Learn to Decipher Japanese Addresses and Never Get Lost Again

We break it down, so you won't get confused.

Photo Pakutaso


Ever find yourself searching for an establishment only to be dumbfounded when you find the address on Google? Figuring out how addresses work, especially if you are staying in a country like Japan, might take some time and effort. Fortunately, we breakdown all there is to know about addresses in Japan, so you can be prepared the next time you find yourself lost. 


Japanese addresses are easy to understand, once you learn each part. Here is how it is usually written in English:


Building name, # (City
District number) - # (Block number) - # (Building number), Town/City, District/Ward/City, Prefecture, Postal code


To give a clearer picture, here is an example of a Japanese address:  



However, in Japanese, it is the exact opposite, and the address would look like this:



Let’s dissect it one by one!


Prefecture


There are 47 prefectures in Japan. The most popular ones include Tokyo, Hokkaido, Osaka, and Fukuoka.


Tokyo Tower 4-2-8 Shibakoen, Minato,
Tokyo 105-0011


Photo iStock


District or Ward


Districts or wards can be translated into different ways in Japanese. In areas such as Tokyo, it is translated into
Ku 区, or in other areas into Gun 群. 


Tokyo Tower 4-2-8 Shibakoen,
Minato, Tokyo 105-0011


Photo iStock


City or towns


Within each district or ward are more sections for cities and towns. In most areas, it would be translated into
cho/machi 町, or mura 村, but in other areas like Tokyo, area names stay as-is. Tokyo Tower would be located in Shibakoen within the Minato ward.


Chome
or City District Number


To further break a city/town down, they are divided into smaller districts, which are given numerals. Tokyo Tower is found on 4 Chome in Shibakoen. 


In the case of Minato District, this is what it looks like. 


Tokyo Tower
4 Chome-2-8 Shibakoen, Minato, Tokyo 105-0011


©2019 Google LLC, used with permission. Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google LLC.


Banchi
or Block Number, and Building Number

Finally, District Blocks are further reduced down to block numbers, and buildings within those blocks are given building numbers. To help people find the buildings, building names are also indicators included in the address.  


Tokyo Tower 4 Chome
-2-8 Shibakoen, Minato, Tokyo 105-0011


Special cases:


Residential Buildings


In the case of residential buildings, you will find room numbers attached to the address right before the building's name. 


Commercial Complexes


For Commercial spaces, it is indicated within the address, which floor they are located within the building.
 

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*Take note that Kyoto and Sapporo have a different way for urban planning their cities, which is why their address system is different from other regions of Japan. 


 (19 September 2019)

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