September 28, 2023
This article is a comprehensive guide on moving to Japan, covering everything from visa applications and finding accommodation to job hunting and making friends. It provides tips on navigating cultural differences, keeping costs low, and accessing the Japanese healthcare system as a foreigner.


Japan has long been a popular destination for travelers, with its rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and outstanding cuisine. However, many people dream of doing more than just visiting Japan; they want to make it their home. Moving to Japan can be challenging, especially for non-native speakers of Japanese, but with preparation and perseverance, it is possible to make a successful move. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to moving to Japan.

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Move to Japan

Before moving to Japan, it is crucial to understand the various types of visas available for foreigners. The Japanese government offers visas for students, educators, skilled workers, and entrepreneurs. Each visa has specific requirements, such as educational qualifications or work experience, so it is essential to research which visa is right for you.

Once you have identified the appropriate visa type, the application process requires several documents. These typically include a valid passport, visa application forms, a certificate of eligibility, and proof of financial stability. It is important to allow sufficient time for visa processing, as the procedure can take months to complete.

Accommodation in Japan can be expensive, and finding a suitable place can be challenging. Japan has a wide range of housing options, from tiny apartments to spacious houses, but deciding what is best for you depends on your needs and budget. Research the city or area to which you are moving to determine the most suitable accommodation for you. An excellent place to begin your search is online, where you can find real estate agents, rental search sites, and serviced apartments.

Relocating your belongings to Japan can be complicated and expensive. You can ship your belongings internationally or bring them with you on your flight. It is essential to understand Japan’s customs regulations and have the appropriate paperwork to avoid any delays or seizures at the border. Additionally, be aware of the size and weight restrictions on items that can be shipped or transported by air.

Once you have arrived in Japan and found accommodation, the next step is to register as a resident of Japan. This process requires visiting the local municipal office and submitting various documents. These include your passport and residence card, as well as proof of your address in Japan.

10 Things You Need to Know Before Moving to Japan

Moving to Japan means adjusting to a new culture and way of life. It can be challenging, but it is essential to approach the experience with an open mind and a willingness to adapt. One of the significant differences in Japanese culture is the emphasis on politeness and respect. Researching Japanese customs and etiquette can help avoid unintentional offenses, such as not bowing or speaking too loudly in public.

Language barriers are a challenge for those who do not speak Japanese. While many Japanese people can speak some English, the ability level varies significantly. It is essential to have basic Japanese language skills, especially for communication with coworkers and landlords. Apps, classes, and language exchange programs are excellent resources for learning Japanese.

Japan is an expensive country, and daily expenses can quickly add up. Budgeting is essential to ensure that you remain financially stable during your stay. Some tips for saving money include buying groceries at discount stores, taking advantage of local festivals and free events, and using public transportation rather than taxis.

Open-mindedness and adaptability are essential for anyone moving to Japan. Embrace new experiences, learn new ways of living, and build relationships with people who can help you navigate a new culture.

The Ultimate Checklist for Moving to Japan

Preparing to move to Japan requires careful planning and preparation. Here is an ultimate checklist to assist you:

– Obtain the appropriate visa type and submit the necessary documents.
– Research suitable accommodation and apply for rentals before departure.
– Research customs regulations for shipping items and prepare the required paperwork.
– Budget adequately for daily expenses and have sufficient funds for initial expenses such as deposits and rent.
– Research areas of interest in Japan and make a list of sightseeing locations.
– Apply for health insurance after arriving in Japan.
– Register with the local municipal office and obtain a residence card.
– Apply for a bank account.
– Obtain a mobile phone or internet access.
– Network and meet locals and other foreigners to build social relationships.

How to Find a Job in Japan as a Foreigner

Finding a job in Japan can be challenging but is possible with the right preparation and connections. Networking is essential, and attending job fairs and meetups can help create connections with potential employers. Searching online job boards and recruitment agencies is also a great way to find job opportunities.

When applying for jobs, it is essential to have a well-prepared resume and cover letter. It is also essential to provide copies of diplomas and certification documents and have all professional skills and experience documented in English. The interview process in Japan can differ significantly from that in other countries, and it is essential to research the specific company’s culture and expectations before attending an interview.

Moving to Japan on a Budget

Japan has a reputation for being an expensive country, but there are ways to reduce daily living expenses. Accommodation is often the most significant expense, and it is essential to research the most cost-effective options. Eating at local restaurants rather than international chains can save you money, as can shopping during sales periods.

Japan offers many free or low-cost activities, such as visiting shrines and temples, hiking in the mountains, or attending cultural events such as festivals. Using public transportation, such as trains and buses, can save money in the long run and is more environmentally friendly than driving.

Navigating the Japanese Healthcare System

Japan has a world-renowned healthcare system, but navigating it as a foreigner can be challenging. It is essential to have health insurance, which is required by law in Japan. The Japanese government offers a variety of insurance options for foreigners, including the National Health Insurance system.

Finding a local doctor who speaks English can be challenging, but there are resources available. The Japanese embassy or consulate in your home country can provide information on local medical facilities. Additionally, many hospitals and clinics have English-speaking staff or offer translation services.

Making Friends in Japan

Making friends in Japan can be challenging, but it is essential for creating a support system and integrating into the community. Networking and attending social events can be helpful, as can joining clubs and groups that share your interests.

Language skills are essential for building relationships with Japanese people, but language exchange programs and online resources can help improve language ability. Cultural understanding is also crucial, and research or consultation with locals can provide useful insight.


Moving to Japan requires preparation, research, and an open mind. Understanding the visa application process, finding suitable accommodation, and navigating cultural differences are essential for making a successful move. The challenges of moving to Japan are many, but the rewards are significant: exploring a new culture, discovering hidden gems and forming new relationships. With the advice and resources in this article, you will be well-equipped to make an informed and successful move to Japan.

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