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Moving to Japan

Moving to Japan offers an adventure into a world where ancient traditions meet futuristic living. From the fast-paced life of its bustling urban centres to the serene landscapes of rural Japan, this country promises expats a great quality of life. Whether it’s the cutting-edge technology, the tranquil shrines, the nation’s unique culture, or Japan’s extraordinary cuisine that draws you, our guide is here to simplify your move. Discover essential tips for seamlessly transitioning to life in Japan, a place unlike any other!

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

What Is the Cost of Moving to Japan from the UK?

Most of what you’ll spend moving to Japan from the UK depends comes down to the volume of your items, and how you decide to ship your stuff. The most budget-friendly way to relocate to Japan is typically by shipping in a container via sea freight. Based on our experience, Japan removals are about £2,000 on average with this shipping method.

Take a look at the table for the ballpark on moving to Japan from the UK by sea shipping:

City Destination20 Foot Shipping Container40 Foot Shipping Container
Tokyo£1,400 – £1,700£2,200 – £3,000
Yokohama£1,500 – £1,700£2,100 – £2,650
Kobe£1,350 – £1,630£1,950 – £2,350

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Transport Options: Ocean Voyage vs. Sky Route

Deciding how to transport your items to Japan involves two primary methods: ocean freight or air transport. Regardless of which method you go for, larger home goods consignments are usually transported in 20 and 40-foot containers. Let’s explore these options in more detail:

1. Ocean Freight

Opting for sea transport is significantly more economical, though it typically takes 8 to 9 weeks for shipments from London to Tokyo by sea, accounting for customs clearance.

2. Air Freight

For those requiring expedited shipping, air freight offers a swift but pricier alternative. It’s best suited for smaller shipments due to the higher cost—expect charges to be 5-10 times more than sea freight. However, items can arrive in Japan in as little as 1-3 days, making it a viable option for urgent moves.

Essential Add-on Moving Services for Japan

When planning your relocation to Japan, exploring additional services can significantly ease the transition. Beyond the transport of your belongings over to Japan, consider the benefits of specialised services tailored to your needs. Whether it’s expert packing, dismantling of furniture, secure storage, thorough cleaning services, or itemisation of your belongings for customs, there is a whole variety of services out there. These are all designed to make your move to Japan a breeze, taking care of the nitty-gritty so you can focus on the excitement ahead.

Here’s the ballpark for some of the most frequented additional services:

Service About the service Cost estimate
Packing There is no fixed fee. The cost mainly depends on the number of rooms and if there is anything special or oversized. £180 – £350
Packing Materials Be prepared to invest a bit of money on: cardboard boxes, plastic containers, wrapping materials, labels, etc.
£75 – £150
HandymanA handyman can dismantle and install electrical and lighting fixtures, appliances, etc. £50 p/h
Storage Depending on your situation, you may need some storage space for meanwhile you finalise the details of the move. £30 p/w
Cleaning The prices greatly differ from company to company, so it’s best to ask for a personalised quote. You may need cleaning services for end of tenancy cleaning, regular cleaning, deep cleaning, carpet cleaning, etc. Approximately £15 p/h

Top Tips for Your Move to Japan

Ready to say sayonara to your current abode to set out on your new life in Japan? Excellent! To help make your transition as smooth as possible, we’ve compiled a nifty guide with essential tips for navigating the logistical, cultural, and practical aspects of your Japan relocation:

1. Securing the Best Moving Quote

Bringing in the pros for your UK-to-Japan relocation is like adding extra hours to your day. Yet, choosing the ideal international moving company goes beyond just considering the cost. Each removal company may offer different services, pricing structures, and levels of experience, so it’s essential to cast a wide net and compare quotes. That way, you’ll be best equipped to make an informed decision that ensures a smooth and stress-free relocation to Japan.

2. Picking the Right International Remover

Luckily, finding a trustworthy moving company for your relocation to Japan is easy with a platform like ours. Just tell us what you need on our online form, and we’ll connect you with the best suitable moving providers from our extensive database. We’ll then provide you with no-obligation quotes, completely free of charge.

We guarantee that all quotes come from credible international movers, ensuring you receive only genuine estimates. Our quotes are 100% fair and honest, giving you the confidence to make the best choice for your move.

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3. Organising Your Affairs in the UK and Japan

Ensure your affairs are in order, both in the UK and Japan, well before your move. The most crucial aspect will likely be securing your visa. Whether you’re off to work or joining a company transfer, getting that paperwork sorted is the first step toward a smooth transition.

4. Will You Need to Learn Japanese?

While not always necessary for all expatriates, especially in big cities like Tokyo and Osaka, a basic understanding of Japanese can do wonders. It will help you adapt, assimilate into the community and avoid those awkward lost-in-translation moments.

5. Embracing Life in Japan

Japan is a place of contrasts: From neon-lit city streets to serene landscapes of the countryside. It’s more than just efficient, ultra-modern cities, top-notch transport and a high standard of living. It’s a country rich in mountains, lush forests and a unique biodiversity.

You’ll have a wealth of outdoor activities like hiking and skiing right outside your door—even if you live in the city you’ll likely be just a train ride away from tranquil nature and temples around the city. Just remember, Japan’s part of the Ring of Fire, so nature can be a bit lively.

6. Diving into Japanese Culture

The country is deeply rooted in Shinto and Buddhist traditions, evident in its annual festivals and daily practices, yet many Japanese say they’re not tied to religion. As a fascinating mix of traditional and contemporary, Nippon’s rich culture spans ancient art forms (such as tea ceremonies, bonsai, kabuki, origami, and Zen practices), to contemporary art (like anime, manga, installation art, street fashion, and photography). Not to mention Japan’s culinary scene, globally famous for crafting the kind of umami that’ll make your taste buds do a happy dance.


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