You’ll Need These Things During Your First Week Living in Japan

Make a checklist of these essentials!

Are you excited to finally move to Japan? After overcoming the hurdles of getting a work visa and finding a place to stay, you’re now presented with a new but exciting task of gathering all the essentials for living in Japan. To give you an idea of what items you’ll be needing to help you get through the first week, our talented foreign writers came up with a list of shopping essentials based on their own experiences of moving to Japan. 

Note: We did not include food, toiletries, and daily supplies on the list for obvious reasons.

Bed, Pillows, Linens

Depending on the location, some places will be able to provide you with beds, futons, or at the very least bed frames. However, not all living spaces can manage to do this. Investing in a good bed set will not only help you get a good night’s sleep but also reduce stress after a long day at school/work. If you want to go down the traditional route, why not buy a futon so you can totally immerse yourself in the Japanese culture?


Just having a good set of curtains in your room will change the way you live. Its main functions are to provide you with privacy and reduce the brightness and noise pollution coming into your room from outside the building. Although the need to buy a set of curtains will depend on the type of living space you have, it is nonetheless an essential you must add to your list. 

Phone/Sim Card

Back in the day, getting a sim card involved getting a phone subscription. People had to experience going to a provider to get a phone number that’s only usable with Japanese phones. Luckily, this system is slowly changing and people can now purchase sim cards without having to purchase a phone. This means that one can use the sim card on his/her smartphone as long as it is a sim-free/open-line phone.

Not only are phones and sim cards essential for communication, but they’re also now used for connecting to the internet. These are enough reasons to get yourself the items on your first week living in Japan. 

Trash Bin and Trash Bags

As most people already know, Japan follows an elaborate system for disposing and recycling trash. Depending on the region, city, or district, the segregation system is different. Some areas require a specific type of plastic bag for disposal depending on the type of garbage. It’s best to research on the segregation system of the place you’ll be living in.


Aside from this, you’ll also need to buy trash bins so you can easily dispose of your garbage. Trash bins in Japan are available in many forms. We suggest you get multi-compartment trash bins for easier disposal and segregation. 


Believe it or not, some apartments don’t provide lighting fixtures or light bulbs. Some of our writers experienced living in the dark (literally) for a good part of their first days in Japan because they weren’t aware of this. 

Seasonal Items

If you’re coming from a tropical country, you’ll need to add a few more items in your list in preparation for the different seasons in Japan. Winter clothes, heaters, and humidifiers are some of the items you’ll need to brave the cold months. Meanwhile, dehumidifiers, electric fans, and insect repellents are essentials that will help you get through the hot summer. As you experience these seasons yourself, you’ll eventually find the best products that will suit your needs.

Just a word of caution: Before purchasing anything, we feel that it is best to play things by ear.  

Other essentials

You might not need these other essentials immediately on your first week, but they’re still items that you might want to add to your list later on. 

Appliances (Refrigerator, Washing Machine, etc.)

Nowadays, it is common to find an airconditioning unit already installed in the apartment you’ll be moving in. However, not a lot of living spaces provide other appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines. We recommend you consider purchasing a set as soon as possible as these appliances come with a hefty price. 

If you’re comfortable with using second-hand appliances, you can also try searching online for sites that offer them. You can opt to go to your nearest
coin laundry store, too. 


If you live far from the station, having a bicycle will help you save time and energy. Plus, it’s a good way to explore the city in the future.

Ready to go shopping? Head over to your local department store or shops such as Daiso, Nitori, or Mujirushi!

 (18 July 2019)

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