European newcomers in Japan: What to expect

There are probably more than a few of you who considered moving to Japan. Especially those seeking to move to a more traditional place from a modern culture in Europe. But it is a move to completely different culture, language, tradition etc. Would you be able to handle it? The fear of the unknown is the reason why the most of you never seriously took an option of moving to Japan. This is why we decided to write an article about European newcomers in Japan. Just to get the basic picture of how the life in Japan looks to a born European. No matter what country in Europe you are coming from. All parts of The Old Continent have the similar culture. So moving to Japan from Europe is equally difficult and challenging for all of Europeans.

Japanese expats from Europe
European expats in Japan

Moving to Japan from Europe, what’s to know?

First, you need to prepare financially and psychologically for a relocation to Japan. After that, you should find the movers capable of moving you to Japan, given that it is almost moving to another part of the Earth. We have a recommendation for you when it comes to Japanese movers. Kokusai Express is among the top moving companies for international relocations in Japan. Besides this, you need to think about how shall you transport the items. So you can go for transporting your belongings by plane, or by ship.

However, as we said, you must consider many other things before it comes to the very relocation. Here’s what’s to think about:

  • The cost of living- European newcomers in Japan from not so wealthy countries might find the Land of the Rising Sun to be very expensive.
  • The language- Do you speak Japanese?
  • Climate conditions- What is it like to live in Japan comparing to your European life?
  • Job opportunities- Are you able to find a job in Japan?

Is it costly to live in Japan?

Are the expenses in Japan bigger than back in Europe?

Tokyo and Osaka are 4th and 5th most expensive cities in the world for the year 2017. Does this answer the question good enough? Let’s just say that among top 10 cities, only 3 come from Europe: Paris, Copenhagen, and Geneva. Except for Copenhagen, the other two cities you could probably assume. Only, they are all below Japanese cities. Therefore, together with becoming European newcomers in Japan, you should count with raising your costs of living. So you better get a good job or prepare a serious amount of savings. I’d suggest you do both.

Prepare for an expensive life, or prepare to get stressed day after day because of being unprepared for the situation. Europeans moving to Asia assume that the costs of living are going to be lower. Yes, there are some pretty poor countries. But the most of you don’t consider moving to them. But to developed ones. And the life in those developed countries is expensive. Japan is one of the leading economies of the world. Don’t expect to live cheap in the country leading the world.

Do you necessarily need to speak Japanese as European newcomers in Japan?

We’d say that you don’t necessarily need it, but it is quite an advantage if you do speak Japanese well. Learning Japanese is, therefore, our friendly suggestion. You would get to know your neighbors more easily, finding a job would be much easier, and, besides, overall life would be much more interesting and exciting. If you want to feel the real Japan, then it is better for you not to move there until you learn the language well! Besides, it’s quite different to move to Japan than to move to the USA from Europe. For both, culture and language.

Is it easy to get used to the climate of Japan?

The climate is not the same for example in Tokyo, in Kyoto, and in Sapporo. In Tokyo, the climate is very similar to the climate of New York City. Humid and hot summers, and cold and snowy winters. In Kyoto, there are very hot summers, and the winters very often with the temperatures below freezing. Sapporo has almost an ideal continental climate. The summers are hot and humid, and winters are chilly. So the climate quite depends on where you’re moving to. When you make your decision, do a little research and check the climate. Or even better, do that before your decision, so you could take the climate as an important factor for you as a future newcomer in Japan.

European newcomers in Japan- How difficult is it to get a job?
Is it difficult to get a job for European newcomers in Japan?

Is it a problem to get a job in Japan as a newcomer from Europe?

English speaking workforce is always in demand in the Land of the Rising Sun. The need for English teachers is still in raise, so you could find a job in this branch easily. For other branches, as anywhere else in the world, there are two types of job you can apply for. Low paid workforce, and high-skilled workers. It depends on your education, your experience, and your skills what job you would be applying for. There is always some job you could find. The online job search is something people moving to Japan from Europe use very much lately. One of the most popular websites for job search is Daijob. Go there and check whether or not the workers similar to you are in demand. We suggest that you could find the job in any branch, given that Japan is still developing, so the companies constantly seek for more workers.

Is it easy or difficult for European newcomers in Japan?

It depends on many factors whether or not European newcomers in Japan will feel good. Primarily it depends on what type of person you are. If you’re a skilled worker, getting the job in Japan easily, adopting a completely different and new culture without problems, and a non-nostalgic person not suffering for leaving the beloved family and friends thousands of miles behind, then being an expat in Japan of European origin is quite simple for you. Moreover, it would be just the adventure you sought for!

On the other hand, if you are someone who finds it very difficult to adapt to the changes, with not so much skills and crying days and nights for being separated from the people you love, we would suggest you travel first to Japan, and see whether or not it would be a good choice for you. And if you could handle it.

In fact, this is what we suggest to all of you, given that many of you are the combination of aforementioned types of people. Come to the island, see how it is to live that kind of life (given that it is nothing similar to the islands in Europe), and it would be much easier to make the decision, and much less painful than if you moved to Japan from Europe, and then decided that you want to go back.