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A Complete Guide to Japan for Digital Nomads (& Japan Digital Nomad Visa) 2024

Your dream destination might be working remotely in Japan, a country famous for its stunning landscapes, ancient architecture, and passionate food scene.

Living and working remotely in Japan was a wonderful experience, providing me with work and networking opportunities I would not have found elsewhere. Full of creative types, there’s always something going on. Living there even kick-started my own travel writing career, and I still get to write about Japan to this day.

remote working in japan

Renowned for its cutting-edge technology (though often charmingly traditional in many ways), cities such as Tokyo offer an attractive destination for digital nomads seeking an urban environment. On the other hand, if tranquility is your priority, you can also find idyllic and unparalleled natural settings to suit your remote work preferences.

Regardless of your desired atmosphere, Japan has diverse locations to accommodate the varied needs of digital nomads from all walks of life.

If you’re considering working remotely in Japan, here’s everything you need to know, from living costs to choosing the right city, coworking spaces, and more.

If you are interested in discussing life in Japan further, whether digital nomad life in Japan is right for you, or want a personalised itinerary, get in touch for a consultation.

Does Japan Have a Digital Nomad Visa? Yes! As of 2024.

Japan recently announced that they will be launching a digital nomad visa to attract remote workers to the country in 2024, which is exciting news.

With South Korea’s newly launched visa, Japan has thrown its hat into the ring with its new six-month Japan digital nomad visa. Children and spouses can also accompany the applicant, which is a welcome addition for families.

The requirements to qualify for a Japan remote work visa include:

  • An annual income of at least 10 million Japanese Yen (approx $68,000)
  • Private health insurance (we love Safteywing)
  • You must be from one of 49 countries and regions with which Japan already has a visa waiver. This includes the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Korea, and Taiwan.

The application will launch in early April 2024. Sign up for our newsletter to be among the first to know.

Japan Working Holiday Visa

They also have a longer alternative through their working holiday visa if you are under thirty or the Designated Activities Visa. This visa category allows foreigners to engage in various activities, including remote work, for up to one year with the possibility of an extension.

To be eligible, applicants must provide proof of sufficient financial resources for each of these options and a detailed plan of their intended activities during their stay.

Best Cities in Japan for Digital Nomads

Before packing up your life and moving to a completely new country, deciding where to live will be your biggest decision. This is why it’s important to look at all your options carefully and thoroughly and go through why you picked a certain place.

With diverse cities offering a blend of modern amenities and centuries-old traditions, there’s no shortage of options to suit every taste and work style. Here are some of the best places to live in Japan.


Tokyo is everything that a digital nomad could wish for and more. As the capital, it is home to many large and established companies and has a reliable infrastructure that can support the demands of millions of people.

It is endlessly exciting, and with a fantastic public transport system, you will have no problem exploring its multitudes in your downtime.

Working Remotely in Japan tokyo

All over the city, you can find many establishments that offer free Wi-Fi and places that cater to anyone looking to send emails or rent overnight rooms with state-of-the-art computers temporarily. 

On top of that, you can expect to find everything you would typically see in major cities, like large shopping complexes, numerous cultural attractions like shrines, and good food.

solis portable wifi

World-famous for its cuisine, it should not be a surprise that Tokyo is the city that hosts the most Michelin stars in the world, at 226. 

Read More: The Complete Guide to Tokyo for Digital Nomads (& Remote Workers)


Home to a harmonious and laidback lifestyle, Kyoto is a drastic contrast to the bustling lifestyle in Tokyo. However, it is by no means dull, with a thriving coffee culture, bar scene, and independent shopping scene.

kyoto digital nomad

Every street you turn, building you see, or park you visit will radiate the aura of Japan during a past era. Witness the delicate craftsmanship of the buildings that have been preserved for decades and stroll through the thousands of shrines and temples located in this very city.

If you are the type of person who prefers peace and quiet in order to be the most productive, there is no other place better suited than here. You will find the tranquil area of Arashiyama towards the city’s western outskirts.

It is most famous for its stunning bamboo grove and monkey park atop a mountain. The scenic river and backdrop of lush rolling mountains make it an ideal getaway for holiday-goers and people who want to get away from city life.

You may find yourself going to the nearby city of Osaka for a bustling metropolis and active nightlife scene though.


You can find this place at the southern end of the country on the island of Kyushu. A flourishing city with a youthful population, this place is well on its way to becoming the next major city with the likes of Tokyo. 

fukuoka digital nomad

One of Fukuoka’s biggest highlights is ‘yatai’. ‘Yatai’ is the name for food stands, but it is a cultural way of life in Fukuoka. In the evening, once the sun goes down, ‘yatai’ fills the streets, and hungry people flock to them. Each stand can usually only accommodate a few seats, and the social aspect makes it a must-try experience. 

It is an experience you will never forget: conversing with locals in a huddled space, eating the famous Hakata Ramen, and drinking the night away.

One of the great things about Fukuoka is that since it has only recently started to develop into a large metropolitan city, the cost of living is quite cheap compared to the other major cities.

If you want to get a taste of living in a key Japanese city without the despair of high costs of living, Fukuoka is the destination for you. 


Located in the prefecture of Aichi, you can find this city between Tokyo and Kyoto. Similar to Fukuoka in the sense of being an established place in Japan but maybe not as highly recognised to the outside world, Nagoya is a great destination to settle down. 

Nagoya, Japan castle moat at twilight.

While places like Tokyo and Fukuoka are large sprawling cities and Kyoto is a smaller petite location, in contrast, Nagoya is almost like the perfect blend of both types of places. It is not too large and not too small.

Hailing a population of around 2 million residents, paling in comparison to the roughly 14 million in Tokyo, you will be sure to experience city life here without having to make your way through waves of people. 

As Nagoya remains a place not often visited by tourists, you will also be able to build a closer bond with the community and naturally embrace the culture with both hands. 

Read More: Best Visas for Working Remotely in Asia

Cost of Living in Japan 

In Japan, the local currency is the yen (¥), and it is still a very cash-reliant society. Outside of large international chain stores and key locations such as airports, you will struggle to find many places that accept card. The further you travel from major cities, the more these chances will continue to dwindle, so always be sure to carry cash with you in Japan.

The average cost of living in Japan is roughly around $1800 a month, but bearing in mind the drastically expensive costs of living in the larger cities, you can find a lot more affordable options in places like Fukuoka and Nagoya, for example.

Since Japan is quite a small country in terms of size, many of the apartments and homes are smaller than people may expect. However, this means that typically, the rent is on the cheaper end of things, and buying food and produce drives up the costs more. 

Recommended Cafes and Coworking Spaces in Japan


Paper Back Café

An ideal spot for any book lovers, this a cosy little café can be found in Kanda district in Tokyo. Adorably located in a jointly shared bookshop named ‘Books Tokyodo’ you will have nothing but peace and quiet when working here.

Free Wi-Fi is available here, with multiple outlets to charge your devices and all the ingredients you need for a productive day of work. 

Suppose the smell of freshly brewed coffee and toasted sandwiches distracts or you’re maybe searching for a place that offers a strictly work-related environment with networking opportunities. Why not try a Japanese coworking space?

Blink Community

A sleek, modern coworking space that offers a variety of work environments, from private rooms and traditional cubicle-style rooms to even a rooftop terrace. Aimed to build a foreigner-friendly working atmosphere, Blink Community is a great place for remote workers or travellers looking to get some work done. 

Situated in the business-centric area of Roppongi in Tokyo, you will be surrounded by like-minded, hardworking individuals. A possibly unusual inclusion on this list, parks are a great free spot to get some work done.

You can find an abundance of parks all throughout the country, many boasting alluring scenery, paired with fresh air to clear your mind and help you ease into completing your work. 

Working Outdoors

If staying connected online is not a necessity to finishing your work, parks should be towards the top end of top locations for working outdoors. If you need to stay connected, you can find portable Wi-Fi devices that you can rent out or buy for your work period. 

‘Ueno Park’ and ‘Yoyogi Park’ both cover an expansive area in Tokyo, giving you plenty of options to find a nice quiet area. During the summer and spring, you will be blessed with sunny days or beautiful cherry blossom trees as your backdrop.

Unfortunately for the latter, expect parks to become crowded, especially during the peak periods, so you may want to head out and find a smaller hidden park to get work done quietly. 

Find out more unique places to work in our Tokyo guide.

Pros and Cons of Working in Japan 

In Japan, you will be exposed to a convenient and easy standard of living. You will be in comfortable hands in a country where you can rely on convenience stores for everything, whether picking up some lunch, posting some mail, buying event tickets, or purchasing a new T-shirt. 

The infrastructure of most places is up to a high standard, and you can expect to find fast, reliable internet to do all your work throughout many cities. Unfortunately, cursed to be upon multiple tectonic plates, geographically, the country is prone to disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis so phone alerts will become a normal part of life.

Measures that are put in place to counter these events are highly effective and hardly cause enough damage as it did many years ago, but do not be surprised to experience a few tremors during your time living here. 

Is Japan Safe for LGBTQ+ People?

Overall, Japan is a safe place to travel and live for LGBTQ+ people. Tokyo, in particular, has an established gay scene, though most of it is inaccessible if you don’t speak Japanese; here are some gay-friendly bars in Japan for English speakers.

There are some laws protecting LGBTQ+ people, and homosexuality is legal. A large Pride parade is also held every year in the summer, and gay-friendly hotels are available. However, public displays of affection are generally not a thing and can create awkwardness.

Do I Need to Learn Japanese to Live in Japan? 

living in japan

Japan is a country where being bilingual is not common. Finding someone who can speak English can be difficult unless you are in metropolitan cities like Tokyo or Osaka.

Generally speaking, you can get by in Tokyo and Osaka with just English, and all signs are bilingual, so using the trains and metro will be fine. But especially for anyone looking to relocate to Japan, I would say it is important that you learn to speak and read some very basic Japanese. 

You’ll be amazed how much easier your life will be just learning to read katakana as these words are likely to be ‘imported’ words and will generally be recognizable to English speakers, e.g., hoteru (ホテル) for hotels. This will get you further than you may expect and will be very handy for many situations.

Some of our favourite ways to learn beginner’s Japanese:

Hai Hiragana and Hai Katakana Flashcards – We love everything this couple, based in Japan, create. The quality is high, the flashcards make it much easier to learn the characters and they are gorgeous to look at. They also have a new book on Kanji for anyone wanting to take things further.

Lingodeer or Doctor Moku – Doctor Moku acts in a similar way to flashcards, applying an easy-to-remember picture and sentence to the characters while also being conveniently portable. Lingodeer is a straightforward way to learn the characters but you will also be able to carry on and learn basic Japanese with their fun, interactive lessons.

Lonely Planet Japanese Phrasebook (which has an alphabet chart in the back) – If you just want something convenient that you can whip out when you need it then the Lonely Planet phrasebook covers a lot of ground from restaurant and shop speak to public transport. There’s a pronunciation guide and alphabet chart at the back plus basic kanji.

We hope this guide to being a digital nomad in Japan was helpful to you! If you’re interested in learning about working remotely in other Asian countries, you might be interested in reading about the best cities in Southeast Asia or discover which Asia visa is right for you.

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