Have you decided to move out of your Japanese apartment? Do you know what to do and what forms to fill out at the city office? What do you need to remember to do before you move? Here is your check list of things to do when you move out of your Japanese apartment.

The Beginning Stage: Planning the move

  • Tell your landlord about your plan to move out at least one month before.
  • Find a reliable realtor to help with your search for a new apartment. It can be difficult for foreigners to find homes in Japan, so having the help of a realtor as the middle-man is worth the investment.
  • Research moving companies. Common companies include アート引越センター, サカイ引越センター, or アリさんマークの引越社. There are websites to help you research the best company and prices for your move.

Moving Out: What you need to do

  • Notify your utilities that you want to cancel. In Japan, the gas (ガス), water (水道すいどう), electricity (電気でんき) and internet インターネット are usually all separate companies. Depending on your provider, you can cancel online or call to cancel. You will have to indicate the date you want it to be cancelled. Think about when you want the water and electricity to be turned off. You don’t want to end up with no water or electricity on the day you’re trying to clean the place!
  • When talking to the utility companies, you will have to answer a few questions and probably fill out a survey. Most companies will ask if you want your utilities to be transferred to your new apartment. Note: if you are using a real estate agent, they can help you with the cancellation and transfer of utilities.
  • Clean, clean, clean. In Japan, it is important to always be thinking of others. Especially as a foreign resident, being considerate of your landlord will speak millions. Clean like you want to leave the place cleaner than when you moved in.
  • If you have an independent landlord, give them a nice gift when you move out. A box of chocolates or cookies is always a great gesture!

The Move: Forms and legalities

  • If you are moving within the same city: Change your address at the city office within 14 days of your move. You will simply need to fill out a 転居届 Tenkyo-todoke “Notification of Move”. Bring some form of identification, such as residence card or your “My Number” マイナンバーcard. And don’t forget your health insurance card, so that they can update your address on it.
  • If you are moving to a different city: Go to the city office of your current residence within 14 days of your move. You will need to fill out a form for your change of address. This form is called the 転出届てんしゅつとどけ “Notification of Moving Out”. After you fill out this form, you will receive a 転出証明書てんしゅつしょうめいしょ. You will need this form to present at your new apartment’s city office.
  • If you are moving to a different city: Go to your new apartment’s city office. You will need to fill out the 転入届てんにゅうとどけ “Notification of Moving In”. Make sure to bring the 転出証明書 that you received at your old apartment’s city office and basic identification documents. The office will update your address on your residence card, マイナンバーcard and health insurance card 健康保険証けんこうほけんしょう, so make sure you bring all of those cards as well.
  • For your workplace, you will need a 住民票じゅうみんひょう “Certificate of Residence” to notify them of your new address. You can obtain this at your local city office.
    Change your address for all of your bank accounts, credit cards and postal accounts. You can do this online or go to your local bank or post office to change the address.
  • If you have a driver’s license: After going to the city office to fill out the “Change of Address” forms, bring your residence card, マイナンバーcard or 住民票じゅうみんひょう to your new address’ local police station to change your address on your driver’s license.
  • Notify the post office of your new address so your mail gets forwarded. You can go online to the Japan Post’s website or go to your local post office to fill out a postcard with your new address. The form is called the 転送届てんそうとどけ “Notification of Forwarding” or 転居届てんきょとどけ “Notification of Move”. Make sure to bring proof of residence documents such as your driver’s license or your residence card. The post office will forward your mail for one year from the date you fill out the form.

Have you checked off all these items? Then you’re good to go for your move!
Happy moving!