How to become a digital nomad in Japan
Updated 2024-02-28 10:17

If you want to travel around Asia as a digital nomad, Japan should be at the top because it differs from its neighboring countries. Many people think Japan is very expensive, but that's not the case if you're not planning to move here permanently. Whether you prefer the bustling city life of Tokyo or a more peaceful experience in rural areas, let's explore what every digital nomad should know about Japan.

Japan – an ideal destination for digital nomads

Japan is known for its low crime rate, rich cultural heritage, famous tourist attractions, delicious food, and vibrant pop culture. Japan is becoming increasingly popular among digital nomads looking for a great place to work remotely. Compared to many Western countries, Japan's living costs are affordable. The weakening of the Japanese yen since 2022 has made spending time in Japan even more appealing.

Some of the things that most remote workers and digital nomads are after are high-speed Internet and access to the latest technology to enable efficient communication. Japan is the mecca for new tech: from attending exhibitions to participating in startup meet-ups, here you will be able to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in electronics, telecommunications, digital advances, and more.

Another factor that attracts travelers and working nomads to Japan is that this Asian country offers top-notch living standards, great food, and convenient infrastructure on par with European countries. However, Japan is strikingly different from the rest of the world, and its amicable quirkiness allows its guests to expand their horizons every day.

Digital nomad visa in Japan

Is there a digital nomad visa in Japan?

Although unavailable now, the Japanese government is working on a digital nomad visa program to enable foreign professionals to work remotely while staying in the country. 

Minister Koizumi has recently revealed plans to offer a six-month residency status to digital nomads who utilize technology to work remotely from any part of the globe, freeing them from geographical constraints. The aim is to entice them to stay in Japan, boost consumption, and foster the development of innovative technologies. The government intends to launch the digital nomad visa as early as March 2024.

A recent study from MBO stated that digital nomads have become more common in society in a short period. In the US, approximately 11% of workers now identify as digital nomads. Furthermore, it is predicted that the global population of digital nomads will surpass 40 million this year and reach around 60 million by 2030.

Other visa options in Japan for foreign remote workers

Even though Japan has yet to offer a visa specifically for digital nomads or remote workers, you can still live and work remotely in Japan. There are other visa options available that you can consider, including the tourist visa, WHV, work visa, start-up visa, and business management visa. The most convenient visa to acquire is a tourist visa, granting you a delightful stay of up to 90 days.

It is acceptable if you are in Japan for sightseeing and tourism and working remotely for a foreign company. However, teleworking for a Japanese company on a tourist visa would breach Japan's visa regulations.

Adherence to Japanese tax regulations as a digital nomad

Depending on your visa type, knowing about Japanese tax laws is essential if you plan on working in Japan. Generally, income tax in Japan is calculated based on your income, and Japanese citizens are taxed on their net taxable income at different rates, ranging from 5.105% to 45.945%. They also have to pay a local inhabitant tax of 10%.  However, non-residents who stay in Japan for less than one year, such as those holding a Working Holiday Visa, have a tax rate of 20.42%.

In certain situations, you may also be required to pay taxes in your home country, which can result in double taxation. It is advisable to seek guidance from a tax professional specializing in international taxation to help you navigate both Japanese tax laws and the tax requirements of your home country.

The Internet, coworking spaces, and networking in Japan

The average download speed in Japan is around 18.2 Mbps, and most cities are equipped with high-speed fiber internet. Japan has an even better performance in store, one of the countries working on the unbeatably fast 100 Gbps.

Not long ago, coworking spaces were almost non-existent in the country. However, as it often is in Asia, once the shared office trend appeared, it grew exponentially. Today, you should not have trouble finding a desk in a shared office in any big city.

In addition, working in Japan gives you the incredible opportunity to connect and form relationships with people worldwide. Not only can you find office spaces in various Japanese cities, but you can also participate in networking events specifically designed to foster a sense of community within the coworking spaces. 

There are numerous networking events throughout Japan that you can quickly discover through platforms like, Eventbrite, and DoorKeeper. These resources allow you to expand your network and create lasting connections.

Best cities for remote working in Japan

Japan offers many places catering to various preferences and work styles, from the bustling metropolises with modern conveniences to the charming towns steeped in centuries-old traditions. 

So, if you're about to embark on this exciting journey, let's explore some of Japan's best places to work and enjoy life.


Tokyo is the capital of Japan and the best place to start exploring the country. Get ready for some hustle and bustle: Tokyo is one of the most populated cities in the world, with over 8 million people living in the city alone and over 37 million inhabiting the Greater Tokyo area in January 2024. 

This exciting city is as eclectic as Japan itself, and you will see sky-touching buildings housing the country's tech giants right next to traditional buildings and narrow old streets.

In the heart of Tokyo, you'll find many coffee shops. Among them are numerous Starbucks locations where you can hunker down and get some work or studying done for hours. Well, that is, if you manage to snag a seat! The famous Starbucks spots tend to be jam-packed, making it quite challenging to find an available seat, let alone one with a power outlet.

But fear not! There are other beautiful cafes and coworking spaces in Tokyo that offer power outlets and free Wi-Fi. These cafes are perfect for getting work done, as they are spacious enough to set up your laptop comfortably. Plus, they're large enough that you won't have to worry about a long line forming right after you find your spot.

Recommended cafes and coworking spaces in Tokyo for digital nomads

Cafes for nomads in Tokyo

Coworking spaces in Tokyo


Osaka is Japan's third largest city and has a unique character. Historically inhabited primarily by merchants, the city has preserved its commercial vibe. In Osaka, you will get instantly caught up in the non-stop but pleasant rush interrupted by bursts of guidance feasts, “eat until you drop”.

Curious about what it's like to be a digital nomad in Osaka? While Tokyo often steals the spotlight, Osaka is worth more attention.

Osaka is more affordable than Tokyo, with plenty of budget-friendly housing options. The city is also conveniently close to Nara and Kyoto – two cities brimming with breathtaking natural and cultural wonders.

Osaka is famous for its vibrant downtown areas like Namba and Dotonbori, where flashy neon signs and lively bars create a paradise for extroverts who love nightlife. On the other hand, it also offers serene and picturesque spots like Osaka Castle Park and the beautiful Osaka Bay area.

People here are known to be lively, friendly, laid-back, and have a great sense of humor.

Moreover, Osaka has a thriving digital nomad community, with new cafes and co-working spaces constantly popping up throughout the city.

Cafes in Osaka for nomads

Coworking spaces in Osaka


While Tokyo and Osaka let you explore different sides of urban Japan, Okinawa is an excellent introduction to the country's diverse natural beauty. The narrow strip combines 160 islands (111 of which are inhabited)  and is one of the most popular tourist destinations for travelers.

Okinawa is a perfect place to experience Japan without feeling too overwhelmed. Okinawa has a fantastic monorail that takes you straight from the airport to the city center. It also offers castles, beaches, and famous markets, so there is plenty to do. 

If you want a pedestrian-friendly city, Naha is the place to be. Being the capital city of Okinawa Prefecture, Naha is the ultimate city for digital nomads. It offers stunning beaches, cultural attractions like Shuri Castle, and a year-round climate. 

Naha may not compare to Kyoto, but it's still a nice place to live with some sights to see. However, if you want to explore the rest of the island(s), you must take boats or buses or do tours, as Naha is only well-connected with a car. 

The city also has fast internet speeds, coworking spaces, and excellent health and transport facilities. And let's remember the vibrant nightlife and beautiful beaches in Naha.

You can also explore the Makishi neighborhood and the northern part of Matsuo near Makishi.

In addition, there are lovely, chill, relaxing other places, but more for nature. Kouri Island in the North or Aharen on Tokashiki Island are on the list. However, it will be a bit isolated if you go to a location near a lovely beach or a scenic area. 

If you need a bit more for living and less just for nature, Motobu and Nago in the North of Okinawa might be better, but you may need to have at least a bike to get around to see stuff in the area.

Cafes in Okinawa for nomads

  • Ufuya: 90 Nakayama, Nago City, Okinawa Prefecture
  • Transit Coffee: 2-220-2F Miyagi, Chatan-cho, Nakagami-gun, Okinawa 904-0113
  • Starbucks Okinawa Yomitan: 639-1 Furugen Aeon Yomitan Shopping Center, Yomitan-son, Nakagami-gun 904-0314 Okinawa Prefecture

Coworking spaces in Okinawa

Accommodation for digital nomads in Japan

Digital nomads often encounter the challenge of finding budget-friendly accommodation in Japan for their extended stays. Luckily, there are several options available to them. One popular choice is Airbnb, which offers fully furnished private homes and apartments all across Japan. With Airbnb, individuals can book spaces for a few days, weeks, or months.

Another alternative is guest houses, which provide a communal atmosphere with shared living spaces and private bedrooms at a more affordable price than Airbnb's or co-living spaces. This option allows travelers to meet new people and create connections while saving some money.

Renting a private and unfurnished apartment or house from a landlord is worth considering for those who plan to stay in Japan longer. This option provides stability and allows individuals to personalize their living space. However, it does require a more significant commitment and the need to furnish the place.

In addition to these options, co-living spaces are gaining popularity in Japan. These spaces offer flexible, convenient, and affordable housing solutions while fostering a sense of community among residents. It can be an excellent choice for digital nomads looking for a supportive and social environment in Japan.

Leisure in Japan

Japan, a captivating destination, beckons travelers with its vast array of experiences, ensuring that every individual finds something to cherish and remember.

If you're interested in delving into Japan's rich history, you can visit the ancient Kiyomizu-dera temple or the majestic Himeji Castle, which dates back to the 17th century. 

Visiting the Tokyo Imperial Palace is a must for a taste of royalty. Mount Fuji's awe-inspiring beauty will captivate nature enthusiasts, while the tranquil gardens of Shinjuku Gyoen offer a serene escape for those seeking tranquility.

And if you're in the mood for some excitement, Japan's bustling cities are home to numerous amusement parks that guarantee a fun-filled adventure. With so much to offer, Japan will surely cater to every traveler's interests.

Apart from the popular tourist attractions, a whole world of experiences awaits exploration! You can take advantage of Japan's countless everyday leisure activities that people indulge in after a productive week of work, a day at school, or during the much-awaited weekend. 

What you should know before arriving in Japan

In short, Japan provides a unique and enriching experience for remote workers who seek unparalleled personal and professional development opportunities.

Did you know that Japan offers visa-free travel to citizens of 68 different countries? Your stay can range from 15 days to 6 months, depending on your country of origin. However, if you're not from one of these visa-exempt countries, don't worry! You can still apply for a visa to Japan in advance at one of its diplomatic missions. 

While Japan currently doesn't have a specific digital nomad visa for remote workers, other visas can help facilitate your short or long-term stay there. 

As you embark on your teleworking adventure here, careful planning and strategic decision-making will be crucial for your success. Embrace the excitement and let Japan ignite your work and life. 

Useful links:

Japan National Tourism Organisation

Map of free wifi hotspots in Japan

MBO Digital Nomad Report 2023

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