Moving to Japan from the UK: A How-To Guide

So you are moving to Japan, are you excited? Nervous? Both? To make your move as stress-free as possible, read on to discover all you need to know about relocating to Japan from the UK, including costs, visas, and general advice about life in the Land of the Rising Sun.  

The Cost of Moving to Japan from the UK

We know that minimising the cost of your move is a priority. The exact price will depend on multiple factors, namely the volume and distance of your move. For enquiries about your specific needs and costs, do not hesitate to request up to five free quotes from us. As the cost of your move depends largely on the volume you intend to transport, we have provided you with a handy volume calculator for ultimate ease and accuracy. However, the table below indicates the cost of moving to Tokyo from London, by sea, to give you a rough estimate of how much you should 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

Disclaimer: the rates shown above are just estimates. Costs will vary depending on your actual point of departure and service rates of the company.

Removal companies use a shipping container  to move your belongings to Japan. Choosing to transport your belongings by air will be quicker, but more expensive.  

Moving to Japan?

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How to Move to Japan from the UK: A Checklist

Our moving abroad page contains a general checklist for those relocating to a new country. However, like every nation, Japan has its own twists and turns. We have therefore provided you with information regarding the specific intricacies of moving to Japan from the UK 

Getting a Visa for Japan

As a UK citizen, you are entitled to spend up to 90 days in Japan without a visa (hurrah!) However, if you are planning on moving to Japan for a longer period of time, then a visa is required. We know, more paperwork is not what you want on your to-do list, but we promise it will all feel worth it when your gorging on sushi with views of Mount Fuji!  

To bring that dream one step closer to reality, here is a list of the documents you need to apply for a visa for Japan from the UK 

  • Passport (valid for the entire duration of your stay) 
  • Visa application form  
  • One photograph  
  • Certificate of Eligibility (one original and one copy)  

N.B. Once you have received your visa, a resident record is still required upon your arrival in Japan. Make sure to get this within the first 14 days of your arrival. For more information, visit the UK Embassy of Japan’s website

Banking in Japan

The aforementioned resident record is essential in order to open a Japanese bank account. We suggest you do this as soon as possible upon emigrating to Japan from the UKIf you do not speak Japanese (we don’t judge if not!), we highly recommend setting up your bills in advance while at the bank to save you trawling through Google translate every month.  

Below is a list of the main Japanese banks:

Moving to Japan is an adventure

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

Still need to sort your Healthcare?

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. 

For more information, we recommend this guide to getting health insurance in Japan.

Taking your Pet with you?

Did you know? There are more pets in Japan than there are children! To add your furry friend to this abundant animal community, know that there are strict import guidelines that you must follow. So get prepping as soon as possible.  

Firstly, pets must have a microchip. This then permits them to get two essential rabies vaccinations, administered at least thirty days apart. A blood sample is then required, with a 180 day period allowed after this, before travel. Your veterinary records will have to indicate that the appropriate amount of time as passed. So yes, we repeat, start this process NOW!  

Once this has been completed, you must warn the Japanese Animal Quarantine Centre of your pets arrival. Cor blimey, it sounds like a lot of work. But do not fret, your personal vet should be able to help you. So long as you are organised, no man (or indeed animal) shall be left behind!  

Moving your pet to Japan

Life in Japan as a British Expat

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. However, where in Japan you choose to relocate is obviously a huge variable. If you have a lower budget, stay away from Tokyo. Instead, take advantage of the impeccable Japanese transport system and instead go there just for weekend visits.  

To give you a rough guide on living costs in Japan, below is a table with average cost of living metrics across the whole country, compared to the UK. N.B. Average rent in Tokyo does not fall close within this average; a one-bedroom apartment is a whopping £1,550. Just something to bear in mind…  

JapanUK
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
Cappuccino£2.83£2.75
0.5L of draught beer£3.23£3.63
1L gasoline£1.02£1.27

Gaijin houses may be something that you are interested in if you’re planning on moving to Japan solo. They are guest houses that provide furnished accommodation to foreigners. Many have shared facilities, but it can eliminate the stress of finding a guarantor. Read up onhow to find an apartment in Japan  or take a look below for a few sites that you can use: 

Moving to Japan

Transport in Japan

Transport may seem like a strange thing to get excited about, but not when you are moving to Japan from the UK! It is another area of Japanese life that you can expect to be clean, efficient and punctual. I don’t know about you, but we’re sensing a bit of a theme here. 

Trains tend to be the best mode of transport. There is a nationwide railway network, covered by the Japan Rail pass, which you can purchase for a specified period of time. For further information, take a look at this guide on the Japan Rail Pass 

What Next?

Now you know all the essentials about moving to Japan from the UK, it’s time to request up to five free removal quotes. Oh, and don’t forget to brush up on those chopstick skills, knives and forks are few and far between in Japan!