Lost Key/Cash/Phone in Japan? Solutions Here! | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Lost Key/Cash/Phone in Japan? Solutions Here!

By Guidable Writers Nov 9, 2017

Have you ever lost something valuable like your keys, credit cards, your phone or a big amount of cash and experience panic not knowing what to do? If you say no then you must be extremely lucky. But for many foreigners who experienced losing something in Japan, what happens next is a valuable lesson to learn about the Japanese sense of obligation and kindness. Foreigners in Japan who lost things somehow find their way back to the owner, without being ignored and without being stolen. If you ever lose your valuables, scan through this article for the right solution. Let’s talk about what to do when you lose something in order of the following;

In Japan lost things somehow find their way back to the owner, without being ignored and without being stolen. If you ever lose your valuables, scan through this article for the right solution. Let’s talk about what to do when you lose something in order of the following;

Let’s See What You Should Do When Losing Something Such as Following:

  1. Lost or dropped belongings outdoors, on the street
  2. Lost Indoors or at the shopping mall
  3. Lost on the train or the bus
  4. Lost Item: Credit cards and your wallet
  5. Lost Item: Phone
  6. Lost Item: Keys

1. Outdoors

When you lose something out of doors or on the street, your first stop will be the Koban or Police Box. Usually strategically located in publicly visible intersections or next to train stations for everyone to notice, the koban is your friendly neighborhood policeman’s station. Ask anyone, perhaps a store attendant nearby, where the nearest Koban is.

At the koban, you will be asked in detail a description of what you lost, where you think you lost it and when. After hearing your story, the policeman on duty will check their found items room.

If the koban officers do not have your lost item they will call when it comes up. Depending on what you lost, you may be obligated to pay whoever found it a certain amount of gratitude money. Please read further down to know about losing cash.

2. Lost Item Indoors

If you dropped something inside a shopping mall or any building head for the information counter or the reception area. Don’t take your time because it is not recovered until a certain amount of time, it will be transferred to the nearest koban. Naturally, you will have to go to the koban yourself to look for your missing item.

3. Lost on the Train or the Bus

Forgetting something on the train or the bus is a very difficult situation because your lost item is moving at great speed. Once you notice you forgot something, try to stay as calm as you possibly can. Try and recall important details about your lost item. Where exactly did you put it?  Which train were you on, or what exactly was the time at which train station did you step down? The number of the car you were on and which side were you standing or sitting? If you can communicate these details at the lost and found booth of the train station, it is possible someone sends it to the station office three or four stations down along the train route, sometimes, you will have to go all the way to the terminal station.

4. Lost Item: Credit Cards

Losing your credit cards can be a big headache. As opposed to losing cash, which has a limit. Losing credit cards puts you in a vulnerable position if they fall into the wrong hands.

If you lose your credit card, don’t bother waiting for it to turn up, the risk is too great. Call the credit card company to have your card stopped to prevent it from being used for an unauthorized transaction.

If a stranger picks up cash in a wallet in Japan it is very likely your cash will be returned intact. The bad news is there is a special rule in Japan backed by law that if someone helps you find lost cash, that someone is entitled to receive 5 – 20% (if lost indoors 2-10%) of that cash. If you are not sure of the amount, ask a koban officer for advice. If the wallet lost looks expensive you might have to add the value of the wallet as well. The bigger amount of cash you get returned to you the bigger your “gratitude money”.

5. Lost Item: Your phone

Another big headache in the case of loss is your smartphone. If picked up by the wrong hands, your phone can be misused in several ways. It can be used for mobile payment or, for unauthorized phone calls. Losing your phone means your private information, photos and contacts are available to anyone who picks up the phone. Here is what to do.

Docomo – Call your lost phones hotline at 0120-524-360 or access your “My Docomo” page from a computer. You can choose to avail of the following services:

  1. Phone search – Have your phone’s GPS searched for and receive information on its general whereabouts.  You would need to apply for a monthly service.
  2. Service pause – You can have the mobile wallet and phone line locked from use.
  3. Phone Reset – This resets your phone’s user information, private information, AND the SD card so that no one can access them for good.

And if all fails you can have your phone service discontinued and get a new phone.

AU – Call 00777113 or access My AU from a computer. Using your My AU page you can avail of the following;

  1.             Phone search
  2.             Phone lock
  3.             Phone Ring – Have your phone make a sound to make it easier to find when you think it’s nearby.
  4.              To discontinue the line call 00777113

Softbank – Call 0800-919-0157 for Phone Search services.

6. Lost Item: Your House Keys

If you are locked out of your home and cannot find your keys your most immediate concern is how to get inside your home. These are the possible measures you can take.

Call your apartment’s managing office and try to get a spare key. It is possible they might not have one as some places do not make spare keys as a policy. Take note that they might charge you in order to replace the door lock. Some might even try to replace all locks in the building and charge you several thousands of yen, all as a security measure, but be aware that there are laws against charging a single person and that it is possible you only need to pay part of this door lock replacement fee.

Call a key opener company. You can call 24/7 and have someone open your door lock and also make a spare key just by using the keyhole. Be prepared to spend 5 – 10 thousand yen.

Hopefully, you found an answer to your disaster somewhere on this page. It goes without saying, try not to lose your valuables. But then you wouldn’t be human if you can spend a life without losing something important somehow… Thankfully, in Japan, all troubles have solutions, be they expensive or troublesome. The fact that there is such a wide variety of services available means there have been others of the same experience. If it’s any comfort, well, you are not alone. So good luck and try not to feel too miserable. Don’t let this deter you from enjoying Japan, for there is bound to be a great experience equalling your misfortune just waiting to happen to you.


Tricia, Philippines