Whether you are moving within Japan, or moving to Japan from abroad, there are several procedures that must be followed. They are as follows.
If you are moving within Japan -> Submit a moving out notice to your current landlord
You must give a certain amount of notice. This period will be written in your rental agreement. If you do not give sufficient notice, you may be charged rent for an extra month after you move out to cover the notice period.
The state of your apartment will be checked, and you may or may not be able to redeem the deposit. It is quite common for landlords not to repay the deposit in Japan, but many people have been successful arguing “normal wear and tear” and getting a partial refund.
If you are have registered a previous address of your housing or temporary accommodation -> Go to city hall and submit a change of address.
You must go to the Ward Office in the city you currently live in and submit a “notification of moving out” (tenshutsu todoke). They will issue you a “certificate of leaving”. This must be done within 14 days. Keep the certificate because you will need to bring it to your new Ward office.
Everyone -> Go to the city hall of the city you will be moving into and submit an address registration.
Within 14 days of moving, you need to go to your new Ward office and submit a “notification of moving in” (tennyu todoke). If your new house is located in the same ward as your old house, you need to instead submit a “changing of residence notification” (tenkyo todoke).
Make sure to bring your passport and residence card. If you are registering for family members, bring your children’s birth certificates and passports, along with your marriage certificate and partner’s passport and a photocopy of their residence card. Also bring the notice of moving out you received from your old Ward, if relevant.
If you had a previous residence, notify your water, electricity and gas providers of when to stop service. Then let them know when to start service at your new residence, using your customer ID.
If you are new to Japan, you will need to set up your utilities. To set up your utilities, just call the utility company of your choice and provide your name, new address, phone number and start date. Some companies allow you to do this online. You must be present when the utility company comes to start the gas valve at your new residence, so make an appointment for this in advance.
Electricity – Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has an English webpage. You can make an application by phone or over the Internet. https://www.tepco.co.jp/en/hd/index-e.html
Gas – Tokyo Gas offers an English website and English phone interpreter. https://www.tokyo-gas.co.jp/en/index.html
Water – The provider is fixed depending on your location. For Tokyo see this link: https://www.waterworks.metro.tokyo.jp/eng/
If you have kids and are new to Japan -> Register for Child Allowance Payments
If you are new to Japan, you can register to receive a child allowance and free medical care. This is roughly 10,000-15,000 per month per child, paid three times a year. This should be done at the new Ward office.
If you have kids and need to apply for daycare -> Submit an application at city hall
You must go to the city hall office and submit an application for hoikuen (yochien you often apply directly to the school). You will need various forms to be prepared in advance, including a form from your employer. If you need help, you can try Omakase Helper’s schooling assistance.
If you are using national health insurance (not company insurance) -> Get a new card
You will need to go to your current Ward office and return your health insurance card. Do this at the same time you submit your notice of moving out. You will then need to go and issue a new card at your new Ward office.
If you had a previous address in Japan -> Forward your mail
You can go to your local post office and submit a “change of address” application. They will then forward all your incoming mail to your new address for 12 months. You will need to bring ID and proof of your new address. Here is further information in English: https://www.post.japanpost.jp/service/tenkyo/index_en.html
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