Postal addresses in Japan

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Postcode-2 areas of Japan (regions that describe the first two digits of the postcode)

The system of postal addresses in Japan ( Japanese 住所 , Jūsho ) is not based on street and house number , but on administrative units and is derived from the historical classifications for the taxation of self-governing areas.


The addresses contain the following components in descending order of size with the respective appended category names:

  • Postal code, prefecture incl. Suffix ( / -to / "prefecture", / -dō / "prefecture", / -fu / "prefecture" or / -ken / "prefecture")
  • [for municipalities belonging to a district ( -machi or -mura ) except for island communities in the Tokyo prefecture: district including suffix ( / - gun / "district") ]
  • Municipality including suffix ( / - shi / "[district-free] city", / -ku / " [special] district ", / - machi / -chō / "[district] city" or / - mura / -son / "village")
  • [in designated large cities ( seirei shitei toshi ) : city district incl. suffix ( / - ku / "district")]
  • District (possibly including machi / chō and / or preceded by ōaza ) and possibly number of the district section + 丁目 / chōme (together sometimes also called genannt / chōchō )
  • Number of blocks + / ban or number of the plot 番地 / banchi (or short / ban )
  • Number of the building + / or number of the sub-parcel
  • Building name (at discretion)
  • if applicable, apartment number + / or room number + 号 室 / gōshitsu
  • Personal name + / sama (polite salutation)

Japanese postcodes ( 郵 便 番号 , Yūbin-bangō ) are seven digits long , with a hyphen between the third and fourth digits. The Japanese Post symbol (〒) is often placed in front of forms.

A village or a district can be divided into 大字 ( ōaza ) and these in turn into 小字 ( koaza ), or ( aza ) for short . In contrast to the other identifiers, these are placed in front of what is designated, but are often left out.

In some cities, the city sections not with chome , but with the Iroha system in Hiragana + / bu (in the Ishikawa Prefecture ) or sky strains (. Eg in Tosa numbered).

The district section chō ( ) of -chōme ( 丁目 ) is still an administrative unit of importance today. Each chō selects an elder from among around 100 residents who feels responsible for his section and who has the appropriate contacts.

If the address for international mail is written in the Latin script (Japanese: Rōmaji ), the Japanese Post recommends that the order of the components be reversed; H. to be used in the international order. The country is noted in a further line following the address.

House numbering

In Japan, streets mostly have no names, so that the addressing is not done according to lines (streets, paths, etc.), as is usual in Europe, but according to areas enclosed by these and natural obstacles (e.g. rivers). For this purpose, there are two systems for addressing within a district: according to parcel and according to building blocks.

Parcel system

The parcel system goes back to the Meiji period . It has its origins in the chiken seido ( 地 券 制度 , German: " Basic Certificate System"), which was introduced in 1871 for the purpose of taxation , in which every property also received a code and was thus addressable. In 1886 a " land register system" was implemented ( 不動産 登記 制度 , fudōsan tōki seido ). In 1898, when the "Personal Status Act" was revised ( 戸 籍 法 , koseki -hō ), the term banchi was first used to address the main residence ( 本籍 , honseki ).

In the parcel system, the parcels ( 番地 , banchi , also: , ban ) of a district are numbered consecutively. When the parcel is divided up, another sequential number is appended to it, previously often separated with a . The addresses 123 番地 の 1 , 123 番地 1 and 123 番 1 are therefore equivalent and refer to the first sub-parcel of the 123rd parcel. If this parcel has n sub- parcels and one of them is split into m , no further number would be appended to the existing sub-parcel number, but new sub-parcels would be counted, so that there are then n + m - 1 sub-parcels, as in the following graphic shown:

123 番地 1123 番地 1 123 番地 2 123 番地 3
after dividing
the first parcel
123 番地 5 123 番地 6 123 番地 2 123 番地 3
123 番地 4
123 番地 1

The parcel system has several disadvantages. On the one hand, it is similar to conscription numbers , with the same disadvantage that the number of a sub-parcel and thus the address of a building depends on the time it was built and not on its position, so that a specific address is difficult to find. On the other hand, there can be several buildings on one parcel, all of which then have the same address.

Building block system

Therefore, a new system was introduced in May 1962 with the "Law on Housing Information " ( 住居 表示 に 関 す る 法律 , jūkyo hyōji ni kan suru hōritsu ). A district is then divided into building blocks ( , ban ), which are separated from each other either by streets or by natural obstacles such as rivers. Within this building block, a number ( , ) is assigned clockwise at fixed intervals (e.g. 10 m) . A building whose entrance is at this number is then assigned this, see the following graphic with four buildings in a block and their house numbers:

3 4th 5 6th



7 →

12 11 10 9

This building block system allows you to find the address you are looking for more efficiently than with the parcel system, as the order of the house numbers now depends directly on the position of the building and the house number of the next house is always larger in clockwise direction and that of the previous house is always smaller. A peculiarity of the system is that there are gaps in the house number sequence. In addition, two buildings with exits in the same section can have the same house number.

The numbers within the district or the rural community are mostly given without category features and only separated from each other by a hyphen, i.e. H. instead of 1 丁目 2 番地 3 or 1 丁目 2 番 3 号 , they often just write 1-2-3.


For example, a letter to the President of the Japanese Post Office in Tōkyō would have the following address information written in Kanji , Rōmaji and the usual international notation (category information in bold).

In the special case of Tōkyō, no city is specified within the 23 ku area :

〒100-8798 東京 〒100-8798, Tokyo- to Mr. Ikuta Masaharu
千代 田 Chiyoda- ku 3-2, Kasumigaseki 1 ( also possible: "1-3-2, Kasumigaseki")
霞 ヶ 関 1-3-2 Kasumigaseki 1-3-2 Chiyoda- ku , Tokyo- to
生 田 正治 Mr. Ikuta Masaharu 100-8798, Japan

A country address could look like this:

〒463-9260 岐阜 〒463-9260 Gifu- ken Ms. Kawaguchi Ichiko
田上中村 2639-34 Kamida- gun Nakamura- chō 2639-34 2639-34
川口 一 子 Ms. Kawaguchi Ichiko Nakamura- cho
Kamida- gun , Gifu- ken
463-9260, Japan

Local peculiarities


In Kyōto there are very numerous and very small districts, some of which are also present several times within one district. Therefore, in addition to the official address system, a second one that is also recognized by the post office has become established.

This system is based on the fact that road crossings are also used as reference points and it is then specified whether the destination is north ( 上 ル , agaru , literally: "up"), south ( 下 ル , sagaru , literally: "down"), east ( 東 入 ル , higashi-iru ) or west ( 西 入 ル , nishi-iru ) of it. Depending on the reference point, a location can have different addresses.

The official address of the Kyoto Tower is:

〒600-8216 京都 府 京 都市 下 京 区 東 塩 小路 721-1
Higashi-Shiokōji 721-1, Shimogyō-ku, Kyōto, Kyōto 600-8216

However, on its website it is indicated as:

〒600-8216 京 都市 下 京 区 烏丸 七 条 下 ル
Karasuma-Shichijō-sagaru, Shimogyō-ku, Kyōto, Kyōto 600-8216

and thus refers to the south of the Karasuma-Shichijō intersection.

In the case of less prominent buildings, the official address is also added.

Hokkaido Prefecture

In Hokkaidō, the city center of some major cities is divided into quadrants. Addressing takes place here by specifying the distance between these quadrants and the city center along a north-south and an east-west axis in the form ○ 条 × 丁目 . The suffix ( ) is used for the north-south indication and chōme is used for the east-west indication , which differs in its meaning from other municipalities in Japan.

The Sapporo Town Hall address is:

〒060-8611 北海道 札幌 市 中央 区 北 1 条 西 2 丁目 1 番 1 号
1-1, Kita-1-jō Nishi-2-chōme, Chūō-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaidō 060-8611

and thus stands for the first house in the first block in the 1st quadrant north and 2nd quadrant west of the city center in the Chūō-ku district of Sapporo.

Ishikawa Prefecture

In some communities in Ishikawa Prefecture , the district sections are numbered consecutively not with Arabic numbers, but with Hiragana according to the Iroha order and bu ( ) as an optional category specification.

The town hall address of Nomi is:

〒923-1198 石川 県 能 美 市 寺 井 町 た 35 番地
Ta-35, Terai-machi, Nomi, Ishikawa 923-1198

and stands for the 35th property in the 16th ( ta ) district section of the Terai-machi district in Nomi.

Iwate Prefecture

In some communities in Iwate Prefecture , the districts of Ōaza or Aza are not named, but numbered in the form 第 ○ 地 割 , where dai is an ordinal number prefix and 地 割 chiwari means a parcel.

The Fudai Town Hall address is:

〒028-8392 岩手 県 下 閉 伊 郡 普 代 村 第 9 地 割 字 銅 屋 13 番地 2
13-2, Aza Dōya, Dai-9-chiwari, Fudai-mura, Shimohei-gun, Iwate 028-8392

and thus stands for the second house in the 13th block in the suburb of Dōya of the 9th district ( Ōaza ) of Fudai in the district of Shimohei.

When the numbering refers to an aza , it corresponds to the chōme in other areas of Japan and is written in the appropriate short form. An example of this is the address of the Karumai City Hall :

〒028-6302 岩手 県 九 戸 郡 軽 米 町 大字 軽 米 10-85
10-85, Ōaza Karumai, Karumai-machi, Kunohe-gun, Iwate 028-6302

where 10 is a short form of 第 10 地 割 dai-10-chiwari .

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c 地 番 と は ・ 地 番 を 住所 と し て 使用 す る と . Sapporo, February 14, 2011, accessed August 12, 2011 (Japanese).
  2. 住居 表示 と は . Sapporo, August 4, 2011, accessed August 12, 2011 (Japanese).
  3. Archived copy ( memento of the original from April 25, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /