Moving from Australia to Japan

For Australians considering a move to Japan, you may find yourselves asking, ‘Where do I start?’ As with any international move, there are visas and residencies to organise as well as cultural differences to get accustomed with.

Japan is a great place for Australians looking to expand their horizons in business as well as experience a new and exciting culture. Japan is home to delicious food, stunning landscapes and modern cities, all of which make it an exciting and interesting place for everyone for goes there.

Japan has a population of around 127 million people, with around 2.4 million of those being expats. There are a number of Expat social groups in Japan, so if you are an Australian considering a move to Japan, try to reach out to those groups with any questions that you might have as expat groups are an excellent resource for information and advice. These groups will also be helpful once you arrive in Japan as they be helpful for you and your family when making friends.  

Japan, or the Land of the Rising Sun, is not only home to some of the cleanest and most advanced cities in the world, but also home to stunning landscapes that include Mt Fuji and Takachiho Gorge. In the months of March through May, Japan is known to transform into a pink wonderland as the cherry blossoms come alive and, as Autumn creeps up, the colours will change to oranges and yellows.   

Moving to Japan

For Australians wishing to move to Japan, it is advisable to get your Visa and residence permit prior to your arrival. Whilst Australians are lucky enough to be able to enter Japan for a short-term stay without a visa, you will need to have one if you wish to live there.

Finances in Japan

It is relatively simple to open a bank account in Japan, so long as you have all the appropriate documents. Japan is home to one of the world’s best banking systems, so you will be well looked after when you open a bank account in Japan.

If you wish to transfer large amounts of money into your new Japanese bank account, you will want to be sure that you are getting the best possible conversion rate. Using a money transfer service provider can save you headaches and stress. Allied Pickfords partner with TorFx to give you competitive rates on your money conversions. Click here to learn more about TorFx.

The Australian dollar will generally get you between 75 and 85 Japanese Yen depending on the current economy and cost of living is fairly similar to Australia. Cost of living is higher in the major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, so if you wish to save money consider living outside of a major city.

Taxes

If you are living and working in Japan, you will need to pay tax. There are three classifications of taxpayers in Japan:

  •         Resident taxpayer
  •         Non-permanent resident taxpayer
  •         Non-resident taxpayer

Japan and Australia have entered into a treaty which helps ensure that Australians living in Japan do not pay tax in both Australia and Japan. You can familiarise yourself with this agreement here.

Visa and Immigration

Before moving to Japan, you should check the different visa and immigration requirements in Japan. Whilst Australians can enter into Japan for short stays without a visa, living there will be a different story. The Japanese Embassy in Australia should be the first place you go to find out the different visa requirements for your move to Japan.

Finding a home in Japan

Housing in Japan is generally slightly cheaper than in Australia, however, you will find that living spaces are often smaller.

According to quality of life and affordability, the following are the top 4 cities to live in Japan:

  •         Fujisawa
  •         Tokyo
  •         Nishinomiya
  •         Matsuyama

Choosing the right home for you and your family can be the difference between loving and hating it. Make sure that you include everyone in your family in the discussion on where to reside in Japan.

Sit down with your family and compile a list of what each person would like from their new home. This might be proximity to a swimming pool or sporting ground, being able to walk to work, or even things such as having a walk-in wardrobe or en suite. Maybe you wish to live in a suburb which is quite leafy or one which is closer to the central business district.

Bringing your Furniture and Household Belongings into Japan

Before you bring all of your furniture and household belongings into Japan, do some research around things that you will not be able to bring into the country. Please be aware that you will need to be in the country when your belongings arrive. If you are sending your belongings via air, then you will need to get all your documents sorted prior to sending, as transit time is shorter and Japan will require your documents prior to your belongings arrival if you are to avoid unnecessary charges such as airport storage. Allied Pickfords can help you with any questions that you have regarding what you can and can’t bring into Japan.

What can’t you bring into Japan?

This article gives you a good, general idea of what you can not bring into Japan, however, you should always check with local authorities before bringing something that you are unsure about into the country. The Japanese embassy website is another great resource for finding out what you can not bring into the country.

Healthcare

People in Japan are blessed with the worlds longest life expectancy, and that is the result of a range of factors such as a great diet and an excellent healthcare system.

Japanese residents pay a monthly premium into the public healthcare system. This is compulsory and is deducted from their salary. If the premium is not deducted directly from salary, then Japanese residents must remember to pay their premium regularly. The Japanese healthcare system means that people in Japan are only responsible for 30% of the cost of the service, whilst the government will take care of the remaining 70%. Some workplaces will offer to cover the 30% as an additional health insurance.  

If you will be spending more than a year in Japan, you will be able to use the Japanese National Healthcare Insurance. For those planning on spending less than a year in Japan, consider looking into an international health insurance policy.    

Emergency services

When moving to a new country it is always important to be aware of their emergency services numbers. Familiarise yourself with the following numbers, as you never know when you may need them!

  •         Police:110
  •         Coastguard: 118
  •         Fire brigade/Ambulance/Emergency rescue: 119

School in Japan

If you will be moving to Japan with children, you will need to consider what you will be doing for school in Japan.

Japan has a high number of international schools to choose from, or you can choose to send your child to a Japanese school. It is a good idea to organise your child’s school enrolment prior to arrival in Japan, so that there will be no gap between arriving in Japan and when your child starts school.

The Japanese schooling system is structured similar to the Australian schooling system with 6 years of Primary school, 3 years of middle school and 3 years of senior school.

International schools in Japan have a high number of children of expats along with children from Japanese parents who wish for their children to learn English. International schools will host children from all over the world, not only Australia, and are a great opportunity for your child to learn about not only Japanese culture but also the different cultures from around the world.

The different international schools in Japan will often have different focuses. For example, at the American international schools they follow the American curriculum and at the British international schools they will from the British curriculum.

Language

Depending on what industry you work in, it is advised that you have a basic understanding of the Japanese language if you wish to work in Japan. If you work in Tokyo or Osaka, it will be a bit easier as more people will be able to speak English. When you arrive in Japan, you should consider enrolling yourself in Japanese classes. Learning to speak the language will help you in your day to day activities as well as give you a better understanding of the Japanese culture.

Daily life in Japan

The Japanese people are widely considered to have some of the best quality of life in the world. This is largely due to the culture of respect and cleanliness that is present in their everyday lives. The Japanese live their lives being respectful to those around them as well as having respect for their themselves.  Only recently at the 2018 soccer world cup in Russia; Japanese fans were reported as staying back after the match was finished and helping to clean up the stadium. This kind of behaviour is an example of the kind of behaviour that is taught in Japanese schools and you can expect to see evidence of it all over in Japan.

Public transport in Japan is some of the best in the world, with Bullet trains which can take you from one side of the country in Tokyo to Kyoto in under 3 hours. The excellent public transport system means that you have the option of working in one of Japan’s major cities but living in a town outside of the city.

There is no doubt that you will have heard about the amazing technology that is found throughout Japan. From high tech toilets to capsule hotels and robot restaurants, the technology in Japan is like nowhere else in the world. Japan is also blessed with some of the best high-speed internet services in the world, so you can remain connected to your family in Australia easily.

Food in Japan

Food in Japan is delicious as well as varied. You will be able to enjoy traditional Japanese dishes like Okonomiyaki, Ramen, Tempura and Yakisoba. The food in different regions of Japan will vary slightly, however, all of it will impress. You can find traditional western food in Japan; however, it will come at very inflated prices and when there is so much great local cuisine to try, you might as well stick with the Japanese food.   

Chopsticks are the eating tool of choice in Japan, so try and practice with them before you arrive in Japan. In many instances you may be required to use them when eating out at restaurants, so it will pay off for you to learn how to use them correctly, so as to impress your Japanese peers and colleagues.

Table manners are also incredibly important in Japan. Rules include the following:

  •         Never pass food with your chopsticks
  •         Never stick your chopsticks into your rice (This is representative of something that happens at funerals)
  •         Do not pour your own drink at restaurants – someone else should pour it for you
  •         Use both hands when pouring a drink for your friend
  •         Always finish your food completely – it is considered rude to waste anything in Japan and food is no exception

If you have children that you will be sending to a Japanese school, you may be surprised by the Japanese tradition of ‘bento’ boxes. This is the tradition of crafting your child’s lunch to resemble Japanese cartoon characters such as Hello Kitty and Pikachu. In an article for the ABC, Journalist Catherine Taylor reported being ‘lunchbox shamed’ when she did not partake in this tradition.

Bringing your pet into Japan

If you are moving overseas to Japan with one of your furry friends, you will need to adhere to the different laws and regulations surrounding importing pets into Japan. Allied Pickfords can help you with getting your beloved pet into Japan. To bring your pet into Japan, you will need to make sure that you fill out all of the relevant documents. You must file an Advanced Notification Form at least 40 days prior to import. There are also a number of additional health checks and certificates that you will need to obtain before you can bring your pet into Japan.   

When you move to Japan, choose to move with Allied Pickfords. We have been moving people locally and internationally for over 300 years. If you want a smooth, uncomplicated move to Japan, choose Allied Pickfords, the careful movers.

Call 13 25 54 for a free removal quote today.