Renting an Apartment in Japan: A Guide for Overseas Students and Expats

Renting an Apartment in Japan: A Guide for Overseas Students and Expats

Japan is a great place to visit if you’re on vacation, but it can be difficult to find an apartment in the country. The process of renting an apartment in Japan is different than it is in other countries, and understanding these differences can make living in Japan easier. This article will help you understand your rights as an international renter, the application process for residency, and what to expect before signing your first rental contract. Read on for everything you need to know about renting an apartment in Japan.

The process of renting an apartment in Japan

Renting an apartment in Japan can seem intimidating at first. There are many different sets of rules that you have to follow when renting an apartment here. But, there are some benefits to understanding the process before beginning your search.

To start, you’ll need a guarantor and a Japanese citizen for your tenancy agreement. The guarantor is typically a Japanese citizen who agrees to cover any unpaid rent and damages if the tenant doesn’t. They are usually family members or close friends of the tenant. The guarantor will need to sign the rental agreement as well.

Once the guarantor is taken care of, you’ll need to have your residency status clarified. You are required by law to have at least an Alien Registration Card (ARC) in order to rent an apartment in Japan. This card will allow you to stay in Japan for one year at a time.

You may also need to have a Certificate of Eligibility to Apply for Residence Status (APRC) or Certificate of Eligibility to Apply for Status of Residence (APRC).

You can search apartments online. Some websites are written in Japanese. You can use Google Translator to get the English version. Also, if you are not in Japan yest, you can use a Japan VPN (a VPN with Japan servers) to access websites/service that are only available to people living in Japan.

Renting an Apartment in Japan: A Guide for Overseas Students and Expats

Understand Your Options

When looking for an apartment in Japan, you have two options: shakai-teien or tokutei-teien. Shakai-teien apartments are rental units managed by a company while tokutei-teien are owned by the individual who rents them out. The difference between these two types of apartments is that shakai-teien usually come with things like utilities and cleaning services included in the price while tokutei-teiens may not be as fully furnished or may require higher monthly payments because they need repairs.

Before signing a contract for either type of apartment, make sure you read it carefully and understand what you’re agreeing to. Your contract should include the length of your rental term, how much it will cost, any fees associated with breaking your contract, and any special conditions about pets or building maintenance fees. It’s also important to note that your landlord is required by law to provide you with a list of responsibilities so make sure you ask for one before signing anything!

Rental Agreement

When you sign a rental agreement, the landlord and tenant agree to comply with certain conditions. You should read your rental agreement thoroughly before signing it. The agreement will state what is expected of both you and the landlord.

As recommended by rental agencies, the following points are some of the contract conditions that international renters need to be aware of:

  • Length of time (usually one year) for which rent is owed
  • Amount of monthly rent
  • Terms of tenancy, including end dates and renewal rights
  • Conditions for late payment or early release from tenancy
  • Who pays for utilities (such as water and electricity) and how these costs are shared
  • Responsibilities for keeping the property clean and damage free

Costs of renting an apartment in Japan

There are many costs associated with living in Japan, but the first one that you’ll encounter is paying rent. You may find that it’s more expensive to live in Tokyo than it is outside of the country. But on average, renting an apartment in Japan will cost you between ¥50,000 and ¥70,000 per month. This price varies depending on how big your apartment is and which area of Japan you live in.

Costs aside, there are other things to consider before moving into your new apartment. For example, utilities are usually not included with your rent unless you have an agreement with the landlord or landlady for this service. You will be responsible for picking up trash from your home as well as taking out the garbage every week. Lastly, if there is a vacancy sign posted outside of a building this means that there are apartments available for rent - so if you see something you like don't hesitate to inquire about it!

Residency for international renters

If you plan to stay in Japan for longer than three months, you need to obtain residency. This is a difficult process and you may not be eligible for residency if you are not already living in the country. But don’t worry! If you are only thinking of staying in Japan for a short time or have decided it isn’t the right place for you, there are other ways to find an apartment.

The first step is to speak with your employer about housing benefits. Most companies will offer some type of assistance with accommodations, but it may take some negotiation on your part to figure out what they can provide. If that doesn’t work, try searching online for local real estate agencies that have international clients. These agencies often have listings specifically for foreigners looking for housing. And finally, if all else fails, try talking with friends or family members who live abroad and ask if they know any apartments available in Japan. It never hurts to ask!


You may not know what to expect when you move to Japan. The country is different from most countries and the culture is different as well. If you’re an international student or new expat, renting an apartment can be a difficult and expensive process. But we’ve created this guide to help you understand the process and find a new home in Japan.

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