Moving guide

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(Updated on November 30, 2023)

If you have found a perfect home in Japan that meets all your needs and concluded a contract, you now need to go through the process of moving to your future home. By understanding the general flow of moving procedures and key points described in this article, you will be able to make a smooth transfer without any problems.

In this article, we will talk about the following topics:



Common cases of moving within Japan

In countries other than Japan, many people take their furniture and belongings from their former residence, transport them, and take them into their new place of living on their own, using trucks, with some support from family members or acquaintances. However, in Japan, most people request moving companies to carry out such procedures instead of doing it on their own. Further, in recent cases, most of the moving companies in Japan offer one-stop integrated services (usually called “rakuraku pack”), which not only take the furniture and belongings from the old house, transport it, and take it into the new house, but also do the packing and unpacking, and these services are now quite popular. The fact that such kind of service has developed and spread has a lot to do with the housing situation in Japan. In Japan, many buildings are high-rise and many properties have small floor areas. Therefore, moving large items of furniture is a very difficult process and is widely considered to require the help of professionals with a wealth of experience and know-how. Moving services in Japan have made exemplary progress in order to respond to such needs. 

Expenses to be paid to moving companies are usually determined based on estimates made by such companies. Some moving companies request large amounts, so it is important to carefully compare the price and details of the services to be offered.

Specifically, to obtain estimates, you should first contact more than one moving company and inform them about the volume and details of the things to be moved, and depending on the circumstances, invite them to your house to let them check the furniture and other items. After comparing the estimates provided by the companies and their services (whether packing services are included, schedule of the moving process, etc.), you enter into an agreement with the company that meets your requirements. Note that expenses required for moving will differ depending on the season in which the moving takes place.

Major moving companies in Japan

Art Moving Center available only in Japanese)


Ark Moving (Website available only in Japanese)


Arisan Mark No Hikkoshisha (Website available only in Japanese)


Sakai Moving Service (Website available only in Japanese)


Yamato Home Convenience available in English)


Nippon Express available in English)



When you use the services of these companies, preparations and operations will proceed as follows: 


1) Contact moving companies and make requests for estimates.


2) Inform the company about the features of your present and future home (pathways to move large furniture, presence of elevators, etc.) as well as the details and volume of the items you want them to move.


3) After making arrangements with the moving company, fix the moving schedule. This can be done together with the above 2) in one meeting.


4) Determine which things should be brought to the new home and which things should be disposed of.


5) Make arrangements for large-sized trash to be disposed of. Each local government has its own way of disposal, and in some cases, trash requires a month to be collected for disposal. 


6) Decide the layout of furniture at the new home to have the moving company place the furniture and belongings according to your layout.


7) Obtain packaging materials from the moving company (free of charge in most cases) and start packing. When using one-stop integrated services, the company will come to pack your things on the day before the moving date.


8) File a notification of your moving at the municipality office that has jurisdiction over the area of your present home, contact the electricity, gas, and water companies and inform them of your moving, and notify the post office as well to have them transfer the items that arrived at your former address to your new address. 


9) On the day of moving, be present to give instructions on moving the items, turn off the electricity, gas, and water, and clean up your home before leaving. 


If you need help in choosing a moving company or looking for a moving company which provides services in English, please contact us.

Moving to Japan from abroad

Moving to Japan from abroad is a translocation of a long distance involving complex procedures. Therefore, this requires not only experience and knowledge required for moving within Japan, but also specialized knowledge and skills for packing and moving items in your country. Above all, expertise in customs duties and insurance is vital. In addition, to carefully discuss procedures and preparations without any misunderstandings, the manager needs to have the ability to communicate fluently in the language you speak. In that context, when moving to Japan, it is more important to choose the right company than when moving inside Japan.

While the moving companies mentioned above also handle overseas moving, the Japanese companies below mainly engage in overseas moving.






Crown Relocations


Yamatane Overseas Moving Service


Note: The above information is based on information provided by each financial institution for the public as of November 2023, and is subject to change. In addition, each institute sets out different requirements for the applicant to take out a housing loan. For such reasons, we advise you to contact each financial institution for accurate details.

Useful tips on moving to Japan

・When choosing moving companies, look for companies with appropriate permits and licenses, abundant experience, expert knowledge and know-how for overseas moving. Confirm that the company has employees who can communicate fluently in your language


・Obtain estimations from multiple companies and carefully compare the expenses for moving and the details of the service to be provided. For estimations, ask the companies to calculate the amount for the same volume of items to move. If possible, ask them to present a price list by volume. Moreover, since expenses for overseas moving have a lot to do with changeable factors including taxes, ocean freight, and foreign exchange, ask for a detailed explanation on the calculating process. 


・Make sure that the service to be offered by the moving company includes support for customs duties, and if necessary, support for transporting vehicles, pets, and instruments, which require special handling. 


・Confirm the difference in the number of days required for transportation between the items carried by ship and those carried by plane. Decide which items should be carried by ship instead of plane to keep the moving expenses within an appropriate range. 


・Explain in detail to the company about your valuables and items to be handled with special care and make the necessary preparations. 


・When choosing items to bring to Japan, do not forget to refer to the following pages to obtain precise information on matters such as the items prohibited to bring into Japan and the scope of tax exemption. 


・Website of Tax Customs of the Ministry of Finance Japan


・To avoid problems and expensive moving expenses, schedule your moving on a date not falling within the busy seasons (April, July, August, and December). 


・Make sure that the arrival date of your items is after the date you are allowed to move into the property where the items will be delivered. 


・When items are actually moved from your home, visually check if the volume of those actually carried does not differ from the volume used for estimations. If you ask the moving company to present a copy of the bill of lading, you can confirm the actual volume that is recorded on the bill yourself.


・Before entering Japan, make sure you have prepared a “declaration of unaccompanied baggage,” which is necessary for customs procedures. Fill in two forms and submit them at the customs lane. One of them will be returned to you and it must be submitted at the designated counter of the moving company. The customs procedures after this will be taken care of by the moving company. 


・The moving company will deliver your items to your new address and when you receive them, do not forget to check if all your items that have been moved from your former address abroad have safely reached your new home.



Things to do after moving in

First of all, you need to apply for using gas, electricity, water, communication lines, etc. Such procedures can be made by using the application forms placed in your new home or on the website of the providing companies. Electricity and water can be used right after the completion of procedures, but for gas and communications lines, you need to make reservations for the date on which you are asked to be present and a staff member of the company visits you to make arrangements for starting their service.

In addition, at the municipality office having jurisdiction over the area you have moved into, you need to file a notification of moving in within 14 days after the date you moved in. If you are renting the property, do not forget to carefully check the present status of the house when you move in, and if you find any stains or scratches, take photos or make notes of them. When you move out, these photos or notes will allow you to explain that the stains or scratches were not caused by you. Also, make sure that every appliance is working such as the ventilation fan and air conditioner, the doors, faucets and drains. If you find any problems or malfunctions, contact the management company of the property as soon as possible. 




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