome)
- Block number, section number, residence number (banchi, gou)
- Name (last, first)
- Honorific (sama)
- Postal Code
For example, the address of the Tokyo Central Post Office is
Tōkyō-to Chūō-ku Yaesu itchōme go-ban san-go
Tōkyō Chūō Yūbin-kyoku
- When writing in romanji
Write the address and the return address in the same manner as for international mail. However, the country name is not necessary for the return address. Also, please write the postal code clearly inside the box. For example:
- Tokyo Central Post Office
5-3, Yaesu 1-Chome
Chuo-ku, Tokyo 100-8994
Letters and business documents are sent by standard-sized or non-standard sized mail. Non-standard sized mail is acceptable up to a weight of 4kg. You can purchase a "Mini-letter" (letter paper with a pre-stamped envelope) at the post office for ￥60 (up to 25g).
Privately issued postcards require a ￥50 stamp.
If you purchase postcards with pre-printed postage, no stamps are necessary. In addition, postcards with printed advertisements on them (エコーはがき "Eko hagaki") can be purchased for ￥45, while reply-paid postcards （往復はがき "Ofuku hagaki"), return postcard included, can be bought at the post office for ￥100.
Postal Parcels (Yu-Pack / Kozutsumi)
You may send items up to 20kg in weight by parcel post. If you attach a parcel label (with an attached carbon copy), you will receive a postcard verifying delivery in addition to being able to find out the status of the delivery by quoting the parcel inquiry number.
Booklet Parcels (Yu-Mail)
You can send printed materials up to 3kg in weight (e.g. books, magazines, newsletters, calendars, etc.) as well as materials considered as printed matter such as CDs and DVDs via Booklet Parcel. The postal rate of a booklet parcel is cheaper than the rate of an ordinary parcel.
Registered Mail (Kakitome)
With registered mail, the entire process, from acceptance of mail at the counter to delivery, is recorded. Please hand registered mail in over the counter. 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). The upper limit for this is ￥500,000 for cash contents (Japanese yen) and ￥5,000,000 for items other than cash.
Simplified Registered Mail (Kan'i- Kakitome)
Here, only acceptance of mail at the counter and delivery to the addressee are recorded. In the event that simplified registered mail is lost or damaged while being handled by the post office, you may claim up to ￥50,000 as indemnity for the amount of actual damage or loss.
Express Mail (Sokutatsu)
If you want to deliver mail by express post, it will be given priority in delivery. Please make a red horizontal line along the upper right portion (or a red vertical line along the right end for oblong envelopes) on the address side of the envelope. Express letter-post items which are not registered can be dropped in a mailbox.
Postal Service Information in English
For information in English on services offered by the post office, the International Postal Research Center has recently published an excellent booklet (titled "Post Office Guide") on this topic. You can pick up a copy at any general post office. For further information in English, call the Research Center locally at (0762)62-2325; or (03)5472-5851.
The Japan Post website can be found here in English: http://www.post.japanpost.jp/english/index.html
Letters and documents up to 2 kg may be sent as Letters. Aerogrammes can be bought at post offices and sent anywhere in the world at a uniform rate of 90 yen.
Postage is 60 yen for surface mail and 70 yen for airmail anywhere in the world. Pre-stamped international postcards (airmail) are also available at post offices.
Christmas cards, copies documents and catalogues maybe posted at reduced rates. Simply write Imprime or Printed Matter in the upper left corner on the front of the envelope (or package) and hand it in unsealed. Bound documents and pamphlets may be submitted pre-sealed.
Small Packets (Kogata Hosusoubutsu)
Small items weighing up to 2 kg can be sent more cheaply than ordinary parcel rates. Please write Petit paquet or Small Packet in the top left corner on the front of the packet and take it to a post office counter after attaching a customs label or customs declaration. Forms are available at the post office.
Postal Parcels (Kozutsumi)
For parcels up to 20 kg. However for some countries the limit is set at 5 kg, 10 kg or 15 kg. International parcel labels (a combination of dispatch note, customs declaration and address label) are available at the post office.
Registered Mail (Kakitome)
When sending registered mail, the process from receipt to delivery is documented. In the event that a registered item is lost or damaged, you may claim indemnity not exceeding 6,000 yen.
Express Mail (Sokutatsu)
Your mail will be delivered by a special express service. Please write EXPRESS
Airmail items are conveyed by air. Please write Par Avion or Airmail in blue ink on the front of your letter or package. If you plan on sending lots of Airmail items, ask your Post Office for some blue Airmail stickers to save time.
Economy Air (SAL)
Economy Air (SAL) is a method in which parcels, printed matter and small packets are air-transported to the country of destination by using open space on airplanes. Less expensive than airmail and faster than surface mail, it allows you to send mail to 79 countries and areas around the world. SAL takes 3 to 7 days longer than airmail to reach the destination. Delays may occur depending on the mail handling condition in the country of destination. Please affix the SAL sticker or write SAL on the front of the envelope.
Post Office Banking
Post office banking has all the advantages of a bank plus slightly better interest rates, branches all over the country and slightly longer hours. An ordinary deposit account (tsujo chokin 通常貯金) is the most commonly used account. Depositors can deposit or withdraw any amount (minimum \10) at any post office. If depositors use a Sogo (integrated) account passbook (sogo tsucho 総合通帳), they can take advantage of all on-line services.
Opening an account (Ordinary Deposit)
Opening an account is fairly straight-forward. Anyone can open a postal deposit account. Take the money to be deposited (more than \10) and your hanko (although a signature is also acceptable) to a post office during business hours, and you can open an account immediately. A cash card for use at ATMs is available on request. A card and passbook will be sent to you within a week by registered mail.
Closing an account
Take the passbook, your card and your seal to the post office and the account can be closed immediately.
Lost passbooks and cards
When a passbook or the card is lost or stolen, please inform the post office and your local police station. A passbook or cash card will be reissued if you make a request in writing. You must fill in the reissue request form for a passbook, etc. Information required is the account number of the lost or stolen passbook or cash card and your name and address. You must also imprint on the form the seal that you used to open the account.
Sending and Transferring Money
Money Transfers (Domestic)
You can set up automatic or on request transfers from a post office account just as you can from a bank account. You can also transfer money through the post office without an account by using an automatic debit transfer (Jido haraikomi 自動払込). Public utility charges can be automatically transferred from an ordinary deposit account to a payee's postal giro account.
Domestic Postal Giro (Yubin Furikae 郵便振替)
You can also use domestic postal giro to make payments. This system is utilized to make remittances or payments when the remitter and the payee both have giro accounts or when either of them has a giro account. There are three methods, in-payments (haraikomi 払込), out-payments (haraidashi 払い出し) and giro transfers (furikae 振替), each of which can be processed by mail or by telegraph. International remittances can only be sent from main post offices.
- - In-payments : made by those who do not have an account to those who have one. Giro transfers are used where both parties have accounts. In this case remittance is by automatic transfer.
- - Out-payments: used by account holders to withdraw funds from their accounts to remit to payees who do not have accounts. Accounts you can transfer to are listed in a guide available from the Post Office. For more details, call the information line on 03-5472-5851.
Domestic Postal Money Orders (Yubin Kawase 郵便為替)
In addition there is also a system of Domestic postal money orders. There are three types of money order: ordinary money orders (futsu kawase 普通 為替), telegraphic money orders (denshin kawase 電信為替) and postal orders (teigaku kogawase 定額小為替).
Domestic Cash Registration Envelope (Genkin Kakitome Futo 現金書留封筒) One of the most popular methods for sending money domestically is the cash registration envelope. This is an envelope available from the post office for \20 and is especially designed for sending cash. The envelope is sent to the recipient as registered mail, with postal charge starting at \420.
Sending Money Home
International Postal Remittances (Kokusai Soukin 国際送金)
Yen is exchanged for foreign currency or sent as yen, depending on the country, in the form of a cashier's cheque at the local post office. The cheque can be made out to anyone. These services are only available from post offices which provide delivery services.
This is the cheapest method if you have the time.
The following countries do not apply: New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, Russia, Mongolia, Ukraine, Argentina, Jamaica.
For further information please enquire at your local Post Office, or follow one of the website links above.