Moving to Japan


You need to move from Thailand or somewhere else to Japan? SIAM Relocation’s professional team helps you cope with all your logistic and relocation needs. We have acquired a lot of experience and knowledge in this domain and so we believe we are among the best qualified to deal with your relocation. In this article, you will find reliable information about the customs, the best methods of transportation, our best services and about your future life in Japan.

flag japan

1. Customs clearance in Japan

You can’t avoid customs when you enter a country. SIAM Relocation can help you prepare this step of your relocation.

1.1 Customs process

First, you will have to write a declaration about the belongings you bring to Japan. You can obtain them in the plane, the ship, or at customs.

Consumption tax is imposed on all goods imported in Japan, it is of 8% of the value of the goods in general and may vary according to the size of your shipment and the custom duties you will also pay.

According to what you import in Japan, the duties to pay will be low or high. Japan has a very complete detailed tariff schedule based on HS codes. One example: Silk-worm cocoons suitable for reeling (HS Code 5001.00) are submit to a 2,968 yen/kg duty.

Here is a list of the documents required for your relocation as a foreign resident :

  • Copy of picture and information page of shipper’s passport
  • Copy of visa page of the shipper’s passport
  • Copy of shipper’s most recent entry stamp into Japan (it should be within 6 months of the shipment’s arrival date)
  • Copy of the visa of origin country of the shipper, if different than origin country of the shipment
  • Original Unaccompanied Articles Customs Declaration Form C. No.5360.

SIAM Advice: Complete two of the Unaccompanied Articles Customs declaration Form C. No.5360 for you will probably need two. You want to find those form ? Check directly this link to download them under PDF format: The Customs Law [Form C]

Red and Green Channels system

This system is easy to understand, it aims at simplifying the procedure with path to customs officers.

If you transport dutiable goods and/or restricted/prohibited goods, you will have to take the Red Channel. If you don’t, you’ll head to the Green Channel.

In the Red Channel, if the goods exceed 300,000 yen, custom procedures for commercial cargo will be engaged.

1.2 Taxes exemption

Your items can be exempted of duties if they consist of used household effects which are used by the owner and will be in his/her new residence in Japan. Of course, all the required documents need to be perfectly completed in order to benefit from duty exemption.

SIAM Info: This rule applies only if what you transport does not exceed the limit quantity. For instance, rice is limited to 100kg a year.

1.3 Vehicle importation

It is possible to import your car in Japan. Nevertheless, we won’t advise you to do so because it will result complicated and very expensive. Most of the time, expats choose to sell their car and buy a new one (or not) in Japan.

If you want to bring you car for no more than one year, you can use your Carnet de Passage en Douane (CDP) which identifies the owner of the vehicle. If you own such a document, you have to address the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) and they will give you an authentication in order to bring your car and not be too annoyed by customs.

Note: You also need to be working in Japan in order to bring your car.

This authentication is free and simple to apply for. All you have to do is transmit a copy of the front and inside page of the CDP and a list of persons who will be driving the vehicle in Japan to the JAF.

Here are the documents you will need for importing your vehicle:

  • Original vehicle registration certificate at origin country that proves the usage of the vehicle by the shipper
  • Bill of sale, receipt or invoice
  • Original Unaccompanied Articles Customs declaration form C-5360 or C-5360-2
  • Original passport and working VISA in Japan
  • Alien registration card in Japan if you are a foreigner
  • Engagement letter not to resale the vehicle within two years
  • Declaration of customs duty exemption.

In your origin country, you will need to go and see your mechanic to do some modifications on your vehicle. Indeed, all vehicles entering Japan have to meet the emission and safety regulations imposed by the Ministry of the Environment.

Info SIAM: Then registration will be a very expensive process and can result quite long.

1.4 What duties and taxes will I pay for my personal effects?

Warning SIAM: Due to all the different duty rates imposed by the Japanese Customs, it is very hard to anticipate what you will pay or even calculate an average cost. More, you can try to get a duty exemption which will tremendously reduce the cost of your move.

This part of your move is still vague ? Feel free to contact our SIAM moving consultant. Fill our online form in 1 min and get an answer within 24h !


Sample of a declaration for personal effect importation (this one is for Singapore but could work for Japan as well)

personal effects declaration singapore

SIAM Plus: In logistics, administrative tasks are often quite complex and hard to understand when we are not used to it. That’s why SIAM Relocation’s consultants are here to guide you during your process. Their experience is a guarantee !

Customs contact in Thailand

thai customs

Official name: Thai Customs Department

Official Website: Thai Customs Website

Customs contact in Japan

japanese customs

Official name: Japan Customs

Official Website: Japanese Customs Website

Customs process

customs clearance process

Our customs broker inform you

Prohibited & restricted items

Remark SIAM: If you have one of the following item, you should check directly with our SIAM Moving consultant. Some of those items are restricted or even totally prohibited, it is important to anticipate such shipment to avoid any problem.

Drug contraband

prohibited drug


prohibited ivory


prohibited poison


prohibited explosive


prohibited batteries


prohibited porno


prohibited biohazard


prohibited combustible


prohibited knife


prohibited chemical


prohibited firearms


prohibited cigarette


prohibited corrosive


prohibited prescription drugs


prohibited gambler


prohibited counterfeit

Counterfeit notes

prohibited notes


prohibited hazardous items

Siam Relocation - Best price moving company in Bangkok !

Due to our attractive pricing, many customers trust our services and we thanks them.

Stop to overpay the services and save money with our tailored package matching will all type of removals, from small volume to full house, let us find the best and cost-effective option.


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2. Method of transportation

In order to move to Japan, you can use several way according to your budget. It can be by sea or air. Each one has advantages and drawbacks so our moving consultant will help you determine the most suitable solution for you.


ship icon

Ocean freight will be the best deal for you if:

  • You have a big move (full house/condo)
  • The goods you need to ship are greater than 3 CBM
  • You’re not in a hurry to receive them

SIAM Advice: To have precise rates and transit times for your Sea freight from Thailand to Japan, don’t hesitate to contact our SIAM Experts.


Remark SIAM: Sea freight between Thailand and Japan will certainly be the best way to ship your personal effects (mainly if you have a big volume).

Long ago, the Japanese archipelago was a land of fishermen. Still today, fishing is a very common activity on Japanese coasts. There is no fishing without ports. And with capitalism and Japanese expansionist period came the Japanese big ports.

Today, Japan has the 3rd biggest GDP in this globalized world, so no need to say that they have extremely competitive ports.

Japan main ports

Japan main ports are very famous and form a big competitive network. They are known for their complementarity. These are the ports of Osaka, Kobe, Tokyo, Nagoya and Yokohama. They benefit from the hyper-connectivity of the inland country. Indeed, thanks to the Shinkansen train and all the rest, these cities are very easily connected.

Info SIAM: You want further information about Japanese’s port ? Feel free to check the official website: Cruise port guide of Japan

Transit time

Here are some approximate transit times from Bangkok to different ports in Japan:

Departure Arrival Transit Unit
Bangkok Niigata 12 – 15 Days
Bangkok Fukuoka 10 – 13 Days
Bangkok Akita 17 – 20 Days
Bangkok Osaka 11 – 14 Days
Bangkok Kobe 14 – 17 Days
Bangkok Tokyo 10 – 13 Days

Remark SIAM: From Bangkok port or Pattaya’s (Laem Chabang), you should count 11 – 18 days of freight and add a few days of transit in docks and warehouses.

Sea freight rates

Sea freight rates are hard to apprehend as they are highly sensitive to many factors. The transported volume is the most important factor. According to what you ship, you won’t choose the same size of container and so the freight cost will vary.

Fortunately for you, we are here to guide you in your choice so that you don’t make mistakes that could lead to a waste of money. We usually advice FCL choice when shipping more than 15 cubic meters and else, a LCL.

*According to your needs, we can provide you with a packaging and/or loading service which also has consequences on the total price. 

Remark SIAM: You want further information about our packing service ? Contact our SIAM moving consultant or check our dedicated page: Packing service

Why choose us?

SIAM Relocation provides dedicated services to best respond to your specific needs and has been doing so since many years. Our moving consultants are experts and want the best solution for you.

Remark SIAM: As proof, if you transport small volumes, you should note that SIAM Relocation is the only moving company to have a rate for the first cubic meter. If you want to ship 1 cubic meter of your goods, other companies will charge you 4 cubic meter as it is their starting rate, SIAM Relocation will charge you 1 cubic meter because we seek for a fair service and relation.


airplane icon

Air freight will be the most efficient solution if:

  • Your goods are smaller than 3 CBM and 200 kg
  • You’re in a hurry to receive/send the goods

SIAM Advice: To have precise rates and transit times for your Air freight from Thailand to Japan, don’t hesitate to contact our SIAM Experts.



From Thailand, shipping to Japan by air is of course very ordinary.

Air freight will be the fastest freight mode and is very appropriate for shipping small volumes up to 4-5 cubic metres. If you try to ship those small volumes parcels by sea, you will be very surprised by the amount of handling fees at ports. Besides being faster, air freight can also result cheaper according to your specific case.

Remark SIAM: Air freight can be the most adequate solution, it mainly depends on your goods dimensions.

Main Airports in Japan

The two busiest airports of Japan are located in Tokyo, the most populated city in the world : Haneda Airport and Narita Airport. Then come Kansai Airport in Osaka and Fukuoka Airport on Fukuoka Island.

Eight airports transport more than 10 million passengers a year in Japan. Those airports are often big commercial airports too.

Remark SIAM: You want further information about airports in Japan, check the official website: Japan airlines

Transit time

From Bangkok to Tokyo, the flight time is about 5h30-6h, without counting the time difference of +2 hours in Japan compared to Thailand.

Thus, you can count between 2 and 4 days for the entire delivery, from the picking up of the goods to their delivery in Japan. This estimation is only given for guidance. We can’t guarantee a precise delivery time as too many factors are involved in the process.

Remark SIAM: Transit time are hard to estimate as it mainly depends of the budget: a direct flight available within a day is possible, but will probably be more expensive. In average, you can expect 2/4 days (export process included) 

*Note that the flight does not include the whole logistics process, some parcel could be stuck in customs for X or Y reason.

Air freight rates

Air freight rates are highly sensitive to weight and volume variations, meaning that the price really are inclined to vary according to what you ship. More, your shipment will have to go through custom clearance at the arrival and so what you ship will once more determine your expenses.

What can also influence your rate is your loading and destination airports. The cost won’t be the same if your flight is Chiang Mai – Tokyo than if it is Bangkok – Nagoya.

Why choose us?

SIAM Relocation has a long experience in air freight transportation and is used to working with the best agents for years. Please contact our moving consultants and they will work to find out the best solution to your needs.

Let’s see together how air freight are calculated. The most important aspect that you have to understand is the difference between actual weight and volumetric weight. Once you get it, you can understand your air freight quotations.

calculate gross weight
classic air freight volumetric weight

*If the volumetric weight is higher than the actual weight of your box, the carrier will quote based on this weight. You can use online chargeable weight calculators to make it easier, now that you understand how it works.  

international move japan

3. Additional moving services

SIAM Relocation has been dealing with relocations for a long time and always with the same perspective: the client comes first. That is why, through years of operations and observations, we decided to create specific offers in order to better fit your needs.

3.1 Moving insurance

International freight is not an exact science. Although our job is to anticipate the freight processing and planning it as well as it can be planned, freight always has a slight part of risks and surprises.

Remark SIAM: Our insurance program is charged 3% of your declared value.

That is why moving insurance exist. It aims to prevent basic risks like those caused by weather or bad storage for instance.  Most of the insurances cover those basic damages and other also choose to cover less common risks like piracy for instance.

Your choice should be done according to your specific shipment ( will it go through dangerous areas ?). Our consultants are here to help you make the good decision.

To subscribe to an insurance, you can choose to go through a standard insurance company, a specialist insurance broker, your bank or us, SIAM Relocation.

*Our consultants are here to make sure you choose the service you need. feel free to contact him!

Info SIAM: You want further information about our Insurance program? Feel free to contact our SIAM moving consultant or check our dedicated page: Moving Insurance

3.2 Moving with your pet to Japan

*The first thing to know is that from Thailand, you will go through a lot of difficulties in bringing your pet to Japan. Just keep in mind that this is for the future safety of your pet in Japan.

All animals must be inspected by Thailand’s government vet before leaving the country. For this reason, exactly three days before your departure from Thailand, you must go to the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport Custom and Animal Quarantine Office. Your animal has to be up to date about its vaccinations (especially Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Para-influenza and Bordetella bronchiseptica).

During this inspection, you will need several documents:

  • A rabies certificate, with all the contact details in English of the vet who made it. The pet must also have undergone a blood serology test to check for rabies antibody levels at least 30 days afterthe rabies vaccination. The test result must be at least 0.5 IU/mL.
  • A copy of your valid passport
  • Your flight details
  • Your pet’s micro-chip number.

Note: Then, once at the office, you will be asked to fill in an export request form.

After conducting the health check, the government vet will hand you the documents you require for your travel and charge you 50 Baht per animal. Do not forget to have your original pet health certificate, the airport vet certificate and the export permit with you when you travel, three days later.

That was what you have to do to leave the country with your pet regarding Thailand.

Now, let’s see what Japan imposes regarding pet relocation:

First, any dog or cat entering Japan must be microchipped with an ISO compliant chip.

40 days before importing your animal, you will have to file an Advanced Notification Form with the Animal Quarantine Service. This form will permit you to know the availability of facilities in Japan. If it is positive, you will receive an Approval of Notification.

Your pet must be vaccinated against rabies twice with an inactivated or recombinant vaccine, both times during the 12 months period prior to entry. The first rabies vaccination can not take place if your pet is not at least 3 months old. And the second must be given more than 30 days after the first.

Still to prevent from rabies, your pet must have a Blood Titer Test processed by an approved laboratory. The result of the test will determine the time your pet will spend in quarantine area.

SIAM Warning : Please make sure that your laboratory is approved. You may have trouble to find one and have to do the titer test in another country.

Except from rabies, here are the highly recommended vaccinations for your dog or cat:

  • Canine Distemper, Parvovirus, Hepatitis and Leptospirosis for dogs.
  • Feline Cat Flu-Feline Calicivirus, Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Chlamydia Psittaci and Cat Enteritis-Feline Panleukopaenia for cats.

Info SIAM: Dog owners have to apply for a dog licence online before they apply for their import licence. For more information, please refer to Quarantine system for dogs and cats (import)

3.3 Packing service

Remark SIAM: A secured logistic process is a shipment in which goods are packed, and well packed.

The standard packing equipment is of course packing boxes. They are made of cardboard and can be very resistant depending on the quality of the cardboard. They exist in many different sizes which makes them convenient for any packing operation.

Bubble wrap is useful to add cautiousness when transporting fragile items. For instance, you should use it for glasses and crockery in order to avoid all damages.

When a large packing size is required, we opt for wooden crates. They are bigger and more resistant than packing boxes and can resist more phenomena like humidity for example.

SIAM Plus: We, at SIAM Relocation, propose you to take care of all of your packing needs. Our warehousing crew can pack whatever you want. Some items have rare dimensions? They will pack them for you! You don’t have packing furniture and so you can’t pack? They will pack for you!

Info SIAM: You want further information about our packing service, feel free to contact our SIAM Moving consultant or check our dedicated page: Packing service

3.4 Warehousing service

When you have an emergency, a setback or whatever could disturb your relocation organization, a warehousing service can save your life. You may stock your goods in our warehouses before shipping them to India.

SIAM Plus: Our facilities are completely secured with alarm systems and guard presence 24/7.

3.5 Office moves

Please take note that we also have a service specialized in commercial moving for companies, associations and government agencies.

4. Our moving packages

In order to adapt our offer to the customer, to his needs but also to his budget, we created three moving packages : from the simple package to the complete package.

packages international move thailand

SIAM Plus: Please note that this information is for guidance only. It is based on our most up-to-date knowledge and experience. Your SIAM moving consultant will analyse and determine the most suitable moving solution, adapting our offer to your needs.

5. Life in Japan

5.1 Visa & Business


There are many visas available for entering and staying in Japan. But only few of them are suitable for long term staying and working.

The Long term stay with certificate of eligibility (COE) is made for people who will perform a paid work in the country. To obtain the COE, you have to apply to a Regional Immigration Bureau of the Ministry of Justice.

Then there are categories among the Employment Visas, made according to the type of job you will perform in Japan.

Remark SIAM: Many visas depend on your working status. If you want further information, feel free to check the official website: VISA / Residing in Japan


*Japan is the 3rd biggest GDP in the world.

The Japanese culture imposes a very particular work environment. Japanese are often stressed by their job and oppressed by their colleagues, in a way that the whole society understands. There are many interesting articles and books about it. It is quite hard for a foreigner to fit in this system.

Because it is an aging country, for the last years, the business has turned more and more towards the Silver Economy (services dliving edicated to the elderly).

5.2 Living in Japan


Japan is a very wealthy country with an amazing culture to which you need to adapt. Adapting to the society may be the most difficult you will have to do.

Cost of life

Being a region of the Triad, Japan is obviously a very expensive place to live in but also a land full of opportunities.

The basic consumption prices are 61% higher in Tokyo than in Bangkok but the purchasing power is 156% higher in Tokyo too !

  • Consumer Prices in Tokyo are 62.17% higher than in Bangkok
  • Consumer Prices Including Rent in Tokyo are 55.71% higher than in Bangkok
  • Rent Prices in Tokyo are 40.99% higher than in Bangkok
  • Restaurant Prices in Tokyo are 80.50% higher than in Bangkok
  • Groceries Prices in Tokyo are 57.43% higher than in Bangkok
  • Local Purchasing Power in Tokyo is 153.84% higher than in Bangkok

Further information on this link: Numbeo – Tokyo Vs Bangkok


Japan offers all type of jobs. If you are graduated and well skilled, you can get high ranked positions in big societies as well as starting your own start-up, etc.

The most active sectors in Japan includes of course the services (more than 75% of the GDP) and also some industrial sectors like those of automotive, electronic equipment, machine tools, chemicals and nautical sector.

Info SIAM: The long-term unemployment rate for Japanese residents was 2.4 per cent as of March in 2018.

5.3 Local contacts

Here are some precious contacts that you must know if you are to live in Japan.

Fire Engine / Ambulance: 118

Non-Emergency Ambulance: 119

Police Emergency: 110

Here are the best real estate companies in Japan. They can be of a great help to guide you through your relocation.

Real Estate Japan

Ken Corp

+81 3-5561-7752

+81 3-5413-5666

On the website

Here are some visa agencies to help you with your administrative procedure.


Scott’s Visas

It’s Easy Passport & Visa

+66 2-251-5197-8

+66 20 7554 3725

+66 1-866-487-3279

You will find below four of the most famous international schools in Japan.

The American School in Japan

AOBA – Japan International School

Gyosei International School 

+81 422-34-5300

+81 3-6904-3102

+81 438-52-3851

On the website

On the website