Mail and Courier Services in Japan
Here you will find information about important modes of communication during your stay in Japan. In this section we will cover such useful topics as how to send mail or packages, access the Internet, and make a telephone call.
Postal mail / parcels
Below you will find information about how to send a letter or package from Japan to a different country.
Postcard and letter writing
Write your name and address on the top left corner of the envelop and the recipient's name and address center right. Take your letter to the nearest post office and ask to send it to your desired country. They will put the correct number of stamps as well as an air mail sticker on the envelope for you. If you happen to know how much postage you need to send your letter, you can purchase it yourself at post offices and convenience stores. In this case, be sure to write "via air mail" on the font of the envelope in blue or black ink.
You can send postcards and letters from the red mail boxes around town. If the mail box has two openings as shown in the photograph, international mail should be placed in the opening on the right. A standard postcard (90 to 120mm x 140 to 235mm) will cost a flat fee of 70 yen to send by air mail or 60 yen by surface mail for all destinations. Postage for letters or other mail will vary depending on the destination country. Be sure to check before you send it.
If you end up buying more souvenirs than you can fit in your suitcase or are concerned about the weight of your luggage, then a parcel delivery service might be the right option for you. You can send parcels from the post office or via a parcel delivery company.
Services Available at Japan Post Offices
About 2 to 7 days
- Air mail
About 3 to 8 days
Faster than surface mail and cheaper than air mail because it is handled as surface mail within Japan and the destination country and transported between the two countries by air mail
SAL services are only available for a limited number of countries
About 2 to 3 weeks
- Surface mail
1 to 3 months
You can send parcels from a courier service office or request a pick-up. However, these services are only offered in Japanese, so it might be a good idea to send parcels from your hotel.
How to Fill In an EMS label
Express Mail Service (EMS) is the fastest way to send a parcel and it comes with insurance against loss or damages. The size and weight limits differ by destination country, so check before you send it. Dangerous articles or articles of value cannot be sent via EMS.
2. 99-99, XXX Town, XX-chome, Municipality and prefecture
3. Postal code
4. Telephone number/Fax number
6. Room number, house number, and street name
8. Postal code
10. Telephone number/Fax number
11. Item name (if for personal use, write "Personal Use," too)
12. Mandatory for commercial items only
13. Quantity, weight, value (use the currency symbol in front of the amount)
14. Mark an "x" in the corresponding boxes
15. If you desire insurance coverage exceeding 20,000 yen, write the amount
16. Check that the item being shipped is not a dangerous article and mark with an "x"
The regulations regarding unaccompanied baggage differ by country. Please inquire to the relevant governmental agency of your home country for details.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Other Useful Info
Useful Japanese Phrases
Below are some good phrases to know when trying to send mail or packages in Japan.
- Ikura desu ka? (ee-koo-rah deh-sue kah): How much is it?
- Dono kurai de tsukimasu ka? (doh-noh koo-rye deh tsu-key-mah-sue kah): How long will take to arrive?
- Kitte (key-teh): stamp
- ~made okuritai desu. (mah-deh oh-koo-ri-tie deh-sue kah): I would lile to send this to~
Writing Japanese Addresses
Addresses in Japan are written from the prefecture in order of large (prefecture) to small (street number), instead of small (street number, etc.) to large (prefecture) as is often the case outside of Japan.
For more information about prefectures of Japan, click here.
Around town you will find Internet cafes and some hotels that provide computers for use. However, the keyboards will be a little different as they were made to accommodate the Japanese keyboard layout. Free Wi-Fi services are now widely available in urban areas such as hotels, cafes and stations. You may have a hard time connecting to the Internet when you are outside of cities.
You can save on roaming charges if you send and receive email on your mobile phone by connecting to Wi-Fi.
Locations offering free Wi-Fi will display a free Wi-Fi sticker. You can also use smartphone apps like DiGJAPAN! to search for nearby Wi-Fi hotspots.
Using SIM Cards / Wi-Fi routers
The cost of international roaming or using your data plan while in Japan can be very steep. If you think you'll want to make calls or connect to the internet frequently, one option to consider is purchasing a pre-paid SIM card or Wi-Fi router. You can purchase a SIM card at airports in Japan or at an electronics retailer. Be sure you check what kind of SIM card your device uses before you arrive in Japan. Portable Wi-Fi devices can be rented at the airport. You can also purchase a SIM in advance over the Internet and pick it up at the airport.
You can learn more about the different options concerning SIM cards and rental Wi-Fi devices through the links below.
You can often find Internet cafes (also called manga cafes) located near major railway stations and terminals. Patrons can connect to the Internet on a computer either in an open space or private room. Prices start from 400 yen per hour.
International and domestic calls can be made from a hotel, public pay phone, or your cell phone. Be sure to check which method of calling you will use before you leave for Japan.
To make international calls you can dial directly from a phone or use an international telephone company. Your hotel may charge a fee to make an international call.
Direct Dial Calls
[The telephone number of the international telephone company] + [International access code 010]+ [Country code] + [Telephone number in other country ※Telephone number without the first 0]
Click here for country codes
[international access codes]
00: China, The Philippines, Malaysia, U.K., France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, and Norway
001: South Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Singapore
011: United States and Canada
[The telephone number of the international telephone company] + [International access code] + [Country code 81] + [Telephone number in Japan without the first 0]
You can make calls from your cell phone if you have an international roaming service. You can also rent a cell phone at the airport, but the calling charges can be rather expensive, so you should check the conditions in advance and perhaps subscribe to a fixed rate plan. Smartphones may use data simply by being turned on and result in a large bill after your trip.
Public Pay Phones
Public pay phones accept 10 yen and 100 yen coins as well as prepaid telephone cards. Pick up the receiver, insert coins or card, and then dial the number you wish to call. You can make international calls by dialing direct from gray colored public pay phones labeled "International & Domestic Card/Coin Telephone" found around town. International calls start from 100 yen. The prepaid telephone cards issued by many different telephone companies are also convenient to use. Prepaid telephone cards sold at kiosks in stations or other places can be used to make domestic or international calls from just about any public pay phone in Japan. Be sure to familiarize yourself with how to use these cards after you purchase one. After an earthquake or other disaster situations, calls can be made from public pay phones in affected areas for free (international calls cannot be made, however).
To make a domestic call, dial the 10-digit number starting with 0 for a fixed telephone line or the 11-digit number starting from 0 for cell phones.
THIS ARTICLE IS BASED ON INFORMATION FROM 01 06,2016