Moving house in Japan happens a lot around the end of March, beginning of April time. There are university students moving out, teachers moving to new places and, of course, many hundreds of ALTs moving around. The normal way of moving a family, of course, is to hire a van or movers to do it for you – no real difference there.
However, for someone like myself, who only had a few boxes of stuff I wanted to shift, I used a takyubin service. These are delivery services, used much like EMS or FedEx, except they do everything from special delivery papers to full on large boxes and storage. I actually used the post office’s Yu-Pack service, which charges by a combination of size of box and distance, as long as the box is under 30kg, the largest size they have available being one where the three dimensions of the box add up to 1.7metres.
I was moving a pretty good distance (Kagawa prefecture to Ibaraki prefecture) and it cost me about 3000yen to ship my large suitcase across that distance – yes, they ship bags and suitcases too! Many Japanese people use these services to send their luggage to their hotels or home from holiday because the Japanese public transport system doesn’t have much space for luggage.
1. Pack your stuff. You can buy special boxes from them, but the post office doesn’t really care what you use to package your stuff.
2. Fill out a form! There are two Yu-Pack forms. One is blue, and means that you pay up front. The other is pink and means payment on delivery. The sections are on the left From address/name/tel. no and To address/name/tel. no. The only bit on the right you need to fill in are what time slot you want them to deliver (morning, 12-2pm, 2-4pm, 4-6pm, 6-8pm, after 8pm), and what the contents are (books, toys, kitchen utensils).
3. Take your parcel to the post office! Actually, they do pick up too, but you need to inform them beforehand obviously. I just drove everything to the post office, they lent me a trolley and we lugged my boxes in.
And unlike what we might expect for deliveries, these will take one or two days at most!