Oct 26. 2020Housing

Must-see for Foreigners Who Want to Move to Tokyo! Important Points to Make Your Move From Abroad a Breeze!


1 Understanding Your Move's Timetable

What should I pack? What can I throw out? Is this something that would be difficult to take with me even for a domestic move? When you're planning an international move to Japan, there are many things to keep in mind. Let's begin our moving preparations by getting a sense of your moving timetable.

90 Days Before Your Move:

Research moving companies and get several quotes. If you happen to be moving during a busy time of the year, it may be difficult to find a company able to provide moving services on short notice. We recommend that you begin the process of searching for a moving company and get quotes well in advance. If you would prefer to take care of the move yourself instead of contracting through a company, you should begin your preparations even earlier.

70-80 Days Before Your Move:

Organize your belongings into "necessary" and "unnecessary" categories. This is the time to dispose of any unneeded belongings and take stock of how much luggage you will be bringing with you into Japan.

50-60 Days Before Your Move:

Send your essential luggage to Japan in advance. Shipping procedures will vary depending on the company you use. Check the Customs website ( to confirm the rules regarding customs duties and taxes.

30-40 Days Before Your Move:

If you have already confirmed your final move date to Japan, inform your current landlord at least 30 days in advance of your move. In addition, be sure to call to cancel any utilities or other recurring bills so you won't continue to be needlessly charged. If you delay too long, you may be charged an extra month's worth of service, so act early!

One Week Before Your Move:

Confirm with the landlord what the move-out procedures are for your current residence and complete any required cleaning, etc.

After You Arrive in Japan:

Submit any necessary paperwork required, such as notifications that you have moved in. If you sent packages ahead of your arrival, look them over to make sure everything arrived intact.

It's a good idea to employ a moving company that specializes in international moves. Give them a call and ask for a quote. Many companies offer services such as in-home packing and local pick up. If you are moving for the first time, or feel uneasy about taking on the task of moving by yourself, then give some thought to using a moving company.

2 How to Choose a Moving Company

Since there are so many different moving companies out there, it's important to do research in advance to determine what kinds of support services they provide and whether or not they're reliable. It's important to choose your company after looking into several different options. Keep in mind whether the company's rates seem too expensive (or too cheap!), and whether they respond quickly and politely to your inquiries or just give vague responses.

The following are some important things to keep in mind when choosing a moving company.

Check to see whether or not they offer support in foreign languages.

In order for your move to be issue-free, it's important for your requests to be understood properly. Make sure you know what languages the moving company supports.

Make sure they have a significant amount of experience relocating to Japan.

Take care to choose a company with employees who have experience moving foreigners specifically to Japan. Even if a company labels itself as an "International Moving Company", it's meaningless if they don't have any experience helping people move to Japan. When you search for the right company for you, be sure you choose one that is able to offer a wealth of accurate information about your move and can answer your questions in a cordial way.

・Confirm the contents of their support service.

Since the amount of support provided varies from company to company, it is important to find out exactly what their support service contains before you sign any contracts. Be sure to confirm the specifics about necessary procedures to ensure the delivery of your belongings after you arrive in Japan.

There may be procedures that you are unfamiliar with which could cause unexpected problems. If you are considering a move to Japan, there are many things to consider when choosing your moving company. Research carefully and choose the one that can provide you with useful, individualized services.

Inquire about package plans.

If you happen to have a number of different services that you need, you can get a great deal by asking about a package plan. Moving can be expensive, so if you see a good package deal, take it!

n recent years, the number of moving companies has been insufficient to keep up with the number of customers, and you'll often hear people make comments like "I want to move, but I can't find a moving company to help me because everyone's schedule is full!" Keep in mind your schedule and request a moving company early!


3 Surprise! Japanese Moving Culture

One of the most surprising things for foreigners moving to Japan is the country's unique "moving culture." Knowing what kind of moving culture exists in advance will allow you to respond without confusion should there be an emergency.

・Greeting your new neighbors

A long time ago, I used to give a gift of soba to my neighbors when I moved to a new place. In Japanese, soba is not only the name of a noodle dish, but also means "next to." I'd tell them, 「そばに越してきたのでよろしく」"I just moved in next door, so please accept this soba by way of welcome!"

In recent years, the culture has evolved so that it is common to give a small gift not only to their neighbors on each side of them, but their landlord, upstairs neighbors, and everyone on the same floor as them. Many people will gift things like towels or light snacks in the hopes that their neighbors will think kindly towards them.

・There's a Community Association or Neighborhood Association run by local residents

Your local community will likely have a Community or Neighborhood Association run by your neighbors.

Each neighborhood will likely have a neighborhood association, where local residents perform various activities to increase the quality of life of the area. Participation is optional, but if you are interested, it's a good opportunity to make friends with your neighbors and help each other out should there be a natural disaster.

Since the concept of neighborhood or community associations may be unusual for foreigners, it's important to do some research on how they operate in your area. For specific information about your association, inquire with the town you live in.

4 Lastly

This time, we talked about the sorts of things you'll need to know if you're thinking about making the move to Japan.

Moving across the ocean to another country is hard in and of itself, and when you add in all the various rules and documents you need to prepare, it can seem overwhelming. Start your preparations early, and find a reliable moving company that suits your needs and can help ease your transition to Japan.