Moving To, From, or Within Tokyo?
Moving can be a hassle, especially in a foreign country. If you are thinking of moving in Japan, there are a lot of things to think about. Especially if you have limited Japanese abilities, you may be at a loss as to which company to use, how much you will need to pay, and figuring out how much you will have to do yourself versus how much the moving company will do for you. This article will help you gain more information on which company works best for your budget and your situation.
Note: Costs for moving companies fluctuate depending on the season. Keep in mind that most companies and schools in Japan start in the spring, making the most expensive time to move between February and April.
Moving Completely in English
For those looking to move in Tokyo with English-speaking staff, there may be more options than you think. Here is the information for a few English-friendly moving companies (both big and small) that have a good reputation within Tokyo!
Tokyo Move provides both Japanese and English service, as well as offering multiple other services aside from moving help (cleaning, disposal, storage, international relocation). Testimonials on the internet claim Tokyo Move to be reliable and cheap. However, there are no prices or plans listed on their website so you will have to go through their contact page in order to get a price estimate.
Tokyo Helping Hands
Tokyo Helping Hands has a reputation for being cost-effective, as well as multilingual. If you are making a quick move with minimal items, it can cost you as little as 7,800 yen. Judging from their Facebook page, they have helped a great deal of internationals in Japan with moving. Another plus to this service is that they are available 24/7, allowing even the busiest people to get in contact and plan a move. They also provide delivery, disposal, and storage services. You can contact them by email to get a price estimate.
Tokyo Happy Move
Tokyo Happy Move is the choice for those who are moving on a budget and are comfortable not having to deal with the formalities of a traditional moving company. This service is a one-man show; the owner will drive his truck and help you move. This makes the moving experience personable and possibly more fun. On the other hand, this means that you must be more involved with the moving process, helping to pack, load, and unload your items. Moving prices start at 12,000 yen. Contact them for a price estimate.
Best Moving Service
Best Moving Service is a larger, official Japanese moving company that provides service in English. Being a larger company, however, makes their prices more expensive than some of the others in this article. They have discount days on weekdays where you can save money on moving costs, so it is recommended that you take advantage of them. You can fill out their estimate form to get a price estimate.
- Ultra-Economic Course (超経済コース): For those on a budget and who do not have many time constraints. You pack and unpack your items, and the moving company does the rest. You do not get to set the time that the movers visit you, but costs go down as a result.
- Economic Course (経済コース): Same concept as the Ultra-Economic Course, except that you specify the time and date of your move.
- Easy Course (らくらくコース): For those who want to move at their own pace. You only have to unpack your items, and the company will do the rest.
- Leave Everything Course (おまかせコース): The company does everything for you, from packing to unpacking and setting up appliances.
PROROW Moving Service
PROROW is another Japanese moving company that provides service in English. However, the English version of their website does not explain in detail the types of plans they have, so some of the details will be written below. PROROW has a free day/free time option that may save you money, as well as special plans for those who are planning on making an immediate long-distance move. There are no specific prices written on the website, so you will have to contact them for an estimate.
- Setsuyaku Pack (節約パック): For those who want to lower moving costs as much as possible; you pack and unpack your own boxes, and the moving company does the moving and setup of big appliances.
- Rakuraku Omakase Pack (楽々おまかせパック): For those who have to move in a short amount of time or are strapped for time. You only unpack the boxes and the moving company does the rest of the work.
- Kanzen Omakase Pack (完全おまかせパック): The moving company will do everything for you, from the packing to the unpacking and setting up appliances.
- Oomono Gentei Pack (大物限定パック): For those who are moving within the same general location or building. For a low cost, the company will move only your large appliances.
- Free-time Pack (フリータイムパック): For those who want to save money, do not have many time constraints, and can be in the house whenever the moving company needs them to. The company will contact you a day before they can inquire. The free-time discount can be applied to any of the other packs as well to lower costs.
Moving with Some Knowledge of Japanese
For those who know how to communicate enough to get by in Japanese, there are a few other options for larger Japanese moving companies. These moving companies in Tokyo include an English website, but the workers themselves may not speak very good English so you may need a minimal amount of Japanese to move efficiently.
Yamato Home Convenience
If you’ve lived in Japan for a while, you definitely know of Yamato. Yamato Home Convenience is affiliated with Yamato holdings, making it a big company with a reputation. This reputation is not always good, as Yamato Home Convenience admitted to overcharging corporate clients in 2018. While this does not have to affect your decision to use their moving services, but it may be something to keep in mind. They have currently suspended their family moving services and are only offering services to single movers. You have the option of purchasing one or two boxes (more like carts that hold a large amount of items) and pricing is determined by how many boxes you buy and what day you schedule your collection and delivery. Because it is not on the English website, here is a translation of some examples of pricing.
Yamato Home Convenience has a contact form in English, but a Japanese version can also be accessed through their website. The Japanese version of the contact form will give you a rough price estimate on the spot.
Nippon Express has an English website, suggesting that they are English-friendly. Japanese reviews quote the service as being “polite” and “professional”, and overall ratings are higher than Yamato Home Convenience. Nippon Express also offers many other services such as air conditioner installation, house cleaning, piano moving, security system installation, and more. However, the downside to Nippon Express is that the English website is lacking in a lot of the information that the Japanese website has. There is no information on moving plans in English, so the details are listed below. In addition, Nippon Express offers campaigns based on area and situation, so if you are able to read Japanese, it is suggested that you check out the campaigns on the Japanese website. Those who wish to contact Nippon Express about moving may want to consider trying their Japanese contact page.
- Single Pack (単身パック): Cost-effective plan for those moving a minimal amount of items. Single packs come with boxes similar to the ones offered by Yamato Home Convenience, but in small and large sizes.
- Same-Day Single Pack (単身パック当日便): For those who are moving into a small to medium sized apartment that is around 30 minutes from their previous place of residence.
- Self Plan (セルフプラン): For those who want to pack and unpack their belongings themselves.
- Full Plan (フルプラン): The company does everything for you, from packing and unpacking to installation of large appliances.
- Half Plan (ハーフプラン): The company takes care of your large appliances and also packs your belongings. You just need to unpack your things.
Other Options: Not Using a Company
This article covered a few options for English-friendly moving companies that can be found in Tokyo. There are many options for moving companies in Japan, both big and small. What you choose depends completely on your own personal budget and situation. If you are interested in an even cheaper move, you might consider checking out Facebook or Craigslist, as some individuals will offer their services on websites like these.
If you have any suggestions for moving companies, let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear your experiences.