Friday, March 28, 2014

Tracking Royal Mail deliveries to Japan

Just a quick pointer, if you have something sent from the UK, and have a 13 digit tracking number (of the form ○○##########GB, where ○ is a letter, and # is a number), you can use this with both Royal Mail Track and Trace, AND the Japan Post tracking service. I believe Royal Mail will track the parcel from beginning to end, whereas Japan Post will only track your parcel once it arrives in Japan. Nonetheless, the Japan Post service seems to offer more detail. As to the utility in knowing that my parcel is in an "inward office of exchange", I don't suppose it makes much difference; but somehow its nice to watch the cogs turning, even if you know the clock will chime at noon...


Royal Mail tracking:

"Your item, posted on 24/03/14 with reference ○○##########GB has arrived in KAWASAKI and is being processed for delivery."

Japan Post tracking:

State occurrence date
(In local time if occurred overseas)
Shipping track record Details Office Prefecture / Country
ZIP code(Postal code number)
03/27/2014 23:54 Arrival at inward office of exchange
03/28/2014 09:00 Held by import Customs
03/28/2014 10:20 Departure from inward office of exchange

EDIT: added some more detail


  1. Thanks for the info about Japan Post. I only knew of the Royal Mail tracking service, which as you say is pretty basic.

  2. Very useful,thank you.Your clear instructions reduced the stress factor
    considerably! My Royal Mail tracked & signed parcel took 7 working days
    to get to Japan(door to door)-not too bad.
    BUT,to put things into perspective,my friend sent me a package back using
    the EMS service from Japan Post.It got here in 3 days and was half the price!!!!

  3. Yeah, I'm not sure if Royal Mail/Japan Post have changed things over the last few years, but I swear I remember a time when my post would take only 5 days to arrive from the UK.
    3 days for EMS is really quite spectacular. To put this into further perspective, any letters I receive from HM Customs and Revenues take about a month to arrive. Letters. They're very insistent that taxes are paid on time, but surprisingly laid-back on information flow...