This is our growing FAQ list of questions and answers that relate to life in Japan. We encourage you to post any questions you have in our comments section below, and we will answer them as soon as we can. Furthermore, we recommend you check back daily for regular updates.
The questions that are covered in this FAQ include:
- Why Live in Japan?
- Do I need Japanese in Japan?
- Do I need a SIM Card or Wifi in Japan?
- Is Japan safe?
- What is special about Japanese culture or customs?
- Do I need to use chopsticks in every Japanese restaurant?
- Tell me about some of the major festivals in Japan?
- What do I do in case of a medical emergency?
- What should I do in the event of an earthquake?
- Is it Easy to find an Apartment in Japan?
- How do I Become an English Teacher in Japan?
- What is working life like in Japan?
- What is it like Studying Japanese in Japan?
- Working Holiday Information
- How do I drive in Japan?
- What are other foreigner’s thoughts on Japan?
- What do I do with spare change in Japan?
Why Live in Japan?
This is really probably a personal choice or perhaps something you have wanted to do for a while. Other people, make it a working holiday, career break or chance to study something new. Here we will continue to provide a growing list of Q&As to help make your life or short-term stay as smooth as possible.
Either way, you may want to start by looking at our guide on the Top 10 things which we think are unique to this country.
Do I need Japanese in Japan?
Yes, we think this is a given, as with any foreign country whose mother language is not English. We have several guides to help prepare you for the initial start, where you can begin with our Japanese Basics post. Alternatively, you may wish to check out our Japanese Tips section for something more specific.
Do I need a SIM Card or Wifi in Japan?
We think it is a very good idea to have some kind of internet access. Whether it be via Wifi or via the use of a SIM Card. Having internet access can be beneficial in many ways, including helping to navigate the country or complex public transport system. You can also use it to check all kinds of information about Japan online. It may also be crucial for you to access your internet banking or emails.
Is Japan safe?
Japan is one of the safest counties in the world, with the lowest crime rate. In addition, you have more than a 90% chance of getting your lost phone back, if you happen to lose it on a wild rampage. What’s not to love
What is special about Japanese culture or customs?
There is no doubt Japan is very distinct in its cultural aspects and specific customs. To help you initially adjust you can check out our initial guide for first-timers. Alternatively, if you have experienced Japan more than once you may want to check out our second part of the guide which goes into further details.
Do I need to use chopsticks in every Japanese restaurant?
The short answer is no, you do not have to use them in all the restaurants. In addition, if you really feel you have trouble with chopsticks, ask the staff for a spoon or fork, they usually have these available in most restaurants, cafes, izakayas and other eateries.
You can even request these, or you may automatically receive one. Especially, when you buy Obento (boxed meal) from the train station, convenience store or Obento store.
Tell me about some of the major festivals in Japan?
Festivals change like the seasons in Japan and are very distinct based on the climate, landscape and nature itself.
For instance, in spring you have the amazing Cherry Blossom season. This is typically referred to as the 桜 (さくら or sakura) or 花見 (はなみ or hanami) season. Plus feel free to check out our top 10 best sports in Tokyo guide for viewing in Japan’s largest city. Alternatively, you can check the top 10 spots in Traditional Kyoto too.
In late Spring, Golden Week is a period of national holidays that occurs between the end of April and early May. International Travel prices tend to spike during this period, as do domestic travel options.
In Summer, Obon is generally a holiday, but also an important family tradition.
In Autumn, you can enjoy the 紅葉 (もみじor momiji) meaning the changing colour of the red and brown leaves. Mostly these can be found in the nature reserves and mountainous areas of Japan.
Finally, in winter the Sapporo Snow Festival is one of the most popular attractions in the latter months. Usually occurring in the first weekend of February each year.
What do I do in case of a medical emergency?
For those living in Tokyo, we have provided a guide for some English Medical Services we have received in Japan. We recommend you consult this guide first.
What should I do in the event of an earthquake?
Earthquakes can be a scary thing, and something that you least expect or know what you should do when they do occur. However, don’t panic, as we have a guide here about what you should do in the event it does occur.
Is it Easy to find an Apartment in Japan ?
If you are looking at getting an apartment in Japan, here are some of the easier options that are available to foreigners.
How do I Become an English Teacher in Japan?
First of all, you should consider what options are available to you, and whether or not you can meet all the requirements. Check out our comprehensive guide on English Teaching in Japan.
If you are considering joining an English Conversation School, you could also consult our guide for further information on the main options which are available.
Perhaps the JET Programme seems like a valid or enticing option for you. We have provided more information and insight into the lifestyle and working conditions of a JET in one of our latest posts.
What is working life like in Japan?
From our perspective, it is an interesting and challenging experience, and if you can get used to the culture, hierarchy and language it is even better. Of course, that purely depends on your career choice and the type of company you work for. You can check out an article here about working for a Japanese company. You can also check here about life as an English Teacher or a different point of view working in Corporate Japan.
What is it like Studying Japanese in Japan?
Thinking of studying Japanese in Japan? Then check out our first-hand guide on the experience.
Working Holiday Information
If you need to renew your working holiday visa in Japan, you can check out our post for more info and details.
How do I Drive in Japan?
If you have an International Driver’s License, this is good for 12 months in Japan. After you have stayed in the country for a year, and you are on a working or other resident visa you need a Japanese License.
If you have a license from your own country, you can usually exchange this for a Japanese License. We have listed the requirements and steps required in a recent post.
What are other foreigner’s thoughts on Japan?
We have compiled several interviews over the past several months, which you can read about or watch. You can read about
- Simon, a foreign resident and professional from the travel industry
- John from Australia, who experienced a working holiday visa in Japan
- TJ, a Japanese-born with Korean ethnicity
What do I do with spare change in Japan?
For the higher value coins, 10 yen and above can be used in most machines. This includes vending machines, train ticket machines and IC Charging spots and ticket dispensers inside many restaurants.
For the smaller value coins, 1 and 5 yen, these are good to keep handy for exact change. For example, buying anything from a shop or store, especially convenience stores. The other way you can put them to good use is at the Pocket Change stations found at airports, information centres and other key spots.