The Japanese address system has several features that make it different from other countries. Here is some useful information for sending mail or writing your address in a document.

◇Postal code

A postal code consists of three numbers, a hyphen, and four numbers, for a total of seven digits. Here is a useful website where you can do a postal code search in English.


In Japanese addresses, the prefecture comes first, and is followed by the ward/city, town, and district/block number. The order is opposite from the order used in western addresses.

One thing that often confuses non-Japanese people is that there are no street names in Japanese addresses. In Japan, district number and block number are used instead of the street name, although there are some exceptions to this rule.

Address in property insurance policy

You may find that the address on your property insurance policy is different from the address you normally use. This is because the address uses “chiban”, a number written in the transcript of the registry managed by the Legal Affairs Bureau. Chiban were originally determined by surveys conducted in the Meiji era, and were revised many times as the roads and borders were modified. Over time, the system became complicated and difficult to use for describing precise locations, and in 1962, a new address system was introduced. This new system is mostly used for current addresses, though some addresses still use chiban. The reason why chiban is used for insurance policies is because official documents such as the registry transcript are needed to apply for an earthquake discount.