Japan Courier Services Combine Convenience, Efficiency and Innovation
Courier services in Japan are second to none, both for efficiency and innovation—ever thought of easily and quickly getting your luggage delivered from the airport or your skis to your resort? In Japan, this is not only possible, but an everyday occurrence. And when it comes to regular parcel delivery, you can be sure packages will be delivered intact and on time. There are a number of Japan courier services, and several have English websites.
Japanese vs Western Courier Services
Getting items of any kind delivered in Japan can be an eye-opening experience for expats, thanks to the speed and efficiency with which the whole process is carried out. Almost anything can be sent with the right service, including perishables.
The main feature that sets Japanese delivery services apart from many of their overseas counterparts is that they can be relied upon to deliver when they say they will. They offer a number of delivery windows throughout the day—such as between 12–2pm or 7–9pm—and you can be sure they’ll turn up on time. Most also offer redelivery with minimal fuss, and in many urban centers, it’s possible to have an item delivered on the same day.
Major Courier Service Providers in Japan
There are four major companies that provide parcel delivery across Japan, and while they offer the same kinds of services, there are some differences too.
Known as “Kuroneko” (black cat) for its ubiquitous logo, Yamato Transport is probably the most widely recognized in Japan. It’s also the company that came up with the TA-Q-BIN name, now synonymous with fast, convenient delivery. Its teal and yellow vans and bicycle carts are seen everywhere, so it’s not surprising that it offers extensive services. Not only can you get your packages delivered quickly or have them cart your luggage from the airport to your apartment, you can also use Yamato to deliver parcels overseas and help you pack and move internationally. They offer an English website that includes clear instructions (including how to fill out a Japanese waybill, for example), and allows you to track a parcel. You can also call a toll-free line in English.
Another major delivery company in Japan, you’ve probably seen Sagawa Express’ blue slips and silver vans around. They offer extensive delivery services within Japan and overseas, but their services are more specialized depending on the item being sent. For instance, they deliver precision instruments, so you can trust them with your computer. Their e-collect service means they can collect payment from the recipient on behalf of the sender with a variety of methods (not just cash). Sagawa also provides detailed information on its English website and a phone line for inquiries in English.
Don’t think of this as just a standard post office. Japan Post offers a full mailing and courier service throughout Japan, along with some international services as well. As you might expect, letters and parcels are delivered efficiently and conveniently— but what makes Japan Post stand out is their Yu-Pack service. It has many helpful features, allowing you to specify the date and time of arrival, send from convenience stores, deliver golf clubs to the course where you’ll use them, transport luggage to and from airports, and arrange same-day delivery. Their English website has plenty of information.
With more of a focus on business—although they still provide excellent services for individuals too— Seino Transportation, noticeable by its red kangaroo logo, also operates both domestically and internationally. Their specialties include delivering bicycles to race events and transporting all kinds of vehicles, including light trucks. They assist with office relocations, as well as packing and moving houses. Valuable items can be sent safely, and they offer a variety of fast delivery services. It is important to note, however, that Seino’s website and phone line are in Japanese only.
Japan Courier Service Features
What adds to the stellar reputation of Japan courier services is the wide array of impressive and convenient features they offer. Below is a comprehensive list of service features you can expect from each courier company, and how each provider uniquely handles these offerings.
Home Package Pickup
Have a courier pick up the parcel from your home, without having to leave the house.
Pickup can be requested by phone or online.
|Sagawa Express||Collects small packages from the customer and takes them to the post office where they are sent as Yu-Mail Express.|
|Japan Post||Express Mail Service (EMS) and Yu-Pack offer pickup for domestic and international parcels, by phone or at a post office.
Follow the progress of important items and receive confirmation when they reach their destination.
|Yamato||Tracking can be accessed via their website and information is available for about 90 days after shipment.|
|Sagawa Express||Offers secure tracking service with a dial lock and allows 24-hour tracking on their website|
|Japan Post||Track-and-trace service for domestic and international services.|
|Seino Transport||Tracking service available on website, keeps information for 60 days after shipment.|
Have packages redelivered if you weren’t available to receive it or if it was delivered unexpectedly.
|Yamato||Request redelivery online via an automated phone line or the customer service number.|
|Sagawa Express||Redelivery can be requested online or via telephone.|
|Japan Post||You can request redelivery online (Japanese only) or via the English phone line.
|Seino Transport||Redelivery can be organized via their website (Japanese only).|
Next-Day and Same-Day Delivery
Arrange prompt delivery of certain types of packages if sent by a certain time.
|Yamato||Their TA-Q-BIN provides next-day delivery across most of Japan, all year round.|
|Sagawa Express||Their Hikyaku Express and Just Time Express services offer next-day and same-day delivery for specific times.|
|Japan Post||Same-day delivery is possible with their Yu-Pack service.|
|Seino Transport||Their “kangaroo service” provides fast delivery for various purposes, whether requesting delivery by 9:00am the next morning or delivering to businesses within 800 kilometers by the next morning.|
Cash on Delivery
Have payment and shipping cost for the parcel received on behalf of the sender when delivered.
|Yamato||Yamato: Possible for most TA-Q-BIN services, specified when sending.|
|Sagawa Express||Sagawa Express: Payment by cash on delivery can be specified when sending.|
|Japan Post||Japan Post: Can be used for same-day delivery Yu-Pack service, as well as regular deliveries.|
|Seino Transportation||Seino Transportation: Offers cash on delivery on behalf of sender.|
Perishable Item Shipment Service
Keep perishable parcels refrigerated or frozen until delivered, whether food, seasonal gifts, commercial or industrial products.
|Yamato||Cool TA-Q-BIN picks up and delivers refrigerated or frozen parcels and allows a delivery date of up to 3 days from collection.|
|Japan Post||Refrigerated service available as an extra charge on top of Yu-Pack fee.|
|Seino Transportation||Items including food, cosmetics, and industrial products can be sent on either refrigerated or frozen flights and will be stored in this state even if the addressee cannot be found.|
|Home Package Pickup||Shipment Tracking||Redelivery Request||Next-Day & Same-Day Delivery||Cash-on-Delivery||Perishable Shipment Service|
Choosing a Courier Service in Japan That’s Right for You
The options for how, when and where to have parcels delivered by courier in Japan are many and varied, and since several of the major services offer English support, there’s no reason why you can’t take advantage of the convenience and speed of Japanese delivery services. Next time you travel, want to send a gift, or order something online urgently, don’t hesitate to use a courier service in Japan.