Post office in Hokkaido

A post office can be found in walking distance unless one lives in a remote area. The logo of the post office is 〒, and all mailboxes in Japan are unified in red. Services of post offices vary depending on location and size. Large post offices in city centers or in airports carry extensive services. Business hours of small post offices in residential areas are usually shorter than post offices in populated areas.

Small Post Offices
Business hours: 9:00 a.m.~ 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9:00 a.m. ~ 3:00 p.m. Saturday.

ATM hours: 8:45 a.m. ~ 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9:00 a.m. ~ 5:00 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, and holidays. The post office ATM machines have an English screen, and the machines take international credit cards.

Services include: sell stamps, postcards, domestic money order; accept parcel posts, utility bill payments and domestic credit card balance payments without fees; provide opening a savings account.

Domestic letters: Japanese size envelopes are used with an 80 yen stamp for up to 25 grams (.88 ounce), a 90 yen stamp for up to 50 grams (1.76 ounces). A convenient single page letter sheet of 60 yen including postage can be purchased.

Domestic postcards: A stamp for a postcard is 50 yen. Also, prepaid postcards (no stamp need to be affixed) are sold. Another kind of postcard called "eko hagaki" with advertisement printed on it is 45 yen a piece.

Domestic parcel posts: A parcel up to 20 kilograms (44 pounds) is accepted. Fees vary depending on regions in the country. See "Japan Post Office" on the web for more detailed information.

Large Post Offices
Business hours: 9:00 a.m. ~ 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9:00 a.m. ~ 6:00 or 7:00 p.m. Saturday; 9:00 a.m. ~ 5:00 p.m. Sunday and holidays.

ATM hours: 7:00 a.m. ~ 11:00 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9:00 a.m. ~ 9:00 p.m. Saturday; 9:00 a.m. ~ 7:00 p.m. Sunday and holidays. The post office ATM machines have an English screen, and the machines take international credit cards.

Services include: in addition to the Small Post Office services, they serve international remittances, currency exchange in US dollars, Euro, Canadian dollars, Australian dollars, Korean won, and Chinese yuan.

Traveler's cheques are also available in Japanese yen, US dollars, British pounds, Euro, Swiss francs, Canadian dollars, and Australian dollars.

Each mailbox shows the collection time schedule for the week. The left side mail slot is for regular letters and postcards, and the right side slot is for large envelopes, international mails, and express mails.

Post Office Savings Account

A savings account with a post office ATM card is offered. To open an account, a person has to show a proof of living in Japan for six months or longer, or of working for a Japanese company.

After opening an account, automatic bill payment services are available to pay bills, such as water, electricity, gas, telephone, insurance, taxes, credit card balances, and the like, without fees.

In Japan, carrying personal checks is not a custom. Instead, a personal book is used. The printed pages show the records of deposit, withdrawal, and all the transactions made in the past. To print out the up-to-date balance, open the last page recorded, and slide it into the slot provided on the ATM machine. No fee is required to use ATMs at any post offices in Japan.

Redelivery System
The post office has a good redelivery system. If no one is available to take a delivery item at home, a note will be left in the mailbox, giving a choice either to call the toll free number or to pick it up at the designated post office. When calling for the redelivery, you can choose a redelivery method. The post office can redeliver the item any time between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and can also redeliver it at your work place, or leave it at your neighbor's house.

Inquiries on International Mails

A toll free number to call for inquiries on international mails in Japanese: 0120-5931-55, from 8:00 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, and holidays.

The non-tall-free number 0570-046-111 is for inquiries in English in the same time frame.

For more information on international mails and parcel posts, go to "Japan Post Office" on the Internet, and click on the "International Mail."