Within the 3 years that I have lived in Japan, I have moved within Japan 2 times. Once from Kyoto City to Osaka Prefecture, and once to from Osaka Prefecture to Osaka City. When you move within Japan, there are a few things that you need to be aware of. I will be pointing out 5 of these things that will be helpful for people moving within Japan.
Tip #1: Calculate how much money it will take to move ahead of time
Moving within Japan can be expensive; having to deal with many different expenses that we are not used to as foreigners. While at the real estate agency, you should ask all about these various expenses you will have to pay before you submit the application, so that you are not surprised at how much it costs before you sign the contract. The real estate agent should be able to break everything down for you, including the real estate agency fee. If you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask them over and over again until you understand, because it is their job to make you feel comfortable with what you are paying for moving. Also, keep in mind that you also need to calculate how much it will cost for the actual move, meaning to move your things from one place to another.
Tip #2: Give notice on your current place at least 1 Month Before Moving
Most apartment rental contracts in Japan are 2-year contracts, but if you give notice 1 month before you move out, you are able to move with only paying the last month’s rent. If you move out with less than a month’s notice, there will be extra fees incurred, including paying an extra month that you will not be living there for. Also, keep in mind that extra fees can also be incurred if you move out within 6 months from the beginning of the contract, but this depends on the specific contract that you sign.
Tip #3: Hire a Moving Company
Now, there are many different instances for this depending on how much stuff that you have, but if you have a significant amount of things to move or you are moving a long distance, then using a moving company is very useful.
First step is to call the company and get a quotation for moving. During this process, they will talk to you about all the options that you have. When you use a moving company in Japan they have a variety of options that you can choose from, from simply hiring the company to put your things into the truck, to having the moving company pack up all of your things into boxes for you, to even having them pack AND unpack everything for you. Every time I moved, I used the option of having the moving company pack my things up for me (it cost about 30,000 yen for that option), while I unpacked everything. I find this easier than having them unpack everything for me because I am not yet familiar with my new place to tell them where to put everything and want to unpack everything myself. If you do not have enough time to pack everything up before the move, then this is the option for you. I personally have used Sakai both times when I have moved within Japan. There is also a company called The 0123 that is also very popular moving company to use in Japan. Please let me know if you would like an post about my experience with Sakai!
Tip #4: Change your Utilities over from your old place to your new place
Utilities in Japan usually include Gas, Electricity, and Internet. Water is normally paid with your rent to the company that owns the building, but double check if it is or not. All of these utilities you can either call on the phone or change online. When I moved in September, I changed all of my utilities online, except for the Internet For Gas, if you live in an apartment with auto lock (where the entrance of the apartment has a security door) you have to be there when the gas company comes to read the meter for the last time and also to turn on the gas for the new apartment. (Note that not all apartment buildings have gas). Electricity and Internet do not require anyone to come to the apartment, just a phone call to turn off at your old place.
Tip #5: Move in and Move out Notice to the Ward Office
When moving in Japan, you must submit a move out and move in notice. A move out notice is only for moving from one city to another, but you must inform the new ward office that you have moved into that ward regardless. This is important for foreigners because the ward office has to write your new address on the back of your residence card. You need your address changed on the back of this card so that you can change your address at places like your bank account, cellphone contract and even having mail sent to you. This basically becomes proof of your new address. You have to legally do the move in and move out notice within 2 weeks (14 days) of moving to your new place.
These were my 5 tips for moving in Japan! Please let me know in the comments below about your experiences moving within Japan or if you have any questions that you would like answered about Japan.