Handy Guide to Live & Study in Japan

Refer back to this at any time. If you cannot find your question, simply put it into the chat box!

 
 
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Before Arrival


What is the application process?


Step 1. Enquire about a course or request the best course for you & we will help assist you.

Step 2. Fill in the application forms, with Take Me to Japan answering any questions along the way.

Step 3. If you require a visa, we will help you apply and the language school will submit the relevant forms to the immigration office in Japan for you.

This will require paying the admission fee and visa processing fee (included in the total).

Step 4. Once accepted, you will receive your Certificate of Eligibility (COE).

What is a COE?
It is a formal document needed before you get your student visa.

Step 5. Receive your COE in the mail and take it to a Japanese bureau in your country, to exchange it for your student visa.

For more information, please see Student Visas.

Step 6. Read the rest of this guide & get ready & excited to come to Japan! :)


What should I bring?


Japan has a drastic change in seasons every 3 months, and is famous for its 4 seasons. Depending on where you go, make sure to pack suitable clothing.

Other than the essentials you would take on any trip, don't forget:

□ Beach gear for the summer and snow gear for the winter (It gets cold!! If it is your first time travelling, it is amazing how we can't even imagine the temperature change. Only bring a big coat if your country snows in the Winter; otherwise it is best to buy it all here. Japan has invented special clothing for the Winter, such as 'heat-tech' from Uniqlo which is thin so you can wear it underneath your clothes and not be so bulky. 'Kairo' is a must; special heating pads which you put on your clothes!=

□ Initial ¥100,000 to pay for your transport, living and food expenses for the first week. You will be able to withdraw from an ATM, but it is good to keep cash on you as Japan runs mainly on cash.

□ Spending money to eat all the a-m-a-z-i-n-g (sugoku oishii) food

Tip: If you are very tall/have a large shoe size, (above 25cm for women and 28cm for men, which is pretty average in other countries) make sure to bring enough shoes for your trip! Japanese people have tiny feet and it is quite challenging to find the right shoe size for us larger-than-average (normal in Western countries) folk, so you can't buy any new shoes from Japan unless you go hunting for them. Or, just order them online.


What should I do Before?


Book your plane ticket

If applying for a student visa, ensure you are able to convert it to your student visa before you arrive in Japan.

For ISI language school, it is recommended to arrive the day before the orientation.

For Kudan Institute, it is recommended to arrive on a Saturday (2 days before orientation) before 6pm for airport pickup.

For other schools, it is recommended to book for 2 days before orientation.

Ensure you send your ticket information by email to the person helping with your application 10 days before arrival.

In order to be super efficient, and not bother with paperwork when you arrive in Japan, you can order your SIM card (that comes with data) beforehand.

Here are some options:

https://www.jrailpass.com/sim-card

https://www.jrailpass.com/pocket-wifi

https://www.mobal.com/japan-sim-card/

There is no need to sign any contracts while abroad with these.


Upon arrival


I need Wi-fi! How do I get a connection?


Starbucks and convenience stores on basically every corner will give you wi-fi, but you would want to get access to it everywhere you go. Also, it is good to have a working phone on you... Yes, phones are not just for browsing Facebook! (I see you).

 

We recommend getting a SIM (only if your phone is unlocked, i.e. not locked into another provider).

Walk into a SoftBank branch and there will be English-speaking people to help at Harajuku in Tokyo.

You can also get a portable Wi-Fi, which is handy if you have multiple devices you want to connect to.

 

In order to not bother with paperwork when you arrive in Japan, you can order your SIM card (that comes with data) online!

Here are some options:

https://www.jrailpass.com/sim-card

https://www.jrailpass.com/pocket-wifi

https://www.mobal.com/japan-sim-card/

There is no need to sign any contracts while abroad with these.


Important things for initial setup


Zairyu Card

Japan requires everyone living in Japan for over 3 months, by law to have a Zairyu (在留, ざいりゅう) card. You must have it on you at all times. If a policeman asks for it, then ask for their ID then show them your card. You will register for your Zairyu card at your port of entry.

Train IC Card

This is super convenient and saves you from trying to work out which ticket to get every time you want to get on public transport. Simply tap and you can pass the entry gate at the train station like all the other Japanese people.

You can get it at any train station. It costs you 500 yen, but this can be refunded if you return it.

You can even use it to pay at some convenience stores or vending machines. It works like a cash card that you top up.

If you take public transport to school, your commuter pass will be placed on this card.

The IC card varies depending on where you live/what train line you use, so ensure you buy the right one!

In the Kanto Region (where Tokyo is), they are called Suica cards or PASMO.

National Health Insurance

This can be done on the same day as registering for your Zairyu card. Japan offers national health insurance to all long-term residents. It covers up to 70% of your medical bills. As a student, your premium will be very low, typically ¥2,000 Japanese yen a month ($18 USD a month). Ensure you do this within 2 weeks of arriving in Japan. It is highly recommended to do it on your first day!