On Japan Post and how to have a package re-delivered!

JP logo Since moving to Nagoya I have, I’m sure like many other expats, become fairly reliant on the Japan Postal Service and they just never let me down!
I think I’ve mentioned before how much faster Amazon orders arrive here than in Australia but I think that is partly due to orders probably waiting Stateside until there are enough orders for Australia to justify putting them on a plane – many more planes and airlines coming to Japan than Oz. Nevertheless I am now convinced that, once they hit Japan, packages take far less time getting around than in Australia or possibly anywhere! That’s a big statement, I know, but I’m basing it on experience. I recently placed a large order of (it turned out wonderful) clothes from the States, they company sent me an email to say it had been shipped and to allow 1-3 WEEKS for international delilvery – obviously the time frame they feel necessary to quote based on their experience. It was at my door 5 days after shipping!

So how do they do it? Like the train system here, the postal service just works like any customer would hope it works – frequently and seamlessly. Deliveries here to our inner east suburb are twice a day on weekdays and once on Saturdays AND Sundays – so that’s a speed-up right there, more delivery days = more sorting = less time sitting around in piles. Deliveries keep going right up until 9pm, too. It’s also wonderfully regular – my morning delivery is always btn 10:30 and 10:45 so I know not to be in the shower or doing anything where I can’t here the doorbell around that time and I can also plan my day around that if I am expecting a package. In fact I have ordered so many books from Amazon that last delivery the conversation with the postie was the following:

“Many, many books. You like a lot to read, yes?” I agreed at which he smiled and said confidently while writing it down at the same time,  “Ru Shi Na, yes? I remember today! Please sign.”

If I am not home when they arrive they will try again later that day and if I am still not home, they will leave a slip of card in the mailbox which looks like this:Undeliverable Item Notice

This is an “Undeliverable Item Notice” and means that a package which required your signature or personal delivery was unable to be delivered and is now at your district post office.

SO – what do you do with it?

A third of the way down you will see some hand written dates – the top date is the day it was dropped off/delivery was attempted and the second date, is the expiry date or the date until which it will be held (I’m not sure what happens if you don’t pick it up).

The last couple of times I got these I went to the district post office and found the package counter and picked them up myself and I was planning to with this one but just hadn’t managed to get there. So I flipped the card over and went to the web address on the back and got to the English page. It explained that you can arrange a re-delivery either by calling the number on the back or filling in the box which makes up the bottom half of the front of the card and posting it back to them. I decided to give the latter a go and was pondering the old kanji-or-romaji question when I noticed the small print in English at the very bottom of the back of the card:

“A postal item addressed to you is being held at our delivery center. Please contact us. Should need help in English please call: 0570-046-111”

After giggling at myself for a while remembering the time I had painstakingly used my denshi jishou to translate the kanji of first one of these that I got, I gave them a call.

Before anyone real answers a robot will tell you that you are being charged for every 20 seconds of the call and give you a chance to hang up. The customer service officer that I got was fluent, fast and efficient so I felt it was fully worth it.

She asked me for my name and then to tell her the package identity number (I think that’s the phrase she used) anyway it wasn’t the 6 digit number in the top left above the bar code but rather the 2 digit number which the postie had circled in the list of options in the middle of the card (which I assume says what kind of package it is.) Armed with my name and this info, she pulled it up on her computer, verified she had my address right (asking me for the details of my block number and apartment number I assume for security) and then asked when I would like it delivered.

Here’s where the culture clash showed up (note it was 5:35 pm when I called)

Me: “Well I can be home tomorrow morning if it’s not too late to organize.”

She: “Um well if you’d like…”

There was a hesitation so I offered: “Or the afternoon or evening – any time tomorrow would be lovely if it’s possible.”

She: “Well, because… I can have it delivered between 7 and 9 tonight, if you will be home.”

Me: “Really?!!!!!! Yes! That would be wonderful!”

So here  I am waiting for my package – I know which book it is so no big surprise though I’m eager to get my hands on it.  If only I’d seen that small print earlier I could have had it days ago!

Update: It arrived at 8:03 right in the middle of the time-frame 🙂


12 comments on “On Japan Post and how to have a package re-delivered!”
  1. They don’t offer redelivery in Oz anymore – in fact they don’t even offer delivery. A while ago they outsourced the package delivery to another company who now drive around in vans “carding” people’s boxes with little cards saying “Sorry we missed you”. While in Sydney one day (it was actually the day after my b’day!) I arrived at my mailbox at the same time as both the actual postie on her bike and the parcel guy who ran across the road from his truck, ducked in front of me and put the card in my box. I said “Oh! That’s lucky, that’s me! I’ll take it now.” He literally went right red and umm a bit and said “Actually it’s at the post office.” The postie was furious and shouted at him as he ran back to his (obviously totally empty) truck “I could have bloody done that – what do we pay you for?” LOL


  2. I’ve tried the online way of redelivery requests and it’s awesome! I really admire Japanese efficiency.
    I got help from this blogpost. (for Japan Post online redelivery)
    Nittsu is in charge for Amazon deliveries on my place here in Saitama.


  3. Anonymous says:

    On Japan Post and how to have a package re-delivered!…
    Learned how to do this today, also finally came to the decision that JP ROCKS thought I’d share the info and opinion lol!…


  4. Thanks for the extra info link Scion! I checked out your blog and was blown away by your lovely Rikugien gardens shots. Nice work!


  5. Very useful information!
    I think that your packages might arrive here faster as there is a large Amazon.jp building (distribution center?) near our home in Chiba. It was one of the first things I noticed (with glee I might add) when I rode the Keiyo line again after a ten year hiatus from Japan.
    Having aid that the postal system in Japan is very efficient.


  6. Ah now, I was thinking that but today’s package came from a specialist store in the States and the package that arrived in 5 days instead of 1-3 weeks was from Land’s End in the States – do they have a warehouse here??? 🙂
    But yes, it’s silly to be so effusive about a postal service – it’s just such a change – not to mention the only person I’ve spoken to in person for a few days lol!!


  7. Oh I love that we can ask them to re-send at a time that is convenient for me! I have used this several times and it never fails to blow me away. I have to say they did the same when I lived in Singapore for a year – same efficiency, same service.
    I always compare this to my experiences in the UK. If something is going to be delivered, you have to take the day off work because they can’t specify a time, not even morning or afternoon, and then, to really make your day, they don’t turn up! Gaahhhh!


  8. chris.hagon@hotmail.co.uk says:

    Wow.. pretty amazing. Sounds better than here in the UK. In fact, the last time I had need to call our ‘Royal’ Mail service, I wouldn’t even go so far as to say their english was fluent.


  9. For other courier services like “kuro neko”, the driver will even leave behind a mobile number!


  10. I’ll give Japan credit on this one also, their private postal systems gets things delivered very quickly.
    I haven’t noticed an English service number on missed delivery notices for my Tokyo address. I always have had my fiancee or a student reschedule delivery for me. Maybe I just didn’t read the fine print.


  11. Yep, delivery in Japan is top-notch. It’s nothing short of amazing, especially when you see a lot of couriers riding around on bicycles or pushing carts around local neighborhoods to make deliveries. And, couriers are some of the friendliest workers you’ll meet in Japan.


  12. :jaw drops: Wow, that’s one amazing system.


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