What You Should Do When You've Lost Your Personal Belongings in Japan

Otoshimono (落し物)are "lost items" in Japanese. A lot of you may have heard that lost items are actually found in Japan. It's kind of true.

So, what if you have lost something while you are visiting Japan? What should you do to get it back before leaving Japan?


1. Go to the place you think you have lost the item.

This is very important and the first thing you should do!

Maybe you left it in a shop/shopping mall/ facility...?
Go back to the shop/shopping mall/facility you have been to or call them and ask. If you are going to call, get a help from someone who speaks Japanese. Usually, they keep lost items for 2 weeks-1 month.

Maybe it fell out of your pocket/bag...?
Walk back the way you came as soon as you can. In Japan, when people find something on the ground, which seems like someone's lost property, they usually pick it up and place it at the sides of the road to prevent it from getting stepped upon, or put it somewhere easy for the passers to recognize (like the baby's shoe in the top photo of this article). We advise you look around the places with extra attention.

Maybe you left it on a train, or somewhere near or inside a train station...?
Go speak to the staff at the station. Usually, the items are kept at the station where the item was found for that day. On the following day, the lost items are usually moved to the lost and found center located at the last stop of the line or at one of the major stations of the line. The station employees should be able to assist you.

Also, although only available in Japanese, most of the railway companies have a data base for lost items on their official website. You can get a help of someone who understands Japanese and access to the railway company's website.

Maybe you left it in a taxi...?
Always keep the receipt when you use a taxi in Japan. The receipt includes the phone number of the taxi company. If you have left something in a taxi, contact the number and they can assist you.


2. Go to the police box (koban) near the place you lost the item.

If you have lost something in public area, go to the police box near the location. In Japan, people deliver lost items, especially the ones that seem valuable such as mobile phones, wallets, and keys, to the koban nearby. There's a chance someone has delivered your item there.

3. Submit a Lost-and-Found Report to the police.

Even if the koban you went to didn't have your item, you should fill out the forms to report the detailed information of the item you lost and your contact. You can submit the form to any police box in Japan; it does not have to be near the place you lost the item. The form is also available on their official website. They don't accept the forms sent in email or mail; you must submit it in person.

If you report them and the item was found, the police will contact you.


4. Call the credit card issuer and the bank.

If you have lost a wallet with your credit card, debit card, ATM card and etc., don't forget to call the issuers of the cards to report the cards as lost/stolen.


If you have lost something important while in Japan, which you wish to get back before leaving Japan, try the above as soon as you can. Many times, lost items are not stolen but reported to the lost and found centers in facilities, train stations, or the police box. It's worth trying!

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Comments

  • john's picture

    john

    4 months 2 weeks ago

    A classmate of mine in Tokyo lost her wallet on the bus with 30,000 yen inside, as well as cards etc. Within 24 hours she found it via a 交番 lost and found. This is the kind of honesty that is only dreamt of in most of Europe and the US.

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