Funabin – Surface Mail or Sea Mail Service in Japan | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Funabin – Surface Mail or Sea Mail Service in Japan

By Guidable Writers Dec 16, 2020

Are you planning to send your stuff overseas from Japan? Check out this article for the steps of the cheapest overseas shipping process from Japan! 

Funabin (船便, ふなびん) – Surface Mail/Sea Mail Service in Japan

To send your packages by Japan Post – the cheapest and easiest way to send packages overseas from Japan, two best solutions are possible: the plane (kokubin) or boat (船便 – funabin or surface mail or sea mail).

Transportation by boat (surface mail) has the advantage of being much cheaper: for a package weighing a kilogram, it is 1860 yen to send by air and about 770 yen by boat. You can compare the fees of different types here. But with a delivery time of between two and three months, this option may be an inconvenience.

The following link to Japan Post allows you to simulate sending your own package for surface mail service. Surface mail packages can be a maximum weight of 30 kg (66 lbs) per individual parcel. But be careful to stay within the dimensions of packages accepted by the Japanese post office!

Register Steps for Surface Mail Service

Register the service through the website or call the post staff for demanding to come to check the packages

There are two types:

You carry your packages to the nearest Japan Post branch for the surface mail register process.

Carefully pack your stuff, take your number, and wait for your turn to check-in. Keep in mind to place your luggage neatly to avoid affecting the people around you. 

You prefer the post staff come to your house for surface mail; register procedures.

Register for a personal JP post account on the website of the post office and then sign up for postal services to receive your items at home by this link

The post staff will come to your place at the registered appointment to give you other registration forms. Note that they will provide you with both the sea mailing form and the EMS form. You should only fill out the sea mailing form! Post office staff will carry outweighing and measuring, confirm information, and charge for the total fee.

Notice For a Smooth Surface Mail Registration Process

It’s recommended to use thicker cardboard than usual for your shipping box. This is because there is the possibility that the package gets damaged during the long transportation time.

Prevent heavy items such as electronics or furniture from colliding against one another and breaking by carefully packaging them in cushioning material. Additionally, the exterior of the box may get wet due to weather during the surface mail transportation. Products susceptible to water damage should be packaged in waterproof material for safe travel.

Also, refer to how to accurately fill out the information, avoid the case where the staff comes to your house, and then sit and guide and wait for you to fill it out.

Answering Common Concerns About the Surface Mail Service

How is the fee charged?

→ Please refer to this link. 

Is there a way to ensure the safe return of the packages to your country?

→ Yes, you can use additional guaranteed services as in this link (there is an extra charge)

Where can I buy cardboard boxes for packing?

→ There’s no need to buy them, you can go to the supermarket to get a cardboard box, but don’t choose boxes that are too small (you would have to split it into many packages which would make the packing process troublesome and the fee more expensive). Also, avoid choosing those too big (bigger than the specific size the cannot be shipped). Please visit this link to see the specific size.

Can I buy a post office box to make sure it’s not too big?

→ No, the post office doesn’t sell big cardboard boxes for packing.

Can I track the current location of my packages?

→ Unfortunately, your surface mail shipping package cannot be tracked.

Ready to Send Stuff via Funabin? Try this Japanese Surface Mail Service!

Would you like to know more about filling in these mentioned forms for funabin (surface mail) service? We will try to update you as soon as possible! The Guidable team hopes that you found this article helpful! After all, all of our activities are aiming for a better life for foreigners in Japan! So, stay tuned and follow us on all our platforms!