Japanese Essentials: Sending a Postal Package in Japan

Sending something abroad…
Sample Dialogue
Vocabulary & Useful Phrases

Sending something abroad…

Many challenges await expatriates in Japan. The small actions of daily life may become mountains to cross, and one of them is dealing with the Japanese post office. Sending a letter might not be difficult, but sending a package can prove to be quite challenging.

Did you know that the Japanese postal system is said to be one of the best in the world? With some information, you will have no problem going to the post office! So let’s learn how to send a package in Japanese!

First of all, let’s check all the types of international mail:
– Surface mail
– Air mail
– SAL (Surface Air Lifted) mail
* EMS also includes a pickup service.

You can access such information on the Japan post website, in Japanese and English.

The post office serves two major functions (the first being mail and the second being savings and insurance), so be sure to go to the correct service counter. Generally, the first thing you do at the postal office is pick up a numbered ticket at one of the two counters. Use the signs, red for mail and green for savings and insurance, to find the right counter.

Kanji for use at the counters:

  • 郵便 Mail
  • 切手 stamp
  • 貯金 savings
  • 保険 insurance

The invoice includes both Japanese and English, allowing you to fill out the forms in English.


Sample Dialogue


Customer: Kore o Austria made okuritain desu ga.
Post office clerk: Koukuu bin de iidesu ka?
Customer: Dono gurai kakarimasu ka?
Post office clerk: Itsuka gurai desu ne. EMS dato futsu ka de ikimasu yo.
Customer: EMS tte nan desuka?
Post office clerk: Kokusai supiido yuubin to itte, ichiban hayain desu.
Customer: Ikura desu ka?
Post office clerk: EMS dato nisen-happyaku yen, airmail dato sen-happyaku -rokuyuu yen desu.
Customer: Takai desune. Motto yasuku okuritain desu ga.
Post office clerk: SAL bin dato sen-hachiyuu yen desuga, ni-shuu kan gurai kakarimasu.
Customer: Sou desuka.  Jaa, koukuu-bin ni shimasu.
Post office clerk: Soredewa kochira no youshi ni hitsuyou jikou o gokinyuu kudasai.
Customer: Eigo de iidesuka?
Post office clerk: Hai, daijyoubu desu.

Customer: I would like to send this to Australia.
Post office clerk: Would airmail be okay?
Customer: How long does it take?
Post office clerk: About five days. It will be there in two days if you use EMS.
Customer: What is EMS?
Post office clerk: It means “Express Mail Service,” and it’s the fastest.
Customer: How much does it cost?
Post office clerk: EMS would be ¥2,800, and airmail would be ¥1,860.
Customer: That’s expensive. I’d like to send it more cheaply.
Post office clerk: SAL mail would be ¥1,080, but it will take about two weeks.
Customer: Is that so? Then I’ll go with airmail.
Post office clerk: Alright, please fill in the required details on this form.
Customer: Is English okay?
Post office clerk: Yes, that would be fine.


Vocabulary & Useful Phrases

航空便 (Kou kuu bin): Air mail
どのぐらいかかりますか (Dono gurai kakari masu ka)? : How long does it take?
___ってなんですか (____tte nan desu ka)? : What is ___?
____だと (A dato…, B dato…):  A would be …, and B would be …
もっと安く/早く送りたいんですが (Motto yasuku/ hayaku okuritain desu ga): I’d like to send it more cheaply/quickly
___にします (A ni shimasu):  I’ll go with A
用紙 (Youshi): Form
必要事項 (Hitsuyou jikou): Required details
ご記入ください (Go kinyuu kudasai): Please fill out/in
___でいいですか (___de iidesu ka?) : Is ___ okay?

Be careful, you may be forbidden to send things such as food, snacks etc. depending on the country. You can check this directly online.

If you are looking to find a post office near you, here’s how you can ask for directions or check with passers-by as to whether if there is any near you!

Credit CC BY 2.0: nambon
Title: 神宮前六郵便局
source: Flickr
For: How to send a package in Japanese

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