_____ _____ Japan

Global Sourcebook for International Data Management

                                         by Graham Rhind



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For supplementary information, see links to post office home pages here External, to postal code pages here External and to other personal name and addressing issues pages here External.

Table of Contents

Japan - Country information


Local short name form

Official name



126 146 099 (2020) [1]



International telephone access code


ISO 3166 country codes

Car nationality plate code


Internet country code


GRC Country Code


Japan - Number format


(where . indicates the decimal separator and , the thousands separator)

Japan - Date formats


   Note: This section last updated 4th May 2021

Japanese separators are also used (yyyy年mm月dd).


Japan - Languages


Japan counts 15 languages. Apart from Japanese External, most are spoken by only a very small number of people, mainly on the Ryukyu Islands External. Japanese is the mother language of 96% of the population. Korean External is spoken by 0.5%. Okinawan External is spoken by some on Okinawa External.

Japan - For the attention of


This may be transliterated as Atesaki.

Japan - Personal names


Japanese names are written in the order family name+given name. Increasingly, Japanese people write their name in the “Western” style, that is given name+family name. If writing in English, the name is likely to be written in the “Western” manner. Some people capitalise the family name to indicate which it is when confusion can occur.

Modern Japanese do not use middle names.

Given names ending in -ichi or -kazu are male names, the suffix indicating that this is the first-born son -ji indicates the second son and -zo the third son.

Many female given names end in -ko, meaning “child”. Those ending in -mi (meaning “Beauty”) are also female.

Current law states that married couples must share a surname, and this is usually that of the husband.

   Tables of names can be acquired: given names External, surnames/family names External, family name prefixes External, forms of address External, job titles External

Japan - Company legal forms


   株式会社(K.K. - Kabushiki Kaisha or Kabushiki Gaisha) is the legal entity indicator for a corporation in Japan, often translated along with the company name when it is written in Latin script.
   有限会社(Y.K.,Yūgen-Kaisha or Yūgen-Gaisha) 
   合同会社 (G.K., gōdō-kaisha or gōdō-gaisha) - amalgamated company, limited liability company
   合資会社 (G.S.K., gōshi-kaisha or gōshi-gaisha) - limited partnership
   合名会社 (G.M.K., gōmei-kaisha or gōmei-gaisha) - general partnership
   組合 (Kumiai) - partnership
   匿名組合 (T.K., Tokumei kumiai) - anonymous partnership
   投資事業有限責任組合 (toushi jigyou yūgensekin kumiai) - limited partnership
   有限責任事業組合 (yūgen-sekinin-jigyō-kumiai) - limited liability partnership
   監査法人 (kansa-hōjin) - audit corporation
   税理士法人 (zeirishi-hōjin) - tax accounting corporation
   弁護士法人 (bengoshi-hōjin) - legal services corporation
   一般社団法人 (ippan-shadan-hōjin) - incorporated association
   一般財団法人(ippan-zaidan-hōjin) - incorporated foundation
   公益社団法人 (koueki-shadan-hōjin) - incorporated public association
   公益財団法人 (koueki-zaidan-hōjin) -  incorporated public foundation
   特定非営利活動法人 (tokutei-hieiri-katsudou-houjin) - non-profit organisation
   学校法人(gakkō-hōjin) - school corporation
   宗教法人(shūkyō-hōjin) - religious corporation
   社会福祉法人(shakai-fukushi-hōjin) - social welfare corporation
   相互会社 (sōgo-kaisha or sōgo-gaisha) - mutual insurer
   医療法人(iryō-hōjin) - medical corporation
   共同組合 (kyōdō-kumiai) - co-operative
   信用組合(shin’yō-kumiai) - credit union
   信用金庫 (shin’yō-kinko) - co-operative bank
   地方公共団体 (chihō-kōkyō-dantai) - local authority
   一部事務組合 (ichibu-jimu-kumiai) - part public service joint venture of local authorities
   全部事務組合 (zenbu-jimu-kumiai) - entire public service joint venture of local authorities
   特殊法人 (tokusyu-hōjin) - public service corporation
   公団 (kōdan) - public investment corporation
   公庫 (kōko) - public finance corporation
   公社 (kōsha) - public service corporation
   独立行政法人 (dokuritu-Gyōsei-hōjin) - public service corporation
   国立大学法人 (kokuritsu-daigaku-hōjin) - national university corporation
   公立大学法人 (kōritsu-daigaku-hōjin) - public university corporation
   Comprehensive tables of these strings can be acquired – see http:www.grcdi.nl/addresses.htm External

Japan - Address formats


   Note: This section last updated 18th August 2011


Increasingly, the address is being written in a reverse format to the one above, with the postal code at the top and the personal name at the bottom, in this way:


The suffixes -ken, -fu (for Kyoto & Osaka), -do (for Hokkaido) or –to (for Tokyo) indicate a province/prefecture. -Ku indicates a ward within a city. -Shi indicates a city and -gun a rural district. The word chome indicates a division within this ward which is numbered. A gaiku is a block divided into ban and jukyo bango. Other area divisions are mura, machi, son, cho, oaza, aza & koaza. (Note: machi and cho may also indicate a town. Cho may be found as jo in Hokkaido.)

Chome and ban numbers are usually assigned by order of proximity to the centre of the municipality.

The house number before the thoroughfare indicates the block number followed by the house number within that block (and not according to their position on the street). Houses are numbered according to their construction date, so that two houses located next to each other may be numbered out of sequence. If the block is built all at once go (house) numbers are usually assigned by clockwise order around the ban.

Street names rarely exist in Japanese addresses. Where there are three numbers separated by hyphens, the first indicates the chome (group of blocks). Otherwise the chome number may be added at the end of the line, as in the example above. A ban is a block, go is a house and biru is a building. -kai means "floor". A final number may indicate an apartment. The number order is therefore essential, even if it appears illogical.

The word prefixes kita, higashi, minami and nishi mean respectively north, east, south and west, and chuo means centre.

Jima and shima mean "island" and shoto a group of islands.

Below is a simplified overview of the hierarchy within Japanese addresses:


image A town block indicator plate displaying the address Nakamura-ku, Meieki 4-chōme, 5-banchi (in Nagoya). Source: Wikipedia

image A sign displaying the town address Kamimeguro 2 chome; block (banchi) 21, building (go) 9 identifies the residential address. The upper plaque is the chome-name plate and the lower, the residential number plate. Source: Wikipedia

   Comprehensive tables of these strings can be acquired – see http:www.grcdi.nl/addresses.htm External
   A table containing information about the relevant position of elements within address blocks can be acquired External

Japan - Postal codes


Postal codes (郵便番号) consist of seven digits in the following format:


This code was introduced on February 2nd 1998. Before that postal codes had three or five digits. These old postal codes may still be found in address databases. The new seven-digit codes have been created in about 98% of cases by adding two or four digits to the end of the existing three- or five-digit code.

Where the code is in an address block written in a Japanese script it is usually preceded by this symbol: image

   Metadata containing postal code formatting rules, exceptions and regular expressions can be acquired External

Japan - Postal code format graphic


Japan - Postal code format

Japan - Postal code specifics


Japan - Postal code regular expression


Japan - Postal code level of coverage


Japan - Postal code map


Place names in Japan


   Note: This section last updated 29th April 2015

The small number if Ainu speakers of Hokkaido (Northern Japan) have their own names for some settlements.

Refer to Exonyms in Japan for full lists of place names in Japan in other languages.

   Alternate place name forms/postal code tables can be acquired at http://www.grcdi.nl/settlements.htm External
   Other language place name data can be acquired at http://www.grcdi.nl/otherlanguageplace.htm External

Japan - Administrative districts


Japan has 47 prefectures External, used in addresses and shown by the suffixes -ken, -fu, -do and -to. They are:

    Aichi External
    Akita External
    Aomori External
    Chiba External
    Ehime External
    Fukui External
    Fukuoka External
    Fukushima External
    Gifu External
    Gunma External
    Hiroshima External
    Hokkaido External
    Hyogo External
    Ibaraki External
    Ishikawa External
    Iwate External
    Kagawa External
    Kagoshima External
    Kanagawa External
    Kochi External
    Kumamoto External
    Kyoto External
    Mie External
    Miyagi External
    Miyazaki External
    Nagano External
    Nagasaki External
    Nara External
    Niigata External
    Oita External
    Okayama External
    Okinawa External
    Osaka External
    Saga External
    Saitama External
    Shiga External
    Shimane External
    Shizuoka External
    Tochigi External
    Tokushima External
    Tokyo External
    Tottori External
    Toyama External
    Wakayama External
    Yamagata External
    Yamaguchi External
    Yamanashi External

Administrative districts graphic


Telephone numbers in Japan


   Note: This section last updated 1st November 2013

Japanese geographic numbers, when called from abroad, have a length of 9 digits. Mobile numbers have 10 digits and the area codes 70, 80 or 90.

   Tables of telephone number information/formats can be acquired – see http://www.grcdi.nl/telephone.htm External 


  1. ^ citypopulation.de/en/japan/admin/ External 20230115

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All information copyright Graham Rhind 2024. Any information used should be acknowledged and referenced.