You want to move to Tokyo. Now what?
If you could pack up and move anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why? Tokyo. It’s the only place aside from NYC I could see myself living in. I spent 3 months DJing there and traveling around Asia and I loved it. I think about Japan everyday. – Noah Souder-Russo
With nearly 38 million residents, Tokyo is among the world’s largest cities. What began as a humble fishing village has now blossomed into a thriving metropolis. It’s no wonder people want to pack their bags and try a new beginning in Japan. If you’re one of those people, keep reading for these simple tips to get started.
1. Organize your paperwork
In most cases, all you need for a short vacation is a passport. However, to stay longer than 180 days, you will need to obtain a visa.
2. Plan for expensive housing
Most residential rental space in Tokyo is expensive. The average price of residential housing in Tokyo is about $1,103 per square foot, compare this to New York, where the average price per square foot is $1,384.10.
3. Start learning Japanese!
Japanese is the primary language spoken in Tokyo; since most English-speakers find Japanese to be one of the most difficult language to learn, download an app on your phone to help communicate. Do lessons whenever you have 15 or 20 minute breaks to get you in the habit.
4. Learn the cultural norms
Many Japanese citizens are germ conscious, so things like moist napkins are commonplace. Some restaurants set out trays for currency exchange, which alleviates the need for direct contact. The technology found in the city is also impressive, and some places use robots to direct traffic.
5. Prepare to try new foods
Get used to a different meal lay out. Rice, soba, udon or ramen noodles are featured with nearly every meal and meat proteins are just a tiny portion, if at all. Seafood, shrimp, sushi, and sea urchin are more likely to make it to your dish.
6. Learn to use chopsticks
Don’t ask for Western utensils to eat your meal, learn the proper way to use chopsticks! Place the chopsticks together, and balance them with the webbing of your hand and the tips of your first three fingers and your thumb. Your third finger and thumb will control the bottom stick, while your first and second finger will control the top stick. Control the tips of the chopsticks by moving your fingers together and apart.
7. Plan to visit some of country’s natural wonders
Mount Fuji is in Tokyo’s backyard, about 130 kilometers from Tokyo, making it a two-hour trip by car. However, several trains also travel regularly between the two sites. Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest mountain and is actually an active volcano (although it hasn’t erupted since 1707!).
8. Also visit cultural points of interest in the city
Try to absorb as much Japanese culture as possible by visiting places such as the Meiji Jingu Gardens. Comprised of an 83,000-square-kilometer horticultural exhibit and shrine, which is dedicated to Emperor Meji and his Empress wife, the gardens are among the most significant cultural sites in the country.
9. Wear socks
The Japanese almost always take their shoes off before entering an establishment, whether it be a restaurant or someone’s home. So come prepared with a nice pair of socks!