Guide to moving to Japan in 2022

Moving to Japan will certainly be a memorable time in your life. Not everybody is fortunate enough to experience such an adventure. However, before you get to the good part you must be ready for some hurdles that will without a doubt come your way. During this type of relocation, culture shock and homesickness are inevitable consequences. But, if you prepare yourself accordingly you may start enjoying Japan sooner than you thought.

Busy street in Shibuya, Japan during night time.
In most Japanese cities the streets are crowded and filled with people all the time. There is rarely a dull moment and everyone is always on the move.

Things you must know before moving to Japan

To prepare yourself mentally for an international relocation you must know what you are getting yourself into. There is no better way to get prepared than to gather knowledge. The more you know the less can surprise you. Upfront, we must tell you that you cannot know everything. Some surprises are inevitable, but a lot can be predicted. Also, some surprises will be pleasant and memorable. So, let’s get you prepared, because like with any other move, time is of the essence.

You will need a visa

Just like for most foreign countries, you will need a visa to enter Japan. There are a few visa types available, so it is very important that you choose the correct kind. Even though, the process is not very complex it does take time. Thus, make sure you start well in advance. The last thing you want is to jeopardize your relocation, by waiting to finalize this task last minute. Start the visa application process at least two months in advance. These are the most often requested visas.

Moving to Japan on a work visa

If you are in this predicament, congratulations are in order. This means that you have a job lined up for yourself before you even arrive in Japan. Consequently, you can apply for a work visa. They usually last anywhere from four months to five years. Relocations motivated by work are often excellent stepping stones in your further carrier development.

Moving to Japan on a tourist visa

This option is trickier and has a risk attached to it. Relocating to Japan and then job hunting is certainly an option. But, in this case, you would need to have a nice chunk of money saved to bring along. There are plenty of job opportunities out there. However, keep in my that the demand for jobs is also high. Most importantly, you must know that working without a work visa or permit is illegal. Therefore, when relocating under such circumstances make sure you are very cautious.

Passport placed next to a boarding pass and credit cards on a backpack
Before you start the visa application process check your passport and make sure that it is not close to expiring.

Keep up with Covid-19 restrictions and rules

Though Covid-19 restrictions are less limiting than in the past, it is still important to keep up with the changes. Different countries have different rules and regulations when it comes to traveling. Before your trip, do extensive research on this matter. You never know will you need proof of vaccination or perhaps a negative Covid-19 test to enter a different country.

Finding a place to stay can be tricky

Finding an apartment in Japan is no walk in the park. There are many conditions that landlords require to even consider you as a possible renter. Some of the most common requirements are:

  • deposit fees
  • agency fees
  • one month rent upfront
  • property insurance

Also, often they would like to see your bank statement to make sure you can really afford the rent. And that is not all! It is preferred to have a bank account in a Japanese bank. Some would go even as far as asking of you to have a domestic person to vouch for you. When starting your new life in Japan get ready to handle difficult landlords. Compared to the process in the US, Japanese house hunting and renting are anything but simple. An experienced and local real estate agent can really be an asset during your search.

Language barriers are unavoidable

Most expats in Japan didn’t speak Japanese when they first arrived. Certainly, there are people that speak the English language. Yet, that is not the norm and there are more of those that do not. So, you are bound to run into a language barrier sooner or later. And do not kid yourself, it will most likely happen more than once. As soon as you find out that you are going to relocate to Japan, start learning the language. Knowing even the basics will be very helpful.

Open dictionary left on the table that you will pack when moving to Japan.
Dictionaries can be very handy when you find yourself in an unwelcomed situation caused by language differences. Google translate can also be of assistance.

Hire professional movers

Applying for a visa, learning a second language, job hunting and so much more needs to be done before you even get on the plane. It would be nice to have some help while you are at it. Professional movers can assist you with packing and shipping your belongings overseas. This way you will be able to save valuable time while your things get safely shipped to your new home. If you do not know where to start your search for professional movers that can relocate you to Japan, we recommend that you visit

Get to know the customs

Japanese culture and customs are very unique. So, when moving to Japan get ready to go through a culture shock. Not to mention that their etiquette is different across the board. Don’t assume anything! Do your best to adjust. Locals will see your effort and they will appreciate you even more for trying. Also, you will avoid uncomfortable situations where you can offend someone without even realizing it. Once you fit in you can look up expat groups and find a support system. Unite the best of both worlds and start enjoying Japan. Very soon you will realize that your relocation will be an adventure for the ages.

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