CONTRIBUTED BY KANDY
As an American here, I have depended on the Community Bank, G.I Bill Pay and Military Postal Service for most of my banking and mailing needs. I’m sure most of the military families here have done something similar.
While my cousin and aunt were at my apartment, Skyping with my mother, who lives in the states, I had a chance to get the low-down on what kind of services Japanese Post Offices and Banks have. And more importantly, how they differed from the services that are offered on-base or in the states.
I was surprised to learn that speeding and parking tickets while handled in court, can be paid at a bank. Utility and telephone bills can also be paid at the bank. (Although most people either use G.I. Bill Pay, their housing agency or just go to Convenience Stores such as Lawsons or Family Mart to pay those bills.) Most Japanese bank ATMs do not accept credit or debit cards issued outside of Japan. The exception to this other than department stores and airports is the ever-present Post Office.
Japanese Post Office:
Japanese post offices can be found within walking distance from almost anywhere. The ATMs at the Post Office, unlike the banks, do accept credit and debit cards issued outside of the United States. Having access to an ATM from so many locations is very convenient. Not to mention being able to pay utility bills and telephone bills there as well.
I was also surprised to learn that (Japanese) Life Insurance and Banking Accounts (different from accounts at banks) are also offered at the Post Offices.
One service that can be very useful, especially if you live off-base is to use the delivery service. If you are taking a trip anywhere in Japan, you can pack light and have souvenirs delivered to your door from your hotel. Just be sure to know how much you will pay to have it delivered, as any express shipping is more expensive than the regular Post Office. For more specific information on this click HERE.
One large delivery service is called Yamato Transport, or Kuroneko (meaning black cat.)
I’d explain how to fill out the address and send the package, but the following links show it so much better!
To learn more specific information on how to send a package, click HERE.
And for information on preparing the address label click HERE.
Please share your experiences using Japanese services such as delivery, paying a speeding ticket, paying bills or using an ATM.
Editor’s Note: Due to technical difficulties this comment was not saved on our server. We are re-publishing it now to continue the conversation on this post.
From Crystal on 9/15/13:
“will the post office be open tomorrow?? i heard it was a holiday”
Does anyone know if they speank any English at the post office off base? I need to send my Nook back and of course the Post Office on base will not ship
I am sure the bigger pst office there are some English speaking agents at the Japanese post office but it might be very limited. Also, you will be paying international rates for the service. I read that the USPS lifted the banned on the lithium batteries to APO address this November so doesn’t that mean you can ship our Nook back stateside?
Does anyone have a feel for the hours of the post offices? I”m trying to determine how much money I need to take and what I can get there (coming with Canadian ATM cards).
Hi anybody knows where the closest Japanese post office is to American village (by the Ferris wheel)?
Aha! I remember seeing those Yamato transport trucks all of the time. Hubby and I thought they were pest control!
Kandy, you already know I’m going to miss you when you move, but I’m going to miss your posts, too! I love the stuff you share with us about Okinawa.
There is a large Japanese post office near Gate 2. At the Koza intersection (with Music Town), turn right onto the 330. Maybe one or two sets of lights will be a hotel called `New Centary` – turn left here. The post office is on your left after about 10 seconds.
I’ve used the Yamato service before. I had to send my Mac to Tokyo to get fixed. They came to the gate of the base I live at and called me. I took my computer to the gate and they give you a ticket and packaged my stuff right there for me. They showed up a week later and called again from the gate (they didn’t speak any English). I just understood “Mac”. I went to the gate and got my package and signed something. Worked great.
Anybody know where the closest Japanese Post Office is to Kadena Gate 2?
Kandy- Informative post!
I always love the yamato symbol- momma cat carrying her baby. Not a tattoo type- but if I was, it would be a fun one…as a memory of having a baby here in oki!
I often use the Japanese post office when sending mail or parcels to countries other than the US – generally the items get delivered much faster and the price is often very similar to that of the P.O on base.
In the past for large amount of yen, I used to just use the Community bank, but i’ve discovered that those currency exchange places around Mihama/Chatan have very competative rates, even better than the banks often.
If you ever need to use a Japanese bank, do not expect anyone to speak English (the ATM may be bilingual). But usually there is a door ‘greeter’ type person who will usually try to help you out by telling you what form to fill in, what button to press, what counter to go to etc.
Thank you Paul! I always appreciate all of your input.
About the banks. You can also pay road tax there. For SOFA status, it only really helps you if you drive a yellow plate, since SOFA personnel would have to pay this at the city hall, it is actually more convenient to use a bank.
Also, the yen exchange rate is usually 1/2 to 2 points higher than community bank, but be sure to check, occasionally Community Bank will have a better rate, especially on Mondays, since they don’t change their rates until after 3pm.