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The International Poste Restante: Missing Post Office

Posted in Art and Photography, and Media Spotlight

On an island called Awashima, near Hiroshima in South West Japan is the ‘Missing Post Office’, where all letters that have no destination arrive. Sometimes people need to write a letter, to ask for forgiveness, to say something to a family member you never met, tell a pet how much you loved them, give advice to an older or younger self, or maybe to tell someone something you never found the courage to. It doesn’t matter. Physically writing something down eases a burden, but also allows us to express ourselves. We may have journals to write in, but sometimes one needs to feel a letter has made a journey, and that the message has been conveyed. When Souls struggle to ask for forgiveness because that person has passed—there is now a destination for that letter. Maybe no one on earth will physically read it, but its existence can send the vibrations throughout the Universe.

It all began in 2013 during the Setouchi Triennale (an art festival) in Japan where ‘Missing Post Office’ was a work of art by the artist Saya Kubota (who owns the copyright of all letters, thus you transfer them to her when you post them). Over 10,000 letters have been received so far, originally it was supposed to last the month of the art festival, but the old Post Office decided to keep it open and accept more letters. Every second and fourth Saturday of the month between 13:00 and 16:00, the Missing Post Office is open to the public, so that they can read these letters, and it’s here where you can also send your letters. You don’t need to put your name or return address; it will find it’s way there.


Awashima 1317-2,Takuma-cho,
Mitoyo-shi, Kagawa Prefecture, Japan 769-1108

 Until 22 February 2016, in collaboration with the Daiwa Foundation, letters can posted in the UK, and read at;

Missing Post Office UK c/o
The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation
Daiwa Foundation Japan House
13/14 Cornwall Terrace (Outer Circle)
London NW1 4QP

 The caretaker is retired Postmaster Katsuhisa Nakata, who carefully reads and looks after the letters that arrive. This may have started as an art project, but has turned into a sanctuary of peace, where people can express their emotions, get some closure on issues, and feel that their message has been received somehow. Poste Restante was what travelers and explorers used to get their mail before the Internet existed. In each major town or city, the Post Office can hold mail for those without an address. If you put off writing a letter because you had nowhere to send it, now you can with an International Poste Restante.

First published on The Soul Expedition.

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