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Japan Chat - Meet people when traveling in Japan on Nomad List

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Another question, is there a requirement to hire people within the first 6-12 months? That’d be pretty capital intensive if the business is started from scratch, and if I were to do something like this, I’d want to try going solo as long as I can before spending on staff.
That’s awesome, congrats! Did you get a COE and waiting for a visa?
What city did you end up choosing? Any other points you think we should know about as to be applicants?
fajirkz the forms on the Shibuya Startup site are all you need to submit, with an optional (but highly recommended) pitch deck. It’s more like a business plan “lite” from a financial point of view (you wouldn’t get investment with the same level of docs, I would say)… just some projections over the first 12 months, how many staff, burn rate. They’ve (Japan / biz visas) been burnt in the past with founders running out of money, so they really want to see that you are self-sustaining quickly. They like a focus on .jp-targeted products, but I’m not sure it really matters (if you can add a .jp angle on things, of course it will help!). I get the feeling it’s more about job creation, even on a small scale, but I’ve seen people accepted for small(ish) ideas and limited growth potential, so… tbh I’m not sure what the reason is for it existing… but I’m glad it does! I’m sure they’re hoping for those elusive unicorns here and there 😄
iolwjnuce CoE is in-flight, a week or two away and then visa. They’re working on getting us in as short-term business visitors in the meantime 🤩
jtmpwntog originally applied to Fukuoka, they loved the idea but felt Shibuya would be all over it for growth potential.. which they were, so.. Tokyo 😄
tzfsndehonu I don’t think there is a requirement to hire people per se, but it probably adds a lot more weight to the application if you can/will
Thanks
viptlvz I’m pursuing a startup visa and would love to hear more about your experience. How long did the whole process take from start to finish? Did you begin during the pandemic?
Update Shibuya Startup has managed to arrange with METI for a “special letter” that will allow Startup Visa grantees in (either with CoE, or prior to that as short-term Business Visitor) without need for a sponsor.
I was looking at flights from LAX to Thailand and there are stop overs in Narita that last almost a full day. Is it possible they there is a loophole to visit Tokyo for just a day r two on a extended layover?
Or would you need to hang out in the airport the whole time?
ugzucqrewnq Timeline was:
9th September - I applied
16th September - Accepted
27th September - Interview
4th October - Granted
15th October - Proof letter from Mayor
19th October - Engaged with scrivener and couriering documents jp>uk>jp
26th October - CoE application

CoE should take 1-2 weeks so any time now, really… needs to be couriered to me, then taken to Consulate, T+1 week roughly and will have the visa
nwkncciejdc they were super helpful all the way through, offering advice on business plan / financials structure to make it attractive / pitch deck etc. and there were also potential VCs on the interview call (who also offered great advice)
spjnngc super useful info, thank you! how thorough was the business plan you presented to Shibuya Startup? What kind of company did you pitch?
I had a similar experience with Fukuoka as well
gmephsrvheg VR/XR development studio. It was pretty thorough (including competitor analysis, product-market fit, financial timeline, hiring plan), as was the pitch deck + product/prototype demos (videos) and I embellished with how it targets the Japanese market too
I’ve routinely pre-covid spent a day in tokyo just for fun on long layovers
Go see the fish market before they replace it with that new monstrosity
I'd love too! Last time I went I arrived too late. The thing is during these times would I even be allowed to leave the airport to do that?
I’m at Haneda on a long layover right now. We’ll have to wait until Japan opens up for tourism again, I think. I also have spent the day in Tokyo in the “before times” on a long layover, highly recommend it and hope to do it again soon.
> The thing is during these times would I even be allowed to leave the airport to do that?
You won’t pass immigration without a proper visa, paperwork, or reason to enter in the country.
Not sure the process in Japan atm, but in most countries you won’t even reach the immigration stage, they’ll turn you down before
amir2mo
Anyone aware of the method to enter Japan thru Singapore? I was researching a few weeks ago that entry thru SG on wisa waiver was/is possible even if directly from your passport country was not.
axel2mo
It's only open for short-term business visa holders. No tourists abltdx
Yea, the flight I'm looking at is unique in that it flies into Narita in the afternoon and says you have to pass through customs and change airports to fly out of Haneda the next day. I'm guessing I won't be privately escorted on my way from Narita to Hanea but who knows. If I am left to go on my own I will of course check something out on the way!
If transit is allowed from airport to airport, then that’d be great! I do think they might actually escort you though? I would be interested in what your experience is. You also may need to arrange for a transit visa from your relevant embassy? It looks like most countries are still prohibited entry, and you need special permission to get through immigration.

I apparently still can’t post links, but the Japanese Foreign Ministry has a page called “Border enforcement measures to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19)” that might be useful to you.
IATA is supposed to be the gold standard for airline/travel guidance right? I filled their form out as an American citizen, having spent the last two weeks in Singapore, traveling to Japan for tourism, and IATA seems to think that it would work. kqouzu UR6P454LRbr />
Can’t post a link but it’s iatatravelcentre . com
amir2mo
zyfpqhinova USA is absent from the list of visa waiver suspensions, which confirms my hunch that it's possible to enter as a tourist. please let us know! I also see that those with APEC business travel card issued in USA are also allowed to enter, if they enter from an allowed territory.
rybcqn are you in Korea? The same workaround applies if you’re a US citizen entering in from SK as from Singapore - you should give it a try and report back 🙂
amir2mo
ultimately it depends on the immigration officer so never risk free
amir2mo
Yes.. oh I should check the updated regulations. My plan was to go to SG first since I thought Korea was still banned :)
I dont think Korea is banned anymore, can’t post links here because I’m new but looking at a list now.
amir2mo
Oh wow that's right if the iata site is to be believed
Yessss. Please for the love of god try it.
amir2mo
there's a lot of conflicting info on the MOFA site, maybe they haven't updated it. I'm sure someone would be talking about if it was that easy. Or maybe it's a secret 🤣
i just genuinely don’t think anyone has tested it. I read about a guy (US citizen) who spent 2 weeks in international waters (not on the banned list, obvi) on a boat and sailed into Japan successfully.
completely insane but validates the theory
amir2mo
haha love it!
yeah lol I’m not that desperate. but IATA seems to agree
so someone really just needs to give it a go
amir2mo
he must have really missed his family
amir2mo
Or be a baller. 2 weeks at sea ain't easy.
reading his story and I think it’s a bit of both.
axel2mo
Travel for tourism and most other short-term purposes is still not permitted, and there is no indication that this will change in the short term. Visa-free travel is suspended.
osacax this is annoying bc I can’t use links
but the ministry of foreign affairs for japan says that the united states, canada, and like 5 other countries still have visa free travel to Japan
it was never suspended. the link you posted is incorrect, as crazy as it sounds.
all of the guidance around this issue has been worded as confusingly as possible on purpose. if you actually read the rules you’ll see that visa free travel from the US was not suspended, you just can’t enter Japan directly from the US. You have to go through one of the countries not on the banned list, like Singapore or South Korea. A citizen of Singapore can’t fly from Singapore to Japan because their visa free entry IS suspended, but a US Citizen can.
^ I was looking for a `wtf` emoji but can’t find it. The Wikipedia seems to say the same but the links provided are pointing nowhere where says that. Still:
```Holders of passports issued by the following 66 countries or regions are usually visa-exempt for visits up to 901 days (unless otherwise noted) but as of November 2020, all except 7 countries (noted below) have been temporarily suspended and require visas```
Canada, Chile, North Macedonia, Mauritius, Serbia, Turkey, and US passport holders are supposedly not suspended.
To update my earlier post, I was able to speak with a representative from Japan Air she she said I could not use the ticket that changes airports on the layover. It said nothing about this on the website but she said if I bought the ticket it would be invalid since I am not from Japan I wouldn't be able to leave the airport.
This sounds like an exciting loophole to visit Japan! I'm heading to Thailand next week with a stop over in Japan but they told me I couldn't leave the airport so I chose a quick one. I'm coming from the US with a US passport and am fully Vaxed (with a new booster even). I would be interested in trying this from Thailand via Singapore with a cheap Air Asia flight of somekind. So has anyone sucessfully done this?
culhhafspfjagibl yeah you won’t be able to do it on a layover or coming from the US. You could definitely try it from Singapore though, but you’ll have to spend a number of days/weeks there since Thailand is still on the banned list. So like Thailand > Singapore for 2 weeks > Japan. US passport should be good to go. Idk if anyone has tried it yet.
axel2mo
Sounds too good to be true but definitely worth a shot if you're really itching for Japan
That’s too bad! I definitely recommend doing transfers like this in the future though, it’s a great experience!
🛬 bewibhprqvx just arrived in 🇯🇵 Sapporo, #japan
🛬 mzxccnhzdux just arrived in Aichi, #japan
Huh. Just reading this USA-by-way-of-SG/SK thing. Fascinating. Has anyone here done it?
🛬 fipeypswcco just arrived in ⛩ Osaka, #japan
axel2mo
Well shit
I have a flight into Singapore (from Thailand) in a little over 2 weeks too. I was going to see if I could enter, guess that's out now.
amir2mo
I had high hopes for Kishida-san but alas 😑
If you were planning to use the Singapore > Japan loophole then that shouldn’t have changed. It should be just as valid as before, still untested though.
Really? It seems to pretty clearly only allow citizens and residents.
yeah they updated it yesterday and then again today, so i think the loophole is out now.
for a month. might be back on the table in January
Hi I'm heading to Docomo shop tomorrow to get a contract. I'm going to be here for 2 years at least so thought I'd go for a main provider and then maybe switch it to payg after that for when I'm not in Japan. I have an unlocked phone from the UK. Does anyone know what their SIM only (data and inclusive voice calls) are? Japanese mobile operators can be awkward when asking about not using their own "special" phones
I'm tempted by the MVNO operators like Mobal/Sakura which have no contract and decent rates for data but none seem to have inclusive minutes. 22 yen for 30 seconds can add up when on hold, etc
Just in case anyone else reads this, I have found the best deal (for me) at Docomo directly. Here's what I found:
• Getting a Japanese mobile phone got a whole lot easier this year.
• When buying a phone in Japan, the device and the plan isn't bundled together any more.
• Mobile phone providers aren't allowed to lock phones to their network (or must provide ability to unlock)
• (I didn't, but if you need a device, you'll have a 2 year contract but you can pay it off whenever you like)
• You choose the plan separately from the device and there is no contract any more. The plan is immediately on a 30 day rolling period with no tie-in whatsoever
• Docomo has two main plans
◦ "5G" plan where you are billed for the amount of data you use in stages - so no need to decide up front how much data you need per month
◦ Ahamo - this is what I went for.
Ahamo is online only (you can't get it in-store) has:
• No setup fees
• You'll need an unlocked phone. Docomo won't make any guarantees of it working with your device but almost all new phones are fine.
• No contact
• 20GB per month for ~ 2900 Yen / month including tax
• On top of that you can optionally pay either:
◦ 550 Yen/month for the first 5 mins of any call to be free
◦ 1300 Yen/month for unlimited voice calls
An all-round good deal in my view
Povo 2.0 is better.
For anyone reading, Povo 2.0 seems to be an MVNO that uses Au's networks. Au's signal is no good in my area so I either wanted Docomo or an MVNO that uses Docomo.
Japan-Wireless (another MVNO) uses Docomo but you do not get a proper Japanese phone number, you get an 050 (IP phone) number instead which isn't accepted by banks, etc.
Sakura Mobile also uses Docomo and apparently, you do get a proper phone number.
But none of those MVMOs have "kaketai hodai" i.e. all you can eat phone calls.
Do your own research, just wanted to share my own experience
🛬 ndofyyjkwmm just arrived in 🗼 Tokyo, #japan
I read an article on insidekyoto today that says there is a 70% chance of Japan opening up in March
That seems pretty optimistic, cases here are going back up. I wonder where they pulled that number from
The pandemic isn't over, but it's not the pandemic it was anymore, this year countries will have to start opening up again eventually
Also I'm not 100% trusting of the estimates of Japan opening up for tourism from a dude trying to sell tours heh
I’m planning on going in August so it’s a safe bet it’ll be back open by then
Honestly, knowing a bit how the Japanese government operates, if there’s some opening phase, it won’t be for tourists but for other types of visas, like business and students, with x1000 paperwork
Even 8 months from now? I can’t imagine it’ll still be locked down. I’ll head to Asia anyway (maybe Korea) but was hoping to stop in Tokyo first. I heard it’s beautiful in the fall
Agree with qebyaafpmhjiyp highly doubt they'll be open any time soon
First japan has to let in people who already have issued visas. foreign exchange students, people with newly issued work visas etc. then maybe after 2-4 months of that they will start letting in some tourists
i think japan opens may/june fwiw
march for people with work visas
So my current plan is Japan in August since I heard it’s beautiful in the fall, but it sounds like Japan will be pretty strict with openings. Any other recommendations then on where to start with my Asia/SE Asia trip (<@U032568UB>, nlkvvmyafh ULDN8DBAL)? There’s still a lot of time until August so I can play it by ear
Will depend how much you’d like to deal with quarantines, and your vax status. Lots of places are “open” if you do the 7-10-14 quarantine Come to mind Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Indonesia.
I wouldn't plan or book anything until shortly before taking the trip because there are so many factors involved that can change
Most everything is closed right now or has long quarantine requirements. I don't know that SE Asia is really plausible at the moment. I'd recommend south America as everything is still relatively open there and the price is low
Thailand is doable with sandbox or quarantine schemes (more time + more money). Headed there in a few weeks myself. I opted for 7 day quarantine. It’s only worth it if you’re going to stay for months
Mexico is good too
Can you tell us more about yourself? what are you priotizing? City life? nature? being surrounded by locals or other nomads?
Right now I am in singapore. it is expensive, but its very stable and restrictions aren’t too bad. can easily travel from here to other countries. so far no quarantine, just need to do some tests everyday for first week you’re here.
Japan in Aug is a very got time of year to visit, I've been in Tokyo in AUG and I was thinking ok next time any month but AUG.
I've also been hoping to get to revsit Japan this Spring (Currently in Thailand). I just saw that they just changed the rules 14 day QT for anyone coming from Thailand ,if you could even get ibn in the frst place. I'm giving up any hope on getting back to Japan for now.
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