Moving to Japan
A How-To Guide

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

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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 moving to Japan.

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

So, how much does it cost to move to Japan from the UK, well that depends on a couple of costs factors, which we’ll cover in more detail in a bit. But first, let’s look at some estimates for the cost of moving to Tokyo from UK, by sea, to give you a rough idea of how much you can expect to pay.

Size of HouseholdShipping TimeCost
1-bed flat9-11 weeks£3,000-£4,100
3-bed house6-8 weeks£7,000-£9,400
5-bed house6-8 weeks£10,600-£14,200

Wondering why a 1-bed flat takes longer? Well, it 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 to for a full load. If you’re curious, why not calculate the volume of your removal!

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How to Move to Japan from the UK: A Checklist

Now for the part that people find most stressful when they don’t have an amazing checklist to help plan and organise their move. Since we aim to help, we’ve created a page about moving abroad with a checklist for those relocating to a new country.

Like every nation, Japan has its own twists and turns. So, we have taken the time to compile a list of the most important things for 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!

Find an international removal company

Moving within a city on your own is hard but planning a removal to Japan from the UK will be impossible.Our advice, find an international removal company to make things a little easier.


This is no ordinary move, it’s 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 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 within 14 days of your arrival. As it’s organised on a municipal level, you will have to apply at the local office. Oftentimes, there is the possibility of online registration.

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, there are some banks that 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.

 Learn the Language

If there’s one thing that you’ll need to integrate in 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 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, moving to Japan won’t be all hard work and there’s plenty to look forward to. 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.

To give you a rough idea of living costs in Japan, below is a table with 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 within this average; a one-bedroom apartment is a whopping £1,550.

Moving to 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:

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.

Ready to Move to Japan?

Yatta (It’s done)! You’ve made it to 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 leave, 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!

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