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Dreaming of a new life in Japan? From understanding the culture to exploring the best places to live, we know you’ll have lots of questions!

With over 165 years of moving experience, we have a great deal of history in international removals and can advise you on every stage of your relocation. We offer a complete service that can be tailored to your needs and includes expert packing, shipping, storage and delivery.

Moving to Japan?


Why Move to Japan?

With a technologically modern reputation, a leading economy, vibrant pop culture and delicious food, it’s no wonder that Japan is so attractive to British citizens looking for a new life overseas. In fact, in 2023, Japan was ranked 13th in the Quality of Life Index - that’s a whopping 9 places above the United Kingdom. 

The lifestyle in Japan is said to be far healthier than in many Western countries, with a focus on clean food. Many locals have a vegetarian diet that includes food which is high in nutrients but low in calories. Outdoor activities are heavily promoted and as a society, the Japanese typically look after their community, which has a positive impact on stress levels.

If you are moving to Japan with young children, or planning to start a family after you arrive, you can rest assured knowing that there is a great education system on offer in Japan, with extremely high academic standards. Unusually, the school year runs from April until March, but terms are still separated by a variety of breaks between terms. 

Man in traditional Japanese clothing holding an umbrella and walking alongside orange columns

How to Move to Japan

Moving to Japan permanently will require a suitable visa. There are various options available depending on your circumstances and it is highly recommended to research any requirements before committing to your move. Depending on your career, you may be able to apply for a working visa which will allow you up to 5 years in the country. There is a points-based system in place in Japan which means highly-skilled professionals are seen as more desirable and therefore given priority. 

You can explore the visas available via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

Japanese Culture

The culture in Japan is a refreshing mix of valued tradition and modern development. The population is diverse and many religions coexist across the country including Shinto, Christianity and Buddhism.

Traditional sports such as Sumo, Judo and Kendo are practised in equal measures, making a great activity for both spectators and participants. Other popular sports include baseball, figure skating and football, so there really is something for everyone. 

When it comes to Japanese cuisine, you’ll notice there is a passion amongst the locals for the many delicacies on offer. Be it sushi, noodles, donburi or mochi, the flavours are fresh and delicious. The diverse food offering alters with the season when different local produce becomes available. The experience of eating out in Japan is important and there are countless restaurants, food markets and even Japanese pubs offering high-quality meals. 

Manners and etiquette are highly respected in Japan, with various social conventions practised such as the bow, which is used by many Japanese locals to greet one another, apologise or give thanks. It is also expected to remove footwear when entering buildings such as guesthouses, temples and other people's homes. Of course, you won’t be expected to know all of this when you arrive, but having a basic knowledge of social etiquette may ease the transition into a new community.

Stone statue of a Sumo wrestler in Japan on a clear day


As you would expect with such a high life expectancy, healthcare in Japan is one of the best systems in the world. It is compulsory for expats to have healthcare coverage and you should always be able to prove that you have a plan in place. Depending on the plan that you choose you will typically make a salary sacrifice and then pay a percentage towards any healthcare costs you incur.

Costs vary dramatically depending on the treatment you require and the type of doctor that you see. With a health insurance plan in place, you should expect to pay an approximate fee of up to £70 for a clinic consultation.

Working in Japan

The work-life balance in Japan is vastly different to what is typically expected of workers in the UK, but the reward of a higher salary can be hard to ignore. Long work hours and dedication are required to succeed in Japan, so much so that the Japanese often see their colleagues as extended family. 

With many international companies having a presence in Japanese cities, being able to speak Japanese is not always necessary, however, your opportunities will naturally be far greater if you can. Networking is a great way to find a job in this difficult market, so after-work drinks may be beneficial when looking for a new role. 

Tokyo skyline at dusk

Living in Japan

With a variety of cities and rural areas to choose from, there is lots of research to be done before deciding where to live in Japan. Here are some of the most popular options.


The capital city of Tokyo is a common choice for expats, despite the high cost of living. If you are unable to speak Japanese then Tokyo could be a great place to start your new life, with many English-speaking locals and international expats in the area. There are lots of exciting activities, shopping centres, good nightlife and a great food scene on offer in the capital.

Nara City

The historical Nara City boasts one of the lowest costs of living in the country, as well as Japanese heritage to explore at the weekend, such as temples and shrines. The city is seen to be protected by the many deer that live there, so it’s no place for anyone with a fear of animals!


With lower living expenses than the capital city, the approachable community feel in Osaka is popular amongst foreigners who choose to reside there. With mild winters and hot, humid summers, Osaka is certainly more suited to those who enjoy a warmer climate. It is important to consider that there are fewer jobs available here and communication can sometimes be difficult with fewer locals able to speak English, however, Kyoto, Nara and Kobe are close by. 

Moving to Japan with Bishop’s Move

Ready to begin your removal to Japan? Our removal services are comprehensive and bespoke to your requirements, and our professionally trained packers can remove a lot of the stress that comes with moving overseas. Simply get in touch and we can help you get the process started. 

Our expertise, 165 years of experience and high standards for removals and storage mean that you can be confident that your belongings are in safe hands with Bishop’s Move. You can also be safe in the knowledge that should you need to return to the UK, we can help with moving you back in exactly the same way.