Need help? Don’t fret! Out of all the countries, I have lived, worked and traveled to, Japan is one of the top countries in terms of helpful services for people living in the country. As a foreigner coming to Japan to live and work, I had no idea “takkyubin” was available until some months passed after I arrived. If I knew about it before, I would use this service MUCH sooner.
“Takkyubin” is a shipping/delivery service. There are several different companies that provide this service, such as Yamato Co. and Sagawa. Many foreigners tend to shy away from using this service because they think it might be complicated or they don’t know enough Japanese to communicate. However, it is very convenient and simple to use. This is especially true when you are buying multiple items or need to ship larger items that you cannot carry by yourself. When you are setting up your apartment or buying things you need to live in Japan, it is very important to use this option.
Some Things to Know About Using “Takkyubin” in Japan
- You can use the service to deliver your luggage from the airport to your doorstep within 24-48 hours (or) returning to the airport when you leave. Generally, the service is within 24 hours unless you live in Hokkaido or Okinawa. Sometimes, you can receive it the same day. This is EXTREMELY helpful when you are flying with larger luggage since you are tired and trains, buses, and subways are crowded.
- At the airport, you will find the service at the end of the airport. It tends to be a bit of a walk, but it is really worth it. There are several companies to choose from. They are all reliable, so choose the one that you feel is most convenient for you.
- The cost is based on the size and weight of the luggage or item(s) as well as the final destination, but it is very convenient. It saves you traveling with multiple pieces of luggage or trying to “lug” larger items to your new residence (e.g. appliances, bedding, and furniture).
- If you want to use the service for returning to the airport for a vacation or flight home, you need to have your bags to the pick-up location a minimum of 2-3 days before your scheduled flight. Otherwise, you will not be able to use the service.
- If you use the service, you will need to be present when the delivery person is scheduled to arrive. The date and time frame of the delivery (when it should occur) is listed on the paper that is given to you as your receipt.
- Keep the confirmation slip (waybill paperwork) until you receive your luggage or purchases. It has important information on it in case you need to contact the company or show proof that the item(s) is yours. The delivery person will check the paperwork to make sure it matches with the one he/she has.
- Remember: There are different options to pay for most “takkyubin” companies. See below in the section: payment options. Please plan accordingly. If you buy items from the department or specialty store, you can ask for the payment options.
Traveling to Japan and Shipping Your Luggage to Your Hotel or Residence
Additional information in English is provided by Yamato Co. through the English website below. It will show you location/service counters, the process, time and options for shipping different items. This might be a useful website if you are arriving in Japan for the first time, traveling around Japan or your friends/family visit.
How to Use This Service When You Don’t Know Japanese Yet
One thing foreigners worry about is being able to communicate with Japanese people in Japanese. Foreigners pass by restaurants that look tempting, don’t order food delivery (even if they are craving some of their country’s food) or use convenient services when they don’t know the language well. It sometimes takes months for a foreigner to “risk” trying these things.
Use this simple trick, and it will save you months of waiting and anxiety.
- Pack a printed/typed business card or clearly written piece of paper in your wallet at all times.
- The card should be protected (e.g. laminated or in a protective cover), so that it cannot easily be wet, bent or destroyed.
- It should have your name, address and telephone number printed in Japanese and English on the paper.
- If you have it in Japanese, you can just show the information to the person.
- For filling out the “takkyubin” paperwork,” I have found that over the years, the employees at department stores, convenience marts, and airport delivery services areas will be happy to fill out all the forms for you. You do not have to do anything if you just give them the information.
How to Fill Out a WayBill in English
Firstly, you need to know that there are different waybills for the exact service you are requesting. So, a one-way bill is NOT used for every service option. Each company also has their own waybill (as see in the pictures above).
Filling out a waybill in Japanese may seem challenging, but I have provided you two different ways to fill it out correctly. I have provided a website link with the Yamato Co. (in English) as well as a filled out model below.
The website link also gives you exact examples of which waybills to use and how to fill it out in English. It is a very helpful website if you don’t know which form to complete!
Again, if you are unsure, you can use a simple trick by providing your address and information on a piece of paper or business card. The person at the counter or store will be happy to assist you.
Living in Japan: (English website)
As you are living in Japan, there is a great English website from the Yamato Co. about all the services, in addition how to use waybill, etc. Although I am not promoting the use of their services over other delivery companies, the English information is helpful if you want to learn how to use “takkyubin” in Japan.
I love the fact that you can download this app on your mobile (smart) phone and do everything online. This app option is for both Apple and Android, but it is in Japanese. If you need assistance, please look at the English website to help you through the app features. Check out this website if you want to download this app to your phone:
Payment options: (In English)
Yamato Co. provides all the payment options in English on this website. It is convenient to read and use. Note: The options are only for this company and might vary with different companies.
Cool Features About Using Takkyubin
Takkyubin companies have specialized commodity delivery options, such as golf bags or ski/snowboard equipment as well as temperature controlled goods.
If you play golf, you can request the golf bag to be picked up the night before and delivered directly to the golf course. When you arrive, the golf course staff will take care of your bag and place it on the golf cart ready for you to start playing. For some golf courses, if you use the takkyubin service to send your golf bag, it is also complimentary for them to clean and shine your golf clubs, provide a water bottle, pins and balls that will be placed in your golf cart with your bag.
Again, you can use takkyubin to move your equipment to the ski resort that you will be going to. Please check your local takkyubin service provider in order to know the (minimal) daily requirement for pick-up.
For ski/snowboard equipment, there is a special customer service section where you can pick up your board and/or skis and other equipment that is shipped by takkyubin. Some resorts will also wax the boards/skis as a service option.
Temperature Control: Chilled or Frozen Goods
Takkyubin companies excel at shipping anything that needs to be refrigerated or frozen. They will bring the items to the addressee in a special container that is temperature controlled. Therefore, it is guaranteed to stay fresh from the initial point of collection to the destination. For example, if you want to buy crab from Hokkaido and ship it to your residence in Osaka, it can be shipped by takkyubin without any issues.
OK, after reading this article, you now know that using “takkyubin” in Japan isn’t hard. I highly recommend this service. Once you try it, you will find it convenient in terms of getting your luggage, personal items and purchases to/from your residence. Hope you’ll like it!
Peggy / United States