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Delivery Services in Japan – 宅急便

A while ago we went over how to arrange re-delivery of post that you weren’t in the house to accept. This time though, the focus is on delivery companies, particularly Sagawa Express. Let’s get stuck into some listening and reading!

I’ve come across 3 main varieties of delivery services in my time here – the first is the postal service itself, which we looked at here and here, and the other two are delivery companies – Sagawa Express and the market leader, Yamato Transport (Kuroneko). I’m not entirely sure how packages are classified before being sent, but I believe it’s to do with insurance and type of package. Certainly, I think the delivery companies tend to deal with the larger, bulkier items more often and handle packages that have expensive products or those that require Cash on Delivery (COD).

Source

So just today I had a delivery from Amazon Japan. I should say missed delivery really – unless you’re a housewife or working at home (lucky you!) the odds are you’re not going to be around in the house to receive stuff you order online. What to do then? In the previous posts we briefly looked at how you might request re-delivery by phone, but we didn’t actually go through it step by step. Of course, the system the postal service uses is slightly different to Sagawa, but it’s generally the same sort of thing. Call up and listen to an automated voice tell you to punch in various numbers on your telephone keypad. I hope you aren’t using a vintage model!

I recorded a video of the process today. Study the image and use the vocabulary list below while listening to the clip. See if you can pick out the parts on the form with the numbers you need.

A few bits of vocabulary that came up in the video before we look at the form itself:

市外局番 (しがいきょくばん) – area code
営業所番号 – branch number
お問い合わせ送り状ナンバー (おといあわせおくりじょうナンバー) – invoice number
本日の配達 (ほんじつのはいたつ) – delivery today
明日以降 (あすいこう) – from tomorrow
希望時間 (きぼうじかん) – preferred time
よろしければ – if that’s okay
訂正する場合 (ていせいするばあい) – if you have changes to make


Alrighty, so let’s get stuck into the Japanese on the form.

ご不在連絡票

ごふざい れんらくひょう

Message of Non-Delivery

Below the title you’ll see two options. Sagawa is either doing 配達 (はいたつ) – delivery – or 集荷 (しゅうか) – item collection (picking up stuff you want to send somewhere else). Below that is the name of the recipient (erased), sender (アマゾン) and the date. Further below are the various types of package – this one is 普通 (ふつう) – normal. What we’re interested in is the blue section:

再配達受付 電話番号

さいはいたつ うけつけ でんわばんごう

Re-delivery telephone service

The huge, red number is the regular free dial line, but only good for normal landlines. When calling from a mobile phone, use the number below that. After calling, you’ll hear the automated voice, as recorded in the video above.

Step 1: Enter your own phone number beginning with the area code.
Step 2: Enter the 4 digit 営業店番号. This is the number of the Sagawa branch dealing with the delivery.
Step 3: Enter the 12 digit お問い合わせ送り状ナンバー. This the notice number for the undelivered item.
Step 4: Enter the date you would like re-delivery. Press 0 for same day delivery, or enter 2 digits for another day. For example, for the 5th, enter ’05’ or for 25th enter ’25’.
Step 5: Select the time you would like the item to be delivered and press the corresponding button. Depending on the time you call, not all the options will be available. I called at 5pm, so I could only choose from options 5,6 or 7. Option 5, as we can see form the notice, is for the time slot 18:00-20:00. Make sure you’re in the house when they come back!
Step 5: Confirm the details are correct. Press 1 to select ‘yes’ or 2 to make changes to the day/time.

That’s it! All that’s left for you to do is await your package and sign for it.

If you are paying with cash on delivery (COD), make sure you have the correct change. COD is known as 代金引換 (だいきんひきかえ) are very useful for foreigners living in Japan who do not have a credit card. Select this option when you purchase your item (usually a small surcharge is applied) and then hand over the money in exchange for the item when it arrives.


Those of you a little more daring can use the reverse of the form. The name and mobile phone number of the driver doing the rounds is displayed (changed in the image below, obviously). Contact him or her directly to re-arrange delivery of your item at a convenient time. Note though, that they cannot answer the phone while driving, but in my experience even if they don’t pick up, they will call you back.

You can also see the options for arranging re-delivery on the internet at http://sagawa-otodoke.jp and a number where you can call an operator to arrange re-delivery. I assume it’s a real person on the other end!

Note too that, if you need to go to the local branch to pick up items, you’ll need to bring 1) the Message of Non-Delivery 2) your personal seal 3) a form of ID (passport, driver’s licence, student ID, etc.).

Any questions, please leave them in the comments below!

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9 Responses to Delivery Services in Japan – 宅急便

  1. Sailor Moon November 16, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    REALLY useful post! Was after a vocab list for this type of conversation! Surprised so many books exclude this as it’s definitely needed when you come to Japan.

    Don’t suppose you could add the kana for 営業所番号 – branch number

    • Gakuranman November 16, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

      Glad it was useful :). The reading is えいぎょうしょ ばんごう. Happy studying!

  2. Matt09281 April 10, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    very useful, thank you for posting

  3. Otemoto November 14, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    What does お手元 mean in お手元のご希望時間のダイヤル番号を5番から7番を入力してください? 
    1. Does it refer to input the time that is most convenient to the user (me) or,
    2. to select the earliest time period that is available (perhaps for matters of convenience) or

    • Gakuranman November 19, 2012 at 11:46 am #

      Number 1 – your preferred time.
      お手元 means ‘in your hands’, referring to the form itself. ご希望時間のダイヤル番号を5番から7番 means ‘the number associated with your preferred delivery time, between 5 and 7. The reason it is limited to between 5 and 7 (6pm-9pm), is because of the time I made the call. They can’t deliver 9am the same day if the call asking for re-delivery is made after 9am, for example. Finally, 入力してください is ‘please enter (the number)’.Hope that helps!

      • ダイヤル November 19, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

        Thanks, it does help. I just noticed I am also confused with ご希望時間のダイヤル番号 because I am not exactly sure what ダイヤル means, of course “dial” but that doesn’t make it any clearer.

        • をx2 November 19, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

          Also, why the double を? Is that grammatical?
          Sorry for the double comment.

        • Michael November 19, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

          ダイヤル means ‘dial’, as in the ‘number you dial’ :).

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  1. Package Deliveries in Japan « Tomorrow in Tokyo - October 13, 2012

    […] I was poking around the internet for explanations of how package deliveries work in Japan. I found this handy guide, which will help me in my efforts to quit forgetting how to say “non-delivery […]

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