Furnishings | Movers | Housekeeping | Pets | Garbage
Serviced apartments include all the furniture, linen, cutlery and electrical appliances you need, as well as regular cleaning and concierge services, providing the comfort of home with the convenience of a hotel. Many people stay here with their families for a period of a few months. Contracts usually start at one month.
For families planning to live in Japan for a number of years, an unfurnished apartment is another option. You can buy or lease furniture, or bring your own from your home country. The facilities and services vary from apartment to apartment, some with basic appliances such as refrigerators, washer/dryers and lighting already included.
You can also look for houses instead of apartments. Houses give you more freedom with pets, and also allow you to enjoy activities such as gardening in the backyard. Houses with Tatami are also available for those who would like to experience a more Japanese life. Real estate agents should be able to help you find your ideal house.
Japanese Apato, Mansion and Guest Houses
When your budget is more limited, Japanese Apato, Mansion or Guest Houses are also other options. An Apato (comes from the word “Apartment”) is the Japanese term for a flat, and is usually a building made of wood and light iron. Each housing unit is generally small. What is called Mansion in Japanese are what would be apartments or condominiums in English. They are tall reinforced concrete buildings and as compared to Apatos, Mansions are stronger, much more soundproof and fireproof. A Guest House, a house or an apartment for short-term stays, provides private bedrooms, but the bathroom, toilet, kitchen and living room are shared.
If you live in an Apato or a Mansion, there are some points you want to be careful about. For example, loud TV/stereo or voice, parties, use of musical instruments, banging the doors, and showers or laundry late at night can all be considered noise that may lead to troubles with your neighbors.
When you move out from a room, you are responsible for restoring and cleaning the house to the original condition when you first rented it. These include stains, tears, or holes in carpets and walls, broken window glass, and other intentional and unintentional damages.
It is best to check with the real estate agent in advance about the points to note.
Rooms and Terms
You will see that there are certain terms used in Japanese floor plans when looking for a place to live. Floor plans are written using numbers and alphabets, of which the number is the number of bedrooms and the letters showing the type of the non-bedroom spaces.
|L||Living room||Over 8 Jo (approx. 13m²)|
|D||Dining room||Over 5 Jo (approx. 8m²)|
|K||Kitchen||About 4 Jo (approx. 6.5m²)|
|DK||Dining-kitchen||1 room between 8-14.5m²|
|LDK||Living-dining-kitchen||1 room over 14.5m²|
|和室(和)||Japanese style||Tatami floor|
|洋室(洋)||Western style||Wooden or carpeted floor|
For example, a 3LDK housing unit will have 3 bedrooms, and 1 living-dining-kitchen room. The sizes of the rooms are usually shown on the floor plan, either using the Japanese unit “Jo” which is equivalent to the size of 1 Tatami mat (1.6m²).
In addition, the room styles are also written to show whether the room has a Tatami floor or a wooden floor.
Locations that are closer to the city center, popular areas, and places closer to train stations, as well as newer properties usually have higher rent. Also, rooms where you can own pets tend to be a little more expensive.
An average rent for a 2LDK apartment by ward will look something like the following. (Data as of July 2012)
|Minato-ku||330,000 Yen||Shibuya-ku||270,000 Yen|
|Chiyoda-ku||320,000 Yen||Meguro-ku||230,000 Yen|
|Shinjuku-ku||280,000 Yen||Shingawa-ku||210,000 Yen|
In most cases, the next month’s rent should be paid by the last day of the present month.
At some apartments, a maintenance fee called Kyoekihi or Kanrihi may be required in addition to the monthly rent. This is used for costs for shared areas of the apartment, such as electricity and cleaning expenses, and is to be paid monthly together with the rent.
In addition to the monthly rent, there may also be upfront costs when moving into a new property. These include:
- Reikin (key money), which is a non-refundable payment made to the landlord. It usually amounts to approximately 1 to 3 month’s rent. Accommodations designed for shorter term stays or for instance, residents from overseas will often not be charged Reikin.
- Shikikin (deposit) will be returned to you when you move out, as long as your rent has been paid up. The cost of any repairs or cleaning may be deducted.
- Chukai-Tesuryo (agent’s fee), which is the commission paid to the real estate agent that helped to close the deal, is usually 1 month’s rent. Consumption tax will be charged on the agent’s fee.
- Koshinryo (renewal fee) is a fee you need to pay your landlord if you would like to rent the room for another lease term. The lease term is generally 2 years, and the fee is usually about 1 month’s rent.
- Fire insurance, which is required at most rented rooms. This is usually charged when signing the contract to rent the room.
- Fees to change the door keys may be charged.
Housing is usually rented through real estate agents. While many local real estate offices do not provide services in foreign languages, there are some that specialize in providing properties to foreign customers and can give you advice and assistance in English.
“Moving to Japan” – Here, an expat talks about his experience finding an apartment in Japan and shares is comments on Japanese housing/renting situation and the procedures, etc.
Experienced relocation companies provide personal assistance in matters such as visa procedures, applications/registrations with municipal offices and public services, setting up bank accounts, finding schools as well as supermarkets, shops and restaurants in your neighborhood.
Leasing & Buying Furniture
Furniture lease companies offer various services such as total coordination of furniture, linen and electrical appliances upon your request. They also offer full support for repair and replacement. Items can be purchased at the end of the lease or when you move out.
Buying furniture is another option. Click below for a comprehensive listing of furniture and interior stores for you to choose from according to your needs. Some offer exclusive services ranging from custom designed furniture to complete interior design.
When moving from country to country, things may go smoothly if you choose an international moving company with a worldwide network and foreign language services. Relocation services may be offered depending on the company. Check their websites for details.
There are a number of housekeeping, babysitting or pick-up dry cleaning services that serve the English speaking community. Check the following websites for details.
If you are bringing your pet into Japan, or are going on a trip from Japan and coming back to Japan, you need to have certain forms filled out and have your pet vaccinated. It is best to start preparing as early as possible, as the whole procedure of importing a pet to Japan takes at least 7 months. If you own a dog, you should register it at the local municipal office and also have it vaccinated as soon as possible.
When you are moving out of Japan with your pet, you need to meet certain conditions. To export your pet, your pet must undergo inspection at the Japanese Animal Quarantine Station. For this process, you need to contact the Animal Quarantine Station at least 7 days before departure, and submit a form. For conditions for importing animals to the country you are entering, inquire with the country’s embassy or quarantine authorities. For further information, check the Animal Quarantine Services website.
Phone: 03-5420-0012 | Address: 2F, 5-14-1 Shiroganedai, Minato-ku
Phone: 03-3468-1010 | Address: 2-14-2 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku
Phone: 03-3717-6186 | Address: 1-5-22 Midorigaoka, Meguro-ku
Garbage is separated by type and collected at specific locations on specified days. Basically there are 4 categories: Burnable garbage (Moeru-Gomi), Unburnable garbage (Moenai-Gomi), Recyclable garbage (Shigen-Gomi), and Other garbage. Depending on where you live, you may have to classify your garbage into smaller sub-groups.
For other large and irregular garbage like furniture, electrical or household appliances, you will need to arrange for the disposal and pay a fee. Sometimes the store where you bought your electrical goods may collect them.
Inquire your local municipal office for garbage sorting, collection schedule, and large size garbage disposal.
Here are some common waste collection services.
03-5296-7000 (Japanese only)
03-5282-7685 (Japanese only)
03-5296-7200 (Japanese only)
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