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Owning a B&B in Japan 2007/6/27 10:26

I'm 26 years old living in the U.S. I've looked up nearly every info I can find about moving, living, and working in Japan but the info I'm having trouble with is the process of starting and owning a business. I would really like to own a Bed and Breakfast in Japan but I have no clue where to start or what to do. Does anyone have any tips or advice?

by Hazevamp  

Think long-term 2007/6/27 13:14

Where to start? Well learning Japanese would be a good place.
But seriously, owning your own business in Japan is pretty much impossible unless you are married to a Japanese national or have permanent residence status (obtainable after having lived in the country for at least 5 years).
by Dave in Saitama rate this post as useful

Have you lived here? 2007/6/27 14:46
Have you been to Japan before? If so have you been for more than a few weeks, or worked here? Realistically before you consider starting up your own business in Japan you want to have a very good knowledge of Japanese society, customs, business practices, and you need to know that you can actually handle living here.

Many people arrive planning to stay here for several years, or forever, and find that it is not what they expected at all and leave after only being here a short time.

The difficulties of day to day life in a country where you are not a citizen and do not speak/ read the language cannot be under-estimated. I like living here, but it can be a challenge.

Take things one step at a time- come here and teach English for a year or so first, get a feel for the place and then think about your original plan.

I apologise if you have spent many years living in Japan already and know the place well- if not though you need to realise these things. Not trying to rain on your parade, just being realistic.
by Sira rate this post as useful

Taking it slow 2007/6/28 01:11
I haven't been to Japan before but trust me, the last thing I want to do is hop on a plane to live there without gathering as much knowledge as I can including living there temporarily first.

I'm trying to take it slow by gathering info, and visiting for a while. If I like it then I plan on working there, if I like living and working there then I will consider opening a business and seek permenant stay or at least dual citizenship if I could. I'm already studying Japanese language and their culture et al. I know foreigners end up owning their own businesses there I just want to know how they went about doing it.

by Hazevamp rate this post as useful

. 2007/6/28 01:30
At your age, Japan doesn't recognize dual citizenship.
by John rate this post as useful

. 2007/6/28 01:31
Money, lots of money. You'll likely want to take out a loan, which will be hard, so becoming a permanent resident or later even a citizen if you decide might make it a little easier to get one.
by John rate this post as useful

business in Japan 2007/6/28 03:10
have you worked in a small business in the USA (preferably a hotel or motel)as an assistant manager or even desk clerk? this would be a valuable experience already. the business laws in Japan and the USA are obviously different but there are some similarities between every country about business practices. A B&B sounds like a romantic idea but I had relatives who had one-In Europe-and it was such a hard job! during the tourist season- June to September-she and a few staff worked 16 hrs a day. She ended up every year renting her own bedroom and sleeping in the garage!. as in every business one has to be a very good planner and organizer, very service oriented ,cheerful and friendly even when one doesn't feel like it etc. cooking skills are also important. Can you see yourself making Japanese breakfasts and Western style ones for 5-7 people getting up at the same time ? finally the $$ needed to own/ rent a place suitable for a B & B and renovate and decorate it--even a small place--and you need 5 or 6 rooms at least if this is your only source of income- are huge. I don't want to rain on your parade but most of the people who open a B & B, whatever country they live in, are in their 40s and own their home. being a couple, with one spouse working outside, also helps financially as you may not get a full house everyday.
by Sensei 2 rate this post as useful

B&B 2007/6/28 09:05

I'm currently getting my AA in Hotel Restaurant Management and Business Management. And I'm currently working at a hotel. I've also done catering and cooking for events and helped in other service events. You're right, owning a B&B is hard work but so is every other business out there. I think its about why you do what you do. If it's only for money then you may end up miserable. I know I will need enough money for a loan but I also plan to have a safety stash of money reserved just in case it doesn't work out. I know that owning my own B&B or mini Hotel is my goal no matter what country I decide to do it in, it's just a matter of will I be able to after investing so much time in getting and living there.

Thanks for your responses! :)
by Hazevamp rate this post as useful

Just to add 2007/6/29 17:53
Since noone mentioned it in depth.. You will have to consider what kind of visa you can go with. It's not as simple as just asking for business license and you get the visa together with it - many non-Japanese who run own business in Japan are either married to Japanese national (spouse visa allows you to engage in any work in Japan), or those who initially started living in Japan with employment in special field (in your case, let's say, if you find employment with an international hotel chain, who might send you to work in Japan if you they value your skills in the business and if you acquire language skills) in Japan with employer-sponsored visa then after getting a permanent resident status based on many years of employment, going independent and doing his/her own business. If you want to take out a loan from a Japanese bank, I believe you have to have at least this permanent resident status. So this visa issues is nothing you can avoid, apart from financing consideration. One thing I can say for sure is that it takes a lot of preparation and patience and hard work. Good luck in everything :)
by AK rate this post as useful

visa issues 2007/6/29 21:38
Also note that in order to qualify for the usual working visas in Japan you need a full Bachelor's degree, an associate degree is not enough. You could not for example get a visa to teach English here without a BA or BS and as an American you are not eligible for a working holiday visa.
by Sira rate this post as useful

Thanks! 2007/6/30 09:24
AK, that's just the kind of info I needed. I've read that if you get work over there and your regisration card(after obtaining work) you can buy housing. I was planning to at least buy the property while I'm working and begin running it as a B&B when I recieve permenant status. Or at first I thought I could obtain work then after buying the property I can start my business right away et al. Oh well I can wait.

Sira, I always thought that it didn't matter which degree it was just as long as you had one. unless that info was old. Well I could finish my AA in Hotel Restaurant Management then go for a Bachelor's degree in Business Management. Would that do?

Thanks for the responses!
by Hazevamp rate this post as useful

... 2007/6/30 10:01
YI believe your visa options for seeting up a B&B business are:

- spouse visa (need to be married to Japanese national or permanent resident)

- permanent resident status (need to live in Japan about 10 years before being able to get that status; faster if you are married to a Japanese national)

- working visa as "Investor/Business Manager". The criteria for that visa type is as follows (it is difficult to get). I don't think it requires a university degree:

As for housing, at most banks you will need permanent resident status in order to qualify for a mortgage.
by Uji rate this post as useful

. 2007/6/30 10:22
I think another serious item you have to look at is, long term projections, goals, and success. Do you think you have a better chance of opening a B&B somewhere in Japan, or a successful B&B in Cape Cod Massachusetts.
by John rate this post as useful

degrees 2007/6/30 20:32
Hazevamp, when they say "any kind of degree" they mean a Bachelor's degree in anything (e.g. Engineering, Fine Arts, Science, Law- any of these will do)- for Americans, a 4-year degree is the minimum requirement- I believe an AA is shorter than that?

I'm not American so I don't know your system well, but I have heard from reliable sources that an AA does not satisfy the requirements of Japan Immigration.

A BA or BS has been the minimum requirement since at least 12 years ago as that is when I first came to Japan, and the requirement has not changed since then, as far as I know.
by Sira rate this post as useful

degrees 2007/7/1 00:26
Oh ok, I wish the info I read was more specific with the "any kind of degree" part. An AA is a two year degree. Once you get that you can then go for a Bachlor degree program. Thanks for clearing that up for me. At least while I'm working on my degrees I can continue working here in the field for more experience and of course raising extra money and maybe take language classes (since I'm studying Japanese on my own now, I would like to take some classes) plus I will have some time to visit in the meantime.

I'm glad that I wouldn't have to wait ten years for residancy status to at least begin my business if I decide to set up there, on the posted site here(MOFA) it said you have to have three years work in the field, a graduate degree, and hire at least two Japanese employees.

John, you're right you have to consider the market. when I did research on the Industry I saw that the B&B market is flooded on the east coast. Like back to back B&Bs nearly everywhere. I think you would have to offer something extremely unique to draw customers in. Otherwise its like deciding which McDonald's to eat at.
by Hazevamp rate this post as useful

. 2007/7/1 00:59
I'm glad that I wouldn't have to wait ten years for residancy status to at least begin my business if I decide to set up there, on the posted site here(MOFA) it said you have to have three years work in the field, a graduate degree, and hire at least two Japanese employees.

That is if you are going for an Investor/Business Manager Visa to manage a business, if you are starting a business you want to read point 1 I believe, that is if you come on a business/manager visa.

What is not noted is the financial backing/insurance etc you will need to prove as well in order to get that visa.
by John rate this post as useful

get in touch with Odawara city 2007/7/1 12:37
the city in Kanagawa prefecture is nice place to open a B&B near to Tokyo Near to hot spas which do not blasters up.

and the city is eager to be more international to attract many foreign tourist.

good luck
by 36madcooky@sms.ac rate this post as useful

Opening a muay thai business in Japan 2007/11/11 22:18
this is a related question; i'm looking to open a muay thai gym in japan when i finish up in the UK military. I'm going to use my ongoing military pension and savings to fund the gym and i'm also looking into hiring my friend (a thai) as a trainer. As UK/NZ citizen and a thai citizen can i/we-
(a) legally reside without border hopping etc for an ongoing period with my business and possibly become a permanent resident.
(b) owning japanese property; does this help in residing? i'm looking into purchasing a spread in the next few years.
(c)Does being previously married to a japanese girl help at all?!
by Arima_Kihei rate this post as useful

c) 2007/11/12 08:06
I can only answer (c)- if you are now divorced, then it will not make the slightest bit of legal difference that you were married to a Japanese. If you are not divorced and stay that way for the next few years, then it would make a difference.

It would be a lot easier to do what you plan to do on a spouse visa than any other type of visa.
by Sira rate this post as useful

(c) 2007/11/15 06:45
Thanks for ur reply. i'm still married but i'd feel cheap manipulating the system and a girl for my own gains since i've got plans to cut loose hence the direct approach.
I knew this was gonna b a mother to do:) japan definately has its head on straight immigration wise thats for sure. i got 20 years to sort it out tho^^ im sure i'll think of something.......
by Arima_Kihei rate this post as useful

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