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How Much Does It Cost To Move To Japan

Published by Chris Townsend

How Much Does It Cost To Move To Japan

Considering a move to Japan? We don’t blame you. “The Land of the Rising Sun” is the perfect combination of tranquility and innovation. It’s the only place in the world where you’ll find towering skyscrapers next to stunning cherry blossom trees in springtime. Though, if you are planning on moving to Japan, you’ve likely begun a long journey of research and preparation.

You may be worried about any number of things, such as how exactly to go about moving to Japan, what it’s going to cost, and if you can even afford it. Fortunately, we’re here to shed some light on the subject and help you understand exactly what to budget for when relocating to this island nation.

Average Cost Of Move To Japan

With much of the logistics involved in getting your belongings to Japan out of the way, what is this going to cost? It’s difficult to estimate exactly what the average cost to move to Japan is, as each move is unique and there are so many factors at play. However, we can provide you with some examples to help put things into perspective. The following table outlines some estimated rates based on port-to-port transportation, from London, for goods worth approximately $55,000:

Destination Location 20-foot container 40-foot container
Kobe $2,205 (USD) $2,925 (USD)
Yokohama $2,230 (USD) $2,950 (USD)
Toyko $2,180 (USD) $2,900 (USD)

As you can see, there is only a minor price difference between these three major Japanese ports. Though, you can expect the price to vary considerably based on the origin location.

How to Move to Japan

Unlike many other Asian countries, so long as you are prepared, moving to Japan isn’t all that difficult. This includes having all the necessary documents before you board your flight to Japan. Expats must also have an itemized list of all the items that they plan to bring along with them. The list must be detailed so far as to include the titles of individual DVDs and CDs.

Moving Household Goods to Japan

Considering the fact that Japan is an island located in the Pacific Ocean, you only have two options for relocating your household goods to the country: via cargo ship or air freight. Each option comes with its own unique advantages and disadvantages. The most noteworthy distinction is the fact that shipping your items via air is much faster but can be incredibly expensive.

If you can afford it, air freight may be the ideal option for you, depending on how much stuff you’re moving. Oftentimes, you’ll enjoy the benefit of all your stuff arriving the exact same day that you do. Shipping via cargo ship is the more common and most affordable option. Though, you can expect it to take several months for your things to arrive at the port.

What to Pack when Relocating to Japan

Fortunately, Japan is an extremely developed country with numerous modern conveniences and international commodities. With its constantly expanding population of foreigners, you should have little issue finding some of your favorite brands – especially in one of the major cities. However, with that in mind, there are some items you may want to bring with you that you may have a tough time finding in Japan. These include Tums (or another form of antacid), aspirin, over-the-counter cold medicine, and decongestant.

You should also consider bringing along your preferred lotion or sunscreen. While Japan does have these items, it can be difficult to find products that don’t contain skin whitening agents. Additionally, if you are tall, you may have a tough time finding pants or shoes that fit in Japan. So, bring extras along with you!

Cost Of Moving To Japan

Customs Regulations

Expats will typically run into more customs restrictions in Japan than if you were moving to somewhere in North America or Europe. As a small, congested, island nation, infectious diseases spread easily in Japan and the government takes special measures to prevent this from happening.

When importing your belongings into Japan, you are required to declare them to the Director-General of Customs. To do this, you’ll have to acquire an import permit and pay any of the necessary import taxes or customs duties. It’s crucial that you understand the customs allowances for Japan. For this reason, and to ensure that all of your stuff arrives safely in Japan, it may be wise to work with a professional.

All visitors to Japan have to complete a Declaration of Personal Effects and Unaccompanied Articles form. Your possessions must have been in your custody for at least six months and cannot be for sale. When you arrive on the airplane to Japan, you will also be issued a customs form. Even if your stuff is arriving separately, you will still need to completely fill out this form as well.

How Much Does It Cost To Fly To Japan

In addition to getting all your stuff to Japan, you also have to get yourself there. When it comes to airfare, you can expect flights that have at least one transfer to be substantially cheaper than direct flights. So, if your timing allows for it and/or you’re looking to spend a little bit of money, look for flights with connections. Of course, some airlines are more affordable than others, but the best airlines usually don’t fall into this category. However, if you don’t mind sacrificing some comfort and legroom, you can save hundreds on your flight to Japan.

Regardless, you only have to book a one-way ticket, and booking far in advance can also save you some money. You can expect to spend around $600 on average for a one-way flight to Japan.

How Much Does Housing Costs in Japan

When it comes to the cost of moving to Japan, another important expense to keep in mind is housing? The housing options in Japan include a range of different types of houses, including everything from Japanese-style homes outfitted with traditional woven tatami mat flooring to chic, high-rise apartment buildings. You can also find more traditional Western-style homes outside of the major cities.

Japan is considered a relatively expensive country, with Tokyo being one of the most expensive cities in the world. However, the national average rent in Japan for a one room apartment (between 20 and 40 square meters) is 50,000 to 70,000 yen a month. This translates to about 450 to 640 USD per month and does not include utilities. Similarly, sized homes in the middle of Tokyo and neighboring popular neighborhoods usually start at about 100,000 yen, or 900 USD a month.

Fortunately, purchasing a home is also an option as you don’t have to be a citizen to buy a house in Japan. While the process may be difficult if you aren’t married to a Japanese citizen or have permanent residency, the average house price is approximately 35,760,000 yen (337,000 USD).

Final Thoughts

Moving to Japan isn’t incredibly challenging as long as you are dedicated and give yourself enough time to properly prepare. It’s also important that budget accordingly, as an international relocation can get pricey. Regardless, Japan is a wonderful country that is full of opportunity and excitement.
So, if you’re thinking about relocating to Japan, what are you waiting for? Get the process started today by reaching out to one of the moving experts at Three Movers. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have about moving to Japan, address your concerns, discuss what the process looks like, and tell you how we can help get you there!

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Chris Townsend is a moving professional and relocation expert that has more than 10 years of experience in the moving industry. With a background that includes working in virtually every aspect of the company, he has distinguished himself as an integral part of our operations with expertise in all things related to moving. Chris has a keen eye for detail and brings intelligence and passion to every project he’s involved with.

While getting his degree in communications from Santa Clara University, Chris started out with the company working in the field as part of our team of professional moving associates. Following graduation, he was promoted to our main office, where he has thrived in a role that involves increasing responsibility and requires him to wear many different hats. Some days, you may find him answering the phone and providing moving estimates, others he may be writing for our moving blog, and another day he may be coordinating a large corporate moving job or helping us with our marketing efforts. Chris has authored many of our in-depth moving guides, as well as provided our clients with information and advice to handle the complexities of their upcoming moving plans. Simply put, there’s nothing he can’t do and we wouldn’t be where we are today without him.

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