Sportal.co.nz 03.Apr.2013Getty Images
The 30-year-old prop has signed a two-year deal with Sanix and will leave at the conclusion of the 2013 Super Rugby season.
The 2012 Maori All Black revealed he decided a few years ago that when he reached 30 he would start to look at his options.
"I came down here [to the Hurricanes] last year for a last opportunity to give everything I had to a franchise in New Zealand," May said.
"I've really enjoyed my time here. Obviously it's still going and that's my main focus at the moment.
"But once I put the feelers out there something came pretty quick. It's good to get it signed up and done and dusted pretty quickly."
May also had offers from Europe but felt the type of rugby and the amount of games played in the Northern Hemisphere wouldn't suit him at this stage in his career.
"They play a lot of footy over there and it's tough footy. I'm not saying Japan's not but it's a lot less games and just a different experience I think."
May's announcement came on the same day as former All Black lock Anthony Boric and ex-All Black first five-eighths Stephen Donald announced their moves to Mitsubishi.
Chiefs Richard Kahui and Lelia Masaga are also on their way to Japan at the conclusion of Super Rugby.
"I think we can offer things over there in terms of experience in the Southern Hemisphere game and taking that up there," said May of the number of New Zealanders signing for Japanese clubs.
"[We can fulfil] leadership roles and it's also a lifestyle choice.
"Super Rugby is not getting any easier. It's bloody tough and it's tough to keep the body in check to play every week."
May wasn't sure whether his deal with Sanix, which he said was 'a little bit more' in money terms than a New Zealand contract, would be his last one.
"I didn't really think about that. My body is going pretty good at the moment and has been for the last couple of years so we'll see how it goes," he added.
"That decision will probably get made for me. I wouldn't like to keep going too long. I want to have life after footy."
But he doesn't expect he will return to play again in New Zealand.
"I haven't forecast a return. But you never know what happens."
May began his Super Rugby career with the Crusaders in 2007 before heading home to the Chiefs.
He joined the Hurricanes last year and broke his try-scoring duck against the Southern Kings last weekend in his 55th Super Rugby game.