Japan Guide - Post and telephone

Post

Japan's postal system is highly efficient, easy to use, and ordinary mail is not that expensive.

Post offices can be recognized by a white and red T with a bar across the top. Red mailboxes are for regular mail and blue ones are for special delivery.

Main post offices are usually open from 8am to 7pm on weekdays, from 8am to 3pm on Saturday, and 9am to 12:30pm on Sunday and public holidays. Other local post offices are open from 9 to 5 on weekdays and 9 to 1 on Saturday. There are some main post offices in big cities that are open 24 hours. Writing addresses in romaji (roman letters) is not a problem - but be sure to write neatly and clearly.

If you are planning on having mail sent to you to a post office in Japan, it's a good idea to have it sent to one of the larger main post offices. Mail is usually only held for 30 days before it is returned to the sender, and smaller post offices may have trouble dealing with it. If you wish to collect your mail, you can ask 'kyoku dome yubin'.


Addresses

If you are visiting a friend in Japan you should be aware that addresses do not seem to follow the logical order that they do elsewhere. Before the 1950’s numbers were assigned by date of construction rather than by numerical order of streets. To make things even more complicated addresses are given by an area rather than the street itself. The best way to find the place your going is to get landmark directions from a friend. The other option is to take a taxi (if it’s not too far) as Japanese taxi drivers seem to be able to navigate their way to any destination.  Be careful though -- taxis are not cheap!

Telephone

The Japanese telephone system is also well developed.  In recent years public phones are becoming much rarer with the widespread use now of mobile phones, but they can still be found and are often very reliable. Local calls cost Y10 for three minutes. If you want to make an international call, you'll need a handful of coins or a pre-paid phone card. The phone cards are much easier. You can buy a "terefon kado" at any convenience store and often in machines next to the public phone. They are very convenient and always display the numerical value that you have remaining.

To make an international call you can either use a calling card or an international operator.

The country code for Japan is 81. When dialing to Japan you must first dial the country code, then the area code and number. All Japanese area codes begin with zero, however when you are calling from an international destination you must drop that zero. For example Tokyo is 03 within Japan.

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Japan General Information

Part 1 Information on Japan
Part 2 Getting to Japan
Part 3 Tourist information
Part 4 Passport and visas
Part 5 Costs and money issues
Part 6 Post and telephone
Part 7 Internet and newspapers
Part 8 Measurements
Part 9 Health and safety
Part 10 Accommodation
Part 11 Food
Part 12 More food!

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