Postal Offices in Japan
The Japanese postal system was privatized in early 2007, but most of the services offered have remained relatively the same. Most post offices are open between 9:00am and 5:00pm, Monday through Friday. Large central post offices are also open on the weekends. It is common to find drop-off mailboxes outside some convenience stores.
Perhaps the best method, and most widely used international parcel service is EMS (Express Postal Tracking). EMS service allows you to track your parcels as you ship them to most countries around the world.
- Express Mail (sokutatsu) – from ¥270 – write “Express” in red ink in the top left corner of your item and it will be sent immediately after reaching the post office.
- Priority delivery Registered Mail (kakitome) – from ¥420 (may be insured) – special registered mail cash envelopes (genkin kakitome futo) are available for sending money.
- Surface Mail (funabin -sea mail)
- SAL (Surface Airlifted) – delivery within 2 – 3 weeks. This is cheaper than airmail and faster than surface mail.
- Airmail (kokubin) – delivery within 3 – 8 days.
Other notable options are as follows:
Postal Savings Accounts
It is possible to set up a Postal Savings account at almost any post office in Japan. Postal savings is a very secure way to save you money. You’ll need you Alien Registration Card and your passport or other accepted Picture ID to open an account. Expect to wait up to two weeks to receive your cash card, which you will then be able to use at any post office and many ATM’s across Japan.
03-5472-5851 or 03-5472-5852.
Also, the post office publishes a new edition of its English-language Post Office Guide each March. It is available for a charge of ¥200 (plus an additional ¥180 shipping fee if you have it mailed).
The Japanese postal service has several classes of mail. The normal charge for a letter is ¥80, a postcard is ¥50, and a return-paid postcard is ¥100.
- Letters (tegami)
- Standard letters – no thicker than 1cm & between 9 x 14cm and 12 x 23.5cm in size. * under 25 grams – ¥80 * under 50 grams – ¥90
- Non-standard letters – ¥120 for 50 grams or less, and ¥1,350 for a maximum of 4kg.
- Mini Letter (yubin shokan) – only thin materials to be included (e.g. piece of paper, photo) ¥60 (maximum 25 grams).
- Express Mail (sokutatsu) – from ¥270.
- Priority delivery Registered Mail (kakitome) – from ¥420 (may be insured). Special registered mail cash envelopes (genkin kakitome futo) are available for sending money.
- Lettax (denshin-yubin) – hand written letters and pictures may be sent by facsimile, ¥580 (first page). Money and flower delivery options are also available.
- Parcels from ¥510 – postage varies according to weight of package and destination.
- Printed Matter (shoseki kozutsumi) – the cheapest way to send magazines, books and pamphlets within Japan.