How to Move to Japan I Living in Japan I Move to Japan I Relocation Guide for Expat to Japan
Relocating to Japan
If you are relocating an executive to Japan or if you are relocating to or within Japan yourself, you have found the right relocation and immigration specialists. Helpxpat provides professional relocation and immigration solutions tailored to the needs of international executives.
For the past 6 years we have consistently relocated corporate executives to live in Japan and their families to, and within, Japan. We are responsive and professional, and always operate with care and sensitivity towards our client’s needs.
Moving to Japan
As an expat destination Japan offers a true opportunity to experience a completely different way of life from that which you are familiar. There are currently around 2 million expats living in Japan with an estimated 75% of these being from neighboring asian countries.
Relocating services in Japan
For the past few years we have consistently relocated corporate executives to live in Japan and their families to, and within, Japan. We are responsive and professional, and always operate with care and sensitivity towards our client’s needs.
If you are planning to relocate to Japan, www.helpxpat.com is best positioned to be your preferred partner of choice for relocation services in Japan
Finding accommodation in Japan
Searching for a new property in Japan can be stressful, time-consuming and very frustrating, often requiring that you view numerous properties that don’t meet your requirements. Helpxpat will save your time by assuring all properties closely suit your needs and reporting back to you with an itinerary. Our consultants in Japan have considerable market knowledge and negotiation skills.
A safer option is to use the services of a relocation agent, who will be able to speak the language and understand the local nuances of the Japan property market.
Types of accommodation in Japan
Apartments are common in Japanese cities and where the majority of expats living in Japan will likely reside. Older buildings with small apartments are known as apato. The buildings are not normally higher than two storeys and are made of wood or light steel, so the walls tend to be thin. Newer buildings with larger apartments are called mansions. These usually have more than two storeys and are made of more hardy materials such as concrete.
Both serviced and unfurnished apartments are available. Serviced apartments are usually furnished and offer regular cleaning and concierge services. Unfurnished apartments sometimes have basic appliances such as a fridge and washer, but many don’t even have lighting.
A popular option with expats in Japan is the gaijin house – shared accommodation in large houses. The set up at these houses varies from house to house, but usually it is inhabited by young expats and Japanese people who are looking to save money over the course of a short-term stay. In some gaijin houses the rooms are mini flatlets with their own bathrooms, while in most others residents will have their own room but will share a kitchen, bathroom and living areas with the other inhabitants.
How to find a home in Japan
If you are planning to relocate to Japan and need assistance to find a home, helpxpat.com enables you to find the most appropriate home for the employee for their budget and lifestyle and to negotiate the best possible lease terms – saving the client and the employee time, financial liability and stress.
Accommodation in Japan is very expensive, and follows a distinct trend: the larger the city, the fiercer the competition, the smaller the living quarters. Therefore, finding appropriate accommodation in Japan can be a challenge for newly arrived expats.
A typical lease in Japan is signed for one or two years. It is standard practice to pay a damages deposit (around one month’s rent, refundable, although hardly ever in full), a ‘key money’ gift to the landlord (usually about two months’ rent), in addition to two months’ rent in advance.
Rent is usually paid in advance for the following month. In some apartment buildings, a maintenance fee may also be required on a monthly basis. Utilities are also not normally included in the monthly rental and will be for the tenant’s own account.
In order to rent accommodation in Japan, expats will generally require a guarantor, usually an employer, to assist them in the process.
Something that is always required when applying to rent in Japan is your residence card with a valid visa. This is because it is illegal to rent an apartment to someone who is not a current resident of Japan, so landlords/agencies need proof of residency before contracts can be signed.
In Japan it is also very common for a Japanese guarantor to be required in order to rent an apartment. This can be anyone from a Japanese friend to a Japanese relative or Japanese employer/colleague. In essence it is someone Japanese (living in Japan) who agrees to be a guarantee of rent payment for the landlord/agency should you not make your payments. If you do not have a Japanese guarantor, there are several guarantor agencies that you can use instead, although these do come with a price and contracts may need to be renewed annually.
In some cases it is also required to provide a certificate of employment/ copy of your work contract or proof of income. This is another way for the landlord/agency to guarantee that you will be able to pay your rent.
When signing a new lease contract it may also be required for you to use a Hanko (signature stamp) rather than a written signature, so, if you do not already possess a Hanko, you may have to purchase one.
It is also good to note that most leases are for two years and there are sometimes financial consequences for breaking a contract earlier than the lease period. This is less common however if you use a real estate agency/ landlord that services for expatriates, as leases can be shorter or adapted depending on your length of stay.
Choosing a right school in Japan
International schools in Japan
International schools are one of the most popular options for expat families considering education for their children in Japan. The accreditation systems and curricula of these institutions vary depending on the type of school and the child’s national origin. Most will teach in English, but there are also schools that cater specifically to French, German, Portuguese, Chinese and Korean expats, as well as some other nationalities.
The majority of schools cater specifically to kindergarten, elementary and middle grades as high school is considered optional in Japan, but a few schools do go up to Grade 12. Many schools use an American-based curriculum, while some utilise the British or Canadian system. Some schools also incorporate a religious curriculum (typically Christian-based), but not all do so.
Admission requirements for international schools vary widely and, of course, depend on the school. Some require a certain level of English ability (if English is not the child’s first language). Many require students to reside near the school, as very few schools have boarding facilities. Tuition and costs also vary, and aside from basic tuition costs, there may be additional costs for uniforms, backpacks, field trips, bus services and even technology fees.
Relocation agencies in Japan
Helpxpat specialise in helping people move and are set up to relieve employees of the issues that occur when moving to Japan and we offer a wide range of services and provide aid in every aspect of your relocation – from visa struggles and work permits, to transport and finding housing.
Relocating without any assistance and help can quickly evolve into a matter of frustration, confusion and surrender – Our expert expat team is ready to get your relocation going, so why not jump-start your move abroad and contact us today? Best to start early!
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