Preparing to Move to Japan

Writer: Prashan J.

Editor: Audrey S. 


For students who are becoming freshmen and who will arrive in Japan for the first time, you might be wondering what good preparation needs to be done before moving to Japan. In this article, I will discuss what you need to prepare for a smooth transition and acclimation to life in Japan.

Pre-plan budget and finance

Planning and managing finance is a very important aspect of moving to a new country. As the average expense and income can be vastly different between countries, it is important to do the necessary planning and calculations to know how you will fund your life in Japan as an international student. The main expenses as a student in Japan will include rent, food, transport, and tuition expenses. It is a very wise choice to pre-plan these core expenses and how they would be afforded before coming to Japan. For students who will not receive financial support or will only be supported partially, it is good to do some research on scholarship opportunities as well as part-time jobs.

Find a place to live in Japan

One of the main expenses as well as necessities for an international student in Japan is renting a place to live. For most freshmen who will be coming to Japan, university dorms are always a popular choice. However, for students who cannot get into the university dorms or simply have other living preferences, it could be quite hard to find a place to live. However, there are housing agencies that are foreigner-friendly and English-friendly which could help a lot in finding a good place to live.

Regardless of whether you eventually choose to live in the dorm or find your own place to live, there are important factors to consider when moving. The location should be considered carefully to make sure that necessary facilities such as train stations and grocery stores exist in the vicinity. As a student, the two most important factors are perhaps affordability and being near the campus. Luckily, here in Kasumigaseki where the main campus is, the average rent cost is fairly cheap compared to the more urban areas of Tokyo. For those who are looking to share living space, rent in the Kasumigaseki area is even more affordable. 

Get to know basic Japanese

Despite being a developed country, English is not a language that is widely used in Japan. While it is possible to get by in Japan without knowing Japanese, it would make life here so much easier with even a little bit of Japanese knowledge. As a student, you may have to visit banks and city halls from time to time. You will also receive a lot of mail in Japanese. While PAs (Peer Assistants) of TIU can help students with the aforementioned tasks, it would be very helpful to know even some basic Japanese to be independent in certain situations. For example, as an international student, Japanese skill is perhaps the one skill that can increase part-time job opportunities for students in Japan the most. Furthermore, for students who want to continue life in Japan by working after graduation, Japanese skill is all the more important. So why not learn some basic Japanese and gain a head start before arriving in Japan?

Prepare to bring your necessities or buy them once you move to Japan

It is important to plan everything that you will need for your life here in Japan before arriving here. For example, many students who come from hot countries may forget to consider bringing winter clothes with them. In the case that you do not have winter clothes, you could either buy some before coming to Japan or buy them once you move to Japan.

Make sure you have the necessary documents to move to Japan

While this is often not an issue, there are required visa procedures before coming to Japan as a student. Make sure that all the necessary documents are obtained in preparation for moving here. If it is your first time traveling abroad, a passport is absolutely necessary! You should make a checklist of necessary documents before you leave your country for Japan. 

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