How to Rent an Apartment in Japan


Finding long term apartments is one of the first problems faced by a foreigner coming to Japan. Some companies and educational institutions can provide hostels or help with finding an apartment, but not everyone does this, and the offered conditions may not suit every person.

As a result, a person who has just arrived in the country has to search on their own, and sometimes this experience disappoints people when they are faced with such Japanese characteristics as a “thank you payment” or looking for a guarantor.

Real estate searching in Japan

Usually, you cannot negotiate directly with the landlord. Owners usually entrust the search for clients and paperwork to real estate agencies. This is because real estate agencies are always equipped with the right paperwork to make each individual lease agreement lawful. However, it should be noted that some landlords will handle the negotiations and get lawyer written up-to-date lease agreement forms from companies like

These agencies can be found throughout Japan and are often located near rail or subway stations. Usually, on the glass facade of agencies, sheets are pasted with information about some of the houses and apartments they offer for rent. From these sheets, you can roughly imagine the order of prices for different types of housing in the area.

But in the modern world, the best way to find something you need is to search on the internet. On the site webs, you can easily find an apartment, house, or another real estate that matches you the best.

Guarantor and related expenses

When renting long term apartments, a real estate agent usually asks if you have a guarantor – a Japanese citizen with constant income (or a Japanese organization), who would guarantee that you fulfill the terms of the contract and compensate for losses in case of non-compliance.

Of course, it is often difficult for a human who has recently arrived in the country to find someone to vouch for him. In recent years this problem has not been so acute – in many cases, you can use the services of a surety company, which acts as your guarantor.

The cost of services varies, but for a two-year renting, it is usually about 10-30 thousand yen or 30-70% of the monthly rent amount.

What the rental price depends on

In order to better represent the housing market, look for options and negotiate with agencies, it is useful to know what factors affect the price of rent. Below we present several characteristics of real estate that can significantly affect its price.

  1. Year of construction. In the postwar period, many houses in Japan were built based on rebuilding every 25-30 years, so the age of a building is very important. This helps to understand why a spacious house, built in the 1970s, can cost significantly less than a smaller house, which is only 5-10 years old. In addition, the newer the house, the more modern amenities it tends to have.
  2. Location, and especially the distance to the nearest station. Of course, other infrastructure is also important such as supermarkets, post offices, and schools.
  1. Building materials. The cost of a house is largely dependent on materials and technologies.
  2. In Japan, they prefer south-facing housing – sunlight helps to reduce heating costs and reduce humidity.
  3. Separated bathroom. In many homes, you can still find combined bathrooms, where the toilet is located within the bathroom.
  4. The floor on which the apartment is located. For example, despite the low crime rate, people often do not want to live on the ground floor.


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