Accommodation in Japan
It is often difficult for foreigners to find an apartment or a house to rent in Japan. Unless your employer rents an apartment or a house for you, you will have to find an accommodation on your own and contact a real estate agency. Japanese people are often reluctant to rent their apartment or house to foreigners. However, several real-estates agencies are specialized in renting apartments to foreigners.
If you rent a flat through a real estate agency, you will have to pay a two month's rent deposit in advance. You will have to give another two month's rent as a security deposit, which is refundable assuming there is no damage to the apartment, and another two month's rent as a gift to the landlord (known as the reikin), which is not refundable. You will have to pay another month's rent as a finder's fee to the real estate agency.
Housing is typically listed as 2LDK or 3LDK: L designating living room, D for dining room, and K for kitchen. The bathroom and toilet are not mentioned but always included. D and K are not really separate. Dining room is part of or next to kitchen. Therefore, the size and the price of apartments are primarily determined by the number of L, "living rooms". A living room can be used as an office, a bedroom and is sometimes separated from other living rooms by a removable sliding door like fusuma, so living rooms can be one large single room.
Moreover, measurements of apartments are often expressed in tatami mats (jō in Japanese, traditional mats woven from rice straw that are of a standard size: 180cm by 90cm in the Tokyo region and 191cm by 95.5cm in western Japan).
In Japan, you have to sign a two-year lease, which is not convenient for expatriates staying in Japan for a lesser period of time.
If you rent a flat through a real estate agency servicing for the foreign community, fees will be less expensive. However, monthly rents will be more expensive but leases and rental agreements will therefore be adapted to your needs as an expatriate.
Sakura House – servicing for foreigners only
Furnished apartments Tokyo
Guide section: Accommodation
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