In and Around Your House


In order for you to have a smooth and carefree entry into your new life in Japan, it is important that you try to create good relationships with the people in your neighborhood and take care to observe local rules and regulations. Here we would like to use this opportunity to introduce some useful information for your stay in Japan.

Moving inside Japan

When moving domestically inside Japan, you are required to visit your new local municipal office within 14 days of your move. Take your passport and alien registration card with you and register for a "notification of change of address" or tenkyotodoke.

Moving in

First of all, it is Japanese custom to take off your shoes when entering a house. This even includes your own home. At hotels or at offices you may leave your shoes on, however at some Japanese restaurants or bars you may be asked to take them off. Hint: When you see a small entrance area separated by a step between the entrance door and the hallway, you probably have to take off your shoes here.


Regulations on garbage disposal vary among municipalities in Japan. Please make sure to observe the right days and times for your garbage disposal. Should you be unsure about any of the regulations, you can check with your real estate agent, your neighbors or the municipal office.

  • Checklist

    Please make sure that you know about:

    1. Disposal days and times
    2. Collecting points
    3. Combustible and non-combustible garbage
    4. Separating recyclables (glass bottles, cans, PET bottles, newspapers etc.)
    5. Disposal of bulky garbage (this requires a fee and some items may be exempt from collection)

Magazines and newspapers need to be tied together with a string.

Using the kitchen

Please try to keep the kitchen area clean and refrain from pouring leftovers or oil down the drain as this can clog the pipes and pollute rivers and oceans. When disposing left over oil, you can use newspapers to soak up the remains and throw it out together with your combustible garbage.

Some notes on noise

Since Japan's housing environment leads to your neighbors living in very close proximity to you, it is important to take great care to keep the volume down late at night and in the early morning hours. This is a list of some of the things you should watch out for:
TV/radio, musical instruments, loud conversations, vacuum cleaners, washing machine, shower and drainage, opening and closing of doors.


Bathtubs in Japan are for soaking, not for washing. Therefore, try to scrub and wash yourself outside of the bathtub before entering.

Please also be aware of not letting hair block the drainage pipes.


Warm-water bidet - This is a conveniently enhanced toilet seat, designed to keep your backside clean. In Japan, concerned with personal hygiene and cleanliness, you will be able to find these toilets inside family homes as well as office buildings. Since these toilet bidets not only wash, but also dry and heat your seat, some first time users might be rather surprised. For easy use, English instructions and illustrations are usually provided. However, please only use the buttons when you are actually sitting down, to prevent you or your clothes from getting wet.

Do not flush anything except toilet paper, since sanitary napkins or tissues can block the toilet.

Shared space

Staircases and hallways inside apartment buildings are shared spaces, so please do not leave your personal belongings in these spaces. This is especially important since they are also part of evacuation routes during an earthquake or a fire.

Car and Bicycle Parking

As for bicycles, take care to use designated bicycle parking spots. Depending on local regulations, your bicycle can be removed, should you have parked it in a non-designated zone. The same goes for cars. You will have to rent your own parking spot since in Japan it is not allowed to park your car on the street.

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