What Should I do upon arriving in Japan?

There are three important steps to take upon arriving in Japan:


1st -
Foreigners with long-term visa are required to register for a Residence Card (在留カード) at the airport. This ID card is required for many activities in Japan, such as opening a bank account, purchasing a sim card or a mobile phone.

Within 14 days of settling down, new arrivals must go to the nearest ward office with the new address (better write it on a piece of paper), Residence Card and passport.

The new address will be printed on the back of the residence card. Better keep always the card with you during your stay in Japan.

Remember to bring the card along with your passport when you’ll be leaving the country to travel outside of Japan.

2nd -
It is mandatory to join the national health insurance system (国民健康保険).

Premiums are based on income, so as a student with no income or a little income, premiums will be affordable.
Better enroll the same day you visit the local ward office for resident registration.

The National Health Insurance covers
70% of medical bills, so patients pay the remainder.

Students or working holiday visa holders should enroll, because accidents happen and it’s much better for your peace of mind
and for your budget to be safe and insured.


Foreigners who live in Japan must have their personal seal (印鑑), which is a personal seal used to sign official documents.

4th -

Opening a bank account can be difficult, as only a few banks offer papers, staff and services in English, and the biggest banks, such as UFJ, Resona or Sumitomo are not available if you don’t already have a strong command of the Japanese language.

Keep in mind that if you are here on a tourist visa, you won’t be able to open an account.


Complicated, but don't worry, we are here to help you and guide you through all this steps!

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