Japan for Digital Nomads
Facts About Japan
Japan is an archipelago of some 6,852 islands located in a volcanic zone on the Pacific Ring of Fire. A nearly continuous series of ocean trenches, volcanic arcs and shifting tectonic plates, the Pacific Ring of Fire accounts for more than 75 percent of the world’s active volcanoes and 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes.
Japan’s four main islands, Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku, make up 97 percent of the country’s total land area. Honshu is home to Tokyo and many of Japan’s other largest cities, including Yokahama, Osaka, Nagoya, Kobe, Kyoto, Kawasaki, Saitama, Hiroshima and Sendai.
Hokkaido, the second largest Japanese island and northernmost prefecture, accounts for nearly a quarter of Japan’s arable land. Hokkaido leads Japan’s other 46 prefectures in the production of seafood and a host of agricultural products, including soybeans (the key ingredient for tofu and all things miso), wheat, corn, beef and raw milk. Sapporo, Hokkaido’s capital and largest city, hosts the annual Sapporo Snow Festival, which regularly draws more than 2 million visitors to the spectacular exhibition of some 400 snow and ice sculptures.
Kyushu, the third largest and most southern of Japan’s four main islands, is the site of Japan’s most active volcano, Mt. Aso, and several cities with important historical, political and commercial significance, including Nagasaki, Kagoshima and Fukuoka.
Information About Entry and Departure
When you enter Japan, you have to go through immigration clearance by presenting necessary documents, your passport and visa (if required) to receive landing cards at an airport or a port.
When you leave Japan, you have to get confirmation of departure from an immigration inspector at an airport or a port. It’s not to restrict you from leaving Japan but to have a record of people leaving the country. If you have documents such as a visa and so on at that time, the documents are collected so your resident status and residence period disappears. Those who received a re-entry permit (including a special re-entry permit) before leaving Japan can retain their resident status and residence period if they re-enter Japan within the valid period.
Crime levels are low in Japan. It is generally safe to walk about at night and to travel on public transport, but you should maintain the same level of vigilance as you would at home and take sensible precautions.
It may surprise you to learn that an incredibly modern country like Japan is in some ways quite old fashioned when it comes to money.
Not only is the use of cash extremely prevalent, but in many places credit cards are simply not accepted. And to further complicate things, ATM machines that work with non-Japanese credit or debit cards can be hard to find, particularly in rural areas.
It’s recommended obtaining some local Japanese yen from your local bank before leaving for Japan. While there is no guarantee that you will get the best rate, it should be comparable – and it saves you the time and hassle of exchanging currency after you arrive in Japan.
Both paid and free wireless (Wi-Fi) hotspots are available across Japan that laptops, smartphones and other mobile devices can use to connect to the internet, especially around airports, train stations, convenience stores, restaurants, coffee shops and bars.
Japan came is the third quickest internet speed with a peak download speed of 42.2 Mbps, and can download one HD movie in 106 seconds.
You’ll need an unlocked smartphone or device to use a prepaid SIM. You should be able to configure the APN settings yourself. Note, however, that if you buy your SIM at Bic Camera, they will do the installation and setup for Y480.
There are two major prepaid data-only SIM cards available to travelers in Japan:
- IIJmio Japan Travel SIM
- B Mobile Visitor SIM
It has recently become possible to purchase prepaid voice/data SIM cards in Japan. These cards are called the B-Mobile PayG Sim. They cost Y9,980 are good for one week from the date of activation. They include 60 minutes of domestic and international calls and 3G of data. They can be purchased online and then delivered to your first night’s hotel. You can also purchase them in person at Yodobashi Camera Stores in Japan. Once you receive the card, you must upload your passport photo and visa page in order to activate the card. If the passport photo page does not show your address, you must also upload an official document showing your address (like a driver’s license). Thus, these cards are a little fiddly to use, but they are the only way for tourists to get prepaid voice SIMs in Japan.
Another possibility for mobile internet access is a MiFi device, which creates a WiFi network for you. I have tested the GlocalMe device and think it’s a really useful addition of my travel equipment. You can either use it as an ordinary wireless router with up to two SIM cards (very useful if you work with mobile TANs, you want to be available on your local number or if you want to use the social networks with a 2-factor authentication) but you can also use it without a physical SIM card but with the built in cloudSIM technology (which is of course more expensive) in over 100 countries worldwide. Apart from that it’s also a 6000 mAh powerbank, which is never bad to have with you.
Living in Japan as a Digital Nomad
Depends on what area of Japan you find yourself living in, but on the whole, Japanese housing is going to be a bit smaller and a bit less cushy than what you’re used to. Out in more rural areas, you might get lucky and find a place of decent size, but most often you’ll be housed in a bit smaller place than what you’re used to.
Japanese public transport is great! In Europe and different nations, it’s presumably truly great too, yet the Japanese have truly got it under control. Their metro and system are helpful, precise, and makes getting around the nation so substantially less demanding
Japanese cuisine offers an abundance of gastronomical delights with a boundless variety of regional and seasonal dishes as well as international cuisine. Restaurants range from mobile food stands to centuries old ryotei, atmospheric drinking places, seasonally erected terraces over rivers, cheap chain shops and unique theme restaurants about ninja and robots. Many restaurants are specialized in a single type of dish, while others offer a variety of dishes.
Osakan Space– Located in the heart of Osaka’s bustling business district, with many local eats and even a Starbucks, all within a few minute’s walk. Osakan Space is one of Osaka’s hippest shared working spaces.
Featuring a stylish open plan coworking area with many hot desks and comfortable chairs, perfect for having a chat, collaborating and sharing ideas with other like-minded coworkers.
20 important words/sentences in Japanese
|Where is …?||Doko desu ka …?|
|My name is …?||Watashinonamaeha ….?|
|I don’t speak Japanese||Watashi wa nihongo|
|Do you speak English?||Eigo o hanesemasu ka?|
|I’m German.||Watashi wa doitsu shusshindesu.|
|Could you help me?||Watashitachi o tetsudatte kuremasu ka?|
|I need …||Watashi wa woshii ….|
|Thirsty||Nodo ga kawai|
|How much is this?||Kore was ikuradesu ka?|
The Numbers in Japanese
The Tokyo Guide for Digital Nomads
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