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Renting Apartment in Tokyo, Know-How

Renting Apartment in Tokyo, Know-How

While share house offers you a lot of opportunities to get to make new friends and share living experience, if you value privacy and personal space more than anything else while staying in Tokyo, an apartment is what you are looking for.

If you have rented an apartment before in your own country, you might be wondering what’s the point of writing this guide and even reading it. Just go into a real estate office, look at some photos, reading and signing of contract, right?

Well, not exactly. It is a totally different story in Japan when renting an apartment here.

1. Layouts of Apartment

First of all, to rent an apartment, you need to understand the layouts of apartment in Japan.
Let’s look at the graph below with pictures to give you a better understanding.


After understanding the layout of apartment in Tokyo, you should be able to know what you need and what you want because this will affect the pricing and cost which we are going to talk about in a while.

But before that, let’s talk about where to live.

2. Location and Where to Live

The location is one of the main factors that decide the pricing. However, apart from pricing, below are some other factors you would like to consider as well when staying in Tokyo:

i. The time spend on commuting to work or school:

You can save some money from your apartment rent by staying a little bit far away from the city area but in exchange, you spend your time on commuting. Commuting more than one hour to work or school on daily basis is normal for Japanese but probably not so for foreigners. Try to find a balance in between.

ii. The commuting expenses:

Although staying away from the city area can save you some cost from the rent, the commuting expenses can be quite expensive in Japan. Sometimes, you can find that you spend around 20,000 yen per month just on commuting. So, might as well stay nearer to buy yourself some time.

iii. Accessibility (Conveniences) and Train Lines:

Knowing where you will be going 5 days per week for work or school is very important.

Sometimes staying at the area with a minor train line which is one or two stations away from the main train line station can save you a lot of cash in terms of your monthly rent.

iv. Distance to the station

Generally speaking, the closer the apartment to the station, the more expensive it is. However, you would also want to consider the noise every time the train pass by, if it is not an underground subway.

3. Costs & Initial Fees – Usually

If you have already contacted some Japanese real estate companies or even been to some of their shops, you might already know that renting an apartment in Japan costs a lot in the start, the initial fees.

For a standard apartment in Tokyo that costs around 80,000 JPY per month, you can expect the upfront cost lays around 400,000 JPY.

Why? Let’s look at the list below:

Particulars JPY Description
First month’s rent 80,000 First month rent is usually pro-rated based on tenants’ move in date.
Maintenance fee
5,000 Pay monthly together with the rent. For the purpose of maintaining the quality of the whole building. Fee may be vary depending on the age and quality of the property.
Key Money
80,000 Usually equal to one month’s rent and sometimes one and a half month’s rent. In Japan, it is considered as an appreciation to the landlord for renting his apartment to tenants.
Security Deposit
80,000 It is being used for repairing and cleaning the apartment when tenants move out from it.
Guarantor Company fee
40,000 Even if tenants have a Japanese Guarantor, some company or landlord still required tenants to apply with a guarantor company. Usually costs around 50% of the rent.
20,000 This is a must in Japan.
Door Lock changing fee
20,000 In Japan, safety and security are being valued highly. Therefore, after tenants moved out from the apartment, the managing company or landlord will change a new door lock pairing with new sets of key.
Agency Commission
80,000 As the agent who provides the service to tenants in sorting out the right apartment, going through all the agreements preparation, etc., this is where they earn their hard work from. Usually it’s about one month’s rent or sometimes goes up to one and a half month’s rent.
Total 405,000  

*None of the above is refundable except for Security Deposit if there is any left after the repairing and cleaning.

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