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About This Guide

YourGuide

Life in Tokyo: Your Guide is a lifestyle guidebook published for non-Japanese residents by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s Bureau of Citizens and Cultural Affairs to help them begin their new life in Tokyo. From the moment you enter the country, this guide has all the information you need to live your day-to-day life. You will even discover advice from fellow expats who have been living in the city for some time, providing extra knowledge that is sure to come in useful. Let this guide kickstart your new life in Tokyo!

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You can download a complete PDF version of Life in Tokyo: Your Guide, a lifestyle guidebook produced especially for expats starting their new life in Tokyo

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Life in TokyoWhat to do
when you arrive in Japan

The following procedures and notifications are necessary when you start life in Japan.

Status of Residence

You need a status of residence to live in Japan.
It determines what activities you can undertake in Japan, and the duration of your stay.

Residence Card

You receive this card when becoming qualified to reside in Japan.
You must always carry your residence card with you (unless you’re under 16).

  • Front

    Residence Card Front
  • Back

    Residence Card Back

    Source: Immigration Bureau website

Resident Registration (Moving in & out)

Foreigners who live in Japan for more than three months must register as residents in the municipality they reside in.

●At arrival in Japan (Moving into the municipality)

Within 14 days of determining where you will live, you must go to your local municipal office and present your residence card.
*Bring your passport instead if your passport contains the statement, "Residence card to be issued at a later date."

●When moving (Moving out of the municipality)

Before moving, you must file a change-of-address notification with the office of the municipality where you reside.
Within 14 days of moving, you must take your residence card and submit a notification of your new address to your new local municipal office.

Health insurance

All residents of Japan are obligated to enroll in health insurance.

For details

Pension

All residents of Japan between the ages of 20 and 59 must enroll in the National Pension system (Employees’ Pension is part of this system) to ensure that they can live with peace of mind even when elderly.

●Pension Types

Plan Eligibility Payments Where to make inquiries
National Pension Self-employed people/those not working
(ages 20 to 59)
16,260 yen/month
(for FY2016)
National Pension counter at your municipal office
Employees’ Pension People working for companies Varies by income Person in charge at your company
National Pension
Eligibility
Self-employed people/those not working (ages 20 to 59)
Payments
16,260 yen/month (for FY2016)
Where to make inquiries
National Pension counter at your municipal office
Employees’ Pension
Eligibility
People working for companies
Payments
Varies by income
Where to make inquiries
Person in charge at your company<

*If you are working part-time, you might not be eligible to participate in the Employees’ Pension.
*If you are unable to pay the premiums, you can apply to be excused from payment, either in whole or in part.

●National Pension and Employees’ Pension lump-sum withdrawals

If you fulfill conditions (1) and (2) below, the insurance premiums you’ve paid will be returned to you.
(1) You have made pension payments in Japan for at least 6 months.
(2) You have undertaken procedures to request a refund within 2 years after leaving Japan.

For details

Column

Main Types of Japanese Taxes

Type Details
Residents’ tax Taxes for administrative services provided by the municipality. The amount depends on your income for the year (January 1– December 31), and is paid in the following year.
Income tax Tax paid according to your income for the year (January 1– December 31).
Consumption tax Tax on goods purchased or services received. 8% in Japan (as of 2016).
Residents’ tax
Taxes for administrative services provided by the municipality. The amount depends on your income for the year (January 1– December 31), and is paid in the following year.
Income tax
Tax paid according to your income for the year (January 1– December 31).
Consumption tax
Tax on goods purchased or services received. 8% in Japan (as of 2016).

*Filing a tax return: Calculate all income earned from January 1 to December 31 each year, and file and pay taxes to the national government accordingly. This can be done online, via post, or by bringing your documents to a tax revenue office.

Gibo-chan

Different stores have different ways of displaying the price (tax included / tax excluded ).

Seasoned residents say

  • There are three levels of government in Japan—national, prefectural, and municipal.

  • The most accessible government office is your municipal office. Official procedures can be carried out here.

  • If you work at a company, your taxes and insurance premiums are deducted from your salary (Deductions).