I Lost My Card Case in Japan—Here’s What Happened

Spoiler alert: I totally got it back.

Japan is known to have a good system for retrieving lost items. Most, if not all the time, things dropped accidentally are returned to their rightful owners. One of our staff has a similar experience. This is a rundown of everything she went through in order to retrieve her lost item.

She went to Meguro, Tokyo, and intended to go home by train. When she was about to go through the automatic ticket gate, she realized that her card case was gone. Her Pasmo card, business cards, clinical cards, and other cards altogether disappeared, and she realized that she might have dropped it somewhere. She searched everywhere, but could not find it. She gave up the card case, and also chose not to report it to the lost and found center nor the
koban (police station).

A few days later, she was surprised to get a call from the clinic that she goes to regularly. At first, she thought it was a reminder for an appointment (in Japan, sometimes we can ask clinics to contact us a day before or on the day of the appointment). But, she was informed that they received a call from the police station in the Meguro area, saying they received a card case that might be hers. Someone was kind enough to pick it up and deliver it to the nearest police station.

However, she wondered, if the card case is with the police, why did the call come from the clinic? It was because she did not have her contact information inside the card case, just her name. Luckily, she had her clinic cards in the case! Much to her surprise, the police called up the clinic to convey the message to her.

Aside from being given the information for the pick up—the name, address, and contact number of the police station, and so on, she also received a report number (jyuri bango). This would serve as a code to verify your lost items.

She contacted the police station afterward as the items would only be kept for about two weeks (may vary depending on the region). Aside from being given the same explanation from the clinic, she was told to bring important documents to be able to receive her card case—the report number, an inkan (a signature will suffice if you don’t have it), and a valid ID card such as a residence card.


A week later, she went down to the station to retrieve her item. The process did not take a long time because there were only a few people at that time. Once she arrived at the police station, she was guided to the lost and found section. After showing her credentials, she was asked to fill-up and sign a receive form. Then, the staff immediately handed over her card case and asked her to make sure that nothing was missing. She was pleased to get over the entire process only in a matter of 30 minutes.

Have you experienced losing anything in Japan and getting your lost items returned to you, too?

Note: This is a personal account of one of our writers. It is not a guaranteed, surefire way of retrieving lost articles in Japan. 

 (8 August 2019)

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