Relocating to Hawaii

Relocating to Hawaii

  • Tomoya Tsuruhara
  • 04/19/22

Maybe you already have a vacation home in Hawaii, but you would prefer to buy Hawaii luxury real estate and live on the island full-time. You could be tired of flying back and forth from Japan, or perhaps you just can’t get enough of the islands. If you want to have the best chance at success, you’ll want to carefully plan for the process and consider a few essential questions.

In the meantime, you can look online at Hawaii beach homes for sale, but keep these seven things in mind.

Which island do you choose?

This involves more than choosing a neighborhood. What sort of experience and lifestyle do you want in Hawaii? The weather is different across the islands — some islands are windier and rainier than others. What kind of environment do you prefer? What sorts of activities interest you?

Do some research to determine what island you might enjoy most. If you’re able to visit before you make a move, that’s even better. A visit will allow you to see the community first-hand and understand what it might be like to live there. You’ll also get to speak to people who live on the island and see what they like and dislike about where they live.

Costs to consider

Can you afford the move, and can you afford to live on the island? It isn’t cheap to live in Hawaii, as you can probably imagine. The cost of living is one of the highest among all US states. Perhaps you work remotely right now, and you would be able to take your job with you to Hawaii. That’s great, but make sure that your current income level will support the lifestyle you want to have. Remember that groceries and other goods will cost more as so much has to be imported.

When it comes time to look for housing, you’ll want to reach out to an experienced local agent who understands the market for Hawaii luxury real estate. They’ll guide you through the process of searching for Hawaii beach homes for sale.

When should you move?

When will you feel ready and able to make the move? If you have flexibility, sometime between March through May and August through October might be a good time to consider. Typically, the weather is the best during these months, so making a move during this time will likely be more convenient — and more beautiful! Also, these months are outside of peak travel seasons, so you will probably spend less on expenses such as flights, rental cars, and accommodations as you search for a home.

What paperwork will you need?


First and foremost, you’ll want to start working on a VISA. Visit the Japanese Embassy page on the US Government’s website for an extensive list of requirements. You should also know that immigration to Hawaii will require a sponsor. That can be a current US citizen, a permanent US resident, or even a state's potential employer.

Back home, you’ll need to visit your local city hall or ward office to inform them of your intentions to move to Hawaii. They will have some paperwork for you to fill out to make your exit from Japan official.

Do you plan to buy a car after settling into your Hawaii real estate, or perhaps even ship yours over? If so, you’ll need to get an international driver’s license. You can get an international driver’s license in Japan or Hawaii, but you might be better off getting it before you move to have less to worry about once you arrive.

Because of the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ll want to double-check the current laws regarding quarantine periods and the COVID-19 vaccine as the situation is constantly evolving. As of current status, the US Embassy in Tokyo and consulates in Japan have resumed normal operations, including routine immigration and nonimmigrant Visa services.

How will you move?

In addition to what you’ll bring on the plane with you, you can also ship many of your belongings to Hawaii. The question is, how much will you need? Will it be more cost-effective to sell many of your things before leaving and replacing them once you get to Hawaii? Depending on the island you choose, the climate may not require you to have an extensive wardrobe.

You should also do some research on shipping. If you can’t ship your items in a box, you may have to buy a crate or pod, which can take some time to arrive on the island.

What about a car? Will you buy one once you arrive, or will you ship the one you currently have? Public transportation in Hawaii is not extensive outside of Oahu.

What will your life in Hawaii be like?

You’re excited to look at Hawaii beach homes for sale, but you probably won’t spend 100% of your time at the beach. Depending on how familiar you already are with Hawaii, you may want to learn what life on the island is like — Hawaii is famous for its slow-paced lifestyle. Hawaiians prefer to take their time, and they don’t like to rush. Life on the islands can be pretty different from life in a large, busy city like Tokyo!

Other helpful resources

Once you work through these questions and you’re ready to start shopping for Hawaii luxury real estate, feel free to reach out to an agent like Tomoya Tsuruhara. She is knowledgeable about buying and selling homes in Hawaii and will be happy to answer any questions you have about the area.



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