How2: Japanese addresses

Japan, unlike many other countries seems to enjoy inductive rather than deductive reasoning, that is to say they look at life from big to small, rather than small to big.

Such examples of this in Japan is their group culture, being either in (内) or (外) out of a group and thus accepted. It is an invisible barrier that every foreigner needs to cross to be accepted in the community or city that they live in. In addition to this, Japanese addresses follow a similar trend- they look at the wider community before the local and then the individual property- with a slight exception of the post code (ZIP code).

In order not to either 1. give my address away or 2. help commit identity theft, I will use Nabari City hall’s address as it is a public body.

  • 〒518-0492 – The first line is the post code. When sending a letter to Japan, the 〒 or Japanese postal symbol is not needed.
  • 三重県- Mie Prefecture. Once established that you are sending a letter to Japan, you need to narrow it down to the prefecture (都道府県)
  • 名張市- next is the city which in this case is Nabari. Cities are also districts. Nabari is a massive area and if you speak to someone else who lives there, you make the distinction of either a slightly smaller area (美旗- Mihata or 名張市街- Nabari city (as in the intercity)
  • 鴻之台1番町- smaller area within a city. This specific area is Konodai number 1 block/ neighborhood/ district etc
  • 1 – which is the building number. For the city hall, being number 1 makes logical sense.

If you are sending a package to Japan, you will need to write “JAPAN” in big letters on the package. Additionally, it does not matter is you write the address in Kanji or romaji (romanised Japanese i.e. using letters instead of symbols).

Occasionally, you do end up with a double name being used, for example Nara Prefecture, Nara city; Osaka Prefecture, Osaka city; Tokyo Prefecture, Tokyo City etc.

I hope this HOW2 was helpful. Thank you for reading and happy exploring.

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