The All Whites have received a boost ahead of the Inter-continental playoffs in November, with confirmation that they will face Japan next month.
The match will be vital preparation ahead of the two game shootout with South American opposition, for a berth at the 2018 World Cup.
Anthony Hudson's team, who took the OFC Final Stage Playoff 8-3 over the Solomon Islands, will face the World No 44 Japan on October 6 at Toyota Stadium in Nagoya.
It's a welcome scenario. Japan are a dominant force in Asian football - they recently defeated Australia to confirm their qualification for their sixth successive World Cup - and will provide stiff opposition. It's also a handy location, which limits travel time for New Zealand's European-based players and will allow for minimal interruption to the schedules of the likes of Winston Reid (West Ham), Chris Wood (Burnley) and Ryan Thomas (PEC Zwolle).
"We are pleased to have this international friendly with Japan confirmed," said Hudson. "They are a top team and they are a team in form as they have qualified for the World Cup next year. They are a great team for us to play now that we have qualified for November.
"Coming up against world-class opposition away from home will give us an ideal build-up. We had options for a second game but we want to get our players back to their clubs early to help cope with the heavy schedule we face either side of this window. So this window ticks both boxes for us."
Japan enjoyed a 10 game unbeaten run to secured the top spot in group B of the AFC Stage Three qualifiers, though that streak ended on Wednesday morning when the Blue Samurai lost 1-0 in Saudi Arabia.
The All Whites enjoyed three wins over Japan in the 1980s; 3-1 (Auckland, 1983), 1-0 (Tokyo, 1983) and 1-0 (Kuala Lumpar, 1984).
In the most recent clash Japan prevailed 4-2 in Tokyo in 2014, with Chris Wood grabbing a brace for the New Zealand side.