Whether you are moving to Japan, leaving Japan, or taking an extended vacation, you still need to make sure that you will have access to your mail. There are many considerations for expats living in Japan depending on the situation and length of time that you’ll be away from home. Below is essential information on how you can guarantee that you will always receive your mail when you need it.
Japan Post will redirect your mail to another Japanese address for up to one year; it is important to note that they will not forward to an overseas address. Also, if you plan to be away from your Japan residence for less than 30 days, another option is to have Japan Post hold your mail. > Absence Notice (Japanese Only)
In order to use this free service, you can go to any post office, and fill out a relocation form (called tenkyo todoke). When you go, it is important to take the following documents with you.
You can choose to submit the form either by directly presenting it at the post office or by dropping it into a postbox.
If the submitter and the individuals moving are different, in addition to the submitter's ID, you will need the identification documents of one of the moving individuals (a copy of these documents is acceptable). Please bring identification documents such as a driver's license , residence card or other ID to your nearest post office counter.
Receive a relocation form (tenkyo todoke) available at post office counters, and fill in the required information. Attach a copy of the submitter's identification document, and place it in the provided dedicated envelope. Then, simply drop it into a mailbox without affixing postage stamps.
The tenkyo todoke form is divided into two sides — the left side helps you fill out the form and is for you to keep, while the right side is what needs to be submitted to the post office. If you choose to mail it in rather than submit it in person, simply tear the right side off and drop it in the box — there is no need for a stamp. Below is an example of how to fill out the form.
Each item in the relocation form (tenkyo todoke) is indicated in English. On the right side, please attach a copy of your ID with adhesive.
The left side contains two sections where you can give your consent.
・The submitter of this change of address notification form, either as the individual themselves or as an authorized representative acting on behalf of all the moving individuals listed in this form, hereby provides information to Japan Post Co., Ltd. regarding the details stated in this change of address notification. The submitter also confirms that they possess the legitimate authority to agree to the terms and conditions outlined below (Consent Items). In the event that any of the moving individuals listed in this change of address notification raise a complaint regarding the submission of this form or the handling of the information agreed upon in the Consent Items below, the submitter of this change of address notification shall be responsible for addressing such matters.
・The submitter of this change of address notification, after reviewing the "Handling of Information Obtained Through This Change of Address Notification" and "Non-Acceptance of This Change of Address Notification," agrees to the following "Consent Items" on behalf of themselves and all the moving individuals listed in this form.
The "Consent Items" are detailed or outlined beneath the statement.
As for the forms below this section, the left two are for your own records, so please keep them. Place the completed form in the envelope (right side), without affixing postage stamps, and drop it into the mailbox.
Submitting online can be an option however, it may be a challenging task for people who do not understand Japanese.
While Japan Post makes domestic mail forwarding easy, they will not be able to help you if you want to forward your Japanese mail overseas. Private Japanese companies have stepped in to offer international mail forwarding services from Japan to a number of other countries.
MailMate combines mail forwarding with a cloud-based dashboard so you can manage your physical mailbox online, no matter where you happen to be.
Expats can forward their mail to MailMate’s headquarters, and MailMate’s team will receive it, scan it, and translate it at your request. The service also includes a bill-paying feature for any utility bills that might arrive while you’re away from home.
MailMate is perfect for the following user types:
MailMate is the first fully bilingual (English + Japanese) mail forwarding service with an accompanying virtual mail dashboard, allowing you to view your Japanese mail online and request translations with 1-click. Book a free demo with our fluently bilingual English-speaking customer service team.
By far the most expat-friendly service available in Japan, Dankebox provides full English-language customer support along with a variety of mail forwarding services. Signup is currently free, though there is a monthly fee along with additional costs for shipping and handling of each package that you choose to send.
This service is particularly ideal for any expat who will be:
If you would like to shop around for services similar to Dankebox, you will be limited to companies with Japanese-only websites like J-address.
Forwarding mail from your respective country to Japan can be a bit trickier, and generally depends on where you live. For your convenience, we’ve compiled a select list of companies who will send mail and parcels from Western countries to Japan.
Traveling MailBox’s core service is mail forwarding registered from an official street address; however they also have a few additional services such as free junk mail shredding, mail scanning upon request, and digital integration with tools like Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote. They will also deposit checks on your behalf by writing “for deposit only” on the back and mailing it to your preferred bank.
UK Postbox offers mail forwarding services registered either through a free PO Box address or a paid street address that can help suggest your elite status as a business or executive. They offer all of the standard services including proxy banking, shredding unwanted mail, and parcel forwarding that lets you buy from local U.K. shops and ship the package to your preferred address. All of this can be managed on the company’s mobile app available on Apple’s app store.
If you are traveling from New Zealand to Japan, there are few options available in terms of international mail forwarding; however, Private Box is a popular choice. All standard mail forwarding services are included as well as a discount for New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA) members.
BPM-Lux is Europe’s leader in mail forwarding, having even branched out into North America and Australia. While their primary service deals with shipping European parcels internationally, they also offer services for securely creating digital copies of your mail as well as storing and shredding it upon request.
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