USING TAKKYUBIN (PARCEL DELIVERY SERVICE) IN JAPAN
One of the great services offered in Japan is home-to-home, or business-to-home, or business-to-business delivery service for documents, sports gear, computer equipment, food, wine, and just about anything else you can think of that needs to be delivered quickly and economically. You can even have your luggage sent to or from the airport so you don’t have to bother lugging it on and off the trains on your trip home. One of the most widely used services is the shipment of golf clubs from home to golf courses and back, which makes it a lot easier for the golfers to take the train to their next game without the hassle of lugging a bag full of clubs along.
There are a variety of companies offering delivery services with some of the more commonly know names being Yamato, Kuroneko, Pelican, and Sagawa.
You can have the package picked up at your office or home by calling one of the Takkyubin companies to arrange the date and time. If your Japanese isn’t up to par for this have someone help you with the call since it will be rare to get an English speaker on the phone. You’ll also need to complete a shipping form (motobarai form). Motobarai means that you, the sender, will pay the shipping charge. If it isn’t convenient for you to wait at home for the delivery man to pick up the package you can also drop your package off at a Takuhaibin Service Center or most any convenience store such as 7-11, Lawson, or Family Mart, or any shop displaying a takuhaibin sign. Many stores also have an in-house service to ship your purchases to your home or office so you don’t have to carry them around all day as you continue to shop or make your way home on a crowded train.
Delivery is typically done the next day, but in some cases same-day delivery may be possible depending on location and time of shipping. Sending packages (or golf clubs) to more distant destinations like Hokkaido or Okinawa may require two days. It’s even possible to specify drop-off times such as “between 09:00 – 11:00” in most instances.
Shipping is very reasonably priced. The actual amount depends on the size and weight of the parcel, the type of goods you are sending, and the destination. The following chart shows expected amounts:
Regular parcel (30 cm x 30 cm x 30cm, less than 10 kg)
Within the greater Tokyo area: 1,200 Yen
From Tokyo to Osaka/Kyoto: 1,300 Yen
From Tokyo to Kyushu: 1,600 Yen
From Tokyo to Hokkaido: 1,600 Yen
From Tokyo to Okinawa: ,2300 Yen
Suitcase (80 cm x 40 cm x 30cm, less than 25 kg)
Within greater Tokyo area: 1,800 Yen
From Tokyo to Osaka/Kyoto: 1,900 Yen
From Tokyo to Kyushu: 2,200 Yen
From Tokyo to Hokkaido: 2,200 Yen
From Tokyo to Okinawa: 3,900 Yen
Tokyo to Narita Airport: 2,400 Yen
Osaka/Kyoto to Kansai Airport: 2,400 Yen
But, what if you are shipping something to someone that they’ve asked you to send and you don’t want to pay the shipping costs? In that case, the Takkyubin companies offer a C.O.D. service known as chakubarai which means “pay on arrival.” Even Japan Post offers chakubarai for packages sent through its Yu-Pack service.
To use chakubarai the sender simply completes a chakubarai form, instead of a motobarai form. Both forms are only available in Japanese, so as per the phone call to the Takkyubin company, if you don’t read Japanese get someone to help you complete the form. Names and addresses can be done in English, but it helps the Takkyubin company if you they are done in Japanese). The delivery charge is collected in cash when the package is delivered to the recipient. Takkubyin companies generally add 100 yen onto the shipping charge for chakubarai service.
However, in the event the recipient’s address is wrong, or he or she rejects the package, or they are just never home and cannot be reached, the Takkyubin company will bring the package back to you for and you will be required to make payment. Takkyubin companies do make multiple delivery attempts and phone calls to try to deliver the package though before bringing it back to you. Keep in mind that if you are sending a package using chakubarai you should provide the Takkyubin company with the recipient’s full name, home and mobile phone numbers, and an accurate address. Do not use “in care of" as the package may not be delivered and you’ll get the package back and a bill to boot. It’s also a good idea to ask the recipient to provide a back-up address such as their office in the event they are never home during the very broad delivery hours.
As for packaging, the Takkyubin companies are quite liberal. Unless you are sending fragile items you may use just about anything for the package. It’s quite common to send items in a cardboard box or even just a simple shopping bag. Those heavy duty plastic or paper bags that you get when you buy goods from many department stores, and some supermarkets for example, can be used as a shipping package. Just make sure they are sealed tightly with strong tape and that the shipping label is securely affixed.
If you send a lot of package you may want to look into Hacoboon, which is a discount service from Yamato.
Registration and delivery ordering is done online. The payment is also online if you register a credit card. An ID will be generated with each delivery order. You then take the package to any Family Mart and enter the ID into the terminal to get a voucher, which you give to the cashier. The cashier will check for any outstanding payments before printing out the invoice for the package. You can also elect to receive an e-mail notice when the invoice has been printed and the package has been delivered.