Departing JETs

So now that you have decided to complete your time on JET you will be heading on somewhere else for a new adventure. You will need to start planning for what’s next.

Here, you will find a general FAQ list including information on how to close out accounts, ship and sell your possessions, and much more.

You can also find you closest JET Alumni Association (JETAA) chapter in our JETAA Directory. JETAA can help you transition into your new lifestyle with job advice, networking opportunities and events.

Before you Leave

How long can I stay in Japan after my official JET tenure has ended?

If you are a JET and you plan to stay even just one day longer than your tenure you will need to apply for a VISA extension.

Changing your Residency Status
You can apply for this extension up to 3 months before the end of your contract. If you have a family or partner who is attached to your VISA they to will need to apply to extend their VISAs.

If you wish to change/extend your residence status you may do so at a regional Immigration Bureau. In order to lodge these forms you will need to visit this bureau at least two times. If you want to extend/change your residency status that cost must be borne by you, the JET participant.

If you are staying in Japan after JET but you are not looking for work (travelling etc)
JETs who wish to stay in Japan to travel or organize sending things home etc must apply to change their VISA from a Status of Residency to a Temporary Visitor (tankai taizai) before the expiration of the period of stay. A Temporary Visitor status is valid for 15,30 or 90 days.

If you are looking for work in Japan after JET
You can submit a Certificate of Employment (can be obtained from your CO) to the regional Immigration Bureau to request a Status of Residence as a Temporary Visitor for up to 180 days.

What bills should I pay before I leave?

Before you leave you should make sure to pay any outstanding bills. Please keep in mind that depending on your living situation and location these may vary. These bills include but are not limited to the following:

  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Water
  • TV
  • Credit Card
  • Telephone
  • Internet provider
  • Subscriptions
  • Rent/Cleaning/Repair costs
  • Local Inhabitant Tax

How do I pay my bills?

Paying on the day

Electricity, gas and water companies can often be called a few days in advance. Then the companies will come out and check/discontinue these things on the last day. You can pay your bill at that time.

Paying later

Landline phones are an example of some bills that are more complicated. Often if called they can disconnect on the day you request but the bill will not be received until later in the month. If this is the case leave some money with a friend who can pay the bill for you.

Should I forward my mail?

If you concerned about mail that could be sent about important mail are staying in Japan you should forward your mail to your new apartment or a friends address until you find an apartment. If you are leaving Japan forward your mail to a friends house (for one year). That friend can then forward you any important mail.

How do I cancel my mobile phone?

It is possible to cancel this up until the day you leave BUT keep in mind that the process may take some time to complete. You can visit any of your mobile company outlets but you must do so in person.
NOTE: If you have not completed the full year/two years on your contract that you may incur extra fees. Speak to your phone company to confirm their terms and conditions.

Don’t forget to take:

  • Your ID (alien registration card or passport)
  • Your seal/inkan
  • Your mobile/keitai
  • Money (Your phone bill will be calculated on the spot so make sure to have enough money with you to pay.)

Should I contact my landlord before I leave?

Yes, you should contact your landlord at least a month before you leave your apartment. This is because such things as apartment inspections, tatami replacement, repairs etc. will need to be organised. Your landlord should calculate the cost of rent for the part of the month that you will stay there.

Obviously the above information will vary depending on rental arrangements, if the school owns your house etc. As such please keep in mind that this will vary so please speak to your school about the above.

Can I close my bank account from overseas?

No, you can not. You must close your Japanese bank account before you leave to go home unless you are planning on returning to work again.

How do I close my Japanese bank account?

Closing your account is called Kouza Kaiyaku.

What you will need:

  • Your bank book
  • Your bank card
  • Your inkan

You should try to close your account at the same branch you opened it or you may incur additional fees.

Should I budget for moving?

Yes. This is due to the fact that your last paycheck may be considerably less for a few possible reasons. These include:

  • Not working a full pay month
  • Deductions for things such as insurance/pension premiums (up to two months worth)

As a result please discuss the specifics with your contracting organisation.

I have a car. What are my options for selling/disposing of it?

Well you have a few options.

Selling it

Requires more than just an agreement with the current owner/successor/person you are selling it to. You will need to officially transfer ownership. This can be done at the Jurisdiction of the Land Transport office of the new owner. Must be done WITHIN 15 DAYS OF TRANSFER.

Disposal/Transfer of your car

If you cannot sell your car and the dealership is not interested you will need to dispose of it. You can do this yourself or have it taken care of by a car disposal company for a fee.

You will need:

  • Vehicle inspection Certificate (Shaken Sho)
  • Front and back license plates
  • Certificate of Disposal from the disposal company
  • Inkan and rego of the inkan. This registration must be less than 3 months old and can be obtained from the local/city hall. (Inkan shoumeisho)
  • A letter of attorney (Ininjyou) if you are authorizing a company to take care of the paperwork
  • Tax certificate (Jidoushazei nouu shoumeisho) depending on the office/company doing the paperwork.

I do not have enough room in my suitcase. So how do I get my things home?

You will probably need to use double-walled boxes which can be found at box stores like Joyful Honda, from shipping companies or on

There are many options that you can use. Below are just some of those options.

Courier Services (Takuhaiban)

Service Area: Domestic and International
Price Range: $$
An affordable option that can be accessed through local supermarkets, convenience stores and gift shops.

Private Freight Company

Service Area: Domestic and International
Price Range: $–$$$ (depends on destination, volume, etc.)
More information can be found online.

Japan Post

Service Area: Domestic and International
Price Range: $

  • Likely to be the most economical/convenient
  • Can send via Air or Sea mail
  • Advisable to insure contents
Express Express Mail Service (EMS):

Delivery Time: 2–4 days
Cost for 10kg:

  • Asia: 10,200 yen
  • North and Middle America, Oceania, Middle East: 14,000 yen
  • Europe: 16,200 yen
  • South America and Africa: 27,400 yen

Features: Tracking number, package pick up, 20,000 yen of free

Economy Air Mail (SAL):

Delivery Time: 6–13 days
Cost for 10kg:

  • East Asia: 6,700 yen
  • Southeast/Southwest Asia: 8,000 yen
  • Oceania, Middle East, North & Central America, West Indies, and Europe: 12,550 yen
  • South America and Africa: 17,050 yen
Surface Mail (Sea mail):

Delivery Time: 1–3 months
Cost for 10kg:

  • East Asia: 3,750 yen

More information can be found on the JP post website or by calling 0570-046-111.

Japan Luggage Express

Service Area: International
Price Range: $–$$$ (depends on air/sea, destination, volume, etc.)
Shipping by Air and Sea. Air is 750–1450 yen/kg. Please contact the company for a quote for sea.

I have so much to get to the airport and only 2 hands. What can I do?

You can send your bags forward to many of the airports in Japan. You can drop your stuff at the konbini or you can often organise your things to be picked up from your house and they will deliver it to the airport or place of your choice. (It is similar to the service that is used by many JETs from Tokyo Orientation to their placements)

You can also arrange this directly through Yamato Transport’s TA-Q-BIN service. Rates vary depending on distance, size and weight.

If you are taking large or awkward items it may be worth doing some research and getting quotes from various companies. Good news! Japan is full of shipping companies. Here are some of them:

I want to help my successor but I don’t know what to leave. Do you have a list?

Write up or give information about the following.

  • You! Give them your self-introduction
  • Your contact details
  • If you will still be in the country when your successor arrives try to organize to meet
  • Advice on what to pack/not pack
  • What to send ahead of time
  • What they will need at Tokyo Orientation

Where you live

  • Location, size etc.
  • Facilities available
  • Approx prices of things
  • Groups/activities in the area
  • Where are the other foreigners in the area
  • Local events and when they happen
  • Recommendations (restaurants, grocery stores, etc.)

House/Apt Information

  • Rent (How much? How do they pay it?)
  • Key money/is a deposit needed? How much is it?
  • Furniture supplied/being sold
  • What should they buy/what needs to be bought
  • Apt/house layout (videos/pics if possible)
  • How much do bills cost on average?

Job information (ALT)

  • Introduction of your supervisors, colleagues, etc.
  • About your teachers (attitude, level, etc.)
  • About your students (attitude, level, etc.)
  • Who should be bought presents?
  • Who speaks English?
  • What to expect
  • Rules about Annual leave, sick leave, overtime etc.
  • Dress code
  • When and how are you paid?
  • Type of schools/how many schools?
  • School schedule (roughly)
  • What teaching materials should they bring?
  • Transport to and from work
  • What activities do you do at school? (compulsory/not)

Job information (CIR)

  • Office situation: prefectural/city/town, etc.
  • Transport to and from work
  • Example of a typical day
  • About your colleagues (attitude, level, etc.)
  • Materials needed from home
  • Working after hours? Time in Lieu
  • Responsibilities in the office
  • Projects that you are working on
  • Involvement in the office

Job information (SEA)

  • Office Situation: where are you situated?
  • Transport to and from work
  • Typical day and when school comps etc. are on
  • Level of the groups you coach
  • Materials/equipment needed from home
  • About your colleagues (attitude, level, etc.)
  • Advice about Japanese skill needed
  • Any other duties that they need to know about?

What to leave

  • Town map (supermarket, konbini’s, international associations, etc.)
  • Bus/train schedules
  • Emergency and work numbers
  • How to use appliances (instructions)
  • Garbage/trash instructions
  • Bill explanations
  • Office/school seating chart (including names, jobs, class levels, club activities, etc.)
  • Notes on projects, lesson plans, class levels, etc.

(Try to keep the tone overall positive. Even if you have not had the best experiences, you should allow your successor to make up their own mind.)

What is reverse culture shock and how should I deal with it?

Reverse culture shock is as the name suggests, the reverse of the culture shock you may have experienced when you arrived in Japan. It is a reaction to the country that you call home after living overseas for an extended period of time. It is a form of readjustment that can be more subtle than the initial culture shock you felt after arriving in Japan. As a result, it can often be much harder to manage.

When you first arrive home, it is likely that your time will be full of reunions, parties, and time spent getting reacquainted with your favorite restaurants or hobbies. After these are over though, the following problems may arise, but you are not alone in these feelings. We want to help you get through it!

Social norms will differ

Little things from talking on your cellphone on the train or blowing your nose will be different. The way that everyone interacts with you and with each other are likely to change. It is easy to return to old coping habits and end up in a bad headspace.

Combatting it: Make a list of reasons that you are happy to be home and why you like the people around you. Do the things that you missed while you were in Japan. Go exploring in your town! Something is bound to have changed; there might be new cafes, shops, museums, pubs or things to see. Lastly, make sure to spend time with the people you love because they will remind you why you came home.

Friendships may change

You have been away for a long time. This means that everyone’s initial excitement to see you may fade away. Things will have changed in your friends’ lives since you have been away and your previous relationships are unlikely to be exactly the same. Try not to assume that they will because this could leave you feeling isolated.

Combatting it: You should take this time to seek out new friendships and do the same things you did in Japan. Join a club, sports team, or volunteer organization that interests you and make new friendships there. The most important thing is to not beat yourself up or over-think why your friendships are not the same. You should try to take this opportunity to keep growing as you have in Japan and also to remember all the amazing people you met during your time on JET. JET is just a chapter in your life and more new friends and adventures are waiting around the corner.

Itchy feet

When you get back, get a job, and settle into everyday life again, it is likely that things will seem mundane or boring and you will be itching to go on another adventure.

Combatting it: You will be surprised how many places and adventures you can find close to your home. When you grow up somewhere, you tend not to do the super touristy things or go exploring because you think you have seen it all. Go for a hike, drive, ride, whatever takes your fancy. You will be surprised what you find!