Thursday, October 19, 2006

For Indians Visiting Japan

I wish to give some tips to the Indians who visit Japan for Work or Tour. This blog may give some information which may or may not be useful to many users. However thought I can blog what information I missed when landed in Japan.

Before starting from India Consider:

Before you start from India check whether your home computer with Internet is properly working condition and connected with a Head phone microphone kits along. Also I suggest you to install the webcam setup in home. These will be helpful while you visit here in Japan or any other country outside India. Because it will reduce your communication cost and give you greater comfort with the family connected to you.

Keep it in mind that you may need to transact money from Japan to India after your arrival here, hence before starting itself make some arrangements with your bank for NRI account etc. If not get your bank’s swift code and information for the money remittance from Japan to India. As far as my knowledge lot of Indian banks operates in US and UK for Indian money transfer,but in Japan finding an Indian bank is real big problem. But State Bank of India and Bank of India are there in Tokyo. So, if you can please start an account in the core banking enabled SBI. It makes the life much easier when you are outside. I suggest while opening the account open with join account facility so your spouse or a family member can operate.

Food is going to be a major issue for those who visit from India. Prepared to carry some ITC food packs if you are traveling to Japan on short tours. But for working community I suggest don’t think Japan’s rice and Indian rice going to be same, so carry as much as items like rice, Wheat flour, Chilly powder, Sambar mix, Turmeric powder, Tomato paste [as the vegetable cost going to be sky rocking for you, Single tomato will cost 160Yen in Japan ], Rice powder for Dosa and other essential food items. You can buy Ginger, Garlic, Onion, Coffee powder, Milk, Curd and some vegetables in the nearby chain stores in Japan in a reasonable price. But make sure to carry the above items as they are very important. Also, for Indian there are few Malayalee Indian shops here and there which provide some grocery supply. But traveling to those places regularly may not be a option, hence try carrying stuffs in your first trip. Secondly there is no need to carry Soap, Brush, Paste and other cosmetics as I find those are priced with same price tag of India. I hope that you know cooking. If you don’t then you are going to be in deep trouble, because the next option would be eating burgers and Japanese food.

Many of the Japanese foods are made with Fish, Noodles and Soya sauce. Hence I leave the decision to your own intelligence. Many of their meat look uncooked, but for sure I know sushi is raw fish puffed with rice. The cheapest western food burger will be available from Mc.Donald, however eating the fatty food everyday going to be a disaster to your body. The burgers starts from 80Yens and you will have to pay more for other stuffs.
Camera Friendly Objects - Wildlife
Next in this section, let me tell you about water, especially if your water requirement is very high . Inside the office we have free coffee and tea not water. Which means you will be spending lots of money for water. A 500ml pet bottle of water may cost you 130yens. Remember Indians drink more water than other country people which means in Japan drinking the bottled water is another expensive treat. Kid’s food items are again not so easy with Indian food, so be cautious and bring them enough food. The cooking vessels, stove and electric rice cooker are available in the apartment hence no need to bring some of them from India.

It is recommended to carry sufficient winter cloths like Sweater, Jerkin, Jackets, Woolen Gloves, Woollen innerwear, and cap etc. But no need to bring blazer and suites from India as the price in both the countries seems to be the same. Unless you have already some stuff at home, I suggest not buying anything there. May be your employer would have suggested to bring some suites as I have seen from cleaning labor to IT professional everybody wears suites. It’s not like our country where wearing a suite is a mark of marketing or higher position in the company; here it is a common wear so, plenty of them are available for discount sale.

Shirts and pants are also reasonably priced; you can visit lots of shops around to buy those things. Carry only minimal thing required don’t hurry buying things while your departure in India. For Indian Girls anyway no problem in wearing the Jean and top but for those who have not comfortable in this dress may be a problem. If you wear a salwar people may look at you in a different way. You will be odd among the crowd.

Another thing is that kids dresses are equally priced with adult dresses, hence if you are bringing your kids then bring their dresses too.

Life style items [Statutory Warning: Some items here in this subject are injurious to health]
If your lifestyle requires cigarettes and if you are a smoker I suggest carry enough from India. A single pack of 20 cigarettes will cost your 320yens and not that strong. Though you will find enough alcohols in Japan for really cheap cost , if you are a Rum lover then you are getting into trouble. Finding Rum in Japan is a very difficult task, so carry “Old Cask” if you want. Otherwise you are a free bird tasting Sake, Soochow, Vodka, Scotch whisky, Brandy and Beer ofcourse.

Lots of perfume shops you will find when you visit the shopping malls, As per my opinion those are equally priced in India. In India, we do import these items from western countries only. For women the makeup items are plenty available in Japan, many Japanese females depend their life with the makeup kits.

Nappies and diapers are not so costly and you can buy them here. The handbag, ladies purse and belts are very expensive here, so Please carry them as much you want to use here.

An important thing that everybody ask me, "hey will you get me this gizmo while returning from Japan as they produce it so it will be cheaper.?" Actually it’s a misconception as I have been the victim here. Because I didn’t carry my camera thinking that I will get a price advantage so I will buy it over here after reaching. But the situation is totally different; in Japan the electronic goods are much costlier than India. Let it be a Watch or a Camera or MP3 player or a Car DVD player or whatever. Hence if you have something there, and wanted to upgrade do it in India and bring it here for your use. Sometimes I have seen prices of the used items here are as close as our new products. Even if you buy those electronics here, you may end up having problems paying more money on our customs duty, also to be noted you will not get International warranty for many goods in Japan. If you want you need to pay even more Yens to get it international warranty endorsed.

Don’t bring film cameras as the developing and printing cost in Japan is higher than buying a camera compare to India.

Your money for the expenses may be used in the priority as stated below

1. Apartment or Accommodation cost – The single largest spending in Japan is going to be Accommodation. A fully furnished studio apartment may be rented from 1,70,000 yens. However this is the lowest, which means you may be spending an hour train travel to your work or the city.
2. Travel and Transport – Comes next to the accommodation, however there are options like monthly, daily, holiday and weekly passes for work and tour purposes. Even in that case the monthly pass usually consumes about 20,000 yens minimum. Then add other travel expenses for trips etc, so monthly the travel expense may jump over 30,000 yens.
3. Food – Reserve your cash for food about 30,000 if you combine with your bringing from India and self cook. If you don’t do that this will take the second place and each session of food may cost your 1000 yens approximately. This means 3000 yens per day per person.
4. If you work here and stay in your own accommodation, then Water, Electricity, Telephone, Gas and Cable TV will cost you a fortune some times the sum of these things will cross 30,000 yens per month.
5. Insurance – Stay insured while in work permit, but it will cost your about 40,000 yens. So I recommend you bargain with your employer even before accepting the offer. Demand them to take care of your insurance.

Miscellaneous Information
I know many of us are used to travel in some or other form of personal automobile vehicles in India like bike, scooter, car and auto etc. But in Japan getting a house with car parking means you may be a millionaire or staying in outside the city. Also you will get parking priced at 1000yens per hour. Then comes the toll road cost, most of your trip may cross so many toll road where in to travel 100kms you need to spend 10,000 yens, true but cannot leave it without stating. This makes no one from our country can even think of personal transport. Additionally the local Japanese themselves use bicycle and public transport for their travel needs.

In the office, you cannot expect the transparent behavior like what used to in our country. People act different inside and outside the office. The in-time to office is really a mandatory stuff but leaving early say exactly the closing hour may not be possible at all. The work culture is one which really sucks me here. Otherwise in the train, tourist spots, grocery stores, hotels and train stations the people are not so differently behave, some times there are very friendly outside.

The Japanese like dogs a lot. You will be amused to see Dogs wearing dress like a man. There are special shops for dog dresses like pants, shirts and ties etc. Its real fun seeing these people attached with their dogs.

I forget to tell an important information, which we are lacking and Japanese are always considered to be on the higher side. That is the time management; yes Japanese consider the time very much. If you travel in a Shinkansen the bullet train some times for change of another triain you may get 3 minutes or 5 minutes internal on your ticket. But it is a sufficient time here to change from one train to another. I read one of the blogger stating the station masters change time is logged with seconds not minutes. No bus, train, flight or a person is normally delayed, so if you are used of finding reasons with these things for your late attendance it will not be possible in Japan.
Hope this piece of information is useful to your Japan trip. Keep visiting back to this blogger for more information on my Japan experience. I have also posted some blogs on visits to some tourist attractions in Japan. Keep crawling my archive.

Visit me at:


Anonymous said...

I am sure the info you've provided is gonna be useful for many. Really nice!!!

I'd recommend my friends to reading your views if any of them happen to go to Japan, because not only that yours is first-hand, but also that it
is written in an Indian-perspective:-)

- Praveen

Sharenews said...

A very neatly compiled information. Thanks for sharing.

I wish I had read this post before I landed in Japan.

Anonymous said...


Food is not that costly here. You can buy out the provisions like rice in Jaffer stores in 0353370644 for info from jaffer store.They will even pick u up from the shinokubo station.Your provisions like dal , rice will cost between 350 yens to 600 yen.

You get indian, Pakistani,Thailand foods over here.

Anonymous said...

Stuff like food, alchohol, eating out etc seems to be cheaper in Japan. Rentals are quite expensive. This is in comparison to Toronto, Canada.

Anonymous said...

Your information is aimed at people who go to work/live in Japan. Wish there was more info. for people who want to visit Japan.

Anonymous said...

Hi Siva,
Needed the most current rental rates in Japan. This is for long term stay, like in Singaopore HDB rates now are in the range of 1500+ S$, lika that what is the per month rate in Japan for long term stay. Please post the answer to

Sivakumar said...

Hi Thariyan,

It's almost an year since I stayed in Tokyo. However I can guess the rentals in Japan are ranging between 95,000 - 2,00,000Yens for a furnished two bedroom apartment based on their proximity to railway stations, interchanges and commercial districts. For Indians there are many options as I had seen many grocery shops etc in there.

Sunil said...

Hi Shivakumar,

I have almost completed reading your entire posts :0) and you have written the essence of an Indian heart and mind. i was feeling so alone in here. your posts made my day.

I'm in the Philippines right now and had planned to go to Japan, but all off east Asia seems very very expensive for my taste, i don't mind spending but it should be worthwhile to some extent.

Even in the PH which is just like India is very costly. I have been to HKG, SIG and BKK and the prices are very high. people say that its cheap Indian mentality, but it is not, unless one works in that country, a long stay to study the country is impossible.
However, PH and east asians are very friendly people, so it makes life much easier. keep posting

Sharadha said...

Hi Mr. Sivakumar,

Your blog was very helpful and gave a complete first hand knowledge of how would the indian life be in japan.Thank you for your time and efforts.

Sharadha said...

Hi Mr. Sivakumar,

Your blog was very helpful and gave a complete first hand knowledge of how would the indian life be in japan.Thank you for your time and efforts.

Anonymous said...

wat abot masters in electroncs der?

Anonymous said...

It this housing price in tokyo. I have some friends close to sea shore in kanazawa. there u can rent a single room apparment for 50000 yen. not that expensive.

Anonymous said...

dude honestly, I may sound harsh but
whether your Indian or European or Chinese or whatever race, when your in another country, JUST BLEND GOD DAMN IT.
Just try to experience the culture of a another world, let go of your "fears" like "OH MY GOD! WE'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE OUR WONDERFUL BASMATI RICE! LET'S BRING A WHOLE BAG WITH US!"
Guys seriously. Don't be that ridiculous. Your not living there forever.If your a strict vegetarian, then fine. Why don't you go try out a vegetarian dish? HUH? Why are you guys always trying to find "the nearest Indian restaurant"? My words of advice;
Just let go. You'll have more fun.
When in Rome, do as the Romans.

Vijay said...


I am from Chennai and on a holiday trip with my wife to Kyoto and Osaka for 5 days in April from April 16 to 22 , 2013. I hve made my hotel bookings and the itinerary is ready. I am wondering if I will get Visa or not. Is the visa strictly processed? I have been to Thailand and Malaysia before but haven't had any difficulties there. My concern is, should someone invite me to Japan for them to provide the visa?

BTW, I liked your post. It was helpful.