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In this page: Communities of Expatriates | Ranking of Cities | Renting an Apartment | School System | Health System | Tourism and Culture | Individual and Civic Freedoms | Religion

 

Communities of Expatriates

The Number of Expatriates
The expatriate community in Japan has more than 200,000 members. These sites describe living conditions for expatriates in Japan: ExpatFocus Japan, Transitionabroad Japan, Ministry of Justice, etc.
Blogs For Expats
Japan Alloexpat
Expat Blog Japan
Expatnihon
For Further Information
The key elements of Japanese culture on the Japan Guide website
Trends in Japan
Web Japan
Immigration Authority
Immigration Bureau of Japan
Transportation Companies For Moving/Removals
Nippon Express
Japan Luggage Express, Ltd.
Contact the Embassy
Embassy of Japan in Italy
Via Quintino Sella, 60
00187 Roma
Phone: +39 (0) 6 487991
Fax: +39 (0) 6 4873316
Contact Your Embassy
Embassy of Italy in Japan
2-5-4 Mita, Minato-ku
108-8302 Tokyo
Phone: +81 334535291 / 334535292
Fax: +81334562319
Contact the Embassy via Email.
 
 

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Ranking of Cities

Cost of Living
Tokyo and Osaka continue to have one of the highest costs of living in the world (5th and 22nd out of 209 according to Mercer Index 2016).
Quality of Life
Tokyo (47th out of 231) and  Kobe (50th) offer the highest quality of life in Japan according to Mercer's 2017 Quality of Living Survey.
Sanitary Conditions
Katsuyama, Kobe, Omuta, Tsukuba, Yokohama and Yokkaichi are among the 50 cities in the world with the best sanitary conditions.
For Further Information
Mercer Quality of Living World Rankings (Survey)
Mercer Cost of Living World Rankings (Survey)

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Renting an Apartment

Description of apartments
LDK (Living, Dining and Kitchen) is an abbreviation frequently used in the world of Japanese real estate to describe apartments. It is preceded by the number of rooms.

1K = one room apartment with kitchen
1DK = one room apartment with dining and kitchen area
1LDK = one room apartment with a living, dining and kitchen area

Furnished rentals are rare.
Normal Lease Term
2 years
Rental Costs
Costs of reservation (tetsukekin): equivalent to 1 month’s rent, recoverable if the rental becomes effective.
The deposit (shikikin): equivalent to 7 months rent; recoverable if the apartment has not been damaged.
Money for the hand-over of the keys (reikin:, paid in the case of a private rental; not recoverable; equivalent at most to 7 months’ rent.
Agency fees (chukai tesuryo): between 3 and 10 months’ rent; not recoverable.

The third party guarantor is necessary. The person may be required to be Japanese and have the necessary financial capabilities.
Agencies or Private Rentals
National rental agencies are not particularly friendly to foreigners. Tensions may appear concerning the notice of departure, rental conditions, etc. There are specialized rental agencies for the foreign communities. They offer rental conditions adapted to the needs of expatriates (rental for a shorter time, furnished apartments, inclusion of electricity in the rent) and their fees are less expensive.

Finding directly a private rental is difficult because of the language barrier.
Rental Agency Websites
Expatriates Housing Tokyo
Private Rentals Announcements Online
Tokyo Apartments
Other Possibilities For Accommodation
'Gaijin houses' are guest houses reserved for foreigners. They offer low cost accommodation but are based on a principle of community life similar to that in university halls of residence. Consult apartment rental for weeks or months in this link
For Further Information
Japan Guide information about finding an apartment

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School System

School Level
In Japan, education is compulsory at elementary and junior high level, and most Japanese students usually complete more than 16 years of education including preschool, high school and college. The Japanese educational system is extremely competitive, with many students taking extra tuition classes in order to maximize their chances of doing well in examinations.

The Japanese Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture provides further information.
International Schools
There are a large number of international schools in all the main cities. There are relatively few English-language pre-schools. The Alloexpat website provides a list of international schools in Japan.
For Further Information
The Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry website provides a 'Study in Japan' article

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Health System

Quality of Healthcare
Healthcare in Japan is of a very high standard, although facilities are more basic in rural areas.
International Hospitals
Japan has only one international hospital: St Luke’s International Hospita However, other establishments are accessible to those who speak English (list found here).
Health Insurance
Yes
Accessibility of the Health Insurance Network to Foreigners
Limited to those who have been working in the country for a very long time.
Health System Insurance Body
National Health Insurance
Employees' Health Insurance
Health Ministry
Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare

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Tourism and Culture

Different Forms of Tourism

Historical
While many castles were destroyed en masse during the Meiji era and the Second World War, some remain and are popular tourist destinations. The following castles have been designated national treasures due to their 'especially high historical or artistic value': Matsumoto Castle, Himeji Castle, Hikone Castle, Inuyama Castle and Matsue Castle.
Cultural
Many festivals take place throughout the year, including Festival of the Tombs and the Cherry Blossom Festival. Open air museums located throughout the country offer visits of different Japanese architectural styles. Japan is home to 15 UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Sites.
Nature
The Konrokuen at Kanazawa and Katsura Villa at Kyoto are two beautiful gardens, which are exemplary of the Japanese style. Japan is home to four UNESCO World Heritage Natural Sites.
Religious
Temples and tombs can be found across Japan. Some of the most well-known temples include Ginkakuji, Kinkakuji, Kiyomizudera and Sanjusangendo at Kyoto, as well as Todaiji and Horyuji at Nara. Among the most well-known tombs are Ise Grand Shrine and Nikko Toshogu at Nikko, as well as Itsukushima at Miyajima.
Thermal
Hot springs flow throughout the country.
Beach
Japan is the home to roaming coastlines and a diverse array of beaches. The Okinawa Prefecture is famous for its white sand beaches and picturesque turquoise water. With its subtropical climate and warm temperatures, the beach is open throughout the year, though the best weather is typically found between May and October. Nearer to Tokyo, the Shonan Coast and Miura Peninsula in Kanagawa Prefecture have very popular beaches.

This guide provides more information about beach tourism in Japan.

Winter Sports
The 500 national ski resorts have plentiful snow for winter sports, as well as superb countryside and hot water springs to relax in.
Outdoor Activities
Hiking, diving, bicycle touring and golf.
Shopping
Japan is known worldwide for its unique fashion. Japanese designers abound, with European brands also represented. Department stores, such as Mitsukoshi and Takashimaya, have proven to be popular shopping destinations.
 
 

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Individual and Civic Freedoms

Political Freedom
Widespread
Civil Liberty
1/7
World Ranking of Freedom of the Press According to "Reporters sans Frontières", 2021 report : 67/180
For Further Information, Consult World Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders
Free Access to the Internet
Widespread
Rule of Law
Widespread arbitrary arrest and imprisonment are not practiced.
Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights
Relatively widespread. Minorities or foreigners can suffer from entrenched social discrimination concerning the access to housing and employment opportunities.
Women's Condition
Women in Japan have legal equality, but discrimination in employment is particularly widespread.
For Further Information
Freedom House
U.S. Department of State Human Rights Report

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Religion

Degree of Freedom
Widespread
Beliefs
Shintoism and Buddhism are the two most widespread religions (84% of the population). Japanese may follow one or both religions.gion, or both.
Role of Religion in Society
Japanese religions play an important role in contemporary social life and  the world vision of the Japanese. However, they do not influence economic or political life. Religion is practiced through ceremonies that accentuate life (birth, marriage, death, various festivals). The holy places are tombs and temples.

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Latest Update: May 2022