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.