Life Hack

Moving Experience in Japan

Moving house in Japan

[Credit: Ride Corp]



Moving has never been easy because of all the packing, cleaning, and unpacking you’ve to get done but moving in Tokyo while you are not that proficient in Japanese the whole process can be quite tedious.

For me, although I consider myself Japanese illiterate, somehow I managed to settle it all by myself. If not, my advice is to bring a friend as a translator. It was quite an experience that I think sharing it here may be a bit useful for other non-Japanese speaker fellow.


First, new house search, you can go to a real estate company to survey about the apartments or room. There are some agencies that offer you a solution without those start-up money, however, no one gives you anything for free, so those accommodation have usually an higher rent and it is actually cheaper to rent a place paying some ‘start up money’ but with lower rent, if you are planning to stay in Japan for more than 3 months. Surf the net by yourself is a always an option and good news is there are many websites in English and there are also housing management company that have international support with English speaking staff to assist you from room viewing to contract made in English. If not you may need a really good Kanji Cheat sheet about house search or the best is have a friend to help you because it can be very complicated. Room renting in Japan on first move in you may have to pay the rent, deposit, key money, a management fee, and a processing fee or some other expense which can be carried in different place so it is best to understand the terms and condition in the contract as well as the house rules.


Once you get the new place, next inform your landlord according to the amount of notice specified in your contract; pay the final fees (also in the contract). Also you may have the gas and electricity, internet turned off. This means you will have to contact all of these companies individually, informing them about the day you will leave so they will agree on an appointment where they will come and do the final bill check and you’ll pay them cash on the spot.


Next, is about the logistic issue. Here is the tips; you may start collecting “free boxes” from the supermarket, drugstore, or a home center earlier before you move. Also get newspaper and duct tape. I recommend getting a little more than you think you will need for each item. If you do not drive a car, it is either you get a friend who does so, or pay for a delivery service. For instance, to deliver a washing machine within the same area costs around 5000 yen. Takkyuubin (宅急便) is a popular delivery company in Japan they even have English and Chinese speaking staff to help you over the phone.

Once you get all the packing and moving done you can relax. No yet, more to come.


Next, is about the legal issue. You will need to go to the city office of your previous address to inform them that you are moving out and get the move out notification letter. Then you will have to go to the City Office of the new address to present the move out notification letter and register into the new address and update the address at the back of Residence (“Zairyu”) Card and health insurance.


Last but not least you need to visit the Post Office to have mail sent from your old address to your new address, go to the nearest post office and ask for a “Tensou Todoke”. This can be done before moving and you can specify which day to start the services.

Hope these will be more or less helpful for you moving. Good luck!

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