Here’s a scenario expats living in Japan might be familiar with: Say you’re living in Japan, either studying here or on a holiday visa, or you’re working here long-term. 

Perhaps you plan on returning to your home country for the holidays. Or maybe you’re planning an epic journey from Hokkaido to Kyoto to Okinawa, and have set aside a couple of months for the trip. 

In both scenarios, there’s one pesky item that you’ll need to figure out while traveling away from your Japanese place of residence—who will take care of your Japanese mail as you travel?


What Happens If You Do Nothing? 

Well, in most cases you may be fine. Your mail will stack up while you’re away, and you can get to it when you return. 

There are a few instances where you won’t want to wait, though, namely the following occasions:

  1. Utility bills. Missing a monthly payment could mean that you get cut off and will need to pay late fees in order for it to get turned back on. 
  2. Government notices and premiums. Depending on the time of year you travel, you might miss out on a notice from your local city office or your health insurance, pension insurance, or resident tax payment premium. 

Additionally, if you have business mail that you receive at your residence, those may or may not be timely for you to know about and take action on. 


Mailmate—A Bilingual Virtual Mailbox Service For The Devoted Traveler

MailMate is a virtual mailbox service specifically designed by foreign entrepreneurs to meet the needs they face while living in Japan. 

Wondering what a virtual mailbox service is? Virtual mailboxes are like a PO box with a cloud-based dashboard, where you can manage your physical mail no matter where you are in Japan or the world. 

To use MailMate’s virtual mailbox service, you simply use Japan Post’s mail forwarding service to forward your mail to MailMate’s headquarters, and then the MailMate team receives your mail, scans, uploads it to your MailMate inbox—where you can then request for it to be opened, translated, forwarded, or shredded. 

They’ll even pay your utility bills at the local convenience store for you. 


The Benefits Of A Bilingual Virtual Mailbox Service

While there are a couple of virtual mailbox services in Japan—and many in the US—MailMate is the first fully bilingual virtual mailbox service in Japan. 

This means that if you receive a piece of Japanese mail you don’t understand, you can request a translation summary, and MailMate customer support will provide that to you in English. 

Here are a few more benefits for users who sign up to MailMate’s virtual mailbox service: 

  • No more Japanese mail dread
  • A cloud-based dashboard for easy mail management
  • Bill payment service to handle bills while you’re away 
  • Fully bilingual customer support team
  • Request translations of Japanese mail you don’t understand
  • Business addresses for company registration if you’re a business owner [special addon]
  • Japanese phone numbers with bilingual receptionist service [special addon]

Prices start from only $25/month. 

While letting your mail stack up for you to return is also a perfectly acceptable method, the alternative is also a nice way to stay on top of things with less catchup needed when you finally return home. 


Leave a Reply