Translated by Sandy Lau
Not Just A Souvenir! Another Way To Enjoy Postcards From Your Travels
Postcards can be obtained all over Japan. They’re great as souvenirs, but there’s also other ways to use them. We’ll introduce fun ways to use postcards at the end of your travels with those sold at the post office.
Written by Kobayashi
What to Do With Postcards From Your Travels
You’ve just purchased a postcard on your trip. Although there are those that purchase postcards to commemorate visiting a new place, there are also probably some that aren’t sure of how to use them.
We’ll solve those worries in this article and introduce ways to use these colorful mementos using the postcards available at the post office.
Enjoyable During & After Your Trip! 3 Ways to Use Postcards
1. Send a Classic Postcard to Yourself in Your Home Country
The postcards in the photo above are classic postcards that are available at the post office. Postcards drawn with a inu-hariko (*1) are sold at 72 yen plus tax while postcards with a drawing of Mount Fuji and plum blossoms are sold at 108 yen plus tax.
There are approximately 30 types of postcards available at the post office aside from these two examples and include common Japanese plants like plums and pine treesor animals like dogs and cats. Please try finding your favorite postcard to give as a present to yourself when you arrive home from your travels.
*1 Inu-hariko: a dog figure created by pasting paper onto a dog shaped model made from wood, bamboo, or clay.
Once you’ve purchased a postcard, then write about the places you’ve visited, your thoughts, and the weather of that day before sending it to yourself. By sending the card during your trip and receiving your own card once you’ve returned home, you’ll be able to enjoy it twice as much.
You will also need to pay for postage stamps in addition to the price of the postcard. If you are sending it overseas, then you will need a 70 yen stamp. For postcards that include postage fees (*2) in the sales price like New Year’s postcards (*3), be sure to stick on an additional eighteen yen stamp to make up the difference.
*2: The postage fee for postcards has changed from 52 yen to 62 yen as of 2018. An additional stamp may be required when mailing postcards purchased from 2017 and earlier. Please ask the post office for more details.
*3 Nengajo/Nengahagaki: a nengajo is a letter sent as a greeting for the New Year. Post offices in Japan will sell nengahagaki, or New Year’s postcards, to use for nengajo at the end of the year. Stamps are not required as they are sold at a sales price that includes postage fees.
2. Collect Limited Edition Character Postcards
This postcard was designed by illustrator Ms. Ado Mizumori and is a post office exclusive character postcard. One postcard is sold for 108 yen plus tax.
Character postcards in particular have many cute designs, so why not put them into a folder and starting a collection?
Based on the sightseeing area you’re in, there will be original stamps from that area to choose from as well. It might make it even more memorable to stamp the back of your postcard with these stamps. Many of these stamps are found in stations or tourist centers.
You can also have them stamp a decorative postmark for you at some post offices. You can do so by bringing your postcard with a postage stamp to a post office window.
3. Make the Tourist Attractions on Regional Form Cards Your Destination!
These are regional form cards (Japanese). They are cards made in the shape of local specialties and famous locations found in each prefecture.
The types of cards available differ in each region and limited edition form cards are sold each year, so you’ll even be able to get your hands on cards that are different every year.
The price for one card will range from 185 to 250 yen plus tax. If you’ll be mailing it overseas, then you will need to place it in a 50 yen envelope. Although it will vary depending on its destination, it can be mailed overseas witt a stamp that costs about 250 yen.
We got our hands on a Tokyo Skytree form card! This design is limited to 2017 and 2018. Be sure to visit the tourist attractions the cards are designed after as soon as you can!
You will be able to take your very own original photo when you take a picture of the form card together with the actual site!
A must for railway users! Introducing a convenient spot right in the station where you can get your hands on some Japanese yen.
There are seven foreign currency exchange counters and ten ATMs at JR East Japan stations in the greater Tokyo area (as of March 2018).
For more information, please visit this page.