As much as living in Japan can be a dream come true, leaving Japan can soon become a nightmare if you don’t plan your exit in advance. It is only once we begin to pack our belongings that we realize just how many things we own!
The one thing you don’t want to do is to leave your packing to the last minute. No one wants to be sitting in their apartment on moving day, only to realize that their boxes don’t fit the criteria for shipping abroad. If you know that you are leaving Japan, you should begin planning your exit right away, and this includes getting to know the ins and outs of shipping from Japan to your next destination.
Fear not, we have done some of the work for you when it comes to shipping overseas and international post. So, make yourself a cup of tea, and read on. We hope that you will read this article and feel a little more informed about shipping from Japan to make your last few months in the country as easy as possible. The less you have to worry about leaving Japan, the more you can enjoy your time here.
Shipping Overseas: Japan Post
Japan’s national post office is perhaps the most popular service when it comes to shipping abroad. Japan Post offers many different services for international postage, both varying in price and speed of delivery, so you will be able to find a service to match your budget. Let’s have a look at each international post service that Japan Post offers, whilst price matching to Japan’s three most popular international postage destinations: America, the U.K., and Australia.
EMS is Japan Post’s express shipping service. This means it is their fastest service, but also their most expensive. The other international post services via airplane that Japan Post offers are Airmail and SAL. These are cheaper options but take a little longer. The cheapest option – and perhaps the cheapest option in shipping from Japan entirely – is Surface Mail. This is via boat – and can take exceptionally long,
Using each of these services, let’s calculate the cost of a parcel weighing 20KG – the average weight of a medium-sized suitcase filled with clothes.
|U.K.||39,600 Yen. 2 Days.||27,150 Yen. 6 Days.||19,550 Yen. 2 – 3 Weeks.||10,250 Yen. Up to 3 Months.|
|AMERICA||41,500 Yen. 3 Days.||27,150 Yen. 7 Days.||19,550 Yen. 2 Weeks.||10,250 Yen. Around 2 Months.|
|AUSTRALIA||41,500 Yen. 3 Days.||27,150 Yen. 7 Days.||19,550 Yen. 2 Weeks.||10,250 Yen. Around 2 Months.|
*As of March 2022
Shipping Overseas: Japan Post
If price is the leading factor in your decision, then Surface Mail is the cheapest route for shipping abroad. However, you must factor in the length of time the parcel will be in transit. 2 – 3 months is a long time to be without your wardrobe!
If time is your main concern, then EMS is a reliable express shipping service, and may even arrive at your next destination before you. However, it is very expensive.
Both AIRMAIL and SAL offer a happy medium of both cost and time. All services come with a tracking service, so you will be able to know where your parcel is from door to door.
Shipping Overseas: Private Companies
The Post Office is not the only way to begin shipping from Japan, of course, there are many private companies that offer the same service. Yamato Transport and DHL and the most popular of the private companies when it comes to international post – and they offer a door-to-door service which can make the process easier if you will struggle to get your parcel to the Post Office.
However, with this service comes additional cost. Private Companies are on average more costly than all of Japan Post’s services, even EMS. Most companies only offer express shipping services, unlike Japan Post which offers cheaper routes. But if you want to save the stress of getting your parcel to the Post Office, then their door-to-door service might be a good option for you.
Shipping Overseas: Customs and Imports
One thing you must remember to do before you begin shipping abroad is to check import regulations. Your parcel may be cleared leaving Japan, but it may be reflected once it arrives at customs at the next destination.
You may be surprised at some of the items banned for import. Did you know that the U.K. has only recently banned the import of used clothes? Be cautious and check the regulations for your next destination. A handy guide can be found here. Take the time to read it, as you won’t want to lose the contents of your parcel because of a small error.
Leaving Japan: Reselling
Shipping abroad can be expensive – you’ll want to save money where you can by sorting through your items and deciding whether or not you really need them. As Marie Kondo says – the Japanese celebrity famous for her organization skills – ‘does this spark joy?’
A reseller can reduce the number of items they own whilst making a little money back. Popular online platforms are Mercari, Rakuma, Craigslist, Jimoti, eBay, and Yahoo Auctions. You should also search on social media for local sales, where you too can list items. On Facebook, search ‘Sayonara Sales,’ with your nearest city. For example, ‘Tokyo Sayonara Sales,’ or ‘Osaka Sayonara Sales.’ These sites are filled with people leaving Japan who are wanting to reduce the number of items they own. Why not try being a reseller? It might just make leaving Japan that much easier and reduce the cost of shipping abroad!