Like a Boss: Tokyo for Digital Nomads

How to Japan for Digital Nomads

Global digital nomads are welcome at spaces like Co-Ba, located in central Shibuya -- Photo by Nathan Hosken
Japan recently ranked third in a survey judging cities for their ability to attract global talent. Yet Tokyo -- no doubt due to its sky-high real estate prices -- isn't the first place that springs to mind for the global nomads and digital creatives among us. Japan mightn't be as cheap as other countries in Asia but here's the thing: Working in Japan is easier than you think. The price barrier is just one myth about Japan that needs debunking. Here's a checklist list about what to consider if you want to work remotely and/or as a digital nomad in the land of the rising sun.
 1. Know Your Rights (and Wrongs)

Do you need a visa to travel to Japan? -- Photo from Flickr cc by Max Braun
Should you decide to decamp in Tokyo -- or Japan -- for a while, first make sure you have a proper visa and have updated yourself on what it is you legally can and can't do whilst in the country. Search online forums and message boards for information from other global nomads in a situation similar to your own.
 2. Sort Out Your Ca$h

Make sure you can access your cash!  -- Photo from Flickr cc by
Despite Japan being cheaper than you think, you'll still need access to your cash. Yet buyer beware, as not all ATMs will take your foreign card, especially if you are based outside the major cities. The "holes-in-the-wall" at 7-Eleven convenient or combini stores, otherwise known as Seven Bank, will take most cards. Scroll down to read more from the Japan National Tourism Organization aka JNTO on foreigner-friendly banking facilities, here.
 3. You'll Need Some Digs

Staying long-term? Check out Airbnb for a cost-friendly stay in Japan -- Photo from Flickr cc by Tim Franklin Photography
Planning on staying a while but worried about your coin? One of your best options is Airbnb, or perhaps a guest house or shared house accommodation usually found in Japan's more urban areas. Capsule hotels and internet cafes are only recommended for shorter periods, but may work out cheaper long-term than other options. What to do? It all depends on your preferences!
 4. Connections Are Everything

Pocket Wi-Fi routers are one option for staying connected -- Photo from Flickr cc by Christian Van Der Henst S.
Connecting with like-minded digital nomads is certainly important. But if you can't literally connect online then all your plans will come to naught. Japan offers two main options for getting your digital on: sim cards and Wi-Fi routers for purchase or rent. Information does become outdated, so once again, check forums or message boards for up-to-date intel.
 5. Co-working Spaces: The Fine Print

Creative Lounge MOV comprises an event space, meeting room and equipment rental among other facilities -- Photo by Nathan Hosken
The co-worker space in Japan's larger cities is quite competitive. Digital nomads are spoiled for choice in Tokyo, but what types of spaces and facilities are available and what costs are involved? Use Google Translate to decipher the costs and rules of any provider before you sign a contract.

Connecting the Dots in Shibuya boasts in-house Apple equipment -- Photo by Nathan Hosken
Meeting rooms, in-house cafes and bars, computers, libraries and event spaces are just some of the facilities on offer to woo digital nomads and other freelancers. The majority of these offices are also centrally located. Users are spoiled for choice!

Hapon in Shinkuju -- Photo by Nathan Hosken
Check out the hottest co-working spaces in Tokyo!

Tokyo Creative