How to Write Japanese Address – Learn the various ways

In this lesson, we learn the basics of how to write Japanese addresses.

A location pin with a house icon in the middle

Knowing how to write/read/understand addresses using the Japanese address system is crucial when you send a letter, an envelope, or a package to a Japanese address.

The Basic Knowledge of How to Write Japanese Address

Japanese addresses always start with the name of the prefecture.

Japan has 47 prefectures altogether, one 都 (To | と | Metropolis), one 道 (Dou | どう | Circuit, Prefecture), two 府 (Fu | ふ | Urban prefecture), and the rest forty-three 県 (〇〇 けん | 〇〇 Ken) to be precise.

  • とうきょうと (Toukyou-to | 東京都 | Tokyo metropolis, Tokyo)
  • ほっかいどう (Hokkai-dou | 北海道 | Hokkaido)
  • おおさかふ (Oosaka-fu | 大阪府 | Osaka prefecture, Osaka)
  • きょうとふ (Kyouto-fu | 京都府 | Kyoto prefecture, Kyoto)
  • 〇〇 けん (〇〇 Ken | 〇〇県 | 〇〇 prefecture)

For example:

  • かながわけん (Kanagawa-ken | 神奈川県 | Kanagawa prefecture, Kanagawa)
  • とちぎけん (Tochigi-ken | 栃木県 | Tochigi prefecture, Tochigi)

How to Read/Write/Use Typical Japanese Address

Unlike in western countries, street names are uncommon in the postal address in Japan. Instead, Japan uses the official national address system based on the block name.

The order of Japanese address

  1. postal code
  2. prefecture name
  3. city, town, district name, or a street name
  4. building number, house number, and apartment number
  5. building name, apartment name
  6. floor number or room number

In the horizontal writing

When written horizontally, the correct order to read and write is from left to right and from top to bottom.

〒100-0013 東京都千代田区丸の内1丁目2番地3号 405号室

いちぜろぜろ ぜろぜろいちさん とうきょうとちよだくまるのうちいっちょうめにばんちさんごう よんまるごごうしつ

Toukyou-to Chiyoda-ku Marunouchi icchoume nibanchi sangou yonmarugo goushitsu |

1-2-3-405 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ward, Tokyo, 100-0013)

In the Vertical writing

When written vertically, the correct order to read and write is from top to bottom and right to left. Japanese vertical writing requires to use of かんすうじ (Kan-Suuji | 漢数字 | Chinese Numerals) instead of アラビアすうじ (Arabia Suuji | アラビア数字 | Arabic numerals) as a regular rule.

〒一〇〇-〇〇一三 東京都千代田区丸の内一丁目二番地三号 四〇五号室

いちぜろぜろ ぜろぜろいちさん とうきょうとちよだくまるのうちいっちょうめにばんちさんごう よんひゃくごごうしつ

Ichi zero zero zero zero ichi san Toukyou-to Chiyoda-ku Marunouchi icchoume nibanchi sangou yonhyakugo goushitsu

1-2-3-405 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ward, Tokyo, 100-0013

Don’t forget to read them in the correct order if you see multiple rows and columns for the Japanese addresses.

What are the Japanese Postal Codes?

Your home country might have postal codes with combinations of digits and alphabets, but the Japanese ゆうびんばんごう (Yuubin Bangou | 郵便番号 | Postal Codes) only consists of seven numbers and a hyphen.

Also, people often use the mark (ゆうびんきごう | 郵便記号 | Yuubin Kigou | Japanese Postal Mark) when the address is written.

Japanese postal codes are always a combination of three digits, a hyphen, and four digits, and it roughly determines the post’s destination.

For example:

〒150-0043 means:

  • 東京都渋谷区道玄坂 (とうきょうとしぶやくどうげんざか | Toukyou-to shibuya-ku Dougenzaka | Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ward, Tokyo)

〒377-1711 means:

  • 群馬県吾妻郡草津町草津 (ぐんまけんあがつまぐんくさつちょうくさつ | Gunma-ken Agatsuma-gun Kusatsuchou Kusatsu | Kusatsu, Kusatsuchou, Agatsuma, Gunma)

The first digit means:

The first digit signifies the directions from Tokyo, the current capital in Japan.

  • Direction from Tokyo to Fukuoka: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8
  • Direction from Tokyo to Aomori: 1, 3, 9, and 0

The following two digits mean:

The following upper two digits indicate the regional area codes. A number from 00 to 99 is assigned based on where each prefecture is, and it’s called ちいきばんごう (Chiiki Bangou | 地域番号 | Area Code).

Example of the area codes:

  • ほっかいどう (Hokkaidou | 北海道 | Hokkaido): 00, 04, and 05 to 09
  • とうきょうと (Toukyou-to | 東京都 | Tokyo): 10 to 20
  • おきなわ (Okinawa-ken | 沖縄県 | Okinawa): 90

The Japanese postcards and envelopes always have seven empty squares on the front top surface, so make sure you fill the space with the combination of required digits.

How to Find a Postal Code in Japan

You can search for a postal code through the Japan Post official website or other websites. Some websites suggest how to read Kanji, so it’s helpful when you want to write the address using ろーまじ (Roomaji | ローマ字 | Romaji, Roman Alphabet) instead of Japanese characters.

In Japanese:

In English:

How to Write an Address on a Letter/Envelope/Package

Here are different instances that you might encounter wherein you should write an address in Japanese.

Sending from Overseas

Are you planning to send a postcard or a gift to your friend or family? Then, you can relax. There are no strict rules for these casual occasions.

You can fill up the form for the recipient’s じゅうしょ (Juusho | 住所 | Address) and なまえ (Namae | 名前 | Name). It sometimes requires a でんわばんごう (Denwa Bangou | 電話番号 | Phone Number) or item details as extra information. Make sure you have everything from the house number to the postal code before shipping the item.

Example of Recipient’s Address:

  • 〒100-0013 東京都千代田区丸の内1丁目2番地3号 メゾンド東京405 号室(とうきょうとちよだくまるのうちいっちょうめにばんちさんごう めぞんどとうきょう よんまるご | Toukyou-to Chiyoda-ku Marunouchi icchoume nibanchi sangou mezon do Toukyou yonmarugo)

Of course, you can write the recipient’s address above in English.

Writing examples:

  • 1-2-3-405 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ward, Tokyo, Japan, 100-0013
  • 1-2-3 maison de Tokyo 405 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ward, Tokyo, Japan 〒100-0013

Sending from Japan

Are you planning to send a letter to your friend in Japan or purchase something online and send it to your home? Then, fill up the required address and postal code.

You can also omit a part of the recipient’s and sender’s addresses if you want to since Japanese postal codes can determine rough addresses.

Recipient’s Address:

  • 〒100-0013 東京都千代田区丸の内1丁目2番地3号 東京国際マンション 405号室

Writing Examples:

  1. 〒100-0013 東京都千代田区丸の内1-2-3-405
  2. 〒100-0013 千代田区丸の内1-2-3 東京国際マンション 405
  3. 〒100-0013 千代田区丸の内1-2-3-405
  4. 〒100-0013 丸の内1-2-3 東京国際マンション 405
  5. 〒100-0013 丸の内1-2-3-405

Sending for Business or Formal Occasions

Are you planning to submit an official document to a Japanese company or something a little more formal? Then, it’s time to discover how to write Japanese addresses perfectly, both in a horizontal envelope and a vertical envelope.

Horizontal envelopes and postcards

  • postal code and address in Arabic numerals
  • write the address from top left corner to right
  • second column should be below the first column
  • write the name under the address


  • 〒100-0013 東京都千代田区丸の内1-2-3 東京国際ビル 15階
  • 〒100-0013 東京都千代田区丸の内123-45

Vertical envelopes and postcards

  • postal code in Arabic numerals
  • write the address from the top right corner to the bottom
  • second row should be on the left side of the first column
  • use Japanese Kanji numbers for address


  • 〒一〇〇-〇〇一三 東京都千代田区丸の内一丁目二番地三号 東京国際ビル 一五階
  • 〒一〇〇-〇〇一三 東京都千代田区丸の内一二三の四五
  • 〒一〇〇-〇〇一三 東京都千代田区丸の内一二三‐四五

Vocabulary related to Japanese addresses

Below are different words that are related to the Japanese address system.

ゆうびんきごうYuubin Kigou郵便記号Japanese postal mark
ゆうびんばんごうYuubin bangou 郵便番号 Postal code
とどうふけんTo-Dou-Fu-Ken 都道府県 Prefectures
しちょうそんShi-Chou-Son 市町村 City, Town, and Village
Shi City
Ku City ward *only in large cities
ぐんGun District, City district
まちMachi Town
ちょうChou Town
むらMura Village
そんSon Village
あざAza Section *common in rural addresses
ちょうめChoume 丁目 City district number, Town district number
ばんちBanchi 番地 Land lot, City block number
ばんBan Land lot, City block number
ごうGou House number, Room number
ごうしつGoshitsu 号室 Room number
かいKai Floor number

Other Japanese vocabulary related to addresses

Here are some additional vocabulary related to the addresses in Japanese

じゅうしょJuusho 住所 Address
なまえNamae 名前 Name
でんわばんごうDenwa Bangou 電話番号 Phone number
はがきHagaki 葉書 Postcard
ふうとうFuutou 封筒 Envelope
ゆうびんぶつYuubinbutsu 郵便物 Mail, Postal item
にもつNimotsu 荷物 Goods, Mail, Postal item
はいたつHaitatsu 配達 Delivery, Distribution
おきはいOkihai 置き配 Package drop
おくるOkuru 送る to send, to ship
うけとるUketoru 受け取る to receive, to accept
おくりさきOkurisaki 送り先 Shipping address, Destination
あてさきAtesaki 宛先、宛て先 Shipping address, Destination
あてなAtena 宛名 Name of recipient
とどけさきTodokesaki 届け先 Address, Name of recipient
かいしゃめいKaishamei 会社名 Name of Company
おくりぬしOkurinushi 送り主 Name of Sender
はっそうしゃHassousha 発送者 Sender
さしだしにんSashidashinin 差出人 Sender

Fun Fact: Hard-to-Read Addresses in Japan

Though, a Japanese Kanji can have several ways to read. Therefore, Japanese addresses can be a little confusing, even for native speakers.

Also, Hokkaido and Okinawa’s addresses come from their original Ainu and Ryukyuan language. There are many unusual sounds and readings.

鹿児島県志布志市志布志町志布志 (かごしまけんしぶしししぶしちょうしぶし)

Shibushi, Shibushichou, Shibushi-city, Kagoshima

大分県別府市 (おおいたけんべっぷし)

Beppu-city, Oita

北海道占冠村 (ほっかいどうしむかっぷむら)

Shimukappu, Hokkaido

沖縄県豊見城市 (おきなわけんとみぐすくし)

Tomigusuku-city, Okinawa

Most Japanese addresses are written only in かんじ (Kanji | 漢字 | Chinese character) and ひらがな (Hiragana | 平仮名).

However, some historical cities like Kyoto and Ishikawa use カタカナ (Katakana | 片仮名) or an unusual letter combination in their addresses.

  • ル乙 (るおつ | Ru otsu)
  • 東入ル (ひがしいる | Higashi iru | Go east)
  • 塩小路下ル (しおこうじさがる | Shiokouji sagaru | Go down on the Shiokouji street)

Wrap Up

Now that you know how to write a Japanese address sending a package or letter to Japan will be much easier. If you’re curious, take a Google maps tour of the famous sightseeing spot in Japan!

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