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This is a bit awkward question. I lived in Japan when I was a child for three years, my father was working there. I worked there myself for almost a year when I was much younger. I do have some basic, and improving, Japanese language skills. And my wife and I have been there a few times on holidays/vacations for up to two months. I'm recently retired now, my wife is getting close to pulling the pin, and while we have a nice place here in Oz...fact is, we love Japan. I always have, and my wife is a convert after our trips there. The way I read it is - we can only get visitor visas there for 90 days (I have no intention of working - although a part time English teaching gig would be ok - as a former university technical manager and military instructor)....I understand the last thing they want is more old people (we're in our mid-60's). We'd like to settle in Hokkaido (Kutchan in particular - and no, the weather doesn't bother us - love Kutchan - (like Fairbanks - but with nice people) for as long as we can. If we have to return at some point to Australia for health or whatever, so be it. On visitor visas, can we renew - ad nauseum,- like in the Philippines, Thailand, etc for as long as we like to continue the access? Fly out to Seoul for example and come back a couple days later for another 90 days?
I see several sites (in English) selling Hokkaido real estate, cheap....can we buy a house in Kutchan with a visitor visa? How about a car? We'd be self-supporting on a few different pensions...Around 4. to 4.5k USD a month.
I have heard of Australian retirees living in Niseko...don't know any, and don't know how they do it - but I hear there are many. But I'd like to settle down in Kutchan nearby and live in a Japanese community.
 

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It's very difficult, but if you want to try to thread the needle you have to delay retirement and obtain a work visa. Of course that requires a sponsoring employer. The ideal situation would be a teaching role of some kind that involves fewer hours and longer breaks than typical employment.

Once you hit about six years of work visas (and working), assuming you're granted visa renewals, you then become eligible for permanent residence. The key word is eligible, because you have some cultural and language tests to overcome to gain that status. They aren't easy.

I don't know if either of you want to keep working for 6+ more years, even in a more easygoing role (if you can find one), but that's the only "retirement" route I can think of in these circumstances.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks mate...I knew it would be difficult to impossible. So be it....We might try a couple 90 day trips and me asking around...I would be a great part-time english teacher...I love the discipline of Japanese students - and got the same during my time from my soldiers..so comfortable with it.....plus a couple decades of university experience under my belt.....My wife is a nurse here in Australia ( a very good and highly paid nurse) so she may have some leverage there in Kutchan too. She is multi-lingual, and could learn Japanese with ease. Anyway, see how we go. I do have a former associate with an Australian relative that retired in Niseko (I questioned her how he does it)....now I'll question firmly.....or get contact details....
Thanks again......BBC
 

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I know a bloke who comes in and out on a tourist visa - stays 40 days, leaves, comes back.
Problem is though without a resident card he can't get a bank account, phone, decent apartment...
 

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I don't believe there's anything illegal about coming and going as a tourist -- provided you're really a tourist. Apparently, after the first couple of round trips, Immigration questions you pretty hard about your reasons for being in Japan... looking, of course, for anyone who is trying to work here illegally without applying for a real work visa. But if you can show that you're retired and able to support yourself without working, the perpetual tourist route may well work -- but it's true that the resident's card is needed for a lot of seemingly basic transactions.

As for owning a home... you don't have to be a resident or hold a visa in order to buy property. But unless you're paying cash, it will be really hard to get a loan here without being a bonafide resident. Of course, it's not necessarily *illegal* to loan to a non-resident. It's just that the banks want to know you're likely to stick around. If you slap down a significant chunk of cash or can borrow from a bank in your home country, you should be able to buy a place.

Also, if you're fairly set financially, there are other visas like cultural, student, etc. that don't generally allow full-time work (part-time is possible with the right permission). You could become a full-time flower arranging student. The only downside might be the tuition.
 
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