On July 19 Japan’s postal service kicked off a national campaign featuring a retro truck that will serve as a mobile mail drop. Based on the sixth-generation Toyota HiLux, the roving post office will travel to tourist destinations and appear at various festivals across the country, giving people the chance to send their postcards and letters on the spot.
The idea is pretty clever, as it’s often a drag send a note to a loved one while traveling. Mailboxes and post offices can be hard to find if you’re unfamiliar with the area, and who wants to carry around a stack of postcards when on the go?
The truck will also sell its own postcards and stationery, and offer services to turn a photo you have taken into a postcard. As a bonus, or perhaps the primary goal, the truck also serves as a reminder that the postal service exists, and that it can be fun for your friends and family to receive an analog Instagram post.
Some of the upcoming destinations where you’ll be able to find the HiLux roaming around include the Nagaoka Fireworks Festival (August 2-3) and Kaze no Bon Festival in Toyama Prefecture (September 1). More will be added as the campaign goes on. Dates and locations can be found on the &Post minisite.
As for the truck itself, the HiLux wasn’t chosen at random. Back when these HiLux pickups were new, Japan Post employed them as mail collection vehicles, often with an aluminum container box mounted directly on the rear frame in lieu of the bed. Japan Post’s relationship with the HiLux goes back even further, to the first-generation (1968-72).
Sadly, in the 2010s, Japan Post began to phase out the sixth-gen HiLux trucks, which were still in service as late as 2014, in favor of kei vans. The selection of the HiLux for this campaign was no accident, and even though they won’t pass the 25 year threshold for a few more years, the look is already nostalgic for many Japanese citizens.
Images courtesy of Japan Post.