Jessa asked in TravelAsia PacificJapan · 1 month ago

I'm moving to Japan. What should I bring and what should I purchase when there?


I'm moving to Japan for at least a few years. I already have a career secured and some potential living arrangements. This is, however, my first time moving independently. What items should I pack and bring with me, and what is best left to purchase when I arrive?

5 Answers

  • 1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    Extras of your favorite clothing items if you are larger sized than most Japanese.  Shoes could be difficult to get locally to fit you.

    Your medications with doctors' authorizing statements,  and arrange in advance with government customs in Japan to be able to get refills sent to you.  Your medical records, valuable in case of accident or illness.  

    Your financial records.  You may still need to pay taxes to your native country tax collector.  All your passwords to Internet places written down. Your identity paperwork or copies of same.  Contact addresses to any people or businesses you might need back home in next few years.  Contacts in Japan of consulate or embassy of your native country.

    Copies of credit cards or other ways to access cash in case of loss or robbery.

    A local Japanese bank or security depository where you can store stuff you don't want stolen in a strange country.

    A way to instantly speak Japanese, if you don't already.  There are pocket translators or smart phone apps for that.

    A familiarization of Japanese customs before you go.  When they nod head and say "Yes", it means only they are listening.  Understanding is signaled by "Oh is that so?"

    Bring some small gifts to distribute to important people in your stay, as is their tradition when traveling abroad.  Something from your own country that might be a type of craft or personal thing that is not known in Japan.  If your are going to be in an important position, you must have business cards to exchange.  Might be good if it has some Japanese language as well as your native language.  Get something ready in advance.

    What is most important to the Japanese psychology in personal and business relations is politeness.  Bowing is still in.   There is a lot they give, but they expect some in return.

    My Los Angeles office had a visiting camera designer, Mr. Kaneko.  He was an army officer and industrial foreman in a shipyard in the war.  I asked him to bring a Nikon camera back from Tokyo when he went there on business and vacation.  He kindly did that even though it was from a competitor company.  Now that is really going beyond the limit most people have.

    While in business Japanese seem polite, they can also be hard headed and very skillful in negotiating an advantage.  

    Be careful on social occasions not to overindulge in anything.  Non-Japanese are regarded as consuming too much.  My boss visited Osaka and went with "the boys" as guest to a fancy restaurant.  For desert he was offered a slice of special melon.  He liked it and ordered another.  Later he found out it cost $15USD each piece in 1972!  He did not give a good impression of Americans.

    Most younger Japanese these days have no information of what WW2 was really about.  Slanted schooling and not much talking about it from older people have distorted the reality of causes and effects of those days.  Best to steer clear of such discussions.  If it is brought up to you, try to take a neutral stance.  Don't educate your hosts.

    Source(s): I lived for almost a decade in a couple countries in South America before coming back to USA to finish education. After that I spent some time in Australia and in New Zealand. Later I worked in Los Angeles for a Japanese company that did importing. I was offered a position in NYC to basically operate the US branches.
    • Login to reply the answers
  • 4 weeks ago

    Friends who lived there said they could never find shoes big enough to fit them. Clothes may also be a problem. Things are not cheap in Japan, but people live with a lot less. This was several years ago, but a friend of mine who lived there really missed Mexican food, and I took her seasonings and sauces when I visited. 

    • Login to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Take your clothes and electronics.  Buy kitchenware, bedding and appliances there.  Muji is a good store for housewares.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 1 month ago

    What visa do you have that will let you move to Japan "for at least a few years"?.

    • michinoku2001
      Lv 7
      1 month agoReport

      Three year visas are common in Japan nowadays. 

    • Login to reply the answers
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 1 month ago

    Well electricity is 220 volts so leave most electrics behind. Your laptop and phone may charge with a plug converter.

    • Bob
      Lv 4
      1 month agoReport

      Actually no. Japanese voltage is 100v. Read more here:

    • Login to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.