It doesn’t matter if you are a newcomer, or if you are a “Nihon veteran” – moving in Japan can be difficult!

Compared to Western countries, Japan has different rules when it comes to housing.  That’s why we decided to give you a short overview about the most important things you need to keep in mind when going apartment hunting  🙂

1. Don’t wait!
Apartments in Tokyo, especially newly build ones in central locations go very quick. And when I say very quick I mean within one day!
It is very possible that you just have done a viewing and still thinking about taking it, while someone else has already decided for the apartment.
First come, first serve. If you really like a place, be quick! This rule is especially true for the moving season (see point 4)!

2. Fill in the application form!
Every Japanese real estate agency will ask you to fill in a rental application form.  They usually have prepared their own forms and will send them to you via mail or give them to you on the day of the viewing. This is to inform the agency about your working place, your income and your visa status. Those application forms are necessary to let you apply for an apartment. However, it won’t guarantee you that you will get the apartment! If the application form is in Japanese, ask a Japanese friend to help you, or search on our website for English-friendly property. 😉

3. Viewings are good, but not necessary!

As already stated above – apartments go very quick. Some Japanese people even don’t consider to go for viewings, since they just need a place to live in a certain area. If you have found an apartment which interests you and it is located in a popular area (eg. Shibuya, Roppongi, Ginza), better decline the viewing and immediately fill in the application form. Always keep in mind – You are not the only one applying for this place!

4. February and March are the most busy moving season!
If you need to move in March, be prepared that most places will be gone very quickly. Start searching early and apply immediately when you find something you like. Moving in other seasons is, of course, possible. However, since there is a high rotation of available apartments in March, you might be also lucky and find a good place in a central location!

5. Be prepared for high initial cost!

Japan has all kind of fees and you need to prepare initial cost, if you are ready to move in. The usual fee will include the first rent, a deposit, key money and an insurance fee. Some other fees which might additionally apply are a cleaning fee, a management fee, a brokerage fee, the guarantor fee and a contract renewal fee. All agencies will inform you about the fees, always ask for the initial cost when you decide for an apartment. Expect it to be usually double than your monthly rent, sometimes even more. Depending on the size and location of the apartment the initial cost can vary.

Those 5 points might sound a bit demotivating, however there are good apartments out there!

A reminder to let you know that if you are looking for an accommodation in Japan, our portal has  plenty of apartments and rooms in share houses available all over Japan. Send us an enquiry if you like one of them.

We will be happy to help you finding your new home in Japan! Good luck with the search! 🙂