Just moved into your new apaato or manshon? If you’re looking at getting the essential furnishings while on a budget, we’ve got you covered. Did you know that it is sometimes more expensive to get rid of furniture and appliances in Japan then acquiring new ones? In other words, you can get a great deal out of second-hand items that would serve you well – sometimes even for free!

Furthermore, you can get brand new items that are crucial to your space at very affordable prices. Either way, we’re all about showing you the tips and tricks to help make your shopping more worthwhile.

Consider new yet affordable furniture options

Getting new furniture and other home essentials does not have to mean burning holes through your pockets. In Japan, you can set up your place on a budget. Here are a few examples of shops that can cater to your needs.


Often dubbed as “the Ikea of Japan,” Nitori was created to provide “the foundation of prosperous home living” for individuals. From the very start, in 1967, the brand has always been about home furnishing with an emphasis on customer satisfaction. Today, you can make Nitori outlets an itinerary for your date. Hours can be spent strolling through every floor – and you can do so without the pressure of staff breathing down your neck to make a sale.

You can find furniture and fixtures for every room in Nitori. Grab a basket and pick the small items (utensils, storage boxes, soft furnishings) directly or grab a tag for the larger pieces like beds, tables, cabinets, sofas, and the like. You can present your collected tags at the customer service for assistance on payment and delivery. Did you know that some of the larger stores even allow customers to borrow a small truck to bring their items home? We’re talking free of charge up to 90 minutes of delivery time.

Look through the Nitori branches here.


Go to Muji if you’re after a more consistent, minimalist theme for your new place. Plus, everything in the store is Muji-made and not a mix of one item from multiple brands. Although you would typically find home and office accessories at Muji, they sell furniture too, such as storage units, beds, sofas, tables, and chairs.

You can also find stationery, food, snacks, clothing, and essential skincare products at Muji, making it an accessible one-stop-shop for your home needs. Look through Muji branches here.


Then, we have IKEA where you can find dreamhouse-worthy items at a more affordable price. Here, you can discover almost everything you would need for every room – bedroom, living room, kitchen, dining, kids room, bathroom, home office, outdoor, hallway – you name it. Plus, the model rooms you could walk into gives you a glimpse of the finished interior and how each furnishing completes the entire design.

If you need a break from imagining and expanding your home goals, you can also take a quick breather at the IKEA Restaurant known for its Swedish meatballs, among other Japanese cuisine specialties like curry rice.  

There are currently nine IKEA outlets in Japan, with the Harajuku branch being one of the latest additions to the list. Do keep an eye out for the Shibuya branch set to open on November 30, 2020.

Do some digging online for great second-hand finds

Who said you could only find awesome furniture when in a new condition? It might take extra digging and reviewing, but the savings you get can quickly pile up. Here are a few of the most popular places to look for second-hand furniture searching for a new home.

Craigslist – the free-to-post, online classified ads hub, is fully alive and well in Tokyo. Whether it’s used furniture from Nitori and IKEA or more high-end items that need to be discarded by the owner, you can find almost anything on Craigslist.

Scrolling through the listings, you can easily spot the seller’s price and location, plus a few actual photos of the item for sale. Defects or damages are also often included in the post, so you can decide if you’re okay to accept them. Click the “reply” button at the top to contact the owner, and you’re good to go. From there, you can discuss the meet-up, pick-up, or delivery of the item.

In case the seller isn’t keen on processing the delivery of the item for you, head on over to Craigslist’s hauling or moving section to get you started on companies that offer the service you need.

Tokyo sayonara sales

If you’re an avid Facebook user, then you can get some window shopping in as you scroll. Introducing the Tokyo sayonara sales groups – yes, we’re talking multiple groups. One page usually has 20,000 members, giving you a significant pool of options for your furniture needs. The members of these groups are usually those leaving the country or downsizing; therefore, need to get rid of their belongings.

You can quickly join one Tokyo sayonara sale group as long as the rules are followed. These usually include being located in Tokyo or nearby, providing actual photos to posts, and indicating a pick-up location for the items being sold. When you spot a particular piece you’re interested in getting, you can leave a comment and begin the sale process. Convenient, yes?

Recycle shops

Not all of the second-hand furniture is sold online. It is still recommended to see and feel the item before purchase. This is where recycle shops come in handy. Given that the Japanese are known to take good care of their furniture, you can find many well-maintained items that are resold.

For starters, you have the big recycle shop chains like Hard Off or 2nd Street. You can also type “リサイクル “(recycle) in Google for a quick look at the stand-alone but easily accessible recycle shops in your area.

Get acquainted with mottainai Japan

After trying to throw out an old sofa in Japan, I have fully understood why many often opt to give them away instead. Welcome to “mottainai Japan” or very loosely translated, “What a waste! Give it away instead.”

This is the place to go for free, and we mean F-R-E-E items. Those new to Japan would often be surprised that people end up giving away beds, sofas, refrigerators, washing machines, and microwaves to the first person who could pick them up. Imagine setting your space with all the necessities and paying only for the delivery fee.

In mottainai Japan Facebook groups, the rules are a bit different than Tokyo sayonara sales. One, you are not allowed to sell or buy items as the platform’s main purpose is to pass down unwanted items. Another common rule is that members aren’t allowed to ask for things they need. It would be your task to keep an eye out for any steals and offer to pick up the item as soon as possible.

There you have it, a simple guide to help you furnish your new place on a tight budget. We know how expensive the cost of living in Tokyo truly is; however, this should not mean you have to sacrifice a comfortable place you can call home.