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Expat Women Living in Japan

If you are (or plan to be) an expat living in Japan, please find below a list of expat clubs, schools, general links for women living in Japan, country information and more...
Expat Clubs... General Links...
International Schools... Citizens...
Local News in English... Looking for Work...
Country Information... Top 5 Tips...
Settling In Tips...

Expat Women Living in Japan

Association of Foreign Wives of Japanese
AFWJ, the Association of Foreign Wives of Japanese, has over 500 members in Japan and abroad and aims to provide members with friendship, support, mutual help in adapting to Japanese society. It also offers opportunities for social, emotional, educational and professional growth.
Association for Women in Finance
The Association for Women in Finance (AWF) is a Tokyo-based volunteer organization that aims to provide women in finance a forum in which they can further their professional development, network and exchange information, and meet like-minded women of all nationalities.
Being A Broad
Started in 1997, Being a Broad has already help thousands of women make the most of their lives in Japan.
Canadian Women's Club in Japan
The Canadian Women's Club in Japan (CWCJ) was established in 1970 and is made up of a diverse group of women with a connection to Canada, focusing on friendship and cultural exchange.  CWCJ members gather monthly for various cultural events and to support local and international philanthropic organizations as well as extending this philantropy back to Canada.
Foreign Executive Women in Japan
Foreign Executive Women (FEW) is a business and social networking organization whose aim is to help foreign women in Japan achieve their full professional and/or personal potential. FEW welcomes foreign women from all professional backgrounds and at all stages of their careers. We focus on networking, career development as well as social and volunteer activities.
Foreign Women Lawyers Association
The Foreign Women Lawyers Association is a diverse group of women from across the globe. Our foreign woman lawyer members and alumnae include women licensed in or originating from Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Finland, France, Japan, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Germany, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Japan and the United States. Our Japanese lawyer members have also often studied or practiced abroad.
Japan Australia New Zealand Ladies' group
The JANZ Ladies' Group is a friendly and supportive organization for women from Australia and New Zealand presently living in Japan and Japanese women who have lived in either Australia or New Zealand for at least one year, or women who are married to Australian or New Zealand passport holders.
Tokyo American Club
Welcome to Tokyo American Club. Learn about Japanese culture, make new friends, get fit and spend time with your family all at one place. Life made simple just for you.
Yokohama International Women's Club (YIWC)
Yokohama International Women's Club (YIWC) promotes international friendship and cross-cultural understanding through social and related activities, as a non-profit women's organization. The organization was founded in 1929.
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CareerCross Japan
A bilingual resource for living and working in Japan. Jobs Data-Base, Resume Bank, Job Hunting Advice, Living and Working in Japan Guides, Forums, Bilingual English and Japanese. Content and much more.

City of Yokohama
Information for foreigners living in Yokohama.

College Women's Association of Japan (CWAJ)
An international women's organization with a sixty-year history of promoting education and cross-cultural understanding. Providing scholarships for women with funding from donations and the proceeds from the CWAJ Print Show is a primary objective. Membership in CWAJ provides opportunities for friendship with women from all over the world while learning about Japan and other cultures through monthly luncheons, lectures and special interest groups. Guests are welcome to many activities.

No. 1 Website for Foreigners in Japan. Search Japan Jobs, Apartments, Forums, Classifieds and a whole lot more!

Japan Family Guide
Japan Family Guide is an English-language resource for families living in Japan with articles on having a baby, education, childcare, parenting, shopping, transport, leisure, food, and more, plus a Classifieds and Forum.

Japan Guide
Our goal is to deliver comprehensive, up to date information on traveling and living in Japan, first-hand from Japan.

Jobs in Japan
Job search website.

Japan Times Jobs
Job search website.


Seek Japan

Tokyo Families

Tokyo With Kids
This website contains a babysitting register, a discussion forum and plenty of resources and links for parents in Tokyo.

Tokyo Connections
Job Search website

Work in Japan
Job search website
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ASIJ Japan Source
ASIJ - The American School in Japan (ASIJ) provides an American style education to U.S., Japanese, Europeans and others who speak English fluently.

Hiroshima International School

Hokkaido International School

Nagoya International School


Nishimachi International School

Osaka International School

St. Mary's International School

Study Abroad Programs for High School Students
Website with listings of organisations for Study Abroad Programs in Japan for High School Students.

Tokyo International School

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Back in Blighty
This offers everything the British expat needs, from gardening links to cricket scores.

British Expats
A resource for British expats around the world. Immigration and general discussion forums, articles, blogs, chat room, photo gallery and more.

Brit World
BritWorld is designed with the expat in mind. Those people whom for one reason or another, left their homeland to start a new life in another part of the world. For those that miss their homeland there is a free emailing list to help find new friends and keep in touch with others.

British Club Worldwide
As the name implies, all this British for Brits around the world.

British Expat
An online magazine for British expats that has loads of info, forums, travel section and ways to keep in touch with fellow Brits abroad.

British Food - buy online
British Food shopping with worldwide delivery

Expat Essentials
Your one-stop shopping service for all your favourite British foods. We have over 8000 food and house care products to choose from, so there is something to suit everyone. Here you can find all the famous UK brands that we all love plus Tescos, Sainsburys, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer products. So, no matter where you live in the world, you can now enjoy "a taste of home delivered to your door", with some of the lowest delivery rates available.

Expat Index
Online information and shopping site for British expatriates.

We are a free source of information for British expatriates, contracting or living overseas, almost a UK expats yellow pages, also with an overseas recruiter database, country information with links relevant to British expats (and any other English speaking ex-pats).

Expat Shopping
UK online supermarket with 1500+ famous British Branded Products including biscuits, beverages, crisps, health & beauty, confectionery and many more groceries. Delivered direct to your door.

Expats Shopping Arcade
Expats shopping arcade offers the freedom to virtually shop in a UK highstreet without ever leaving the country!

Telegraph Newspaper Online
News from the UK and links for expats

Wales Country Nationals
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asahi.com ENGLISH


Japan Times

The Daily Yomiuri
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Looking for work in another country requires more than just the obvious CV translation. You will be confronted with issues that probably didn't even cross your mind when you decided to go for an international career, but don't underestimate the big impact they can have on the outcome of your adventure! Think for example about the different rules and habits regarding immigration, job application procedures, the selection procedures and the management culture.

Click to Download
Supplied by Expertise in Labour Mobility
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Japan Map
Central Intelligence Agency, 2005
Location: Asia
Capital City: Tokyo
Other Important Cities:
Kyoto,Nagoya, Osaka, Sapporo
Currency: Yen (¥)
Language: Japanese
Calling Code:
Internet TLD: .jp
100V 50Hz
Emergency Numbers:
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These tips were kindly provided by volunteer Expat Women Mentors in 2007. ExpatWomen.com shares these tips in an effort to help but takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information.
Provided by Diane C, American, Iwakuni, Japan
Before you move, get in contact with someone whose situation and lifestyle are similar to yours (for example, if you have a family, you'll want to know what housing and transportation are like for other families). By doing this, you can avoid some future mistakes and misunderstandings, especially if you're going to be living in the military community.
Read a good book or two about Japan if you haven't lived in Japan before. Reading can help you have an understanding of the Japanese mindset that you might find it hard to attain otherwise.
The importance of flexibility cannot be overstated. But then, this is true wherever you live, if it's outside your comfort zone.
Become best friends with your computer, as you will likely be ordering clothing and some other items online.
5. Get out and start enjoying the local culture as much as you can, as soon as you can. This will help you to avoid feelings of isolation. And eat the food!!
Provided by Suzanne, American, Tokushima Prefecture, Japan
1. Try to learn at least a little of the language.
2. Be prepared for hot, humid summers and cold, drafty winters.
3. Get an Internet connection.
4. Visit Topia, the center for international visitors, in the Tokushima Train Station building.
5. Be flexible and maintain your sense of humor.
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ExpatWomen thanks Japan Guide for supplying the following Settling In Tips for Japan. This is only a small summary to help you get acquainted to your new country. You can find much more detailed information, including local websites (that we have not included here) at their website http://www.japan-guide.com/
Expand/ContractImmigration/Visas and Permits

There are MANY types of visas depending upon the reason and length of your stay in Japan. For more detailed information, visit http://www.japan-guide.com/

In order to visit Japan, you may need only a valid passport or you may need to apply for a visa become visiting. Temporary visitors from most countries are allowed to stay in Japan for up to 90 days.

Foreigners, who wish to work in Japan, need to apply for an appropriate visa. There are about a dozen types of working visas, each allowing the holder to engage in paid activities only within a defined professional field. For example, there are visas for artists, professors, engineers, instructors and entertainers.

If you change jobs while you are in Japan, you also need to change your status of residence, provided that the new job falls into a different professional field. Most working visas are valid for one or three years and need to be extended before they expire. A prospective employer is needed as sponsor when applying for most types of working visa.

Please contact the Japanese Embassy in your country to ensure you have the correct paperwork to enter the country.

All foreigners, who stay in Japan for more than 90 days, need to apply for an alien registration card within the first 90 days of their stay. Applications can be made at the local municipal office (e.g. city hall). The alien registration card is an important document required for opening a bank account and similar activities. Foreign residents are required to carry their alien registration card with them at all times.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Expand/ContractCost of Living and Utilities
Living costs in Japan and especially in Tokyo are famous to be among the world's highest. However, if you live outside of central Tokyo, adjust to a Japanese lifestyle and do not depend too heavily on food and products from your home country, you may be surprised how inexpensive Japan can be.
Expand/ContractTelephone Service

In Japan, conventional land line phone lines have to be bought or rented. Rented phone lines may not allow you to make international calls. Telephone lines are handled by NTT (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone).

Japan is a leader in mobile phone technology and usage. Mobile phones are omnipresent and have been constantly incorporating additional functions, such as internet browsers, games, cameras, televisions, wallets and train passes.

Most other mobile phones in Japan are sold in combination with a monthly and yearly contract and are usually only available to residents of Japan. Foreign residents will need to present their alien registration card in order to subscribe to such a contract.

Expand/ContractTV and Radio

Watching television is very popular in Japan. In Tokyo one can receive about five private and two national NHK channels with a room antenna.

Imported movies and series are mostly broadcasted on pay TV channels.

Televisions and videos run on the NTSC standard. DVD players are organized by region codes. Make sure you buy the right DVDs for the right DVD player or, alternatively, a multi-system player.

Expand/ContractInternet Access

NTT provides the line (phone, ADSL, fiber) and then you will have to sign up with an internet provider. There are many companies to choose from. An increasing number of houses and apartments are already connected to high speed internet, while others may still require installation work to be done.

One popular provider is Global Online Japan.

Expand/ContractPostal Service

Post offices provide a range of postal services including the shipping of post cards, letters, parcels and registered mail as well as savings and insurance services. Door-to-door delivery services, known as takuhabin, are also provided by various companies other than the post office.

Japan 's mail service is highly efficient and fast. Post offices ( yubin-kyoku ) are identified by a red and white T with a parallel bar across the top.

Letters posted within Japan should get to their destination in one to two days, and all post can be addressed in Western script ( romaji ) provided it is clearly printed.

For an explanation of how to understand Japanese addresses visit http://www.japan-guide.com


Utilities such as gas, water and especially electricity are expensive. Before moving into a new apartment, contact the utility companies' nearest offices in order to get the supply started on the day you move in. For more detailed information, visit http://www.Japan-guide.com


Some of the world's most expensive land can be found in central Tokyo. Consequently, even tiny apartments in the city center are very expensive. However, housing costs are distinctly lower in Tokyo 's suburbs, surrounding prefectures and in other regions and cities of Japan. Additional commuting costs are often more than compensated by the savings on the rent, especially as many Japanese companies pay part or all of their employees' commuting expenses.

Apartments are usually rented through real estate agents rather than landlords. Real estate offices can be recognized by listings of available apartments in their show windows. They also advertise on signs in the neighborhood and in various publications.

The rental system of many conventional real estate companies is not very foreigner friendly.

Real estate companies, which specifically target Japan 's foreign community, exist mainly in Tokyo and other large metropolitan areas. They offer private and shared apartments for conditions that are much more suitable to the needs of foreigners, and often have staff trained in foreign languages.

For example, they offer rental contracts for much shorter time periods and lower and fewer initial fees than conventional companies. In addition, their apartments are often already furnished, and the cost for utilities may be included in the monthly rent.

See http://www.Japan-guide.com for more details.


The official language is Japanese.

English Japanese
Japanese nihongo
Yes hai
No iie
Hello Moshimoshi (telephone)
Good bye sayōnara
Good morning ohayō gozaimas
Good night  
Thank you arigatō
Please onegai shimas
You're Welcome  
My name is...  
I am...  
How much? ikura des ka
Do you speak English? eigo ga hanasemas ka
I do not know  
How do I get to.....?  
Expand/ContractMoney and Banks

The currency used in Japan is the Yen.

•Notes (Yen): 1000, 2000 (very rare), 5000 and 10000
•Coins (Yen): 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500

The best way to exchange money is at a foreign exchange office or at any bank. It is important to carry some cash with you as some places do not accept credit cards.

Japanese banks offer automatic teller machines (ATM) and cash dispensers (CD). At ATMs one can pay, withdraw, deposit and transfer money and pay bills, while at CDs it is usually only possible to withdraw money. Most ATMs and CDs are unavailable on weekends and during the night, but the number of 24h ATMs is increasing. The machines found in convenience stores, for example, are often available around the clock.

As a traveler in Japan, be aware that most Japanese ATMs do not accept foreign credit cards. Only the international ATMs found in post offices and in a few major department stores and airports accept foreign credit and debit cards.

Common forms of payment:
•  Cash
•  Debit card
•  Credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club, American Express)

In order to open an account at a Japanese bank, a foreigner requires to present his/her Alien Registration Card, the document any foreigner needs to apply for when staying in Japan for more than 90 days. An inkan (personal stamp) or signature is also needed.

Expand/ContractPayment of bills

Telephone and utility bills can be paid at the utility companies' offices, banks, postal offices, convenience stores and automatic transfer from bank accounts.

Expand/ContractHealth care

There are basically two types of insurance in Japan. One is the National Health Insurance, the other one is Social Insurance. National Health Insurance is for people who don't have a job, or self-employed. The city you reside cover 70% of your medical expense. And your insurance fee is decided based on your previous year's earning.

Social Insurance is provided by your company, and the fee is usually shared between you and your company.


There are many international schools where English is the main language for learning (from preschool to University level). Please see below for a list of schools (not exhaustive).

Expand/ContractCars and Drivers Licenses

Japan 's large metropolitan areas around Tokyo , Osaka and Nagoya are served by highly efficient public transportation systems. Consequently, many residents do not own a car or even a driving license. Outside the big cities, however, public transportation tends to be inconvenient, and most people rely on a car.

In Japan, cars drive on the left side of the road and have the driver's seat and steering wheel on the right. The legal minimum age for driving is 18 years. Road signs and rules follow international standards, and most signs on major roads are in Japanese and English.

Foreigners can drive in Japan with a recognized international driving permit for up to one year. Japan recognizes only international driving permits, which are based on the Geneva Convention of 1949.

Some countries have agreements regarding converting foreign drivers licenses. If you hold a valid driving license from one of these countries, you can get a Japanese license without taking a written or practical exam. All you need to do is go to the local license center with an official translation of your license, take an eye test and prove that, after obtaining your license, you have lived at least three months in the country where your license had been issued.

If you have a driving license from a different country, you will have to take a written and practical exam in order to obtain a Japanese driving license, a process which typically takes several attempts even in case of experienced drivers.

Owning and operating a car is linked with various considerable expenses, including compulsory inspections (shaken) every two to three years, various taxes, mandatory and optional insurance, high parking costs in cities, and expensive toll expressways. A liter of gasoline is very expensive.

Learn more about owning a car and obtaining a drivers license at http://www.Japan-guide.com.

Expand/ContractPublic Transportation

Japan has an efficient public transportation network, especially within metropolitan areas and between the large cities. Japanese public transportation is characterized by its punctuality, its superb service, and the large crowds of people using it.

Bicycles are widely used in Japan for everyday life by people of all age groups and social standings. Commuting to school, work or to the closest railway station, picking up children from preschool or doing the daily groceries are among the activities commonly done by bicycle.


Japan 's most important international airport is Tokyo 's Narita Airport, followed by Osaka 's Kansai Airport and Nagoya 's Central Japan Airport.

See http://www.Japan-guide.com for a list of all Japanese airports and the airlines that fly there.


Local supermarkets are relatively inexpensive if you stick to Japanese food such as seasonal vegetables, seafood, soya bean products and rice. If you visit supermarkets shortly before closing time in the evening, you can purchase remaining perishable products at big discounts.

Modern Japanese supermarkets are organized much in the same way as their Western counterparts. They offer all kinds of goods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh seafood, meat, tofu, pickled, dried and canned food, bread, dairy products, snacks, ready-to-eat meals, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and household articles.

The goods are usually beautifully presented and of excellent quality. Also the cashier system is well organized and efficient. The packages and portions in Japanese supermarkets are usually smaller than comparable packages sold in Europe or North America in particular; nevertheless, they are rarely cheaper.

Expand/ContractDress Code

There are dress codes for formal occasions.

Expand/ContractHousehold Help

It is not common to have a maid.


Foreigners, who are married to a holder of a working visa, can apply for a dependent visa. A dependent visa is valid for between three months and three years and needs to be extended before it expires.

Holders of a dependent visa are not allowed to engage in any paid activities, unless they get the permission of the immigration office. Even then, dependent visa holders may work only a set maximum number of hours per week.


The Japanese entertainment industry is one of the world's largest and most innovative, and despite the culture and language barrier, various forms of Japanese entertainment have become internationally popular.

There are many expatriate women clubs available in Japan (see above for a list, not exhaustive).

The Japanese love to practice sports. Popular sports include baseball, football (soccer) , golf and the martial arts.

Most municipalities offer gyms and community courses to their residents at fair prices. In addition, there are private companies.

See http://www.japan-guide.com for more details.


Visiting Japan can be enjoyable in every season of the year. Since the country stretches for 3000km from sub-arctic in the extreme north to sub-tropical in the far south, there is plenty of variation throughout the year. The rainy season is roughly from mid-June to mid-July. From April into May when the snows and chills of winter retreat, peach and plum blossoms appear is the sign that Spring has arrived.

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Expat Women: Confessions – 50 Answers to Your Real-Life Questions about Living Abroad