International Shipping from Japan: Options & FAQs [Updated 2023]
Returning to your home country? Sending a package to a loved one? Wondering what the cheapest options are for sending something from Japan?
Finding the best way to ship something from Japan depends on your budget and the type of goods you wish to send.
This article covers the 3 most used and trusted options for international shipping from Japan to your home country. Plus, we cover several of your most-asked questions!
The Japan Post Office, the cheapest international shipping from Japan
The Japan Post Office’s international parcel post service allows you to send up to 30 kg per box with a 10 percent discount for 10 to 49 parcels.
When sending your parcel via the post office, you can choose between the following types of international parcel delivery:
Express Mail Service (EMS). Most costly, delivery in 2 to 4 days
Airmail. Higher-end price, delivery in 3 to 6 days
Economy Airmail (SAL). Mid-range price, delivery in 6 to 13 days
Surface Mail. Low-cost option, delivery in 1 to 3 months
Use their online calculating system (English) to find the price you will pay per box.
One factor to keep in mind is the size of your parcel. There are two standard sizes that countries will accept via post. The following image shows the two acceptable sizes:
Image. Dimensions for International Parcel Post, Japan Post Office.
To find the applicable dimensions for a country, check out the downloadable PDFs here (Japanese). Or keep your box under the B dimensions listed above. That is, with a total size not exceeding 200 cm, the longest side under 105 cm, and total weight not exceeding 30 kg.
Sending items through the Japan Post Office is a safe bet for those who are shipping souvenirs to loved ones or are shipping small-scale personal belongings home. The benefits include a discount for multiple boxes and thorough English documentation on how to send your items. Also, you get the option to insure the goods you send and free pickup service, too. This article gives you a step-by-step guide in English.
If you want to ship an item home that exceeds the permissible dimensions or weight (such as golfing equipment, furniture, or an appliance), choose one of the following options.
Yamato Transport’s International Moving service, the best choice for furniture and household goods
Japan’s leading delivery service company, Yamato Transport, handles furniture and appliance shipping. Here are the various door-to-door moving plans that they offer.
Standard Plus Plan. All-inclusive relocation services. Will ship furniture. Will help pack and unpack. Shipment by air or sea. Must request an estimate.
Standard Plan. Their most popular plan includes everything in the Standard Plus except unpacking small items and only provides shipment by sea. Must request an estimate.
Basic Plan. A cost-effective plan for those who can manage the packing of their goods by themselves. Yamato will pick up your goods to be shipped by sea and then deliver them to your destination. Must request an estimate.
Tanshin Plan. A plan in which you get a specified number of boxes, depending on the course you choose within the Tanshin Plan. Shipped by sea. An online calculator on the Tanshin page (scroll down) allows you to look at the prices for their various courses. In one simulation, shipping to Washington DC from Japan will cost ¥160,000 for 9 boxes using their Minimum Course.
Ryugaku TAQBIN. This plan is for those who want to ship boxes starting from 1 parcel. The Ryugaku TAQBIN page has an online calculator (scroll down) to get a quote for the box you wish to send.
Yamato Transport provides pickup services and communications handled in English. Their services are great if you don’t mind the higher price tag and are mainly interested in convenience.
Yamato Transport’s International TA-Q-Bin service, a top choice for speedy deliveries and sending perishables
Yamato Transport’s International TA-Q-Bin service allows you to ship up to 160 cm and 25 kg parcels. Rates are divided by region.
Here’s a rough idea of how much you can expect to pay for delivery to countries in Zone 1 and Zone 2.
Image. International TA-Q-Bin rates for Zone 1 and Zone 2, Global Yamato.
For other zone rates, go to this page and scroll down. Please note that Yamato Transport will not ship suitcases. You must pack all items in a box that conforms to size guidelines. This service is separate from Yamato Transport’s International Moving service, but they have an English language contact/pickup request form.
Yamato’s International Ta-Q-Bin service is a good option if you need next-day delivery to an Asian region where TA-Q-BIN operates. Or speedy delivery to other locations that Yamato services. For example, if you send a box on Monday, the minimum delivery time for it to arrive in a major US city is Friday or Saturday.
Use Yamato Transport’s calculator to get your parcel's approximate fee and time frame.
For more specific requests, contact their English customer service via their inquiry form or telephone during business hours 9:00 - 18:00.
Toll-free from Japan: 0120-17-9625
From overseas: +81-3-6757-1061
Other shipping options from Japan for you to consider
DHL provides services shipping from Japan to 200 countries worldwide, an option to consider if you have a pallet’s worth of items to ship home. (Pallet dimensions 120 x 120 x 160; maximum pallet weight 300 kg.)
USPS is another option, with an online calculator here. However, as of March 26, 2020, they have suspended their USPS Service Guarantee for all shipments.
Pay excess baggage fees on your return flight. Doing so will allow you to stay in step with your belongings and might prove less costly than the other options listed in this article. (See JAL’s excess baggage fee chart or ANA’s excess baggage fee chart.) If you choose this option, Yamato Transport provides an airport delivery service, allowing you a seamless pickup and drop-off when checking in for your outgoing flight.
Leaving Japan permanently or leaving Japan temporarily? Check out our 2 guides on the topic:
Leaving Japan Temporarily? Your FAQs Answered [Updated 2022]
More frequently asked questions about international shipping from Japan
Is Japan Post still shipping internationally?
Japan Post continues to ship internationally. But, due to reduced transportation capacity in certain countries, you may experience delivery delays. Refer to Japan Post's “Service delivery by country” for timeframes, precautions, and other matters to remember when sending your parcel.
What is the cheapest international shipping from Japan?
Japan Post's International Parcel Delivery is the cheapest international shipping from Japan via surface mail. Japan Post's International Parcel Delivery via SAL (Economy Air) is the second cheapest option. To see comparison charts for your parcel, input your details in Japan Post's online calculator.
Image. Price chart of International Parcels via Surface from Japan Post.
Image. Price chart of International Parcels via SAL from Japan Post.
What is the fastest international shipping from Japan?
If you are shipping to a major city in Asia, the fastest shipping from Japan is Yamato’s International TA-Q-BIN service. The service provides next-day delivery to countries in Asia with TA-Q-BIN offices. If you are shipping to the rest of the world, Japan Post’s Express Mail Service (EMS) provides delivery within 2-4 business days on average.
What is Electronic Advance Data (EAD)?
Japan Post no longer accepts handwritten labels for international packages to the US and other countries. Customers must input shipping destination details online, using Japan Post’s International My Page Service. These details are converted to Electronic Advance Data (EAD), and you get a shipping label to print.
Image. Flow chart of how to use Japan Post’s International Mail My Page Service to print a shipping label and transmit Electronic Advance Data.
Check out "How to Register for Japan Post" by Jevon Allen, which walks you through registering and printing a shipping label.
Your options around international shipping from Japan come down to how much you’re willing to pay and your Japanese level. If you can speak Japanese, Japan Post provides reasonable options. If you want service in English, go with Yamato Transport.
Related articles and guides on Japan’s postal system
Japan Post Forwarding: How to Forward Mail Online [With Pictures]
What Is a Virtual Mailbox Service in Japan? [Your FAQs Answered!]
Your Easy Guide to Japan’s New Year’s Greetings Cards, the Nengajo
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