Monthly Archives: January 2015

Aoba-Japan International School

Aoba-Japan International School is a K-12 school that is IB PYP and DP accredited. AJIS is rich in Japanese culture throughout the school, and is also proud to be a “real international school” as they are not affiliated with any

ABC International School

Geography of Japan

Japan is an island nation located along the east coast of the Asian continent. The Japanese archipelago is composed of four large islands (Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu—see below), the islands of Okinawa, and thousands of other smaller islands, with a

Seasons & Climate of Japan

Summary Japan has 4 distinct seasons starting with a cold and dry winter. The welcome spring is mild and brings out Japan’s famous cherry blossoms. The summer starts with the rainy season in late June or early July, followed by

The Japanese Language

Japanese (Nihongo 日本語), spoken by around 128 million native speakers, is the national language of Japan, though not officially designated as such. The literacy rate in Japan is said to be close to 100% of the population, and the country

The Japanese Calendar & National Holidays

Japan Standard Time The standard time zone in Japan is Japan Standard Time (JST), which is 9 hours ahead of UTC (UTC+09:00). The 24-hour clock is widely used. Currently, daylight savings time (DST, summer time) is not observed in Japan.

Money in Japan

The Yen (¥ / 円 / JPY) is the official currency in Japan. Banknotes and coins The Bank of Japan issues four types of Japanese paper banknotes, and 6 different coins. The banknotes, with value denominations of ¥1,000, ¥2,000, ¥5,000,


Traditional Japanese Units Although the metric system is used in Japan, some traditional units of measurement are still in wide use as well. A common unit of area used when describing room size is , which is the size of

Power Supply

The power supply is 100V/50Hz in Eastern Japan and 100V/60Hz in Western Japan, but most electrical items can be used in both areas. Electric outlets are identical to 2-pin North American outlets, and many portable electrical devices from the U.S.

Rail Travel in Tokyo & Yokohama

Information and train line maps for rail services in Tokyo and Yokohama, with additional guides to delay certificates and women-only carriages.

Rail Tickets & Prepaid IC Cards

Information on ticket machines and IC charge cards for trains and buses, and a guide to commuter passes.

Tourist Passes & Day Tickets

Convenient discount tickets for train and bus services in the Tokyo area, and tourist passes including airport access combination tickets.

Buses in Japan

How to pay fares on the two main kinds of local bus in Japan, and information on discounted transfers on Tokyo buses.

Taxis in Japan

What to expect from taxis in Japan, and phone numbers for taxi companies in Tokyo and Yokohama.


As one of the most popular sightseeing spots, Asakusa offers a taste of historic and religious Japan. A number of festivals are held here throughout the year. The surrounding area also offers a unique feel of an older Tokyo that you do not find elsewhere in the city, so it is worth exploring.

TOKYO SKYTREE & TOKYO Solamachi & TOKYO mizumachi

At 634m in height, Tokyo Skytree is the tallest architecture in Japan and the world’s tallest free-standing broadcasting tower.

Tokyo Tower

This 333-meter-tall tower offers unbeatable panoramic views of Tokyo from the observatory at 150m and 250m.

Imperial Palace

The Imperial Palace is the residence of the Emperor and Empress of Japan. Inside you will find the East Gardens (closed Mon & Fri every week and 12/28-1/3 every year) which are the former site of Edo Castle’s innermost circles of defense. Guided tours are available with advanced booking. The moat surrounding the palace is a popular jogging course.

Meiji Jingu

In contrast to the lively Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, Meiji Jingu (明治神宮) has an air of tranquility. Once you have passed through the large wooden Torii (鳥居, gate) and are inside the grounds, it is easy to forget about the


Ueno Park is famous for its cherry blossoms. In addition to many great museums, such as the Tokyo National Museum and the National Museum for Western Art, you can also enjoy the oldest zoo in Japan with your family. There


Built in 733, Jindaji, one of Tokyo’s oldest temples, is known for numerous soba shops in front of its temple gate, and 5,200 rosebushes in bloom in mid-May and mid-October in its botanical garden.

Tsukiji Shijo (Fish Market)

At one time one of the world’s busiest fish markets, most of Tsukiji’s operations were moved to Toyosu in late 2018. Visitors can no longer go inside the Tsukiji market, but there are still many restaurants and shops just outside.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings

The Metropolitan Government Buildings are 243m in height. From the observation decks on top of both the North and South towers (which are free of charge), you have an unrestricted view of the sprawling metropolis, and on clear days, you

Riding a Bicycle in Japan

Bicycles in Japan, especially the ubiquitous “mama-chari,” the (often) single-gear bike equipped with a basket and rack, are a convenient form of transportation ideal for running errands and making short trips in Japan’s urban areas, and cycling is often grouped

Housing Areas

Popular Expat Areas The following neighborhoods are known to be comfortable and foreigner friendly, making them popular among expats. In Tokyo these are Minato-ku (Aoyama, Azabu, Roppongi and Shirokane), Meguro-ku (Nakameguro and Jiyugaoka), and Shibuya-ku (Hiroo, Daikanyama and Ebisu). In


The Immigration Bureau controls all matters regarding entry and residency for foreigners in Japan. Its website contains information on immigration matters, procedures, sample forms and contact information for immigration centers throughout Japan. It should be noted that the immigration system

Visa and Entry to Japan

Entry Procedures Temporary Visitors If you are from one of the 67 countries and territories with whom Japan has a visa waiver arrangement (check the MOFA website for the full list) and are staying less than three months  (15 days


Residence Cards All mid- to long-term foreign residents are required to obtain a “Residence Card” (previously: “Alien Registration Card”, see below) , which serves as the primary form of identification in Japan. Foreign nationals residing legally in Japan are subject

Housing Types and Terminology

Japanese Mansion and Apāto The most common forms of housing in Japan are mansions and apāto. A is typically a concrete apartment/condominium complex of three or more floors. Buildings with at least five floors usually have elevators, and more modern


Duplex offers stylish and upscale residences in premier locations in the heart of Tokyo. Perfect for both short and extended stay.

Enplus Inc. | Tokyo Apartments

Tokyo One Stop Housing Solution | Offering a wide selection of premium serviced apartments, and furnished & unfurnished rental apartments. Serviced apartments available from 1 night stay. Tokyo Apartments is one of the very few real estate agencies in Tokyo

MORI LIVING (Mori Building Co., Ltd.)

Fully furnished residences for 1 month or longer with access to exclusive swimming pool and gym. 4 convenient locations in central Tokyo: Roppongi Hills, Atago Green Hills, ARK Towers and The Prudential Tower.

Oakwood Tokyo

Oakwood offers the finest serviced apartments for business and leisure travelers for extended stays with three choices of living, Premier, Residence and Apartments. In wanting to offer more luxuriously furnished apartments and greater service quality, Oakwood has taken pride in

Sumitomo Realty & Development Co., Ltd.

They carry a rich number of apartments in convenient locations in central Tokyo. From unfurnished to fully furnished, their apartments can be arranged accordingly to the resident’s needs.

Tokyu Stay Service

Tokyu Stay specializes in premium serviced apartments in central Tokyo, perfect for business trips and vacations.

Renting through a Japanese Agency

If you are planning to stay in Japan for a long time and have enough funds to pay the initial fees, it may be more cost-effective in the long run to get a traditional Japanese-style contract. You may need a

Moving In, Moving Out

Moving to a new residence takes a lot of time and energy. Whether you are relocating to Japan from abroad, or moving to a new property within Japan, there are many resources available to help you make the transition to


Leasing & Buying Furniture Furniture lease companies offer various services such as total coordination of furniture, linen and electrical appliances upon your request. They also offer full support for repair and replacement. Items can be purchased at the end of


Most foreigner-targeted housing companies provide internet as standard, whether as a line connection in your room/apartment, a shared wi-fi network or a portable wi-fi device. If you are renting independently or have specific requirements and want to have your own


Metered utilities include , , and water & sewerage (“suidou” / “水道”). If your landlord has not set them up for you, you will have to do so yourself when you move in by calling each company and providing them


Mobile Phones Until recently, getting a Japanese mobile phone meant a two-year contract, and penalties for early cancellation. The major smartphone brands were only available with SIMs locked to a particular network. The three main networks (SoftBank, docomo and au)


Television On July 24, 2011 all TV broadcasting in Japan had been switched to Terrestrial Digital Broadcasting. To watch TV, you need to buy a DTV, or a digital terrestrial tuner if you would like to continue using your analog


In Japan, the main types of tax you will have to pay are income tax and residence tax. The consumption tax (Shohi-zei) rate is 10%, except for food stuffs and drink items (excluding alcohol) that rate is 8%. There are

Mail & Courier Services

Mail The postal service in Japan is relatively inexpensive and very dependable. There are post offices all over the country, including many small towns and villages. Within Japan, the cost for a standard size letter (up to 25g) is 84


Opening a Bank Account You may open accounts at banks by filling out an application form and showing a residence card. Some banks may require a personal seal, but often, just your signature will be sufficient. Shinsei Bank and other


Japan has 2 types of pension plans, Kosei-Nenkin (厚生年金, Employees’ Pension) and Kokumin-Nenkin (国民年金, National Pension). Both are run by the government. Employees’ Pension If you are a full-time employee, you and your family can apply for Employees’ Pension. Your

Looking for a Job

Working in Japan as a foreigner can be both a challenging and rewarding career move. A difficult language, different culture and business customs are often seen as barriers to working in Japan but for the executive that is willing to

Starting a Business in Japan

In order to carry out business in Japan, it is necessary to create a comprehensive business base in form of a branch-office or Japanese subsidiary. When establishing a Japanese branch-office, registration as a “foreign company” is mandatory. However, when conducting

Permissions and Registrations

Depending on the type of business you aim to start in Japan, different kinds of administrative permissions and registrations are necessary to begin the operation of your business. Food Business If you are planning to open a food related business,

Finding an Office

Lease Office Space If you already have a good idea of where you want to base your business, you can look for an office and sign a lease. Renting a lease office gives you several advantages, such as an official

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