Skip to Content

A Complete Guide to Japan for Digital Nomads (& Japan Digital Nomad Visa) 2023

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

As someone who lived and worked remotely in Japan, it provided me with a wonderful experience and work and networking opportunities I would not have found elsewhere. Full of creative types, there’s always something going on.

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.

Does Japan Have a Digital Nomad Visa?

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

Although Japan does not offer a specific digital nomad visa yet, the country provides a suitable alternative through its 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.

Applicants must provide proof of sufficient financial resources and a detailed plan of their intended activities during their stay to be eligible. While this may not be a tailor-made solution for digital nomads, it certainly opens the door for those looking to experience Japan while we wait for an official Japan digital nomad visa.

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 all the reasons why you make a pick 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. Hailing as the capital, many large and established companies are located here, with a reliable infrastructure to 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 temporarily send some emails, to renting overnight rooms with state-of-the-art computers. 

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.

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 lifestyle of harmony and a peaceful way of life, Kyoto is a drastic contrast to the bustling lifestyle in Tokyo. In a country that is already rich in culture and history, Kyoto is the pinnacle of that very essence.

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 that prefers peace and quiet in order to be the most productive, there is no other place better suited than here. Towards the city’s western outskirts, you will find the tranquil area of Arashiyama.

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


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

Conversing with locals in a huddled space while eating the famous Hakata Ramen and drinking the night away is something you would never forget.

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 when 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 it 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 that is 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 yen (¥) and 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 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 is what 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, all the ingredients you need for a productive day of work. 

If 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 then why not try a Japanese coworking space?

Blink Community

A sleek, modern coworking space, which offers a variety of work environments from private rooms, 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, however, you need to stay connected, you can find portable Wi-Fi devices that you can rent out or buy for the duration of 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. Best during the summer and spring, you will be blessed with the sunny days or beautiful cherry blossom trees as your backdrop.

Unfortunately for the latter, expect to find 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. A country where you can rely on convenience stores for literally everything whether it be picking up some lunch, posting some mail, buying event tickets or purchasing a new T-shirt, you will be in comfortable hands. 

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 of the 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 There? 

living in japan

Japan is a country where being bilingual is not common overall. Unless you are in metropolitan cities like Tokyo or Osaka, finding anyone who can speak English can be difficult.

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 at the very least 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 hotel. 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 so 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.

If you enjoyed this article, please share below: