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How to Fill Out A Postcard in Japan

 
Any foreigner living in Japan knows how intense it can be to fill out a postcard or just write your Japanese address properly. When it comes to sending a postcard, the struggle can be real, so trust us, you want to be ready for that!

The goal of this lesson is to help you understand how to send a postcard, and after watching the detailed video you will know how and where to write the recipient’s name, address and even a few cultural insights.
 

Related Lessons

Table of Contents

 

1. Japanese Postcard Video Lesson

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What better way to get started than with a private lesson from Risa private! In this video she teaches you how to fill out a Japanese postcard with the proper names and address. You won’t have to worry ever again about where to write the different elements.

Here are some Japanese words you will find in Risa’s video:

  • 住所 (jūsho): address, residence
  • 頑張ってください。(Ganbatte kudasai.): Good luck.
  • お元気ですか。(O-genki desu ka.): How are you?
  • お名前 (o-namae): name
  • お元気で。(O-genki de.): Take care.
  • 暑中見舞い (shochū mimai): summer postcard
  • なめる (nameru): to lick; V2
  • 郵便物 (yūbinbutsu): mail
  • ずらす (zurasu): to shift, to slide
  • 勉強 (benkyō): study
  • 郵便局 (yūbinkyoku): post office
  • 年賀状 (nengajō): New Year’s greeting postcard
  • 切手 (kitte): stamp

 

2. How to Win a Personal Postcard from Risa

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Win a postcard from Japan!

Want to win a personal postcard from Risa? After you learn how to fill out a Japanese postcard… here’s your chance to win a personal postcard from Risa! All the way from Japan… and addressed directly to you.

  • Rules: 10 lucky winners will be chosen to get the postcard.
  • Act fast! The contest ends on May 10th, 2017!

How can you enter? First, log in to JapanesePod101. Then, simply fill out the submission form below and press that “submit” button.

Please log in to enter the contest.

 

3. The Japanese Address System

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Post Officer

One fact you may not be aware of is that most of streets in Japan don’t have names, except for major roads. Japanese cities and towns are divided into areas, districts and blocks. Last but not least, building and house numbers don’t follow any kind of order or geographical sequence, but have are ordered according to when they were constructed. This addressing system can be quite confusing as it may be different from anything you have ever encountered.

 

4. How to Write a Japanese Address

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JapanesePod101 Postcard

Let’s get down to business and give you what you came for, the secret to writing a Japanese address on a postcard or any kind of mail you would need to post.

When writing a Japanese address, you need to start with the postal code, then the prefecture followed by city, subarea number, block number, building/house number, and you finish with the recipient’s name. In English it would be the opposite, you would start with the name and finish with the prefecture and postal code.

  • - Postal symbol, preceding postal code
  • 107-0052 - Postal code, composed of 7 numbers
  • 東京都 - Prefecture (県, ken), with the exception of Tokyo (都, to), Hokkaido (道, do) and Osaka/Kyoto (府, fu)
  • 港区 - Municipality, city (市, shi), village (村, mura) or ward (区, ku). Here it is Minato ward.
  • 赤坂 - Area. Here it is Akasaka.
  • 3丁目4-4 - City district (丁目, chome), city block (番地, banchi), bldg/house number (号, go)
  • ジョン シナ - Recipient’s name. In Japan the last name precedes the first name and is often followed by a honorific suffix like San (さん) or Sama (様), corresponding to Mr. or Ms.

Now you know how to write an address in the best Japanese tradition! But if you absolutely want to stick it to the western style, which would still be delivered, here is the same example as above but in Japanese Romaji or English:

John Cena
3-4-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku
Tokyo 107-0052

If you are an absolute beginner but want to get started in order to write your postcard in Japanese, you can learn how in the Introduction to Japanese Writing lesson.

Ready to master the Japanese writing system? Get your Free Lifetime Account to unlock access to all our resources for learning the Japanese alphabet - Hiragana and Katakana in 10 days - and start writing Japanese from the very first lesson!

 

5. Risa’s Previous Postcard Event Videos

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6. How to Send a Postcard When Living in Japan

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Send a postcard in Japan!

You will have to find a post office to get it stamped. Japanese post offices are easy to find in most towns and cities, and are marked with this symbol 〒.

Once you hand over the postcard or any other mail, they will weigh the letter and then tell you the price, the flat rate being ‎¥60 for surface mail and ¥70 for airmail all over the world. After paying, you’ll get the stamps and the choice for the post office to take the letter then or for you to post it later. It’s not complicated, except for the communication aspect. So for you Japanese learners, here are 5 survival phrases to successfully post your card:

  • 郵便局はどこですか 。
    ゆうびんきょく は どこ です か。
    Yūbinkyoku wa doko desu ka.
    Where is the post office?
  • 切手をください。
    きって を ください。
    Kitte o kudasai.
    Please give me a stamp.
  • 航空便でお願いします。
    こうくうびん で おねがい します。
    Kōkū-bin de onegai shimasu.
    By air mail please.
  • アメリカまでお願いします。
    アメリカ まで おねがい します。
    Amerika made onegai shimasu.
    Please send to America.
  • いつ届きますか。
    いつ とどきます か。
    Itsu todokimasu ka.
    When will it arrive?

Now you are ready to send a Japanese New Year’s Greeting Card or Summer Greeting Card. Those popular events will be the perfect opportunity to test yourself and please your friends! Not only you can send postcards, but also business letters or packages, as they follows the same process. Just check your shipping options. You can choose the EMS package tracking (Express) or a cheaper and longer option…You will find all the information you need on the English page of the Japan Post official website.

Understanding Japanese culture and customs will definitely help you on your way to reaching fluency!

7. Related Lessons

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Post Office Words
 
Do you know how to say post office, address and stamp in Japanese? Learn must-know Japanese words you need in the post office with audio pronunciation! And make Japanese sentences using the words you learn and leave a comment. We’ll correct your sentences! Good luck!

 

Introduction to Japanese
 
Want to learn Japanese? Don’t know where to start? This is it. The Introduction to Japanese Video series is perfect for those who know zero Japanese but want to take that first step. In this 5-lesson series, you’ll learn all about the Japanese language, as well as grammar, writing and phrases to get you started.

 

Postcard Messages
 
In Japan, the weather is a common conversation topic. In today’s lesson, you find out it’s not limited to conversation - even postcards begin with something about the weather! While there is that in common, this lesson will show you that written Japanese is quite different than spoken Japanese!

 

Post Office Phrases
 
Today’s lesson takes place in a post office, but it could take place anywhere. We’ll be reviewing -tai n desu ga, which is the indirect way to say you want to do something and get someone to help you. We’ll also look at ni nasaru which is the polite way to say ni suru (to choose something).