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International Moving Company to Japan

Published on Jul 21, 2021 by Kfir Cohen

The Land of the Rising Sun is a destination that SDC International shipping, as an International Moving Company to Japan, services often. We send household and commercial shipments to Japan regularly. 

Japan has been a popular destination for our clients for decades. Japan offers a unique culture with great business opportunities outside of beauty and natural and legendary cultivated gardens. Japan just opened its doors to lowered skilled foreign workers, previously only welcoming only highly skilled workers.

If you haven’t already been there, go to Japan. If you are not a Japanese citizen or spouse, you will require a job to get a work visa. On your trip, check out the neighborhoods near the place you want to work.

What’s on this page?

01 | International Household Moving to Japan
02 | International Car Shipping to Japan
03 | Moving to Japan Checklist
04 | International Shipping Options to Japan

International Household Moving to Japan

In general, American homes are more spacious than the homes in Japan. You will find some larger houses outside of Tokyo, but expect apartments around 950 square feet in size within large cities. 

The American furniture that you are accustomed to from home might not fit into a typical Japanese dwelling. While tables and beds are disassembled when our movers come to pick them up from your home in America, sofas and some recliners can’t be disassembled and might not fit through the door of a Japanese apartment. Make sure to send plenty of sheets and blankets in your shipment.

The good news for Americans is that most appliances will work in Japan. They use the same plugs and very similar electricity. In the US, electricity is 120 V and 60 Hz. In Japan, they use 100 V and 50 or 60 Hz. Most small appliances will have no problem with this, but some will need small, readily available converters.

Keep in mind that most Japanese electricity plugs are two-pronged, meaning they aren’t grounded, so devices that require grounding may be unsafe. As a general rule, if your device has a two-pronged plug, it should be fine, and if you have a three-pronged plug, it won’t work as well. You can get a 3 to 2 prong adapter for some things like computers.

You can bring your cats and dog to Japan, but it will require prior planning. Japan is a rabies-free country, and they intend to keep it that way. The rabies vaccines that you have probably been using are different than the ones they demand in Japan. It could take a year to prepare so that your pet gets two vaccines. Your vet will have to get a blood test from Kansas State University to show that your pet is rabies free. You will have to do this at least half a year before you arrive. The official pet import policy is available here.

Bicycling is very popular throughout Japan. Bikes are used both for transportation and for exercise. Send your bikes in your container.

Toiletries in Japan will be different from American ones. You can’t send commercial quantities, but if you send a container, through in a box of your favorite toiletries. Japanese people have smaller feet than Americans. If your shoe size is US 9 or over, bring along spare shoes and socks. Send your books to Japan.

If you plan on skiing, you can rent boots in world-famous Hokkaido resorts, but if you plan on regularly visiting the ski resorts on Honshu frequented by the native Japanese, bring your gear, at least boots.

International Car Shipping to Japan

You cannot send an American automobile to Japan. In Japan, cars are driven on the left-hand side of the road, and cars that have the driving column on the left cannot be imported. The exception would be antique automobiles that require prior authorization.

Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki – Japan is motorcycle land and the producer of half the bikes in the world. However, if you have a Harley Davidson or a BMW, you’ll want to send it to Japan with you. Your motorcycle will undergo a safety inspection in Japan. Please consult the Japan Customs Authority for official rules.

You can also send a boat. Depending upon boat size, it can either be put in a container or sent separately. Please consult the Japan Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism site in English for official policy.

Moving to Japan Checklist

When moving to Japan, you will need to do a lot of things to prepare, some of them long before SDC International Shipping’s professional movers arrive:

  • If you are not a Japanese citizen, you must get a residence visa. Consult the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs site for information about obtaining a visa.
  • Learn Japanese. Start early, watch Japanese language videos. 
  • Renew your American passports before you leave the United States, for all family members. If it is allowed in your state, renew your driver’s license early.
  • Japan has semi-private mandatory health care known as SHIS (Statutory Health Insurance System) that will cover citizens and legal residents. While most doctors will speak some English, do not expect everyone to understand you. 
  • It is highly recommended to get the MMR vaccine before you go to Japan. They stopped giving it there a few years ago and as a result, they currently experiencing a widespread measles outbreak. You likely aren’t vaccinated against Japanese Encephalitis, common throughout Asia.
  • Make copies of all of your diplomas and professional credentials. You should also bring along copies of all birth certificates, marriage certificates, if applicable divorce certificates.
  • When you bring your cat or dog with you from the United States to Japan, and they require quarantine. This quarantine can be very short if it is prearranged.
  • Bring prescription drugs with you, and your prescriptions. Check the doses of over the counter drugs like pain killers in Japan, as it might vary from what you are used to in America

International Shipping Options to Japan

Japan is a nation of islands, almost 7000 of them. With major international ports on several of them, it should come as little surprise that most international shipping options to Japan involve the sea. SDC International Shipping offers door-to-door service to its clients moving from origin points throughout the United States and for delivery to destinations throughout Japan. 

Air cargo is also available. As delivery times to Japan for full container loads are 5-8 weeks depending upon the American pickup location, it is often necessary to send things more quickly. Air shipments to Japan take only a few days for door-to-door service and are charged according to weight (sea cargo is usually calculated according to the shipment volume). The high cost of air shipments makes them a poor alternative for household relocation but a great option for businesses needing to get things across the Pacific quickly.

For sea shipments, we offer 20’ and 40’ containers. At times we can also offer slightly larger containers known as 40’ “high cube” containers which can accommodate slightly more cargo. We can also send far smaller shipments for clients who don’t require full container loads. We can send shipments as small as 100 cubic feet, about the size of a pallet fully stacked with boxes, with door-to-door service.

The timing of these shipments differs, your SDC International Shipping relocation specialist will help you figure out the exact schedule for your shipment.

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