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Can an English person live in Japan?


Living in a foreign country can be an exciting and challenging experience. One question that comes up often is whether an English person can live in Japan. The answer is yes, but it requires preparation, adaptability, and an open mind. In this article, we will explore the different aspects of living in Japan as an English person.

The job market in Japan

Finding a job in Japan can be difficult for foreigners, especially if you don’t speak Japanese. However, there are opportunities for English speakers in fields such as teaching English, translation, and IT. It’s important to research different job options and to have the necessary qualifications.

Japanese Snack Box

The language barrier

Japanese is a complex language with three writing systems and a unique grammar structure. While it’s not impossible to learn, it takes time and effort. Many Japanese people also don’t speak English fluently, so communication can be challenging at times. Learning basic Japanese phrases before arriving in Japan can be helpful.

Cultural differences

Japan has a unique culture with many customs and traditions that may differ from those in England. It’s important to learn about Japanese etiquette, social norms, and values to avoid unintentionally causing offense. Being respectful and open-minded will help you adjust to the culture more easily.

The cost of living

The cost of living in Japan is relatively high compared to other countries. Rent, food, and transportation expenses can add up quickly. However, salaries in some industries are also higher than average. Budgeting and researching different living options can help manage costs.

Healthcare system

Japan has a universal healthcare system that covers all citizens and residents. However, the system may differ from what English people are used to. It’s important to understand how the system works and what services are covered.

Education system

Japan has a highly respected education system with a strong emphasis on academic achievement. If you have children, it’s important to research schools and understand the admission process. There are also international schools available for English-speaking students.

Transportation options

Japan has a reliable and efficient transportation system that includes trains, buses, and subways. However, navigating the system can be challenging for foreigners who don’t speak Japanese. Researching routes and purchasing a transportation card can make traveling easier.

Housing options

Housing options in Japan include apartments, houses, share houses, and guesthouses. The rental process may differ from what English people are used to, so it’s important to research the process and understand the lease agreement.

Social life

Making friends in Japan can be challenging at first due to language barriers and cultural differences. Joining clubs or groups that match your interests can help you meet like-minded people. It’s also important to attend social events and festivals to experience Japanese culture.

Natural disasters

Japan is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, typhoons, and tsunamis. It’s important to prepare for these events by having an emergency kit and understanding evacuation procedures.

The visa process

To live in Japan as an English person, you will need a valid visa. The visa process may differ depending on your purpose of stay (e.g., work visa, student visa). It’s important to research the requirements and application process well in advance.


Living in Japan as an English person is possible with preparation, adaptability, and an open mind. While there may be challenges along the way, experiencing Japanese culture and building meaningful connections with people make it all worth it.

How is it to live in Japan as a British citizen?

If you want to live in Japan, you may need a visa. British citizens do not need a visa for a tourist stay of up to 90 days in Japan, but if you plan to work there, you will need a visa. Even if you have a tourist visa, you may need to apply for an extension.

Can I live in Japan as an American?

For North American expats, living in Japan can provide a high quality of life due to its strong economy, reliable government, and extensive social services. However, it is important to keep in mind that less than 30% of the population speaks English and only a small percentage can speak it fluently.

Is it difficult for an american to move to Japan?

Moving to Japan is not a complicated process, provided that you have all the necessary documents prepared before you travel to the country. This is in contrast to other Asian nations where relocation can be more challenging.

Is Japan friendly to foreigners?

Thankfully, Japanese culture is very accepting of individuals from other countries and understanding if you unintentionally make a cultural mistake.

Can I survive in Japan with only English?

If you are an English speaker and comfortable living in Japan’s English-speaking and foreigner-friendly environment, it is possible to manage with little or no knowledge of the Japanese language most of the time. You can still meet new people, have unique experiences, and navigate Japan without any major problems.

Is Japan cheaper to live than USA?

In the United States, the typical cost per square foot to purchase a home in urban areas is approximately $335, while it is $760 in Japan, resulting in an increase of approximately 57%. Nonetheless, overall, housing prices are generally lower in Japan than in the US, particularly due to the Covid pandemic.

Technology and Communication

Japan is known for its advanced technology, and this extends to communication. While there may be some language barriers, there are many apps and devices available that can help with translation, navigation, and communication. It’s important to research and utilize these tools to make life in Japan easier.

Food and Cuisine

Japanese cuisine is renowned around the world, and living in Japan is an opportunity to experience it firsthand. While there may be some cultural differences in terms of what is considered breakfast, lunch, or dinner, there are many options available that cater to different tastes and dietary restrictions.

Entertainment and Recreation

Japan has a vibrant entertainment scene with many options for music, movies, gaming, and sports. There are also many opportunities for outdoor recreation such as hiking, skiing, and beach activities. Exploring these options can help you meet new people and fully experience what Japan has to offer.

Traveling within Japan

Japan has many beautiful cities and regions to explore. Traveling within the country is relatively easy thanks to the transportation system, and there are many affordable accommodations available. Taking the opportunity to travel within Japan can enrich your experience and provide a deeper understanding of the country’s culture.

Mental Health Support

Living in a foreign country can be challenging at times, and it’s important to prioritize mental health. Japan has a stigma around mental health issues, but there are resources available such as counseling services and support groups. It’s important to research these options and prioritize self-care while living in Japan.

Respect for the Environment

Japan places a strong emphasis on environmental conservation, and this is reflected in daily life. Recycling is taken seriously, and littering is strongly discouraged. Learning about Japan’s environmental practices and adopting them can help preserve the country’s natural beauty for future generations.

Expat Communities

There are many English-speaking expats living in Japan, and joining an expat community can be a great way to meet people who have similar experiences. These communities often host events and provide support for newcomers. Joining one of these groups can help ease the transition into life in Japan.

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