How to Send a Letter from NZ to Japan

It has been two months since I arrived in Wellington and one month since I signed the apartment lease.
Now that my assignments are over and my life in New Zealand has kind of settled down, I finally decided to write a letter to my grandma in Japan.
My over-90-year-old grandma can actually use LINE, but I feel that a letter is a better way to convey my feelings to her.
I found some cute postcards at a souvenir shop in the city.
It was made by an artist named Helen Bland.

Photo of postcards of Wellington landscapes by Helen Bland

By the way, I even found a place where you can actually see the view on this postcard (right).

I have sent letters by international mail several times, but I always forget how to write the address and sender.
This time, the letter arrived safely, proving that I had written it correctly, which was a relief.
So, here is how to write the address and sender of a letter from New Zealand to Japan.

How to write the addressee and sender of a letter

In Western countries, including New Zealand, the “Addressee” and “Sender” are written on the front, while in Japan, “Addressee” is written on the front and “Sender” on the back.
Since it is sent from New Zealand, just follow the NZ style, in which the sender is written in the upper left corner, and the delivery details should be written from the centre down.
However, writing the delivery details in Japanese or English (Romaji) makes slight differences, so you need to be a bit careful.

Sender details (New Zealand style)
– Full name
– Sender’s address
floor number + apartment name/unit number + street name, suburb name, city name + postal code

Option 1 Delivery address/details in English
– Addressee’s name with a title
– Address & Postal code
(building/apt name and room number) ,
district number – block number – building number,
town/village/area name in a ward, municipality,
prefecture + postal code

*Option 2 Delivery address/details in Japanese
– Addressee’s name with 様
– Postal code
– Address
prefecture (都/道/府/県), municipality (区/市/郡), town/village/area name in a ward,
district number (丁目), block number (番地), building number (号)
or write numbers according to the former order and connect with “-” (e.g. 1-1-1),
building/apt name and room number *if it is a house, it is not needed

After completing the sender and addressee, add “To Japan” in red and “AIR MAIL” in blue.

The photo of an envelope with the recipient's address in the centre and the sender's address in the upper left.

Posting the letter

Now that the letter and the envelope are ready, it is time to go to the post office.
I went to the post office on Cuba Street in Wellington, or rather, there was a post office in a pharmacy. There seem to be many post offices established in pharmacies or convenience stores, which I did not see much in Auckland.
This time, the postcard was medium-sized and cost $4, and the shop staff told me that she would stamp it.

The price varies depending on the size and weight of the envelope, so be careful if you want to buy stamps and post them. Postcards and cards with envelopes are available at souvenir stores, grocery stores, bookstores, and supermarkets, but I found that there are quite a lot of sizes. The NZ POST website has a list of sizes and rates for your reference.
Once, I put some chocolates in a postcard envelope and was told that it was a parcel because it weighed more than 200 grams. Please be careful of the weight.

How much will it cost to send Standard Mail within New Zealand?

SizeMaximum size
(height x length x width)
Maximum weight incl. envelopeStandard Mail required postage
(e.g. E9, DLE, DLEE, MaxPop, Cheque Mailer)
130mm x 235mm x 6mm500g $2.00 (or 1 x KiwiStamp)
(e.g. C5) 
165mm x 235mm x 10mm500g $3.30 
(e.g. E35) 
260mm x 385mm x 20mm1kg$4.60 

How much will it cost to send a letter overseas?

SizeMaximum size
(height x length x width)
Max weight incl. envelopeAustralia and South PacificRest of the world
Aerogramme & Postcards130mm x 235mm10 g $3.30$3.30
(e.g. E9, DLE, DLEE, MaxPop, Cheque Mailer)
130mm x 235mm x 5mm100 g $3.30 $4.00 
(e.g. C5) 
165mm x 235mm x 10mm200 g$4.00 $4.60
(e.g. E35) 
260mm x 385 x 10mm200 g$5.30$6.90

Before you send a letter overseas:

  • Letters must contain paper based written or printed documents only
  • Check your letter weighs less than 200gms. If your letter weighs more, then it is a parcel
  • Check your letter fits within maximum dimensions of 260mm x 385mm x 10mm (height x length x thickness).
    If not, then it’s a parcel
  • Envelopes need an Economy, or Par Avion service sticker in the upper left hand corner.
Letter | NZ Post

Delivery days

On the night two weeks after I posted the letter, I finally received word from my aunt, who lives with my grandmother, that she had received the letter.
Economy, it took longer than expected, to be honest. I could actually check on the NZ POST website about delivery time.
As is often the case overseas, it took longer than it is mentioned, but I was relieved that the letter arrived safely.

How long will it take?

The following delivery targets are a guide only and we do not guarantee your item will reach its destination within the targeted time.

Standard mail

Nationwide: 3 working days

Economy letters

Australia: 3-6 working days
Rest of the world: 6-10 working days

Faster delivery for documents sent within New Zealand is available by using our Courier service.
Faster delivery for documents sent internationally is available by using our Courier and Express services.
Delivery outside major towns and cities including to and from rural or remote areas may take longer.

Letters | NZ Post

I hope your letters arrive to your loved ones safely, too.

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