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How do I move to Japan and start a new life?


Moving to a new country can be an exciting and daunting experience. Japan, with its unique culture, beautiful scenery, and diverse opportunities, is a popular destination for those seeking a new life. However, the process of moving to Japan requires careful planning and preparation. In this article, we will explore the steps you need to take to move to Japan and start a new life.

Researching the culture and lifestyle

Before making the move to Japan, it is essential to research and learn about the country’s culture and lifestyle. Understanding the etiquette, customs, and traditions will help you integrate into society better. It is also important to research the cost of living, public transportation, healthcare, education system, and job market.

Japanese Snack Box

Applying for a visa

To live and work in Japan, you need a valid visa. There are different types of visas available depending on your purpose of stay, such as work visa, student visa, or spouse visa. You must apply for a visa at a Japanese embassy or consulate in your home country.

Finding accommodation

Finding suitable accommodation in Japan can be challenging due to high demand and limited space. Most people rent apartments or share houses with others. It is essential to research different areas and neighborhoods before deciding on a location.

Learning Japanese language

Japanese is the official language of Japan, and while many people speak English, it is still essential to learn Japanese to communicate effectively with locals. There are many language schools in Japan where you can learn Japanese.

Finding employment

Finding employment in Japan can be difficult as most companies require proficient Japanese skills from their employees. However, there are jobs available for foreigners in industries such as teaching English or technology. It is important to research job opportunities before moving to Japan.

Opening a bank account

Opening a bank account in Japan is necessary for everyday life activities such as paying rent or bills. Many banks require proof of residency and a Japanese phone number.

Getting a health insurance card

In Japan, everyone is required to have health insurance. You can obtain a health insurance card by enrolling in the National Health Insurance program or through your employer.

Registering at city hall

After arriving in Japan, it is mandatory to register at your local city hall within 14 days of arrival. This process involves filling out forms and providing necessary documents such as your passport and visa.

Getting a Japanese driver’s license

If you plan on driving in Japan, you must obtain a Japanese driver’s license within one year of arriving in Japan. The process involves taking a written and practical driving test.

Joining social groups

Joining social groups such as clubs or associations can help you meet new people and make friends in Japan. There are many international communities and groups available for foreigners living in Japan.

Adapting to the culture shock

Moving to a new country can cause culture shock as you adjust to a new way of life. It is important to be patient and open-minded when adapting to the culture shock in Japan. Learning from locals and embracing the culture will make your transition smoother.


Moving to Japan can be an exciting adventure that requires careful planning and preparation. By researching the culture, applying for a visa, finding accommodation, learning Japanese language, finding employment, opening a bank account, getting health insurance card, registering at city hall, getting Japanese driver’s license, joining social groups, adapting to culture shock; you’ll be well on your way to starting a new life in this beautiful country.

Can you live in Japan if you’re American?

North American expatriates can experience a quality lifestyle in Japan due to its stable economy, government, and strong social services. However, it should be noted that less than 30% of the population speaks English and only 2-8% are fluent in English.

Can I move to Japan without a job?

It’s important to remember that it is illegal for U.S. citizens to work in Japan without a work visa. If you plan on working, you should contact the nearest Japanese embassy to obtain a work visa and ensure that you are authorized to be employed.

How much money do you need to save to move to Japan?

To move to Japan, it is recommended to have about 500,000 yen in cash to cover expenses such as setting up an apartment and living expenses until you receive your first paycheck. Westerners can use Skyscanner to estimate travel costs.

How hard is it for an American to move to Japan?

Unlike some Asian countries, relocating to Japan is not difficult as long as you are prepared. This means having all of the right documents together before you even board your flight to the island nation.

Do I have to pay U.S. taxes if I live in Japan?

Regardless of their location, almost all US citizens are obligated to file a yearly US Federal Tax Return, and expats residing in Japan will typically have to file taxes with the Japanese government in addition to their US taxes.

How much is rent in Japan?

Rent prices in Japan differ depending on the city, but on average, it falls in the range of 50,000 to 70,000 JPY (470-650 USD). Tokyo has the highest rental prices among all the cities in Japan.

Understanding the educational system

For those who have children, understanding Japan’s education system is crucial. Japan has a highly respected education system that emphasizes discipline, hard work, and respect for authority. Schools in Japan are divided into three levels: elementary, junior high, and high school. International schools are also available for those who prefer an English-based curriculum.

Preparing for natural disasters

Japan is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, typhoons, and tsunamis. It is important to be prepared and know what to do in case of emergency situations. Familiarize yourself with evacuation routes and have an emergency kit ready with supplies such as water, food, and first aid kit.

Exploring the country

Japan has a rich history and culture with many beautiful sights to see. Take the opportunity to explore the country and visit places such as Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Hiroshima. There are also many outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, and hot springs to enjoy.

Dealing with homesickness

Moving to a new country can be emotionally challenging, and it is common to feel homesick. Staying in touch with family and friends back home through video calls or messaging can help alleviate homesickness. Also, joining social groups or making new friends in Japan can provide a support system.

Taking care of mental health

Moving to a new country can also cause stress and anxiety. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as physical health. There are many resources available in Japan such as counseling services or support groups. It is important to seek help when needed.

Keeping up with paperwork

Living in Japan involves a lot of paperwork such as taxes, insurance, and residency renewal. Keeping up with paperwork can be overwhelming, but it is important to stay organized and on top of deadlines to avoid any issues.

Respecting Japanese customs

Respecting Japanese customs is essential when living in Japan. Bowing when greeting someone, taking off shoes before entering a home or certain buildings, and using chopsticks correctly are some examples of Japanese customs that should be followed. It is important to educate oneself on Japanese customs before arriving in Japan.

Enjoying the food culture

Japan has a diverse food culture with many delicious dishes to try. From sushi to ramen to tempura, there is something for everyone. Trying new foods and exploring different restaurants is a great way to experience Japanese culture.

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