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Unlocking Extended Leisure Stays in Japan: A Guide to the ‘Long Stay for Sightseeing and Recreation’ Residence Status

It’s been some time since my last contribution to this legal column. This summer, we underwent a significant transition, relocating our office to Akasaka in Fukuoka City. We are still in the midst of finalizing the move.

Oh, how I yearn for a lengthy vacation…

In today’s article, I aim to shed light on a particular type of residence status that permits an extended stay for sightseeing and recreation in Japan, lasting from six months up to one year—with the option for extension. This status is officially known as “Long Stay for Sightseeing and Recreation.

Fukuoka, the city where I practice law, is not as globally renowned as Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, or Nagasaki. Nevertheless, it recently garnered attention in a feature by The New York Times. The impact of such international exposure remains to be assessed, but it certainly captured the interest of those residing in Fukuoka.

Among Japanese cities, Fukuoka stands out as an increasingly attractive living destination. Thus, it is worth contemplating Fukuoka as your ‘home base’ if you are considering an extended recreational stay in Japan. This becomes all the more feasible with the “Long-term for Sightseeing and Recreation” residence status.

To qualify for this unique residence status, officially coded as “Designated Activity No. 40 (特定活動40号),” the following criteria must be met:

• You must be at least 18 years old.

• Your nationality must belong to a country that is exempt from requiring a visa to enter Japan.

• You should have neither the need nor the intention to work during your stay in Japan.

• Your primary reason for staying in Japan must be for sightseeing or recreation.

• You must possess savings amounting to no less than 30 million Japanese yen, either individually or collectively with your spouse. Note that these funds also cover your spouse under “Designated Activity No. 41 (特定活動41号),” provided you share the same residence and travel itinerary. However, if your spouse’s travel plans diverge from yours, an additional savings of 30 million yen is required, totaling 60 million yen.

• You must have an overseas travel insurance policy that covers the full duration of your stay in Japan. It’s worth noting that this residence status does not allow you to enroll in the Japanese national health insurance or pension system.

This residence status could be a viable option for various individuals. For instance, foreigners residing in Japan may have parents who wish to visit for an extended period, possibly to spend quality time with their grandchildren.

While our firm primarily focuses on assisting with applications for residence statuses that allow for work and long-term stay, the “Sightseeing and Recreation” status (Designated Activity No. 40 / 特定活動40号) might serve as a valuable alternative for some.

Disclaimer: While utmost care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article at the time of publication, it is not intended to serve as legal advice as each individual situation will vary. Should you require further advice or wish to delve deeper into the topics discussed, please reach out to the author.

Text by: Masayo Boston (Certified Administrative Procedure Legal Specialist), October 2023
Legal Associates Office Boston (Fukuoka City)
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Fukuoka Prefecture
Published: Oct 13, 2023 / Last Updated: Oct 13, 2023

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