Life in Japan

What to do when you arrive in Japan

It has been 2 very long years, but finally, Japan started to reopen its borders. This article is not for tourists, but for those who come here for the long term. Moving to a new country can be stressful and overwhelming. Here we will try to put things in order, so you know what to do when you arrive in Japan.

Residence Card

First thing first, you need to get a status of residence, which will determine the activities you are allowed to perform in Japan. Then you need to obtain a residence card. This card will be your ID for Japan. You must carry it with you at all times.

Another thing to do and remember every time you are moving into a new place is a resident registration. If you are staying in Japan for longer than 3 months, within 14 days of moving into a new apartment, you need to inform your municipality about it. If this is not your first place in Japan, and you are moving between places, always remember to let both your new and old municipal offices about the change of your residence and address. Actually, even if you move within the same ward, you still need to go there and update the address.

Health Insurance and Pension

The next thing you should do is enroll in the Japanese health insurance system. This insurance is not optional and every long-term resident must obtain it. Additionally to health insurance, you should also pay pension money. If you work a full-time job for a company, the company should take care of it. However, if you are a part-timer, self-employed, or unemployed, please contact your municipality, and they will make the calculations, so you know, how much you have to pay. Don’t worry, if you leave Japan before the age of retirement, you will get your money back. for that 2 conditions should be fulfilled: 1. you have been paying pension for more than 6 months; 2. you requested this money within 2 years after leaving Japan.


As a long-term resident, you will also have to pay the taxes. There are 2 main types: resident’s tax and income tax. Again, if you work full-time for a company, they will automatically withdraw it from your paycheck. Freelancers, part-timers, etc should take care of it on their own. Also, remember to prepare an annual tax report in April.

This is the first article in the series of posts, in which we help newbies to start their lives in Japan.