Renting in Japan—For expats moving to Japan, it’s not just the monthly rent that’s pricey, but the initial fees as well. Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Assuming a five-year lease on a Japanese home, the initial costs can easily exceed the rent by as much as a factor of 5.
As a foreigner, finding a place to live in Japan is very straightforward. When searching to rent or buy a home, expats should not face many obstacles. Expats will find it difficult to obtain a loan without a guarantor. Japan uses the term “guarantor” to refer to someone who assumes the legal obligation to pay a tenant’s rent if the tenant is unable to do so for whatever reason. Japanese nationals often turn to family members as their guarantee because of the requirement that the guarantor be a Japanese citizen.
Many short-term rentals are available all throughout the country for expats who wish to take their time looking at the various kinds of homes that are for sale. A rule was passed in 2018 that limits the number of days certain short-term rentals can be rented, so it’s a good idea to ask the landlord or realtor about this before you put in a deposit.
You can use this information, whether you’re looking to buy a house or rent an apartment, to assist you in your quest. Foreigners renting an apartment in the island nation will need a variety of documents, including a passport, a visa, and a credit card. We also cover the rental pricing range across the island nation.
For those who are well-prepared, finding a house or apartment to rent in Japan will not be too difficult of a task. Foreigners and Japanese citizens are not treated very differently while renting a place, depending on the owner and where you decide to live. It’s possible that in rural areas or when dealing with older, more traditional landlords, your expectations will be different than they are in urban areas or when dealing with younger, more modern landlords. When it comes to foreign tenants, this is especially true if the landlord or other neighbors have had a terrible experience in the past.
Financial Realities of Renting in Japan
How much does it cost to rent a house or apartment in Japan? There are a lot of variables to consider. Despite its size, Japan is constrained by geography. Mexico has a slightly higher total population, but the Asian nation falls just short of the top ten most populous countries in the world. As a result, rent costs in Japan are expensive since there is a strong demand for housing and not enough space to provide it.
The national average rent in Japan is probably between 50 and 70,000 JPY (470–650 USD), depending on the city. Rent in Tokyo is the most costly of any major city’s metropolises. Single rooms in shared accommodation can cost as little as 20,000 JPY (190 USD) per month in Tokyo, while private apartments can cost as much as 150,000 JPY (1,400 USD). It costs an average of $1,870 a month to rent a two-bedroom apartment in Japan.
The prefecture of Yamagata, on Japan’s mid-northwestern coast, has the country’s lowest median rent. One or two-bedroom apartments can be rented for roughly 50,000 yen per month in this city (470 USD). But keep in mind that the further you are from a big train station, the more likely you are to need a car. When looking for a location to live in Japan, take in mind that the cost of maintaining a car is high. Expats who find Tokyo to be too expensive might consider Kyoto or Osaka as viable options as far as cheaper places are concerned. Compared to Tokyo, these cities have a more’small town’ atmosphere while yet being active and thriving as Japan’s capital city.
As a foreigner renting in Japan, you need be aware of a few things. To begin with, the terminology used to describe rental properties in the United States may be different from what you’re used to. In Japan, we don’t hear the terms “studio” or “two-bedroom apartment,” let alone in the same sentence. Rather than the letters L, D, K, R, or S, you will see a number in front of a combination of those letters.
In real estate, the designation “1LDK” denotes a unit with one bedroom and a common living, dining, and kitchen area. Although the kitchen, dining, and living rooms may be independent rooms in their own right, there will be no doors to divide them.
A 1K is a one-bedroom apartment that does not have a living area. Instead, you’ll find a small kitchenette equipped with a fridge, microwave, and sometimes a burner or other small cooking appliances as needed. In Japan, ovens are a rare sight, especially in the country’s largest cities.
There is a bathroom in every place you stay. In Japan, the most common bathroom design features a toilet that is built right into the shower. Large, historic houses are the only places where bathtubs are common. Even if it’s in the room, the bathroom sink could be on a hallway outside of it.
A balcony is a common feature in Japanese residences and apartments. It is common for these to be small and utilized for drying clothes rather than resting and taking in the view.