The magic of Lost & Found in Japan

Oct 21, 2017


Recent Trend in Japan

It is said that “If everyone lost something in Tokyo, it will almost certainly come back, even cash”. Indeed, last year lost items equivalent to more than $ 30 million was delivered to the police box (Koban) in Tokyo. Because of this, police has to put a lot of effort to manage lost articles to be safe, to meet expectation of visitors from foreign countries.



For example, in Kyoto, it is one of the most popular tourist cities in the world and it will soon be full of colorful autumnal leaves season. In 2015, the number of lost items delivered to the Kyoto prefectural police was about 610,000, which was 10% higher than the previous year. Among them, 238,317 cases, accounting for 40% of the total, are gathered in the area of “Shimogyou police office” territory, where many tourist spots such as Kyoto stations and shrines and hotels are located, it surpassed the previous year by 17,734.



“I think that 10% of the total is from foreign tourists. Although there were many from China last year, it seems that the ratio of Westerners and Taiwanese people is increasing a bit now. That is not always a case people can speak with fluent language, we have to manage by hand gestures or using a translation application, it is struggling. ” (Chief of Shimogyou police office). Typical foreigners’ lost belongings are mobile phones, passports, wallets and credit cards.

Good stories about “Lost & Found”

Tourists often drop something important at a shop, a train, a taxi, a station, etc. The other day, tourists who came for sightseeing around Kyoto from Taiwan, they lost a bag that contains passports when they took city bus and totally panicked saying, “Tomorrow we have to go back to Taiwan, but we cannot do it without passport!!”. So I called and asked the city bus service station from this place, to find the bag and there was the bag. Tourists from Taiwan repeatedly were saying “Thank you, Thank you” in Japanese, according to Chief of Shimogyou police office.



In Japan, unlike overseas, lost articles often get returned completely intact. More surprisingly, the money in the wallet is safely returned that is “Miracle”.

Police Box where people rely on

People overseas often talk about the fact that “You can reach the police box even if you drop your wallet in Japan.” Indeed, when losing valuables in Japan, the provability of “Found” articles that it is delivered to police boxes and delivered to the owner’s hands is 72%, which is a fact said to be accepted as a shock figure for people in overseas.

Other stories about Lost & Found in Japan

There are several stories from people visited to Japan Lost & Found of valuables;


“I dropped the commutation ticket (seems to be expensive) at Hakata Station, I was almost crying and looking for it but I could not. Finally went to Lost & Found center in the station and there was it. The fact was that the station cleaning staff had found, I knew the same thing can happen in no other countries. ”



“When I lost my wallet in a bullet train (Shinkansen), I experienced it sent to the hotel, where is in completely different direction, via Takkyubin (Delivery Service). This was a trip I accompanied with my friend and I borrowed some money from him until my wallet returned. ”

“Although it is not a case of wallet, still is a wonderful story from a Swedish blogger. When you forgot a bag at cafe in Tokyo, it stayed there even after a couple of hours.”


“I have lived in Japan for 5 years, but most things come back, the great place of the Japanese people”

Another Opinions, aspects & thoughts…

Even Japanese people may have experiences that some of the lost things have come back or experiences that some things that have been carelessly left remains, but some say that there are many conscientious people in overseas;


“It is true that Japan is wonderful, but here is a story in another place. I dropped my wallet that I put in $7000 when I was young, but an African-American man picked up it and gave it back to me. He did not receive a reward. That was at Dallas airport ”


Also, someone say that there are friends from other countries who have things stolen in Japan, “Someone got his umbrella stolen three times, and also kickboards. Maybe it may not be as secure as it used to”. The topic of lost-item reporting in Japan is also introduced overseas, but there are many impressions somewhat overestimated as being stolen umbrella and bicycle in Japan too. Nevertheless, it would be certain to be proud that majority is good people to delivers lost wallet with good faith, hopefully.






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