Everyone knows the internets are the fastest way to get things done these days, but sometimes you still have to rely on the post office. Recently, I had to back-and-forth some important documentation with extreme haste, so I made use of the post office’s 速達 (sokutatsu) express delivery service, and it really came through for me. Sokutatsu is explained in English as express mail on the Japan Post’s official website, but for some reason the English description varies wildly from the Japanese version, hence this write-up.
Just take your letter, postcard or package to the post office (you won’t need any special envelopes or packaging) and say 速達でお願いします (sokutatsu de onegai shimasu), or, “I’d like to send this by express mail.” The person behind the counter will then stamp a red band on the item you wish to mail, indicating special priority.
Just how fast is sokutatsu? In my case, I sent a letter to an address far removed from Tokyo; it arrived the following day, and when sent back on the day it was received, it was back in my mailbox the day after that. That’s pretty darn fast. To speed things up, I’d included a self-addressed stamped envelope (切手を貼った返信用封筒, kitte o hatta henshinyo futo) that had also been affixed with the sokutatsu stamp.
Express delivery service begins from 270 yen for a letter (domestic), with prices increasing according to weight. Click here for a list of prices (Japanese only).