Moving to Japan: The Complete Guide for an Easy Move

If you’re planning on moving to Japan, then our guide below has all the information you need. Read on for all the steps to take to make your move overseas go as smoothly as it can. This article includes information on the following:

Do I Need a Visa When Moving to Japan?

One of the first steps you will need to undertake is getting your visa sorted. Understanding what the Japan visa requirements are for your situation will help you with your application process. Luckily, it’s quite a straight-forward process. You can apply for your relevant visa at the consulate general in either Sydney, Perth, Brisbane or Melbourne. You will need to bring these four documents:

  1. Your passport
  2. Your visa application form
  3. A photograph
  4. A certificate of eligibility, both the original and a copy

The fourth point is a certified letter from a Japanese person who can support you financially during your time in Japan. This is usually an employer or, if you’re moving to study, someone from the educational institution you will be attending. For more information, take a look at the website of the Embassy of Japan in Australia.

Moving to Japan

Moving Costs to Japan

Removal costs to Japan can range from $1,715 – $2,630, however, every move is different and there are a number of factors that can influence this price e.g. the volume of your move.

Below are some other main costs that you will need to consider when moving to Japan:

  • International removalists: They can help you transport your furniture and provide a range of services to make the moving process easier.
  • Storage Costs: If you need to keep some of your furniture at home, then hiring storage space will also
  • Plane tickets: Depending on where you need to fly to will influence the cost of your plane ticket. One-way tickets from Perth to Tokyo are on average around $300 but can be much more
  • Visas: Depending on the type of visa you need will determine how much your visa will cost.
  • Pet or Car Transport: If you need to take your car with you or want to take your furry friend along, then this is another cost that you will need to consider.

There are many other costs that come along with moving overseas. If you’re interested in finding out more about moving costs, including the cost of removal services, then check out our international moving costs guide.

Cost of Living in Japan

ItemPrice in Japan (JPY)Equivalent in Canberra (JPY)
Monthly Public Transport Pass¥10,000¥7,700
Basic Utilities¥20,000¥17,200
Childcare¥42,500¥105,000
Internet (60 Mbps)¥4,700¥5,400

Understanding what the living costs in Japan are like is something that you will also need to consider. Above is a table of some examples from Numbeo which show the average cost of items in Japan.

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Finding a Place to Live

Finding a place to live in Japan varies in difficulty. If you’re planning on moving to Tokyo, then you should be aware that it’s quite tricky finding an affordable apartment in a good location. Average rent for a three-bedroom apartment in the city centre of various cities are shown below:

CityMonthly Rent (JPY)
Tokyo¥270,000
Osaka¥135,000
Kyoto¥150,000
Fukuohama¥130,000

The best way to find your perfect home is to get help from a real estate agent. They will be able to help you with finding the right place for your budget and will have detailed knowledge of the different neighbourhoods within certain areas. Try the Japanese website Real Estate to start your search off.

Getting Japanese Health Insurance

Healthcare in Japan is compulsory, therefore, it’s important to understand how it all works before you move. Everyone is entitled to state-care, which covers about 70% of medical costs. There are two types of Health insurance in Japan that you can get, both of which have mainly the same benefits as each other.

Social Health Insurance (SHI)

Your employer will sign you up to this if you’re working for a medium to large organisation and they will cover the cost of your health insurance. Depending on what industry you work in will determine the type of SHI you receive. You can talk to your employer more about this.

National Health Insurance (NHI)

If you don’t receive SHI, then you will have to go down to your local city hall and apply for this there. You will only need your residence card and passport. People who work for small companies, are self-employed or are studying will need this type of insurance.

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Jobs in Japan

The average salary in Japan is about ¥9,670,615 (equivalent to $124,000). If you haven’t got a job yet, or perhaps you’re looking for a member of your family coming with you, then you should know that finding a job is quite difficult. Finding an English-speaking job is very rare as most jobs require that you speak Japanese. For help, here some online job portals:

Setting Up Finances

If you’re looking to set up a Japanese bank account, some good banks for expats include Mizuho, Shinsei Bank and SMBC Trust Bank (previously known as Citi’s Japanese retail operation). You should by aware that the first two banks require a certain level of Japanese to open a bank account. However, SMBC Trust Bank is a good choice if your Japanese isn’t quite up to scratch and you need English assistance.

If you want to transfer some of your existing funds in your Australian bank account to your new Japanese one, then you can you an international money transfer company to help you. This will save you a lot of money on transfer fees and will be a lot faster than a bank transfer. Some well-renowned international money exchange companies include:

Moving to Japan

Learning the Language

In the lead up to your move to Japan, we advise taking some Japanese lessons. It’s true that some Japanese people know a bit of English but learning Japanese will allow you to really immerse yourself in the culture and help you communicate in everyday life.

If you have the time, taking lessons a few years in advance will ensure that you have a basic understanding and make the transition abroad a little easier. However, sites like Tofugu, Free Japanese Lessons and even the app Duolingo are a great place to start.

Living in Japan Facts

In preparation for your move to Japan, there are some facts that are good to know. Below are some that are handy to know if you’re planning on living in Japan for a long period of time:

  • Official Language: Japanese
  • Capital: Tokyo
  • Currency: Japanese yen (also written as JPY or ¥)
  • Population: 127 million
  • Expat population: 2.23 million
  • Important contact numbers:
    • Police: 110
    • Fire, Ambulance: 119
    • Australian Embassy: (+81) 03-5232-4111

Extra Tips

After reading this page, we hope that your move to Japan seems a little less daunting and that you now have enough information to settle in comfortably in your new home.

If you are looking for more information, you can take a look at a few of our other articles below:

  • Container Shipping Costs: If you need to ship your furniture to Japan, take a look at the average prices of container shipping.
  • Bali Expat Blog: Read an expats experience on what it’s like living overseas in Bali.

Good luck with your move to Japan!