Life Guide: Finding Your Perfect Home in Japan

Whether embarking on a life-changing adventure or chasing career goals, finding a comfortable and convenient place to call home in Japan is crucial. Don’t worry; navigating the unique housing landscape doesn’t have to be a headache! Buckle up for a whirlwind tour of your Japanese housing options. This blog will give you basic information about housing in Japan and provide the resources to find your home here.

A Quick Jump To…

Apartment Types

  • Studio or 1R (1 room): The compact classic is perfect for solo explorers. A typical 1R apartment has between 13 and 20 sqm of floor space. 
  • 1K (1 kitchen): A little more spacious than 1R as there will be a separate kitchen. 1K apartments typically have between 13 and 25 sqm of floor space.
  • 1DK (1 Dining and Kitchen): A two-room apartment with a kitchen and dining space separated from the other room. 1DK apartments usually have between 25 and 30 sqm of floor space.
  • 1LDK (1 Living, Dining, and Kitchen): A one-bedroom apartment. It offers a separate living area and bedroom, ideal for small families or roommates. 1LDK apartments usually have between 23 and 35 sqm of floor space.
  • 2LDK & Up: Spacious digs for families or those who crave extra elbow room. LDK apartments usually have between 35 sqm and above of floor space.

Read More Here.

Rent vs. Buy

  • Renting: The most common option, offering flexibility and lower upfront costs. Brush up on terms like 敷金 “shiki-kin” (deposit) and 礼金 “rei-kin” (key money).
  • Buying: A long-term investment that requires significant financial resources and navigating complex legal procedures.

Alternative Options

  • Sharehouses: Budget-friendly and social, perfect for making friends and experiencing communal living.
  • Guest Houses: Ideal for short-term stays and exploring different neighborhoods before committing.
  • Traditional 旅館 Ryokans: Immerse yourself in Japanese culture with these unique inns.
  • Hotels: It is always an option to find local hotels or branded hotels for your stay here
  • Short-term Rentals: Services like Airbnb allow you to have your space for a short stay and could be a budget-friendly option.

Your Essential Toolkit

Sites You Need To Know: English Friendly


Photo By Google Play

This is the largest and most popular real estate website in Japan, with listings for apartments, houses, and sharehouses all over the country. While the main website is in Japanese, they offer an English version with limited listings. However, it’s still a great resource for browsing different areas and getting a feel for the market.


Photo By

This website is specifically designed for foreigners living in Japan and offers many resources, including housing listings. They have a search engine for apartments, houses, and sharehouses; their listings are all in English.

Tokyo Cheapo

Photo By

This website is a great resource for finding affordable housing in Tokyo. They have a listings section for apartments, sharehouses, and guest houses, and their listings are all in English. They also offer many helpful tips and advice on finding housing in Japan.

Leopalace 21

This website offers fully furnished apartments specifically designed for foreigners. They have locations in major cities all over Japan, and their apartments are all-inclusive, meaning that utilities and internet are included in the rent.

Sites You Need To Know: Some Other Sites With Some English Support

These sites are mainly in Japanese, but you can contact them in English if needed.

Sites You Need To Know: Sharehouse-Specific

These websites offer English services with sharehouses listings in major cities all over Japan with different room types and amenities for sharehouses in Japan!

Apps You Need To Know

Some sites above also have apps, so check them out if they suit your convenience. 


This app offers many apartment and house listings. While the interface is in Japanese, it’s fairly intuitive, and the pictures can help you understand the listings.


Photo By SPINX Digital

A renowned app for short-term renting, the price varies by place and offers a wide range of listings. You can also access it through their website!

Real Estate Company You Need To Know

They can translate documents, handle negotiations, and provide invaluable local knowledge.

  • Mitsui Fudosan Realty: One of the largest real estate developers in Japan, offering a wide range of apartments, houses, and commercial properties.
  • Sumitomo Realty: Another major player with a diverse portfolio of residential and commercial properties.
  • Nomura Real Estate: Known for its high-end developments and strong presence in urban areas.
  • Mitsubishi Estate Co.: Major developer responsible for large-scale projects like the Marunouchi district in Tokyo.

Useful Japanese Phrases

  • 賃貸物件を探しています。Chintai bukken o sagashiteimasu. – I am looking for a place to rent.
  • 家賃はいくらですか? Yachin wa ikuradesu ka? – How much is the rent?
  • 敷金・礼金はいくらですか? Shikikin reikin wa ikuradesu ka? – How much is the deposit and key money?
  • いつから入居できますか? Itsu kara nyūkyo dekimasu ka? – When can I move in?
  • 契約期間はどれくらいですか? Keiyaku kikan wa dorekuraidesu ka? – How long is the lease term?
  • ペットを飼ってもいいですか? Petto o katte mo īdesu ka? – Can I keep pets?
  • インターネットは付いていますか? intānetto wa tsuite imasu ka? – Is the internet included?
  • 最寄り駅はどこですか? Moyorieki wa dokodesu ka? – Is there a station nearby?
  • 近くにコンビニはありますか? Chikaku ni Konbini wa arimasu ka? – Is there a convenience store nearby?
  • 電気・ガス・水道代はいくらですか? Denki, gasu, suidō-dai wa ikura desu ka? – How much are the utilities?
  • 収納はありますか? Shūnō wa arimasu ka? Is there storage space?
  • バルコニー/ベランダはありますか? Barukonii/Beranda wa arimasu ka? – Is there a balcony?
  • 日当たりはいいですか? Hiatari wa īdesu ka? – Does it get good sunlight?
  • 騒音はありますか? Sōon wa arimasu ka? – Is there any noise?
  • 物件の写真を見せてください。 Bukken no shashin o misete kudasai. – Can you show me some sample photos?
  • もう少し安くできませんか? Mōsukoshi yasuku dekimasen ka? – Can you lower the rent a bit?
  • 契約金は分割払いでお願いできませんか? Keiyaku-kin wa bunkatsubarai de onegai dekimasen ka? – Can I pay the deposit in installments?
  • 入居日を遅らせることはできますか? Nyūkyo-bi o okuraseru koto wa dekimasu ka? – Can I move in later?

Essential Japanese Vocabulary

Accommodation Types

  • アパート Apāto – Apartment
  • 一戸建て Ikkodate – Detached house
  • マンション Manshon – Condominium
  • シェアハウス Sheahausu – Sharehouse
  • ゲストハウス Gesutohausu – Guesthouse
  • 旅館 ryokan – Traditional Japanese inn

Rent & Fees

  • 家賃 yachin – Rent
  • 敷金 shikikin -Deposit
  • 礼金 reikin – Key money
  • 保証金 hoshoukin – Guarantee deposit
  • 更新料 koshinryo – Renewal fee
  • 管理費 kanrihi – Management fee


  • インターネット intanetto – Internet
  • エアコン eakon – Air conditioning
  • 洗濯機 sentakuki – Washing machine
  • バルコニー/ベランダ barukonii/Beranda – Balcony
  • 駐輪場 Chūrinjō – Bicycle parking
  • 駐車場 Chūshajō – Car parking
  • ペット可 petto ka – Pets allowed


  • 電気 denki – Electricity
  • ガス gasu – Gas
  • 水道 suidou – Water

Contract & Lease

  • 契約書 keiyaku sho – Contract
  • 契約期間 keiyaku kikan – Lease term
  • 退去日 taikyoku bi – Move-out date

Additional Tips

  • Start your search early: The housing market in Japan can be very competitive, so it’s important to start your search early, especially if you’re moving to a popular city.
  • Be prepared to pay upfront costs: In Japan, paying a security deposit and key money equal to one or two months’ rent when you move into an apartment is common.
  • Consider using a real estate agent: A real estate agent can help you find an apartment and translate documents.
  • Learn some basic Japanese: Even just a few basic phrases can be helpful when communicating with landlords and real estate agents.
  • Cleanliness is paramount: Keep your living space spotless and respect communal areas.
  • Community matters: Be mindful of noise levels and respect your neighbors.

Remember: Finding a home in Japan is a journey. Be patient, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to bargain politely. With a little research and cultural sensitivity, you’ll unlock the door to your perfect Japanese living space!

You Might Be Wondering…

Are furnished apartments available?

It’s not as common, but some exist. Consider buying used furniture.

What are the initial costs?

Expect 敷金 “shiki-kin” (deposit) equal to 1-2 months’ rent, plus 礼金 “rei-kin” (key money) and agent fees.

Can I rent without a guarantor?

Some landlords accept alternative options like deposits or insurance.

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