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Moving to Japan


Capital: Tokyo
Population: 126,659,683 (2013)
Area: 145,925 sq. mi
Top 5 Largest Cities: 1. Tokyo 2. Yokohama 3. Osaka 4. Nagoya 5. Sapporo
Lanuage: Japanese
Climate: Temperate

Planning to move your household goods and personal effects to Japan? Let Nationwide Van Lines assist you with your venture. Our highly professional and trained staff will implement every effort to take the hassle of overseas moving away from you. Allow us to guide you through the process with very valuable information and details. Start your new life abroad the right way, the Nationwide Van Lines way.

Required Documents for Import

There are important documents to be presented when dealing with the Customs clearance process. To make your passing through Customs as smooth as possible, below you will find certain documents that may be needed by Customs.

Import Declaration – A document stating the household goods being shipped.

Certificate of Origin – Gives verification of which country your household goods are manufactured in.

Original Customs Declaration Form C5360 – A declaration form covering all household goods (HHGS) and personal effects you wish to ship. This form must be certified and stamped by Customs. You can find the original Customs Declaration Form C5360 at

Import Requirements and Documentation

Required documents are very important to have at hand when passing through Customs. To avoid any costly delays, please review the needed documents below:

  • A copy of your Passport
  • Ocean Bill of Lading
  • Your Packing List or detailed Inventory List in either English or Japanese
  • Keys or combination of any items that are locked

Additional detailed document requirements

  • You must be present during Customs clearance.
  • Newly purchased goods are duty-free and tax-free for up to a value of $1,823.94 USD. This does not include a consumption tax of 5%. It’s recommended to have all newly purchased items receipt to help avoid duties and taxes.
  • Since Japanese homes are much smaller than Western countries, some large furniture may not fit in the smaller entrances and staircases.
  • Depending on the time frame, a resident of Japan can import used HHGS and personal effects duty-free and tax-free if residing in Japan for more than a year.
  • If you will have any unaccompanied goods, you must have 2 Customs Declaration forms completed.
  • If your Declaration Form is not complete and then certified by Customs, you may be responsible for duties and taxes.
  • Shipments of ocean steel containers cannot be delivered to the final destination in Japan. Because of the traffic and road conditions, your HHGS will have to be delivered utilizing a small van.
  • You must clear your HHGS no later than 6 months of your date of entry featured on your Customs Declaration Form C5360.

The Examination of Household Goods and Entry Documents

Once your household goods have arrived in Japan along with your documents, both are subjected to examination by Customs. A CBP officer will examine your household goods to determine the value, correct markings, proper invoicing, existence of prohibited items, damages, deterioration and illegal narcotics. It’s important to assure all items are properly described and accounted for to avoid any delays or seizure of items. Once your items are approved for release, they are safeguarded by the proper officers.

Duty and Taxes

Once your items has arrived to Japan, you are responsible for a Consumption Tax of just 5%

Duty-free Items

There are certain exceptions of quantity of a degree of articles. You must be at least 20 years of age. Please use the gathered information below as reference to the displayed goods.

  • 400 cigarettes or 100 cigars or 500 grams of tobacco or 500 grams of all previous mentioned in combination.
  • 60 milliliters of perfume
  • 3 bottles of 750 ml of alcohol.
  • Up to $1823.40 USD in value of HHGS

Labeling and Marking Requirements

All labeling must be done in the English or Japanese Language.

Required information:

  • The name and address of the importer
  • The country of Origin
  • Clearly numbered in reflection of the inventory list
  • The quantity

Prohibited Items

Not every item is accepted in Japan due to the safety of the residences, government and the environment. To avoid any Customs refusal, additional fees or delays, please review the following:

  • Narcotic drugs
  • Opium
  • Explosives
  • Psychotropic substances
  • Articles infringing intellectual copyright
  • Utensils for Opium smoking
  • Ammunition
  • Stimulants
  • Weapons
  • Obscene articles, publications, videos and/or software’s
  • Counterfeit currency

Restricted Items

Certain items are permitted into Japan with details of restrictions. Please take a look below at the degree of acceptance for a number of HHGS.

  • For plants, fresh fruit and vegetables, a Quarantine Certificate is necessary.
  • Good or products made of animals requires a Quarantine Certificate.
  • Bones, eggs, pelts, blood, fat, etc. are in need of a Quarantine Certificate.
  • Medicines and cosmetics in the quantity of use for up to 2 months. Any quasi drugs are allowed the quantity of 24 pieces.
  • If planning to import fresh meat, an Animal Health Certificate is necessary.
  • Firearms must accompanied with a permit.

Receiving your Household Goods

The liability for duties are paid once Customs has cleared your shipment for release. There are no options of prepaid duties or taxes prior to exportation from a foreign country. Once your shipment is filed with CBP, the party and only the party listed as the receiver can pick up the shipment. If household goods are warehoused, the party of liability can be changed to another party, most whom purchased the goods. The Customs broker cannot pay duties, but can accept a check written out to the Customs and Border Protection to forward. Once items are received, all articles are deemed owned by the receiver and no longer in ownership of the CBP.

For more information regarding moving to Japan, please utilize the links below:

Tokyo Customs

Address: 2-7-11, Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo
Telephone: 03-3599-6385

All information featured above is for viewing purposes only. To obtain up-to-date information about overseas shipment, please notify your nearest Consulate.