How to live in Kyoto

Registering at the Ward Office

If you are coming to Japan for more than 3 months, you will need to register your address with your local municipal office. This is mandatory and must be carried out within 2 weeks of arriving to Japan.

The residence card is proof that you are living in Japan legally so you must carry this card on you at all times. Your current address must be printed on to the back of your residence card, which is why you will need to register with your local ward office.

1.Go to your local ward office

Make sure to bring your residence card, your passport and a copy of your address to write down on the form.

2.Filling out forms

You will have to fill out a registration form of which sample documents in English are often available. You will need to provide personal details like:

  • Your name
  • Your date of birth (Japanese format of year/month/day)
  • If you’re male or female
  • Your address (if possible written in Kanji though English is also ok)
  • Today’s date
  • The date you moved in to your address


The staff will need to take away your residence card in order to write your address on the back, so don’t worry if they suddenly disappear with your documentation. You will have to wait a few minutes while they do this. Make sure to wait for them to return your residence card to you before leaving.

The ward office will then also send you your social security and tax number by post at a later date.

Our Advice!

Not all Ward Offices operate in the same way, so if you don’t speak or read any Japanese it might be best to approach one of the staff, let them know that you want to register by showing them your residence card and let them guide you through the process.

The process should not take longer than about one to one and a half hours.

Bus and Train Information

How do I buy a commuters ticket?

If you on a daily basis commute between two specific stations or bus-stops, you might want to get yourself a commuters ticket to lower the cost of the daily commute.

Please refer to our instruction video on how to buy a commuters ticket.

How to dispose of garbage in Kyoto

Most foreigners who come to Japan are surprised by the systematic and precise separation and disposal of garbage. Each city has its own rules, but generally the rules are similar.
Kyoto City collects household waste on a weekly basis and you should make sure that you sort your garbage in the correct way before each pick-up date.
If you have any doubts or more specific questions please also check out the Kyoto City Official Guide for garbage disposal:

How to use Japanese Chemical Drain Cleaners

Essentially Japanese Chemical Drain cleaners are not any different from drain cleaners anywhere else in the world. However, if you are unable to read any Japanese, figuring out which product is best to use and exactly how to use them can prove challenging. If you can’t read any Japanese and want to purchase a chemical drain cleaner in the store, look for large bottles, usually red, orange or yellow in color with pictures of U-bends on them or ask the store attendant for help.

How to pay the bill for electricity

The bill for electricity will be put on your mail box within 1 month.
Please bring it to convenience store. You can pay the fee in cash at the counter.
Please refer to our instruction video on how to pay your bill.

How to fix the gas when gas turn off due to some problem.

  1. 1. Please turn off gas stove and hot water controller.
  2. 2. Please check the gas facility common space. The gas facility is in the strage which is next to the entrance door in your room.
  3. 3. If the red light is on, it means that you can’t use hot water. Please push buttom on the gas facility.
  4. 4. The red light will be off in 3 min after you push buttom.
  5. 5. You can use the hot water.

How do I pay my utility bill if I accidentally lost it?

Sometimes you might lose your bill that you got in your mail box.
If this happens you will need to contact your electricity company. (Please contact us if you need help with this.)
You will in this case most likely receive the transaction number that was on your bill.

Please use this number and refer to our instruction video on how to pay using this number and “Loppi”.

How do I change the light-bulbs in Kowa CO’s apartments?

Sometimes the light-bulbs in your apartment will burn out and you will need to replace them.

Please refer to our instruction video on how to change the light-bulbs.

How do I pay each month’s rent?

Please transfer the rent at a JP Bank (Post Office). You can also pay by credit card if you prefer.

Please refer to our instruction video on how to use a JP Bank (Post Office) ATM to pay your monthly rent.

How do I use the IH Stove?

Some of Kowa CO’s apartments are equipped with an IH Stove (Induction Heated Stove). 
This is an electrical stove and does not use gas and thus differs on how you would normally use a gas stove.

Please refer to our instruction video on how to use the IH Stove.

How do I use a Japanese washing machine?

Japanese washing machines can be especially intimidating and scary with the buttons being in Japanese and written in Kanji. But don’t worry, once you’ve gotten the hang of it will be very easy to use.

Please refer to our instruction video on how to use a Japanese washing machine.

Website of the Japanese government

Here is the safety information website of the Japanese government.
It will be of great help when the disaster happens.
You can also download a Free App called “Safety tips.”