Welcome to Japan. Nowhere else on Earth will you discover such a unique mix of the super high tech and the deeply traditional. It’s a dynamic economy that’s one of the world’s largest consumer markets, and an exciting place to do business.

For a successful market visit, it’s vital to do some research up-front. Download our Japan market guide on this page, it is packed full of useful information, including an outline of which sector opportunities exist for New Zealand companies, and advice on visiting and operating in Japan.

Quick facts

Here's a snapshot - you can find more detailed data in our guide.

 Export market ranking NZ's 4th largest export market (20161)
 Free trade agreements  Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) 
 Ease of Doing Business ranking2 34 of 190
 Corruption Perceptions Index ranking3 20 of 180

1 Source - comtrade.un.org
2 World Bank Ease of Doing Business 2017
3 Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 

Getting to Japan

Air New Zealand, with its code share partner All Nippon Airlines, flies direct from Auckland to Tokyo. Flight time is around 11 hours.

Other airlines, such as Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Qantas offer non-direct flights.

When to visit

Late Spring (March to May) or late Autumn (September to November) are the best times to visit weather-wise. It’s also a good idea to familiarise yourself with Japan’s national holidays, as some businesses may close during these times.

Before you go, check Safe Travel for travel advisories on Japan.

Cultural tips 

There are few other places in the world that place such great emphasis on manners and etiquette. You’ll need to swot-up a little before your trip so that you make a good first impression. For example, it’s customary to bow, rather than offer a handshake. And how you handle a business card and present yours can make or break a deal.

You’ll find plenty of cultural information in our guide on this page.

Working in-market

Getting the most out of your visit means hitting the ground running. Co-working is an excellent option if you’re staying put for more than a few days. Facilities vary, but typically you can expect a desk, and access to wifi, printer / scanner, tea / coffee and a lounge area. Some facilities may offer extended perks such as parking and on-site cafes. If you’re visiting the market solo, it also means the chance to work in the company of other like-minded business people and freelancers. Co-working spaces can be searched by city on Nomad List

Connect with NZTE in Japan 

If you’re an NZTE customer and preparing to visit Japan, please get in touch with your Customer Manager to discuss your plans and possible areas of assistance. If you don’t have a Customer Manager, contact our Advisor Team for more information.

New Zealand's relationship with Japan

If you're looking for more information about our trade and diplomatic ties with Japan, take a look at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website. Their Japan page is packed with information, including a list of embassies and details of recent official visits. 

Japan market guide

East Asia insights

Prepare for doing business in this region with our library of market guides, videos and resources.

Our offices

We have a dedicated team in East Asia.


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  • I'm visiting my market. How can NZTE help me?

    If you’re an NZTE customer, please get in touch with your Customer Manager to discuss your plans and possible areas of assistance. If you don’t have a Customer Manager, contact our Advisor Team for more information.

  • I want to find an in-market distributor for my business
    NZTE doesn’t maintain lists of distributors for specific products and markets. We encourage companies to do as much of the initial search process as they can for themselves, while bringing in professional help where needed.

    You’ll find useful information on researching, finding and selecting the right distributor for you in our Export Essentials guide to understanding your channel partner options.
  • I want to find out about regulations and tariffs for export
    Regulations and tariffs should be one of the first things you find out before exporting. They often determine whether a market will be easy or hard for you to export to, or whether you should try to do business there at all.

    Understanding regulations in your export destination is a must-do. For an introduction to what you need to think about, see our guide on understanding international compliance requirements. This includes tips on how to research regulations, as well as insights on local regulations, standards, health and safety, and dealing with local bureaucracy.

    It’s a good idea to take a look at the rest of the international compliance process while you’re doing your work on regulations – see more information in our guide to understanding international compliance requirements.

    If you’re planning to export food or food-related products, you should also check out the food exporting page on the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) website. MPI maintains a list of Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs) for New Zealand food products in different export markets – search and identify OMARs for your product online

    Tariffs can make your products more expensive and less attractive to overseas buyers, so you need to know the charges your products will attract before you commit to a new market.

    You can get a big head start in finding tariff information by using the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) tariff finder or the World Trade Organisation’s tariff download facility. You can search the databases by product name, but they work best when you know the approximate Harmonised System (HS) code for your product. HS codes are used by customs authorities around the world to identify products and apply tariffs. The longer the code is, the more precisely it describes your product. The first six digits of an HS code are usually the same worldwide – after that, there can be up to eight further digits, which often vary from country to country.

    New Zealand Customs can help you to find out the first six digits of your HS codes – email VOC@customs.govt.nz.

    To get a longer and more precise HS code for a particular market, look up and contact the local customs authority online, or talk to a customs broker or freight forwarder who has done business in that market.
  • I want to find out about packaging and labelling for export
    Packaging and labelling requirements can be very different from country to country, so get as much information as you can before making the decision to export. 

    Depending on where your products will be sold, you might need to use different materials or labels, and include different types of information. In some countries, you might have to translate all your packaging or labels into the local language – in others, applying a sticker with a few key details will do the job. 

    Make sure that you check out all of the requirements for packaging and labelling before tackling a new market, including anything that’s needed during transport or distribution. 

    You’ll find more details on the kind of things you need to think about in our guide to understanding international compliance requirements.

    We suggest that you work with a customs broker or freight forwarder, or get advice from a lawyer in-market, to understand all the requirements for your product and the place where it’s headed. The Customs Broker and Freight Forwarder Federation (CBAFF) has a list of customs brokers and freight forwarders within New Zealand.

Export Essentials Workshops

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"I love to connect our New Zealand customers to Japanese companies with the goal of adding value to both parties."

Shintaro Nakamura, Business Development Manager Tokyo