moving to japan

Moving to Japan

Japan Score
0%
Shithole Paradise

What is Japan?

expats in japan

Japan is an island nation in East Asia

The beautiful country of Japan (Nippon) is situated in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, to the east of Korea and China.

Japan has a vibrant and rich history, with samurais, ninjas and shoguns, empires, revolutions, isolationism, and so on.

The Japanese archipelago lies on the Ring of Fire, which means earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions are pretty common.

In fact, it is the 17th most likely country where you’ll experience a natural disaster.

The Philippines ranks 3rd, and from my experience this is certainly true – although it’s not really that devastating if you don’t live near epicenters.

Japan has a predominantly temperate climate and boasts some rather impressive nature, consisting mostly of forests and mountains.

The capital of Tokyo is the most populous metropolitan area, with nearly 40 million residents.

It’s a futuristic metropolis and truly a sight to behold.

I would definitely recommend visiting Tokyo at least once in your life.

For the longest time, it was my number 1 city to visit after seeing Lost in Translation!

Japan is to date the only country to get nuked by atomic weapons, during World War 2.

After this disaster, Japan experienced very strong economic growth, and became the second largest economy in the world in the early ‘70s.

However, since 1995 Japan has been in stagnation, with an economy that isn’t growing much, and a population that is declining.

It’s ranked very high on the Human Development Index, is extremely safe, and has one of the highest life expectancies in the world.

People aren’t dying very fast, but they aren’t reproducing either.

Japanese culture is well known and very varied, going from impressive historical things like ninjas and samurai to contemporary entertainment such as Nintendo and Hentai.

Their movies and videogames are top notch, and I personally thoroughly enjoy them.

In short, if all you’ve ever seen of Japan is through media, this article might be a bit of a shock to you.

It certainly was for me, because I really hoped Japan would be a top location to move to … but it sadly isn’t.

living in japan as a foreigner

Requirements for moving to Japan

The requirements of moving to Japan are much stricter than they are for most countries I’ve talked about on this website.

This saddens me, to be honest, because I had such high hopes for Japan.

Let’s take a look at the visa situation first.

Sure, you can stay there for up to 90 days without a visa, with the possibility of extension, which is great, but getting residence comes with so many requirements, it’s almost never worth it.

Having to pay taxes and getting a job in Japan are just two very restrictive examples of those requirements.

Staying in Japan would then be a matter of visa-hopping every 5-6 months.

Not the end of the world, but not ideal by any means.

Then there’s the issue of the cost of living.

Japan, especially its big cities, is a very expensive country.

If you only make an average Western salary, you most likely will be scraping to get by in Tokyo.

Better get started on your multiple sources of international income!

Moving to a smaller town alleviates some of that, but this unfortunately will only exacerbate the following factor: the rather strong language barrier.

While in countries such as Vietnam or Thailand you can get by using English, in Japan it’s almost impossible to live a great life long term if you do not learn Japanese.

And, as opposed to Spanish for most Latin American countries, this isn’t easy.

In summation, the requirements of moving to Japan are very restrictive, and this does not bode well.

However, if you are 100% dedicated to making it work and really apply yourself to living in Japan, you can most certainly do so.

Just keep in mind that it will take much more time, effort and money than it would in almost any other country.

What is the cost of living in Japan per month?

The cost of living in Japan per month is very elevated compared to other Asian countries, especially in Southeast Asia.

A single person can expect to have to spend at least $1,600 per month for a very basic life.

If you live in a hip neighborhood in Tokyo, that number can easily triple or quadruple.

And we’re just talking about the basics here.

Living it up will set you back thousands of dollars per month, easily.

Japan has a reputation for being a high-stress, high-work-pressure country, with many suicides and burn-outs, and it’s not hard to understand why.

Life in Japan is just  expensive, and the pressure to do well in life (and thus make a lot of money) is very high.

In addition, you will also have to pay taxes on your international income once you’ve lived here for awhile.

This does not help matters at all.

Benefits of living in Japan

  • Very safe

    Japan is one of the safest countries in the world. Violence is a very rare occasion, terrorism non-existent. There's always the possibility of a war with China or North-Korea, I suppose, but this is pretty unlikely.

  • Modern cities

    Japanese cities like Tokyo can feel like a futuristic metropolis, with flashy neon signs, high-speed transportation and high-tech entertainment everywhere

  • Vibrant, ancient culture

    Japan has a rich history, full of interesting events. Samurais, shoguns, ninjas, hentai, anime, videogames, you name it

  • Beautiful nature

    This archipelago has some very tranquil forests and impressive mountains

  • Breeding visa

    Japan’s population is dying, and as a foreigner you can get a breeding visa, which means you can enter the country with the express purpose of impregnating a Japanese national

  • Easy visa

    You can get a visa on arrival for 90 days, which can be extended

  • Varied climate

    Japan isn’t like countries in Southeast Asia, it actually has seasons. If you like diversity and variety in your weather, Japan’s a good choice

  • Technology

    Japan is often at the forefront of technology, be it AI, videogames, VR, sex toys or robots

  • Friendly locals

    Japanese people tend to be very respectful and polite - to your face

moving to japan from usa

Downsides of living in Japan

  • Low English proficiency

    You have to learn Japanese if you want to stay here and not be gimped for the rest of your life

  • Stagnant economy

    Japan is in stagnation, and the economy isn’t growing much, if at all

  • High cost of living

    It’s expensive to live here, especially in cities like Tokyo

  • Difficult to get residence or citizenship

    While a visa is easy to get, residence or citizenship are very hard and come with many requirements

  • Xenophobic

    Japanese people are polite, but they can certainly be xenophobic and even racist. And it isn't like in the West where "racism" is considered bad, here it's just viewed as part of the deal

  • Taxes on international income

    As opposed to many other nations we talk about on this site, if you live in Japan for a few years you’ll be taxed on international income

Moving to Japan - by the numbers

Japan Score
0%
Shithole Paradise

Climate: 7.3/10

Hours of sunshine (5/10) Temperature (6/10) Rainy days (9/10) Humidity (9/10)
5
16 C – 61 F
10
64%

Level of English: 4/10

Low Proficiency

Cost of Living: 3/10

Minimum Annual Wage Average monthly cost single person

Taxes on international income: 7/10

0-30%+

If you are a permanent resident, you are taxed on your worldwide income. You are considered a permanent resident if you have been living in Japan for more than 5 years in the last 10 years.

Economic growth: 3/10

Average GDP growth over the last 10 years: 1%

Safety: 10/10

Global Terrorism Index (10/10) Intentional homicide rate (10/10) Rape rate (10/10)
2
0.3
1

Visa: 6.3/10

  • Visa (9/10)

    A short term stay up to 90 days is possible without a visa, and you can apply for an extension

  • Permanent Residence (5/10)

    Either live in Japan for 10 consecutive years, or qualify for a lot of requirements, such as having paid taxes, have a job in Japan, and so on

  • Citizenship (5/10)

    Possible through birth, notification and naturalization. Plenty of requirements

cost of living in japan per month

How is living in Japan as a foreigner?

Living in Japan as a foreigner is a mixed bag for sure.

Either you’re completely into the culture and love it to death, do everything you can to make it work, and ignore all the blatant red flags Japan has as a place to live, or you are aware of its many flaws and see it as nothing more than a spot to sometimes visit.

I’m in the latter camp, and while I really enjoy the culture … Japan just isn’t all too great in most practical aspects.

There’s the higher cost of living compared to nearby better options, the language barrier, the fact that getting residence isn’t easy and that you have to pay taxes upon being a resident.

In addition, I don’t see the point in moving to a country with a stagnant economy, I’d much rather go to a booming nation, where you can profit from its rise.

That being said, Japan has some definite benefits, like its high level of safety, usually friendly locals, a clean environment, and beautiful nature.

In addition, if you’re into some weird fetishes, Japan’s the place to go.

And let’s not forget things like soapy massages and blowjob bars – although you can get those too in Southeast Asia at 1/5th of the price.

Japan is a de facto Asian Western country, and this explains why it is also collapsing, and why it isn’t a good option to move to.

In summation, and it pains me to write this: I would not recommend Japan for any of your flags.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *