8 Months Waiting In A Pandemic: Lydia’s Move To Japan

With borders still shut around the world and travel restricted for the most part; making the decision to move overseas is certainly not an easy one. However, that’s exactly what Lydia Ridley did on the 4th of December after waiting 8 months when she made the decision to make the move to Japan. For others interested in possibly moving to Japan while the pandemic still continues, Lydia was kind enough to answer some questions. So, let’s get into Lydia’s experience moving to Japan and everything she needed to do before she departed.


Despite the pandemic, what made you move to Japan?

Before the pandemic, I had planned to move to Japan in April to be an English teacher and live with my partner. Unfortunately, travel restrictions came into place a week before I was hoping to leave. The next 8 months I had spent in lockdown and applying for jobs. As soon as I had heard that Japan was opening its borders for people with working visas, I decided that it was worth taking the chance to continue with my previous plans, as I was not having any luck with finding work in Australia.

move to japan

What were some of the first steps you took in preparing to move there?

First, I double-checked with the company that they were still happy to take me on despite the pandemic. I also went over all of the new restrictions and requirements for travel with the Consulate-General of Japan.

What did you need to do prior to your arrival?

Prior to my arrival, I needed to apply for my work visa once again. There were a few extra documents required due to the pandemic, including a questionnaire about the countries and regions you plan to stay 14 days before entering Japan and a written pledge from your employer.

Originally, I had prepared to take a PCR test before departure and at arrival in Japan, but a week or so before my flight the restrictions had changed again and it was no longer required. I also needed to apply for a travel exemption through the Australian Department of Home Affairs. This process was all online and very straightforward.

What was the entry process like into the country?

 The entry process was simple enough provided you had all of your documents organised. There were several stations throughout the airport where I was asked for certain documents and details about my travel and plans. Taking public transport from the airport and during quarantine was prohibited, but my partner was able to pick me up by car.

How was quarantine? (i.e. are you staying in a hotel? What’s the food like?)

I have completed my quarantine now. When I arrived in Japan there was the option of going to a hotel or staying with family and friends. I opted to stay with my partner so that the 14-day quarantine would be less stressful.

Lydia finally reunited with her partner after 8 months of waiting

With Lydia’s experience in mind though, it is important to note that due to Japan being in the middle of a national emergency, all travel has been restricted up until March 7th. As such, this means that only citizens and foreign nationals who are residents can enter Japan. For more information, please check out the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Website.

In the event of borders opening once again, we strongly recommend you consult with your local Japanese embassy and utilize the available government resources. This is just one person’s account and will not reflect the processes necessary for every person in their attempt to move to Japan.

To keep updated on Japan’s restrictions, I’ve listed some websites below:

Japan Travel

Japan Airlines

Japan Guide

Interested in other articles from us? Check out some of our recent content down below:

3 Reasons To Study Outside Of Tokyo!

Unlock life at Keio: Apply now to the 2021 Summer Program

Interview with JET Programme Coordinator for International Relations: Leianne Chen

I’d like to thank Lydia for her input into this article and for being happy enough to provide some details about her experience of moving to Japan during Covid-19.

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Tyson Mauk

Tyson is an avid follower of North-East Asian politics, business and culture with a particular love for all things Japan. You can usually find him chowing down on some Ramen, or possibly in an Izakaya.

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