Moving to a foreign country to live and work is a very big move, with many important factors to be considered along the way. Rest assured that with Relo Japan’s support you will be provided with comprehensive answers to your questions and professional advice to allow you to make the right decisions to ensure that your relocation to Japan will be a success!

Q 1.
When is the best time for me to come to Japan for my homefinding tour?
Q 2.
Do I need to have a valid visa to be able to rent a property in Japan?
Q 3.
How many properties will the agent be able to show me in one day?
Q 4.
Can I bring my young children with me on the homefinding tour?
Q 5.
How difficult will it be to be able to find owners of properties that will accept my pets?
Q 6.
What furniture/appliances and other items will be included in the property?
Q 7.
Are utilities included in the monthly rent?
Q 8.
How much can I expect to be able to negotiate on the list price of properties?
Q 9.
Will I be able to ship my furniture from home for my new property in Japan?
Q 10.
I would like to avoid the costs associated with staying in a hotel and was wondering if there were options to
lease furniture for the period between when I can move in and when my shipment arrives in Japan?
Q 11.
Can ReloJapan assist with processing my visa application? How long does the process take?
Q 12.
I would like assistance with obtaining a bank account soon after arrival. Is this something that ReloJapan can
assist me with?
Q 13.
I am coming to Japan on a 3-year assignment and would like to buy a car to be able to explore the country
with my family on the weekends. Do I need to apply for a Japanese driver’s license?
Q 14.
Can ReloJapan assist me with learning more about the costs involved with purchasing or leasing a vehicle in Japan?
Q 15.
Can you help me if I need assistance urgently after office hours or on the weekend?
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Q 1.
When is the best time for me to come to Japan for my homefinding tour?
Ans.
As contract processing takes around 3-4 weeks after you have selected your property, it is generally best to aim to come for your homefinding tour around 4-6 weeks before your assignment start date. If you come any earlier than this, rent payments may have to start before your actual relocation occurs, as owners usually won’t wait any more than 1-month from the application date to begin receiving rental payments.
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Q 2.
Do I need to have a valid visa to be able to rent a property in Japan?
Ans.
No. A valid visa is not necessary to be able to process a housing contract in Japan. In the vast majority of cases the contract will be in the company’s name and as they will be signing on your behalf, the fact that your visa application is not yet complete will not be a problem.
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Q 3.
How many properties will the agent be able to show me in one day?
Ans.
This depends on how many areas you will be looking at and how much time you want to spend at each property, but generally a full day tour will allow you to view anywhere between 8-12 properties in up to 2-3 different areas.
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Q 4.
Can I bring my young children with me on the homefinding tour?
Ans.
While it is possible to accommodate young children on your homefinding tour, it is advisable that you aim to make arrangements to have someone look after them while you are viewing properties. Please note that small children accompanying on the tour may slow things down and not allow you to concentrate totally on viewing the properties and areas we take you. ReloJapan would be happy to assist with making baby-sitting arrangements for you if necessary.
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Q 5.
How difficult will it be to be able to find owners of properties that will accept my pets?
Ans.
Bringing pets with you will significantly reduce the housing options available to you, however there are some properties that are listed as “pet negotiable”. Having more than one pet accepted can prove to be very difficult and many owners will specify EITHER cats OR dogs (depending on their preference). In apartment buildings that accept pets, the tenant is generally required to carry the pet in the common areas and use a separate elevator and entrance.
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Q 6.
What furniture/appliances and other items will be included in the property?
Ans.
Most properties in Japan are completely unfurnished, however expat style properties at the very top end of the market will generally include the major appliances such as a washing machine, dryer, refrigerator, air-conditioning/heating units. Other items such as curtains and light fittings are often not included and so this needs to be factored into your budgeting for household items. Curtains can be very expensive to make in Japan and as a result many people choose to measure the windows and arrange to have these made back home.
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Q 7.
Are utilities included in the monthly rent?
Ans.
No. In Japan all utility payments are separate from the rent and are billed monthly, except for water and sewage, which is billed every other month. The basic items, such as electricity, gas and water typically amount to around 10 ? 15% of the monthly rent, depending on the heating/cooling system in your property and to what extent you use them. Other items such as domestic telephone, internet and cable/satellite TV range from around JPY 3000/month each for the basic subscription charges.
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Q 8.
How much can I expect to be able to negotiate on the list price of properties?
Ans.
This depends on many items such as the age of the property, how long the property has been vacant, the popularity of the area, proximity to facilities popular with expats, if you are requesting any items to be included etc. The housing markets in the larger city centers of Japan are becoming more and more owner-dominated in recent times and negotiation is therefore more difficult than it has been in the past. Around 10% off the monthly listed rental price is considered to be a good deal.
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Q 9.
Will I be able to ship my furniture from home for my new property in Japan?
Ans.
Depending on the size and style of the new home that you select, you may not have any problems with fitting in your furniture from back home. If you would like to go with this option, it is a good idea to bring the measurements of any large items you are planning on bringing with you on the homefinding tour. Often the size of doorways and elevators in Japan are smaller than back home and so it is best to confirm whether things will fit or not before you go ahead and send them.
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Q 10.
I would like to avoid the costs associated with staying in a hotel and was wondering if there were options to lease furniture for the period between when I can move in and when my shipment arrives in Japan?
Ans.
Yes. ReloJapan can make all the necessary arrangements for temporary furniture and appliances to be delivered to your new home in time for your move in day. Items that are typically leased temporarily include sofas, dining tables, TVs, beds and linen, kitchen supplies etc. We are also able to assist you with arranging for a long-term lease for furniture and appliances should you choose not to bring your items from home.
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Q 11.
Can ReloJapan assist with processing my visa application? How long does the process take?
Ans.
Yes. ReloJapan is able to assist with all the immigration needs of you and your family. After receipt of the necessary documents, the Certificate of Eligibility (COE) application takes around 4 ? 6 weeks to be processed by the Immigration Office. Once the COE has been approved, we can either send this to you to allow you to apply for your visa at the Japanese Embassy or Consulate before arrival (generally takes 2 ? 3 days), or you can enter Japan as a tourist and apply for a Change of Status in country (generally takes 3 ? 4 weeks). Please feel free to contact us at contactus@relojapan.com for further information on the necessary procedures and documents required.
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Q 12.
I would like assistance with obtaining a bank account soon after arrival. Is this something that ReloJapan can assist me with?
Ans.
Yes. As part of ReloJapan’s settling in services, we will make arrangements to accompany you to open a bank account. Please note that you will only be able to open a bank account after you have your correct visa status stamp in your passport (not tourist visa status) and you have completed your Alien Registration at the City/Ward Office. It takes around 2 weeks for your Alien Registration Card to be issued and you will need to have the actual card (not the temporary certificate that is issued first) with you in order to be able to open an account.
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Q 13.
I am coming to Japan on a 3-year assignment and would like to buy a car to be able to explore the country with my family on the weekends. Do I need to apply for a Japanese driver’s license?
Ans.
Yes. Due to a traffic law change in June 2002, it is now ILLEGAL to drive in Japan on an International Driving Permit (IDP) for more than 1 year after arrival. As such, you will need to apply for a Japanese driver’s license. Depending on your nationality and the type of license you currently hold, a road test may or may not be necessary. Please see www.japandriverslicense.com for further information.
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Q 14.
Can ReloJapan assist me with learning more about the costs involved with purchasing or leasing a vehicle in Japan?
Ans.
Yes. After learning more about the planned length of your stay in Japan and your needs, ReloJapan would be happy to coordinate for estimates to be provided detailing the costs involved. Once you have determined the best option for you, we will coordinate with the suppliers to complete the necessary paperwork for registrations and arrange for delivery to your door.
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Q 15.
Can you help me if I need assistance urgently after office hours or on the weekend?
Ans.
Certainly. ReloJapan’s 24-Hour Help Line is a separate service that provides subscribers with immediate access to a bilingual consultant, any time, day or night. Living in a foreign country can be a little overwhelming at the best of times and so knowing that you have ReloJapan’s dedicated support in the event of an emergency helps to bring you piece of mind. Please feel free to contact JapanHelpLine@relojapan.com for further details regarding contract terms and conditions.