How To Write Japanese Addresses

Japanese addresses are very different from standard Western addresses.  Rather than having their buildings placed in a grid formation and ordered sequentially, Japanese addresses are created chronologically as the buildings are constructed.  In addition to this, Japanese side streets are rarely labeled.  This makes the addressing system a little more complicated than Westerners are used to.  It is almost impossible for a foreigner to locate any Japanese addresses without help from the locals.  Luckily, to make things easier, the Japanese post office will accept a variety of formats.

Standard Japanese addresses begin with a 7-digit postal code followed by the prefecture.  This is the largest division of the country.  For example, Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto are all prefectures.  The second piece of information is the municipality.  Depending on the location this can be a city, special ward, district, town, or village.  The city block, district, and house number are next.  The final piece is the receiver's name.

This information is organized by steps below:

Domestic Japanese Addresses:

-On the First line-

  1. Postal Code,
  2. Prefecture,
  3. City and or Ward (ku),

-The Second Line-

  1. Block Number (chome),
  2. Lot Number (ban),
  3. Building Number (go),

-The Third Line-

  1. The addressee's name (family name written first)

Here is an example of the Japanese address of Mr. Hirato Nakayama from the city of Kyoto Japan, Fushimi ward, block 3, lot 4, building 11:

601-1437 Kyoto-fu, Fushimi-ku, (district, town or village if applicable)


3-chome, 4-ban, 11-go,
Nakayama Hirato

The international format of Japanese addresses consists of the same steps with the addition of Japan written as the last line.

International Japanese addresses:

-On the First line-

  1. Postal Code,
  2. Prefecture,
  3. City and or Ward (ku),

-The Second Line-

  1. Block Number (chome),
  2. Lot Number (ban),
  3. Building Number (go),

-The Third Line-

  1. The addressee's Name (family name written first)

-The Fourth Line-

  1. Japan

601-1437 Kyoto-fu, Fushimi-ku, (district, town or village if applicable)
3-chome, 4-ban, 11-go,
Nakayama Hirato
Japan

The Japanese postal service will also accept addresses written in the Western style.

Western-style Japanese Addresses:

-The First Line-

  1. Person's Title and Name.

-The Second Line-

  1. Block Number,
  2. Lot Number,
  3. Building Number,
  4. District, Town or Village if applicable

-The Third Line-

  1. Ward,
  2. Prefecture, City,
  3. Postal Code,
  4. Country (if international)

Mr. Hirato Nakayama,
3-4-11, (district, town or village if applicable)
Fushimi-ku, Kyoto 601-1437, Japan

If these formats are not followed exactly, then the Japanese postal service will most likely still be able to deliver the letter to its location.  It may just take a little time.

 

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