As an island nation, the former Empire of Japan depended on imported goods and products to drive its burgeoning industry. As a result, the country cultivated a thriving shipping sector that still provides a number of easy and efficient options for shipping goods to Japan.
With the exception of high-end luxury service apartments, most accommodation is unfurnished. For this reason, many employers include a shipping allowance in expat contracts. Don't be afraid to broach this topic when negotiating a contract as shipping costs can quickly escalate if one is not careful.
Shipping household items to Japan
Generally speaking, household items are duty-free and tax-free, provided they aren't new. If shipping items to Japan, expats should make an inventory of the goods they will be sending across and bring at least two copies in their carry-on luggage.
Expats also have the option of buying furniture in Japan. There are plenty of stores dealing in interior decor and household furnishings. If not opposed to second-hand goods, expats leaving the country often have large-scale 'sayonara sales', where its possible to find nearly new items for far less than one would normally pay for them new. Look for listings on supermarket notice boards, Facebook or on classified websites.
Another alternative to shipping to Japan or buying in Japan is the option to lease home furnishings.