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Moving to Japan

A How-To Guide for Soon-to-be Expats

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Are you planning a move to Japan from the UK? Excited? Nervous? Both? It’s definitely a long way from home, but there’s a mix of tradition, modernity, and kawaii culture to look forward to! Moving to Japan will be the experience of a lifetime, you just must get there first. Thus, read our guide on removals to Japan from the UK which has information on moving costs, great tips, an amazing checklist, and free removals quotes to help you on your way to the Land of the Rising Sun.

The Cost of Moving to Japan from the UK

Moving halfway across the world to the Land of the Rising Sun won’t be a cheap affair, so strap in while we detail to you the costs of international removals from the UK to Japan. To give you an idea of the average cost of moving to Japan, for an average 3-bedroom house, the price can be between £7,000-£9,400, which is a fair price considering the country is 6,000 miles away, as the crow flies.

If you’re curious to learn even more about the costs that you can expect during your move, why not read our international moving costs page. It’s very informative, if we may say so. 😉

So, how much do removals to Japan from the UK cost if you don’t have an average 3-bedroom house? Well, that depends on a couple of cost factors, but the biggest factor is volume. Let’s look at some estimates for the cost of moving to Tokyo from the UK, by sea, for different household sizes to give you an idea of its effect:

Size of HouseholdShipping TimeCost
1-bed flat9-11 weeks£3,000-£4,700
2-bed house6-8 weeks£4,500-£7,200
3-bed house6-8 weeks£7,000-£9,400
4-bed house6-8 weeks£8,900-£10,900
5-bed house6-8 weeks£10,500-£14,200

Disclaimer: The rates shown above are just estimates. The cost of removals to Japan will vary depending on your exact point of departure and the service rates of the company.

Wondering why a 1-bed flat takes longer? Well, it has to do with the volume. Since a small removal to Japan won’t fill a container, thus for a full container the removal company will wait for a full load. If you’re curious, why not calculate the volume of your removal!

International Movers Japan

Discover the top container shipping companies specializing in Japan on our list. These professionals will handle your shipping needs and guarantee an efficient transition. Compare and explore their profiles down below!

1. John Mason International Movers

2. Doree Bonner International

3. Abels Moving Services

Find Your Perfect International Removal Company!

It’d be remiss of us not to mention the option of hiring a removal company for your move to Japan. They’ll take care of all the hard stuff for you, such as customs and logistics –just don’t forget to help them by providing some of the necessary paperwork!

However, while a removal company will help with some of the common struggles of removals to Japan from the UK, finding one will only sap away your energy and time. You have to search online through hundreds of companies to find one that can help, what a bore! But don’t fret, it doesn’t have to be so hard, fill in the form below and Sirelo will receive up to 5 removal companies for you for free. Pretty nifty, right?

Need Help with Removals to Japan?
Click below to receive free removal quotes and save on your move!

How to Move to Japan from the UK: A Checklist

Most people find moving stressful, especially when they don’t have an amazing checklist to help plan and organise their move. Since our goal is to help you breathe a little easier during this moving ordeal, we’ve created a general page about moving abroad with a checklist for those relocating to a new country.

But like every nation, Japan has its twists and turns. So, we have taken the time to compile a list of some additional things to consider when moving to Japan from the UK.

Before You Move to Japan:

Important documents

Gather up all your important documents and store them in a safe and accessible location. You should even make duplicates!

  • Passport
  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Medical Documentation (including dental and immunizations)
  • University Degree(s) and qualification(s)
  • Police Background Check
  • Visa

Getting a Visa for Japan

As a UK citizen, if you are planning on moving to Japan for a period of time longer than 90 days, you’ll require a visa. We know, more paperwork is not what you want on your to-do list, but we promise it will all feel worth it when you’re gorging on sushi with views of Mount Fuji!

Sirelo tip: To help your visa application along, consider asking an employer, your school, or your spouse to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility on your behalf. Anything that’ll speed up the acceptance of your application is worth it!

For a smoother UK to Japan move, consider an international removal company.


This is no ordinary move, it’s a removal to Japan which sits almost halfway around the world! Thus, we can imagine that you’ll be looking for some extra advice when packing, so why not read our expert packing guide. With many great tips, it’ll save you time.

️ Tax

While the word tax might make you shiver, the consequences of not informing HMRC that you are moving abroad will be much worse.

Of course, it doesn’t end there since you’ll need to pay taxes in Japan. If you want more information about taxes in Japan, you can visit the Japanese National Tax Agency for more information.

Moving to Japan is an adventure

After You Move to Japan:

Resident Record

When you arrive in Japan with a visa to remain for more than 3 months, you’ll need to register in the resident record. As it’s organised on a municipal level, you will have to apply at the local office. It’s best to prioritise registering as you’ll need it for banking and healthcare.

Banking in Japan

If you don’t fancy struggling with conversion fees and contacting your bank, opening an account with a local bank will be the option for you. However, you will find it a little difficult as most banks will operate in Japanese. Fortunately, some banks offer services in English. So, consider one of the following options:


Given that Japan has the world’s longest life expectancy, they must be doing something right! There is no doubt that their remarkable healthcare system deserves to take some of the credit. Healthcare is public, universal and mandatory, including for those who are moving to Japan from overseas.

Sounds like a good thing to buy into if you ask us! Depending on your situation, there are two types of health insurance:

  • Social Health Insurance (SHI): For people with a full-time job and paid through your salary
  • National Health Insurance (NHI): For students, freelancers and jobs that don’t do SHI.

Of course, the insurance doesn’t stop at the public options, you can also avail of a private option for extra coverage.

 Learn the Language

If there’s one thing that you’ll need to integrate into Japan, it’s the ability to speak Japanese. We understand that that may seem like a scary prospect, why wouldn’t it be with three different writing systems! However, it will prove beneficial for your social life, work, and impressive to people back home. Ganbattemasu (do your best)!

 Moving to Japan with pets

To move to Japan with pets, it’s important to know that there are strict import guidelines that you must follow. So, to be able to bring your furry friend, they must:

  • Be Microchipped
  • Have received rabies vaccinations
  • Pass a serological test for rabies vaccine 3 months before travel
  • Be in good health and have accompanying medical records

Finally, you must warn the Japanese Animal Quarantine Centre of your pets’ arrival. It sounds like a lot of work. But as long as you are organised, it’ll be pretty easy, and no man (or indeed animal) shall be left behind!

Life in Japan as a British Expat

Of course, planning an international removal from the UK to Japan will be hard work, but there’s plenty to look forward to when you’re finally living in Japan. Once you’ve settled in, you can plan a trip to an Onsen (hot spring) to relax your aching muscles. After, you can dig into the tastes from adzuki bean mochi to zaru-soba!

The Cost of Living in Japan

Moving to Japan from the UK is a hugely exciting adventure. However, we hate to be the bearers of bad news, but we’re afraid to say that living in Japan does not come cheap. Of course, there are some caveats. If you happen to be a fan of dining out, you’ll be glad to know it’s cheaper in Japan, along with cheaper rents, and a better salary, it works out to be pretty good.

To give you a rough idea of living costs in Japan, below is a table with an average cost of living metrics across the whole country, compared to the UK.

Rent for 1 bedroom apartment in the city centre£613£758
Basic monthly utilities for an 85m2 apartment£156£156
1L of milk£1.42£0.91
0.5L of draught beer£3.23£3.63
1L gasoline£1.02£1.27

Just note, the average rent in Tokyo does not fall close to this average; a one-bedroom apartment is a whopping £1,550.

Moving to Japan

Finding Your New Home

If you’re moving to Japan, you’ll need somewhere to rest your head at the end of the day. Naturally, you have the option of renting or buying a house, each of which comes with its own challenge.

For renting, be aware that you might be asked for a guarantor. This creates a problem as it’s usually expected to be a family member, but it is often common for landlords to accept employers, universities, or a specialised guarantor company (a hoshonin-giasha).

When buying, you might be glad to know that you don’t need special permission to buy a house in Japan, you can just buy a house! This is because housing isn’t seen as an investment and, as a result, the value of the house will decrease over time. Furthermore, unless you have a resident visa for Japan, you’ll find it difficult to secure a loan.

Below are some sites that you can use to find a home in Japan:

Want to Work in Japan?

If you are moving to Japan from the UK and are still in search of a job, do not panic; the Japanese unemployment rate is just 2.6%! Nonetheless, we know how overwhelming a job search can be, not least on an entirely different continent.

A good start is to check out the following online portals before moving to Japan:

If you’re still at a loose end, we recommend this article from an insider expert on finding work in Japan.

Sirelo tip: Know your audience! Japanese workplaces tend to enforce quite a strict hierarchy. So, think twice before high-fiving your boss, it’s safe to say that it probably won’t get you in their good books.

Time to Get a Move on to Japan!

Yatta (It’s done)! You’ve made it to the end. That was quite informative, wasn’t it? You’re probably almost ready to set sail to Japan yourself at this point with all the expert knowledge we’ve imparted.

Chotto matte kudasai (please wait)! Before you jump into planning a removal to Japan, we like to always recommend people read a little more, you can never be too prepared. So, you will find some useful articles linked below. Otherwise, sayonara!