Leaving Japan with family

Whether you’re repatriating or heading off on another adventure, leaving Japan with family for good is an exhilarating endeavor. And we’re not focusing only on the emotional part. You can go through reverse culture shock, job hunting and all of the thrilling fun that awaits on the other end of the rainbow. But you will also encounter a ton of tasks before packing your luggage and leaving Japan with family for good. Japan Relocation Services is here to break down what should be your to-do list. It may sound obvious, but the earlier you begin preparing, the better. We assure you that it took this writer a better part of the past four months to get a relocation organized. Oh, and a little warning—leaving Japan with the family will not come cheap.


Suitcases for leaving Japan with family
Packing up your stuff is just one of the things on your leaving Japan with a family to-do list.

Moving away from Japan

1. Pack and ship your boxes

The order of the tasks and chores is not mandatory, but we firmly recommend you start with the items you want to send out of Japan. Pack all the things you won’t need immediately into sturdy cardboard boxes. The easiest thing you could do is buy them new at your local post office. That will cost you a few hundred yen for each box. You can then send them to your new address via surface mail, that is – sea mail or you can choose international shipping companies Japan. Depending on how far they’re traveling, your cargo should arrive in one to three months. Six tops, in case of a delay. If you time it properly, your boxes will arrive shortly after you do.

2. Recycle or dispose of your stuff

We recommend a good ol’ sayonara sale. You can advertise it on social networks, just like you would in the US. It is best if you commit to this with an “everything must go” attitude. Whatever remains after the sayonara sale, has to go to recycling shops. Or our removal team can throw it out as big trash (sodaigomi). In most wards, you’ll have to wait for the trash collection day, which may be as rare as once a month. In order to find out the price, you will need to call or go into your local city hall and give them a description of the furniture you’re chucking out. Then they will tell you the fees.

3. Before leaving Japan with family pets, buy their tickets earlier than yours

We’re no experts on leaving Japan with family pets, but we can explain to you a thing or two about shipping your furry babies to their new home. First, get their paperwork and flights free reservations before yours, because you need to look up the animal import requirements for your destination country. You also want to be careful about arranging an import certificate and their health insurance etc.

A ship with many containers as cargo on board
It is best to schedule shipping your boxes two to three months before your departure date.

4. Appoint a tax representative, and pay your residence tax before leaving Japan with family

Before leaving Japan with family, you need to find yourself a tax representative. Your tax representative will do two things for you:

  1. Filling in and submitting a tax return sheet after your pension refund comes through,
  2. And paying your final residence taxes if you leave at a time of year when your local tax office is not working. Which is anytime outside of June or July.  

The office can give you a rough estimate of the residence tax that you will be required to pay so that you can save the money in advance and hand it over to your tax representative before you leave Japan with family. The government calculates the amount based on your income from the previous year. Then you pay that amount to the ward where you resided in on January 1st of the current year. Not taking into consideration where you live now. The tax office will mail the bill to your tax delegate in June or July, and they can take care of it at a convenience store. Make sure they send you the receipt for your records. This will be very important for you if you someday go back to Japan.

5. Check your visa

If your visa is due to expire before the date you are leaving Japan with family, go to your nearest immigration office and apply for a Temporary Visitor visa. If at the airport your immigration officials see that your visa expired even just a few days before, you can be permanently banned from re-entering Japan, so make sure everything is up-to-date.

6. Cancel your lease and get your deposit back

Remember to provide your landlord with as much notice as possible and as your lease requires. It is usually at least a month, but on occasion, it is just two weeks. Schedule a date for a moving-out inspection with your landlord. You can expect to pay a mandatory cleaning fee of around 20,000 yen too, which is pretty standard.

7. Close your gas, electricity, internet and water accounts

Call the utilities and tell them that you are leaving Japan with family, and schedule your accounts to be closed the day you move out of your apartment. You can leave some money with a delegate and have them pay your last bills at a convenience store. Just as you did with taxes.

In the case of your internet, it might be necessary to cancel your contract a little more in advance, like 2-4 weeks before you move out of your place. You’ll need to return any equipment you were renting. The Internet provider usually sends a self-addressed, postage-paid box for you to return the modem.

Disposal of cardboard boxes
Work out a schedule for throwing out any furniture or other items that you can’t sell, in line with your ward’s rubbish collection rules and dates.

Get your affairs in order before leaving Japan with family

  • Return your health insurance card to the authority from whom you received the card from. You can get medication before you go if you report to your GP that you are leaving Japan with family. Just be sure to get the translated, to avoid any problems at your new destination.
  • Cancel your cellphone contract the day before or even the day of your departure from Japan. The cancellation fee is about 10,000 yen. And you will have to take care of your final bill.
  • Close your bank accounts as late as possible before leaving Japan with family. You want to make sure that you have your finances in order before you hire professional packers Japan. The bank will give you your balance in cash and give you an accurate note for your passbook.


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