Sunday 10 December 2023

Cost and processes of renting appartment in Japan.

 Apartments and Housing in Japan.

by Joshua.S.

This article shares the experience of the author regarding the processes and costs of moving, and getting new apartments in Japan. One important thing to note when getting an apartment in Japan is to know what types of apartments and housing suit you. There are several types of apartments in Japan and their prices depend on the type of buildings and also the age of the building.

These are the common terms for apartments in Japan.


If you are getting an apartment, you have to decide based on the table above and that is whether to get an R- which is just a room, or 1LDK- which is a1 room, dining,  and kitchen. The different terms represent the interior parts of a house/an apartment.

 Moving out from an apartment.

When moving out of your apartment,  you have to advise the real estate agency or the landlord a month before your final exit date. If you inform them of your moving date very late, you will pay extra fees.

Most landlords usually request the tenant to remove everything before the last inspection. You are required to do a small cleaning up before the last apartment inspection. The cleaning is to make sure everything for the room/apartment is in order. After cleaning is done, you then just have to wait for the day they will show up for the inspection. Always remember to keep extra cash for the inspection.

Disposing of/cycling of big appliances.

Japanese recycling law is very strict about disposing of and recycling electrical appliances and huge household goods. When recycling or disposing of the items, you are required to take them to the proper disposal shops or recycling centers. This process is not free. Different appliances have their own fees. Most times, these items cost a lot to recycle/dispose of.

Disposing of big electrical appliances like fridges, washing machines, TVs, and others is very costly in Japan and each item has to be paid for before recycling or disposal. When I moved out of my old apartment. I have to pay a lot of money for my washing and fridge to be disposed of.

I have to buy the disposal fee and the transportation fee for the items to be taken to the cycling center. But if you do want to pay the costly recycling fee. You can give them away for free by posting them on Facebook or Instagram groups.

Freighting of goods.

Freighting in Japan is very reliable, and the cost is pretty cheap. If you are moving to a new location or to a different prefecture within Japan. I recommended that you post all your baggage to your destination through postal agencies and then travel with only your carry bag. This is much cheaper than bringing all your baggage with you on the plane.

This is the cost of freighting in Japan from one of the biggest freighting companies in Japan.


I usually post my luggage a few days earlier and let them deliver my luggage the day after I arrived at my destination. It is much more economical and convenient.

Acquiring a new apartment in Japan. 

The process of getting a new apartment in Japan is fairly simple. There are 100s of real estate agencies in each city block. Each real estate agency offers different options for those seeking to rent an apartment. It is always better to check several real estate agencies before choosing which one is best for you. 

The real estate agencies in Japan act as brokers between landlords and tenants. Most policies on the contracts documents are directly from the landlord.

Important to remember as a Foreigner in Japan.

In Japan, as a foreigner, it is a little difficult to get an apartment. Many Japanese landlords do not allow their apartments to be rented by foreigners. I am not sure of the reason but I will write an article about it later.

The apartment contract and duration.

In Japan, the process involved in getting an apartment is pretty straight forwards. First, you have to go to the real estate of your choosing and they will discuss with you what sort of apartment you like and the budget you prefer. After discussion, they will show you several of their apartments that are available or will be available soon. Then they will take you to tour these apartments and from there you can decide which one you would like to rent. This process usually takes a day.

Once you have decided on the one you like, then you can proceed on and fill out the application to apply for the apartment that apartment.  After applying, the application will take at least a week to be processed. Usually, the application won't take long. If you have a secure job and a good income, it would take two to three days to be approved. In my case, it took only 3 days to be approved.

The initial cost for apartments in Japan.

There are a lot of variables involved in the initial cost of securing the contract and the apartment. The cost varies from real estate agent to real estate agent. In Japan, the actual monthly rental cost of the apartments depends on the ages of the apartments and the fees included by the agencies 

Below is a basic break up of common variables for the initial cost of acquiring an apartment.

This is an example of the initial fee you have to pay to move into a new apartment. Please take note of various fees. The cleaning fee is also an annoying fee you have to pay either with the initial cost or when you are going to move out of your apartment.

After the initial payment, you have to pay the monthly rent. Some apartments include an internet fee, community service fees, 24-hour maintenance, and others in the monthly rental fee.
Below is an example of a monthly rent breakup



There is a way you can avoid unnecessary initial fee costs, and that is through directly dealing with the property's owner. For my second apartment. I was lucky to be dealing directly with the landlord. I remember the landlord's name is Satou. He told me to only paid the cleaning fee. I did not pay all the unnecessary initial fees one would have paid if dealing with real state agencies. If you can find a landlord, then you will save a lot of money.

Moving into a new apartment.


 After paying the initial fees, it will take a few days for the real estate agencies to fix all documents. During the process of signing the contract document, the real estate agent will ask you; when would you like to move into your new apartment?. You can decide on which date best suits you.

Remember, if you are shifting apartments. You might be required to move your thing from your old apartment to your new apartment. Moving things from an apartment is also very costly. 

One important point to remember. 
After securing the contract for your new apartment. You are required to call the service providers yourself. Like, like water companies, gas companies, and others. Calling them and trying to make a contract with them is very difficult for a foreigner. Most of these companies deal in Japanese. Therefore,  for a foreigner, you need to find a Japanese to help you.

if you want to hire moving companies their cost is very expensive.
  1. For primary movers, it would cost you around 8,000 yen or 60 US dollars /per hour 
  2. For night service movers. A single person with all belonging will cost 20,000-30,00 yen/ 150 -200 US dollars.
If you are moving and on a budget. This cost is more burdensome than convenience. To avoid such heavy costs, you can do the following ;

1. Get help from a friend who has a car.
2. Hire a van by yourself 

Below is the price list of one of Japan's nationwide rent-a-car. Nippon Rent A Cars. The table shows the cost of hiring a van to move household goods. This is the second cheapest option. 

If you don't have a driver's license, you will need a driver to help you. Please ask your friend who has a Japanese or International driver's license. They will help drive for you. Also, to hire a car you would need a driver's license so they can use theirs for you to hire the car.


The price is in Japanese yen.



By Joshua Sasahombi










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