Shipping in Japan

Whether you are ending your JET tenure and wondering what to do with your plenortha 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. We've also provided some (rough!) estimates of parcel prices to give you an idea of how much things may cost.

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, its 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 (or other strong waterproof tape). The GET 100yen shop in Gintengai, Matsuyama, has bubble wrap on a large roll you can buy to suit your requirements. Daiki also sells bubble wrap in bulk. 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 also provide you with this information. Restrictions may apply to: quantity of alcohol, certain medications purchased in Japan, Japanese antiques or purchases made in other Asian countries. If in doubt, call your embassy.

Where to Get Boxes

  • The Japan Post Office sells small parcel size boxes. The largest is a 35cm x 35cm box and is around 400 yen
  • Daiki also sells larger sturdier boxes. It's slightly cheaper than the Japan Post.
  • Big stores like Daiki, Jusco, and Fuji also have an area in the behind the store where unused boxes are thrown away to get recycled. You can peruse them to see if any suit your needs.
  • You can also get boxes from your schools. Ask your office or supervisor.
  • If you are interested in sending home posters and are having a hard time finding tubes to send them in. Look around at your schools where they keep the rolled up paper for bulletin boards and stuff. There is usually a hard cardboard tube in the center. Ask your schools if you can have one or two for shipping purposes. They will have a hole on both ends, so just cut out some cardboard to stick in and ducktape it yourself!

Shipping Companies


Japan Post

http://www.post.japanpost.jp/ (English)

When you use Japan Post for sending your parcels as Post Parcels to North America, Australia and European countries:

  • Weight --- up to 20kg/parcel
  • Size (Dimensions) --- up to 200cm (length+depth+width)
  • Length --- under 105cm in length
  • Rates --- \10, 250
  • If you send more than 10 parcels, 10% discount will be added. Also, they will provide free service to pick up the parcels at your door.
  • There is also a special rate for printed material. A 20kg box of books to Hawaii cost me approximately 9,800 yen.

Sagawa Express

http://www.sagawa-exp.co.jp/english/ (English)

A small parcel by air will cost roughly:

  • to the US/Canada: 20kg = \25, 908
  • to Central EU: 20kg = \36 006

Yamato (Kuroneko)

http://www.kuronekoyamato.co.jp/ (Japanese)


Nippon Express

http://www.nittsu.co.jp/ (Japanese)
Tel: (toll-free) 0120-150-422
Email: moving@nittsu.co.jp

Nippon Express offers ‘Pelican Seapack’, where your parcel will be sent via ship. The following rates and delivery times are offered for boxes that are less than 30kg in weight and the total of the box dimension (height, width, depth) are under 150cm. Call for more information regarding pick-up and packing instructions. Customer charges and insurance are included in the costs.

Desination Cost Delivery Time
North Am. (except Hawaii & Alaska) \25 000 About 2 months
United Kingdom \25 000 About 2 months
Australia \25 000 (more if outside of Melbourne & Sydney) About 1 1/2 months

Econosip

http://www.econoship.net/ (English)
Tel: (toll-free) 0120-222-111
Email: moving@nittsu.co.jp


Shipmates

http://www.shipmates.jp/ (English)


Reschedule Deliveries

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.


Rechedule Deliveries through Sagawa Express's Automated Phone Service

Sagawa is the service most often used to send parcels by companies (and is the one used by both Amazon and CLAIR). It's also the easiest to reschedule deliveries with using its Automated Telephone Service. This guide was taken from a fellow Aomori JET's Blog.

  • Dial 0568-77-5300 from your cellphone or PHS, 0120-702-700 from a landline
  • You'll be asked to first enter you phone number.
  • You'll then be asked to enter a 4 digit code, that'll be written on your message of non-delivery notice.
  • Then, you'll have to punch in the 12 digit tracking number written on the notice.
  • It'll now ask you when you want to receive it. If you want it redelivered:
    The Same Day: Hit 0.
    Any Other Day: 2 digit number representing the date (i.e., 05 for the 5th, or 18 for the 18th, etc)
  • Finally, the preference for time of day for delivery. Hit:
    1 for Morning Until 12 (Earliest is usually about 9am)
    2 for 12 until 2pm
    3 for 2 to 4pm
    4 for 4 to 6pm
    5 for 6 to 8pm
    6 for 7pm to 9pm
    7 for "now until ~9pm". This option is useful if you're basically home all day and you missed the first attempt because you went out in the morning, and you want it redelivered the same day.
  • Lastly, it'll repeat your preferences for you and ask for your confirmation. To confirm, hit 1. To cancel, hit 0.

Alternatively, you can call the driver directly to rescheudle. The driver's number will be listed on the back of the notice.


Sending Suitcases to the Airport

When returning to your home country, you will probably wish to travel without heavy luggage. Convenient services are offered from several companies. Described below is one of them.


From Kansai Airport

Company: PASCO
http://www.kansai-airport.or.jp/
tel. 0120-415002

Reservation Necessary. To/from Kansai airport for 1 luggage piece up to 20kg

Region To From To/From
Shikoku 2,090 yen 1,990 yen 3,980 yen

From Narita Airport

http://www.narita-airport.or.jp/airport/

CHARGES: About 2,000 yen per suitcase (in the Kanto area). Charges may vary depending on size, weight, and area to be delivered.

From Terminal 1:

Company Carrier Location Business Hours Telephone & Hours
Yamato (Kuroneko) GPA Departures: North Wing, 4th Floor
Arrivals: North Wing, 1st Floor
Departures: 7:00 - 21:30
Arrivals: 7:00 - last flight *
+81(0)476-32-4755
(9:00 - 18:30)
Nittsu/Fukuyama JAL ABC, Inc. Departures: North Wing, 4th Floor
Arrivals: North Wing, 1st Floor
Departures: 6:00 - 21 :00
Arrivals: 6:00 - last flight *
+81(0)120-9191-20
Inquiries via mobile phone, public phone or from overseas +81(0)3-3545- 2800
(6:00 - 22:30)
Kamataki/Sagawa/Seibu QL Liner Departures: North Wing, 4th Floor
Arrivals: North Wing, 1st Floor
Departures: 6:30 - 21:00
Arrivals: 6:30 - last flight *
+81(0)476-35-2855
(Mon-Fri: 8:30 - 18:00)
(Sun., Public Holidays: 8:45 - 17:00)
Sagawa NPS Skyporter Departures: North Wing, 4th Floor Departures: 7:00 - last-flight +81(0)120-007-952
(9:00 - 18:00)
*Dialing within Japan only.

From Terminal 2:

Company Carrier Location Business Hours Telephone & Hours
Yamato (Kuroneko) GPA Departures: Main Bldg., 3rd Floor
Arrivals: Main Bldg., 1st Floor
Departures: 7:00 - 21:30
Arrivals: 6:30 - last flight *
+81(0)476-32-4755
(9:00 - 18:30)
Nittsu/Fukuyama JAL ABC, Inc. Departures: Main Bldg., 3rd Floor
Arrivals: Main Bldg., 1st Floor
Departures: 6:00 - 21 :00
Arrivals: 6:00 - last flight *
+81(0)120-9191-20
Inquiries via mobile phone, public phone or from overseas +81(0)3-3545-2800
(6:00 - 22:30)
Kamataki/Sagawa/Seibu QL Liner Departures: Main Bldg., 3rd Floor
Arrivals: Main Bldg., 1st Floor
Departures: 6:30 - 21:00
Arrivals: 6:30 - last flight *
+81(0)476-35-2855
(Mon-Fri: 8:30 - 18:00)
(Sun., Public Holidays: 8:45 - 17:00)
Sagawa NPS Skyporter Departures: Main Bldg., 3rd Floor Departures: 7:00 - last-flight +81(0)120-007-952
(9:00 - 18:00)
*Dialing within Japan only.

Excess Baggage

http://www.excess-baggage.com/

They ship your big luggage straight to your home, so you can travel around lighter before returning home.