A Small Guide to Moving Around Japan

Over the past month, I quit my old job and started a new one. I am so happy to be free from my previous position. I did not like working there. The hours were horrible and the pay was just okay. I am glad that I met the people that I did, but it’s great to have a life again.

Anyways, I started a new job and I’m enjoying it. I’m able to learn new things, my work hours are way better and the pay is better too. Before I started my new position, I had to move from Tokyo to Shizuoka. This was the sixth time I’ve moved in my life, and the second time I’ve moved within the same country. The first time was when I moved from Longyou to Nanjing.

Moving was a process. Two peoples worth of clothing, shoes, kitchen appliances and other miscellaneous items had to be moved from Tokyo to a small city in Shizuoka. Before doing some research, I had no idea how we were going to do it. Unlike China, the fast train here is mainly used for travel. In China, people will move large suitcases and boxes on the fast train.

All of this to say, if you are trying to move from city to city in Japan, here are some tips on how to make your move smoother.

1. Yamato Transport

Yamato Transport will save your save your neck, literally. They will pick up your boxes and suitcases and ship them directly to your new apartment for a reasonable price. Also, they have an English helpline where you can schedule your pickup. The day before we moved, we were able to ship 4 large suitcases, 1 small suitcase and about 10 boxes for $180. The amount is based off of the weight and size of the items. You can expect to spend about 1500 yen per item, about $15. Below is a photo of the numbers you can use to set up your pickup and a link to Yamato Transport’s website;


2. Nitori

Nitori is like Ikea, however, they have more options that are suitable for a Japanese home. Most items are fairly priced at Nitori. However, some items are a little overpriced. Nobody needs to pay 600 yen for a small trashcan for their bathroom. We were able to get different organizers for the closet, living room and kitchen, as well as a few appliances. To set up the whole apartment, beds included, we spent about $700.

3. Registration Paperwork

When I was moving, I had a limited amount of time to get all of my paperwork finished. Something that you will have to do, especially if you are changing jobs, is to go to your local city hall and tell them that you are moving. If you don’t do this, you won’t be able to register in your new city. Then you will have to wait up to two weeks to get your residency removed from your former city and registered in your new city. Trust me, try to do this before you leave.

4. Make a Friend at Your Bank

The bank that I use is great and foreigner-friendly. The majority of the staff speaks English and are quite helpful. If you do plan to move and keep the same bank account, make a friend at your bank. One of the bankers is someone I spoke to often and she was able to send me important documents that I needed for my new job. Make sure to get their card and ask them the best people to contact in time-sensitive situations.

That’s my small guide to moving around Japan. If you have any tips, please feel free to mention them in the comments below. You never know who you might help!

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