Whether you are ending your JET tenure and wondering what to do with your plethora of wonderful goods or seeking to send care packages home, shipping might seem like a dauting task. Here we’ve gathered information on the most popular shipping services that you can utilize.
Note: It’s very important that you check your home country’s shipping limitations. Even if the parcel is acceptable from Japanese shores, it may still be refused in foreign post offices due to violations in weight or size.
Things to Consider Before Shipping
Although your items are usually insured, as a general note, it`s best to send the less-precious belongings ahead and carry the very valuable with you as you never know what might happen along the way. Shop around a bit, as prices can vary considerably! Some companies charge a minimum fee for shipping, so check on this ahead of time.
- The shipping companies like to have at least one month advance notice, as calculations on weight and shipping schedules need to be arranged. Start planning early so you don’t spend a fortune sending everything home by regular mail.
- Packing your items in a cardboard box is generally sufficient…but don’t forget to select a STURDY box. Cardboard tears easily when wet, so think ahead to possible disasters that could arise en-route from Japan to home. If you’re sending something especially fragile or bulky, ask the company if a cardboard box is adequate protection. Ask ahead of time about size restriction…you don’t want to pack up everything nicely only to find that it won’t fit into the crate!
- Buy an ample supply of bubble wrap and duct tape – check out homeware stores like Daiki. Pad everything with the bubble wrap, tape items closed that could open, use plastic bags to wrap the items that you wouldn’t want getting soiled or soggy and pack fragile items in smaller boxes to be placed in the big box. Tape the final box with several layers of duct tape.
- When shipping items, ask about the insurance policies. Insurance policies can be taken out based on the value of your items and are normally charged at 1.5% of the total value of the contents. Discuss the details thoroughly with the company. It is best to keep a list of what was packed and what condition they were in at the time of packing. This is useful later if you need to claim insurance payments.
- Remember that each country has its customs requirements as well as restrictions on items that can be brought into the country. As customs fees vary from country to country, you’ll need to inquire about the restrictions ahead of time. Your embassy can provide you with this information.
- Where to get boxes: Japan Post Office, Daiki, etc. Big stores have an area where unused boxes are thrown away to get recycled. You can peruse them to see if any suit your needs. You could also ask at your school.
- Japan Post (English) http://www.post.japanpost.jp/index_en.html
- Sagawa Express (English) http://www.sagawa-exp.co.jp/english/
- Yamato (Kuroneko) (Japanese) http://www.kuronekoyamato.co.jp/
- Nippon Express (Japanese) http://www.nittsu.co.jp/
- Econoship (English) http://www.econoship.net/n/index.php/en/
If you’re an avid online shopper or are constantly getting care packages from home, you’ve probably encountered the “Notice of Item Non-Delivery” in your mailbox. If the parcel is being delivered through the Japan Post, chances are you’ll just have to go down to the local central post office to retrieve it (don’t forget to bring your notice and your gaijin card!) If you’re getting deliveries from other companies like Sagawa or Yamato Kuroneko though, you’ll probably have to reschedule delivery. Follow the instructions on the card – by phone, email, or company website - to reschedule a delivery time and date to suit you.
Sending Suitcases to the Airport
When returning to your home country, you will probably wish to travel without heavy luggage. Convenient services are offered by several companies.
- Kansai Airport: http://www.kansai-airport.or.jp/en/service/baggage/index.html#_03_01
- Narita Airport: http://www.narita-airport.jp/en/service/svc_05