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Postal systems (and post office banking)

Japan With Kids - Forums: General Discussions: Postal systems (and post office banking)
Related discussions can be found at:
Moving to and Leaving Japan: Leaving Japan: Shipping companies
Consumer Reports: Moving and delivery companies
By A.K. on Sunday, March 25, 2001 - 9:21 pm:

Well folks, just as I was getting ready to tell you all that the interest rates for "super teki" at the Post Office are markedly better than at any bank (including Citibank)... here's the hot news.

(For comparison, Japanese banks were paying less than .1% interest while you could get about .15% at the P.O. Citibank has been paying less than the Japanese banks all along.)

Postal savings interest rates slashed
Sunday, March 25, 2001
TOKYO EThe government said Friday it will from Monday cut interest rates on a range of postal savings accounts in line with the Bank of Japan's March 19 decision to take credit-easing measures that have amounted to the reinstatement of the zero interest-rate policy.

Interest rates on time deposits and fixed-amount installment accounts of one year or longer will be cut to record-low levels, said the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications. (Kyodo News)

Wednesday, March 21, 2001 at 18:00 JST
TOKYO EThe Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi (BTM) said Wednesday it will cut its interest rate on ordinary savings accounts by 0.08 percentage point to 0.02% per year effective Thursday.

By Cornelia on Sunday, December 16, 2001 - 11:22 pm:

Here is a site in English from the Japanese Post Office which is fairly useful for information regarding the postal part of their services. It also includes phone numbers for English information hot lines that they maintain in various cities:

Financial services are not included.

Hokkaido, Sapporo tel: 011-251-3957
Miyagi, Sendai tel: 022-711-7544
Tokyo, Tokyo tel: 03-5472-5851,2
Nagano, Nagano tel: 026-225-8835
Ishikawa, Kanazawa tel: 0762-62-2325
Aichi, Nagoya tel: 052-961-0103
Osaka, Osaka tel: 06-6944-6245
Hiroshima, Hiroshima tel: 082-224-0380
Ehime, Matsuyama tel: 089-932-5932
Fukuoka, Fukuoka tel: 092-752-8504
Okinawa, Naha tel: 098-868-4472

By Admin on Thursday, May 23, 2002 - 4:38 pm:

Somebody sent me a question about PO Boxes and also mail service while travelling through Japan.

Post office boxes -- yes they exist but only at major post offices, not at every small branch. They seem not to be that common here as in the USA. I do not know what the fees are but if you call one of the English information hot lines listed in the above post, I'm sure they can fish out the answer for you.

The company "Mailboxes etc" has branches in Tokyo. Their web site is and it includes all (or most?) of their locations. At the moment it looks like there are 4 locations in Tokyo and one in Yokohama.

In the past Kimi Information Center in Ikebukuro had a mail receiving service for people who are travelling. I'm not sure they still do it but here is their web site with an email address where you could ask: They also receive/send faxes and that sort of thing. They've been doing this since pre-internet so I'm not sure how their business has changed with the advent of internet cafes.

Way back (20+ years ago) when I was travelling at 18, the standard for receiving mail in countries with very faulty postal systems was to have it sent c/o the nearest American Express office! Things have changed with the internet. In any case Japanese mail is extremely reliable so hardly comparable to places like Peru, Philippines and so on.

By Admin on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 - 5:16 pm:

is the Post Office Savings (and financial transactions arm) of the Post Office in English. This page includes a bit about transferring money home at "reasonable rates".

By Cornelia on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 12:16 pm:

Sending and receiving money in Japan -- the post office option.

When I first came to this country from the USA, I was amazed at the non-existance of a personal checking system! And even more incredulous was I when I discovered that a lot of my clients would charge me for the bank transfer fee to pay me! I thought this was amazingly rude. They would not pay me cash because they wanted a record of the transaction (my signing a receipt would apparently not be enough). They would then expect me to pick up the tab on the transaction fee.

I also have to pay fees to transfer money to the landlady, to the travel agent, to just about everybody and even if at first Y200 here and another Y220 there does not seem so bad, after a while it really ads up!

First, it makes me rather grateful for the personal checking system as exists in the USA, even if it is so horribly abused by so many.

Second, it has made me look for options!

One of my favorite ways to send people small amounts is to just wrap it in paper and mail it to them. In eleven years a cash payment via mail here in Japan has never once gone missing. However, this is not helpful if you need proof of the transaction, just in case.

The post offices sells Yubin Kogawase (money coupons in fixed amounts) that cost Y10 for amounts up to Y1000, Y20 fee up to Y2000 and Y10 for further increments of less than or equal to Y1000. So also a good way to send money, but because you never fill in the name of the recipient (or maybe they do when they go to cash it), still not so good if a receipt is needed.

They also sell Yubin Kawase (postal money-orders). Up to Y10,000 cost Y100, up to Y100,000 cost Y200. Maximum amount is 5 million, but there is some discretion from post office to post office. They are allowed to make a maximum of Y1 million Y400 handling charge).

If you want to confirm delivery you then have to pay for registered mail.

Genkin Kakitome - (cash envelope) is the most expensive way to transfer money. It is an insured envelope, delivered and signed for directly at the recipients house. It is also a big pain to be the recipient because if you are not home when it is delivered you either have to ask for it to be re-delivered or go to the post office twice, once to notify them that you want to pick it up at the post office and then the next day to pick it up. It costs Y500 (Y420 + Y80) up to Y10,000. Each Y5000 more costs an additional Y10 handling fee.

You can also open a special non-interest bearing account for the purpose of receiving payments (payor pays a Y70 fee for transfers under Y10,000), much cheaper than the typical bank transfer fee and also cheaper than interest bearing postal savings account transfer.

Putting cash into a Yubin Furikai Account (takes about 3-7 days to show up) has sliding transaction fees depending on the amount deposited:
amounts up to Y10,000 fee is Y70
amounts from Y10,001 - 100,000 fee is Y120
amounts from Y100,001 -Y1,000,000 fee is Y220

Y15 fee regardless of amount if from one Yubin Furikai Koza account to another Yubin Furikai account. Transfer takes about a 7-10 days to show up in this case.

Faxed receipt can be proof of completed transfer if time is urgent.

Interest Bearing Postal Savings Accounts (nickname: Paruru Koza, official name: Yubin Chokin Koza): Transfers between Postal Savings Accounts cost Y140 regardless of the amount and are posted the same day or the following day.
Paying cash into a Paruru Koza costs Y210 up to Y10,000 and so on, thus the fees are similar to bank transfer fees at this point.

By Cornelia on Sunday, November 14, 2004 - 10:30 am:

The following message was accidentally deleted by me in my capacity as "Admin". Sorry.
By Mina on Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 08:15 pm:
Courier Companies
I need to send some stuff to States which should reach there in 2 to 3 days. Can anyone suggest some cheap and reliable courier companies? Thanks

By Tracy Okuma on Friday, April 1, 2005 - 8:18 pm:

Postal rates /Posting stuff abroad:
I am looking to post quite heavy bulky stuff back to the UK, can anyone suggest which postal method would be cheaper?
Anyone had success with a shipping company? Any ideas would be great!

By Bethan Hutton on Friday, April 1, 2005 - 8:42 pm:

It depends how big the packages are. For some reason if you use the post office it is cheaper to send heavy parcels via EMS (faster, trackable service) than normal parcel post, which is slower and non-trackable.

You could also try UPS - I haven't done it from this end, but from the UK to Japan they offer a service called "expedited" which is actually slower than their normal service, taking about a week to ten days, but is cheaper than sending parcels surface mail via the UK post office, which can take 6-8 weeks. I think it worked out at about 4 pounds sterling per kilo last time I sent a couple of big boxes, but rates depend on how much you are sending. They may not offer the same service in reverse, but it's worth checking.

By Helen Braithwaite on Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - 8:44 pm:

I have a 3500g package that I want to post
from the UK to Japan.
Royal Mail want around 50 to ship it out.
Does anyone know of a cheaper way to send
NB. I live in Nagoya (not Tokyo).

By Bethan Hutton on Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - 9:47 pm:

If you are anywhere near a branch of Mailboxes etc in the UK, you could try asking them about sending it via UPS expedited service. This takes about a week to ten days and in my experience is cheaper and more reliable for sending large parcels than using the post office, but the ones I have sent have been even larger (15kg or more) so I am not sure how the cost would work out for a 3.5kg parcel.

Also, as far as I know, you have to actually take it to a Mailboxes etc branch - if you try calling UPS direct to pick it up, they say they don't ship personal packages, only commercial - so it only works if there is one near you. Mailboxes etc is owned by UPS, so as far as I know they are the only ones that do it.

By Cornelia on Thursday, February 2, 2006 - 5:00 pm:

Dear Helen, Foreign Buyers Club is now offereing a service for the USA where you can collect parcels from all over, in particular for example catalog companies or ebay auctoners that do not deal with overseas shipping, and then forward the whole bunch to you in Japan at a date that you specify. I think the cost is $15 USD for the service plus the shipping cost. The shipping cost appears to be very reasonable. Maybe they get a quantity discount or something. I don't know if they are providing a similar service for the UK or not, but you could easily email them and ask. I think that the pound is very strong now so probably the costs involved would probably be higher.
(This information came to me privately from another JWK reader who has actually used this service and was very happy with it.)

By Natasha Watts on Thursday, February 2, 2006 - 5:52 pm:

Thanks so much for the FBC info!! I had membership to a similar service based in the States, but I had to get a yearly contract and the yearly fee was $160 or so besides the shipping fee. I did find the service very useful on numerous occasions, but I simply didn't use it enough to get my money's worth. I didn't renew my membership this year because of the cost, and was looking around for better prices without much success. 15usd (for one shipment I gather?) plus shipping fee sounds too good to be true!!
I will check into it!

By Natasha Watts on Thursday, February 2, 2006 - 6:57 pm:

I checked out the FBC site and could not find the page for the above service. Where do you go for the info?

By Aly on Thursday, February 2, 2006 - 7:00 pm:

Sounds like the FBC service is an almost identical service to Expat Express. I have used Expat Express several times and have been very pleased with their service. You can order goods from virtually any U.S. retailer and have them sent to Expat's warehouse in Utah. They will collect the goods and forward them to you. You can order from several different retailers at once, too. You just let them know what is coming and they will forward everything once it has all arrived. I have even had some ebay purchases sent as well. It is $15 USD per order plus delivery - which is quite reasonable. You just have to beware of duties upon entrance to Japan. Don't order any leather!

By Admin on Friday, February 23, 2007 - 2:12 pm:

Jan 2007 Postal lottery results are posted at:
Period of exchange: January 15-July 17, 2007
The winning quantities are calculated from the numbers of New Years Lottery Postcards(3799.787million) and Stamps(24.8million) issued.

Read more on this subject at:

By Sandy on Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 4:27 pm:

New site for Japan Post Bank (Japan Post is now privatized, so all sorts of things have been changing). The useful part is in Japanese only, unfortunately for people like me.

By Sandy on Friday, September 30, 2011 - 3:12 pm:

The Japan Post office has the following information telephone numbers now:
Customer Service Center
0120-5931-55 (Toll Free)

Mobile Phone F 0570-046-666 (Chargeable call)
For English F 0570-046111

I believe all 0570 numbers are chargeable for about the same rate as local calls (about 10yen for 3 minutes).

By Pato on Monday, October 17, 2011 - 12:17 am:

Package Consolidation Service (this works best for someone who does not have an address in Japan)
offered by Rakuten:
They seem to do only EMS (Express Mail Service) via Japan Post, which is air mail. So even though it is cheaper to consolidate, if you can do it yourself because you live in Japan, then you can consider surface mail or surface air lift as cheaper options.

I seem to remember that FBC (Foreign Buyers Club) offers this service from the USA to Japan, but I do not know if they offer it in the opposite direction (from Japan to the USA). FBC actually was/is(?) able to handle much larger items because they are not using the Post Office, but bundling the shipments into their import containers, I think. They call it "Madi's re-mailing service" and here's a link:

Here's a big company that does this in the USA to any other country:
FBC looks pretty good though, if you want to send to Japan. Does anyone know if they'll go in the opposite direction?

By Kurz on Sunday, November 13, 2011 - 4:11 pm:

Option for sending stuff inside Japan:

310 yen currently marked down to 290 yen "Ecohai-bin" was only for residents of Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe or Nagoya, but it looks like they have some additional cities now (can anyone help? I can't read/write Japanese.

Their old website was called which had "250" in the name, so I guess at one point they were even cheaper.

The way it works is you have to pre-pay for 40 of their shipping bags, at 11,670 yen.
The office I work at uses it and lets me buy the bags at cost from them. Great for small businesses.
In Tokyo, they use bicycles, so it's not a super fast motorcycle bin. (but it's so cheap - who cares?)
Even so, it's usually next day delivery.

Also, obviously can't do chakubarai, since everything is pre-paid. And they only deliver to the areas on their list.

Their bags are very generously sized - you can really pack a lot in them.

By Ruth on Monday, November 14, 2011 - 11:36 am:

Thanks for the info!

According to the site, Ecohai-bin will pick up items in all 23 wards of Tokyo, in all of Nagoya and Osaka-shi (plus many of the other municipalities in Osaka-fu), in Kyoto's Nakagyo, Shimogyo, Minami, and Fushimi wards, and in Kobe's Chuo ward and parts of its Nandaka and Higashinandaka wards.

It will deliver to all of Tokyo (except the remote islands!), all of Nagoya, Osaka-fu, and Kobe, more parts of Kyoto, and all of Kanagawa, Chiba, and Saitama prefectures.

There's a 260 yen discount price on your first use of their service; usual price is 310 yen. They are also offering a free trial -- fill out their web form, and they will send you all sorts of info on their service, including one of their bags and a shipping label, which you can use for free.

Each bag can hold up to 14 kilograms!

By Kurz on Monday, November 14, 2011 - 4:18 pm:

Wow, 14kg is a lot of... books or clothes, or _____! Is there a rule about what you can put in the bag? Do they still have the buy 40 bags deal? I can't read Japanese sadly.

By Kurz on Thursday, February 9, 2012 - 9:13 pm:

Nengajo (New Year post cards) winning lottery numbers for this season (Jan. 1 2012):
6 digits winner: 030625
2nd place 6 digits winners:
4 digits winner: 2511
2 digits winners:

Last two digits of all of the above numbers also wins something I think, but maybe the rules have changed. Show your winning number at any post office before 23 July to collect. If you know more on this topic please post it here!
Read more on this subject at:
Here's the link to this season's nengajo winning numbers on the Japan Post web site.

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