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  • 2021.07.08

5 ways Shibuya city can help you skyrocket your business in Japan

From a 1-year special visa schema to a supportive startup community, there are plenty of reasons why you should consider launching a startup in Shibuya. Here’s how Shibuya Welcome Service can help.

1. Apply for a Shibuya Startup visa – FREE


Following a special agreement with the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Trade and Immigration Bureau, all foreign-born entrepreneurs willing to relocate to Japan can apply for a 1-year Startup visa. The startup idea should meet the (startup) principles of viability, innovation and scalability, and founders are expected to switch to the Business Manager visa before the Startup visa expires. Provided that you are able to pass the assessment interviews, the process usually takes from 1 to 3 months.


How the process is structured:

– Prepare and submit all the necessary documents to Shibuya City

– After the document screening, you will have a 30 min call with a Visa Lead for the initial assessment

– Revision of the documents (adding competitors’ information, market analysis, etc.)

– Document screening process

– If you pass the document screening process, you will have a 30 min interview with a Venture Capitalist and Shibuya city representative

– If successful, Shibuya city issues a proof letter to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility for a Designated Activity status or changing of status at the Immigration Bureau if you already reside in Japan.


Read successful stories of Shibuya Startup visa holders: BilalWei and George

2. Open a corporate bank account – FREE


In Japan, many banks are reluctant to open a business account for entrepreneurs from foreign countries. The uncertainty of whether that business will become successful and profitable also plays into it. To address this issue, Shibuya city partnered with Mizuho Bank to speed up opening an account for Shibuya founders. With a new schema, it takes from about two weeks to officially set a corporate bank account.


How to apply for a schema:


1.Submit all necessary documents to Shibuya City:

– Copy of a registration certificate (Certificate of All Historical Matters)

– Business plan or materials that explain your business activities

– Personal identification documents


2.After documents screening, visit Mizuho Bank with the following documents and complete the procedures for opening an account:

– Copy of a registration certificate (Certificate of All Historical Matters)

– Personal identification documents

– Company seal


3. Guidance for incorporating a company  – FREE (legal costs and fees for administrative scriveners/judicial scriveners are covered by the founder)


If you decide to incorporate your business as a Japanese legal entity, you will need to choose between either a Kabushiki Kaisha (株式会社, or “KK”) which is a joint stock company or Godo Kaisha (合同会社, or “GK”), which is similar to a limited liability company. Shibuya city can guide you through the legal requirements and various procedures related to setting up a company in Japan.


If you are planning to do all the procedures by yourself, we can provide the necessary templates. If you want to save your time and work with administrative or judicial scriveners to finish the process, we can make an introduction.

4.Connect to the startup accelerators – FREE


A good startup accelerator opens doors and provides a great deal of credibility to your startup in Japan. Although most of the programs are focused on supporting local entrepreneurs, Shibuya Welcome Service can introduce you to the network of foreigner-friendly accelerator programs that will help accelerate your growth and connect to the investment opportunities  — or occasionally even acquirers.


Join our online panel discussion on July 12th with the most accessible accelerators in Japan who will introduce their programs and explain how foreign founders can benefit from it: https://www.meetup.com/Le-Wagon-Tokyo-Coding-Station/events/279121149/

5. Arrange a PoC (proof of concept) with a business partner – FREE


Proof of Concepts (POCs) between corporations and startups demonstrate the feasibility of a concept and are usually a gateway to the opportunity. Since June 2020, Shibuya city has been running PoCs with its numerous partners and selecting projects to participate in the collaborative experiments. Under the initiative “Innovation for New Normal from Shibuya”, startups addressing social issues raised by the spread of COVID-19, especially in the fields of welfare and environmental policy, are eligible for a PoC support from Shibuya city. Interested founders can apply here.


Do you have any questions about any of the abovementioned services? Send us a message! 

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