how to move to japan. Asagaya Tokyo shrine

How To Japan #1: Should I move to Japan?!

February 28, 2016

by — Posted in How To Japan


How To Japan: A new series of helpful how-to posts

Welcome to the first post in my new ‘How To Japan’ series.
We’ve been living in Japan for 10 months now, and have overcome a lot of newbie challenges, so I thought it was about time I wrote a useful series of posts helping people who want to move to Japan.

I’m planning to write about a variety topics such as:

  • what to organise before moving to Japan (visas, jobs, accommodation…)
  • practical things you’ll need to know when you first move to Japan (learning Japanese, transport, recycling, bank accounts…)
  • and fun things like going to the movies, eating out, travelling and shopping.


Making the decision to move to Japan

Your decision can be long and complicated, or instinctual and easy. For us, it was mostly the former. We wanted to move to Japan shortly after graduating university, but we listened to the internet too much and decided it was too expensive and too difficult to find jobs. So we moved to Korea instead. After Korea we moved back home for 7 months, and then finalllly made the big move to Japan.

Why did it take us so long? Fear of the unknown, fear of not being able to find a (good) job and not having enough confidence in ourselves!

It doesn’t need to be so difficult.

Just ask yourself a few questions:

a) Am I interested in Japan?

b) Am I looking for an adventure?

c) Can I happily live amongst another culture?

d) Can I afford to ‘miss out’ on my career back home?

Asking for advice

  1. Stay away from online forums! You’ll only find negativity there.
  2. Find some personal blogs which talk about life in Japan. There are plenty of people willing to share their opinions.
  3. Do you know anyone living in Japan? Get in touch with them and talk about their experiences. We contacted 4 people who were currently living in Japan, and received some really interesting advice.
  4. Do you know anyone who has lived in Japan in the past? Or even just been on holiday? Get in touch! Ask about their experiences and learn about their adventures.
  5. Talk to your friends and family. Have they moved overseas before? Do they have any supportive advice?

Asagaya, Tokyo, Japan. Pearl Centre shopping street. How to move to Japan. Amber Eyes Blog


Barriers to moving

Never say never, even if all you hear is “Japan is too expensive”, “You’ll never fit in there”, or “It’s impossible to find a good job in Japan.”

  1. Japan is a lot cheaper than you’ve heard. Yes, it can be very expensive if you choose that lifestyle. It can also be unbelievably cheap. Not cheap like South East Asia cheap, but definitely cheaper than many Western countries. Living in Tokyo, our rent, bills, groceries etc… are a lot cheaper than even living in a small city in New Zealand. There are sooo many food and accommodation options that you can easily save money if you want to.
  2. Sure, you will never be Japanese no matter how well you speak the language, or how long you’ve lived here. But there is room for anyone and everyone in this country (especially in Tokyo). It’s super easy to find people who are interested in the same hobbies, food, countries etc… that you are.
  3. Both Rob and I know from experience that it’s not super difficult to find a good job/career here. I came here determined to never teach English again, and luckily there were plenty of design jobs in English-speaking companies. My first job lasted for 6 weeks, until I found an even better opportunity. 8 months later and I’m still happily working in the best design job I’ve ever had. There are plenty of opportunities if you just keep your eyes open and expand your networks.

The pros of moving to a new country

If you really want to move to Japan, you will end up here sooner or later. It will be that nagging ‘what if…’ thought in the back of your head while you’re going about your normal life. Even if you’re unsure about moving and maybe aren’t that interested in the country, surely getting out of your comfort zone and doing something new is worth trying – right?

If everything goes wrong, you can easily buy a ticket back home. But if everything goes right… you could end up with a boatload of confidence, a tonne of new skills, heaps of new friends, unforgettable memories and an amazing career!

Mt Takao, Tokyo, Japan. How to move to Japan. Amber Eyes Blog


Up next: Finding a Job

My next post will be all about choosing a job in Japan. I’ll go through the most common options, and also the lesser known opportunities. Keep an eye out!


I want to hear from you…

Let me know in the comments:

Have you ever thought about moving to Japan?

Do you really want to move to Japan but you don’t know how?

Is there anything I can help you with?


I’m happy to answer any questions you may have 🙂
Write a comment below, send me an email at:, or find me on the Amber Eyes Facebook page.


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