More people are moving to Japan and it’s easy to see why.
Although the UK, New Zealand and America remain top destinations for Australians moving abroad, there’s been a recent boost in migration to Japan, which has a high standard of living.
If you dream about living in the land of the cherry blossom, your top priority is to apply for the correct visa and make sure your passport hasn’t expired. Contact your nearest Japanese diplomatic mission in Australia, to find out what your options are.
It can be difficult to find an appropriate place to live in Japan, since accommodation is expensive and there’s fierce competition in the cities. Most expats choose to rent an apartment, or opt for shared accommodation in large houses. It’s a good idea to go through a real estate agent who understands Japanese and can provide a list of options that meet your needs. If you’re hoping to live in the heart of a city, be prepared to pay a lot more. This is also true if you’re looking at newer houses.
Signing a lease in Japan is generally a one or two year commitment. Keep in mind that rent is usually paid in advance for the following month and there may also be an additional maintenance fee in some apartment buildings.
If you’re seeking short-term accommodation while you find your footing, there are a number of options ranging from Western style hotels and Airbnb to traditional Japanese inns (ryokans).
You’ll also need to get travel insurance, sort out your bank details and read up on Japanese quarantine laws to make sure you don’t pack anything that’s not allowed in the country.
It’s important to familiarise yourself with Japanese customs, since Japan is rooted in hundreds of years of tradition and respect is a key part of their culture. Bowing when you greet someone and taking off your shoes before you enter a house are two practices you’ll experience daily.
Learning Japanese will definitely help you fit in and get around. It’s not a bad idea to carry around a notebook filled with common words and phrases, emergency numbers and information about public transport. You never know when you may need to flip through your notes in a hurry.
Going out of your way to do this groundwork will give you the peace of mind you need to hop on a plane and say “konichiwa” to your new home, without any regrets.