As an island nation, the former Empire of Japan depended on imported goods and products to drive its burgeoning industry. As a result, the country cultivated a thriving shipping sector that still provides a number of easy and efficient options for shipping goods to Japan.
With the exception of high-end luxury service apartments, most accommodation is unfurnished. For this reason, many employers include a shipping allowance in expat contracts. Don't be afraid to broach this topic when negotiating a contract, as shipping costs can quickly escalate if one is not careful.
Shipping household items to Japan
Generally speaking, household items are duty-free and tax-free, provided they aren't new. If shipping items to Japan, expats should make an inventory of the goods they will be sending across and bring at least two copies in their carry-on luggage.
Expats also have the option of buying furniture in Japan. There are plenty of stores dealing in interior decor and household furnishings. If not opposed to second-hand goods, new arrivals can benefit from large-scale 'sayonara sales' held by expats leaving the country, where it's possible to find nearly new items for far less than one would typically pay for them new. Look for listings on supermarket notice boards, Facebook or classified websites.
Another alternative to shipping to Japan or buying in Japan is the option to lease home furnishings.
►For more about housing options, read Accommodation in Japan
►For help with the moving process, have a look at Relocation Companies in Japan
Are you an expat living in Japan?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Japan. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
If you’re thinking about taking out private health insurance, our trusted partner Cigna Global is very aware of all the difficulties that expats can face when it comes to healthcare in a new location, so they have created a range of international health insurance plans specifically designed for expats, which you can tailor exactly to the needs and ensure access to quality care for you and your family.
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