Everybody who is planning to move to Japan needs an accommodation, so you need to find a room in a shared house or an apartment for rent.
What kind of apartment you look for depends strongly on your budget and your purpose of visit. If you come to Japan due to your job, your company will probably cover the expenses, and if you want to have a working holiday, the rent fee should not be so high. However, it may be problematic to find a cheap apartment as a foreigner.
Even though you are ready to pay quite a big amount, there are not many choices to find an apartment in Japan – just because you are not Japanese. In this article you’re going to learn what choices you have as non-Japanese, and pros and cons of the possible options.
Before we go through the points, here is a picture showing the basic information about the rental system in Japan.
As you can see, the agent is always between you and the landlord; and a normal Japanese agent usually doesn’t accept any foreigners, because the landlord won’t agree to rent them an apartment. It can be also technically impossible to make a normal apartment rental contract with a foreigner.
How to find an apartment in Japan: 2 best real estate agencies
Let us get straight to the conclusion. Because it is usually not possible to rent an apartment as a non-Japanese, you have to go to an agency that offers serviced apartments or shared houses. Below we will explain the reasons for this decision and the list of real estate agencies that offer such options.
Why landlords don’t accept non-Japanese people
- Most of the landlords don’t speak English;
- They cannot trace if the tenant has gone back to his country;
- There is a prejudice that foreigners are not trustworthy.
The reasons probably sound really racist, but it is the reality of an island which developed its own culture.
Structural problem = technically impossible
To make a contract for rent, you will need:
- A Japanese stamp as a signature;
- A guarantor who lives in Japan;
- A bank account in Japan (Credit card payments are not accepted);
- Resident registration.
However, to register yourself as a resident, you need an apartment, so it is simply impossible to rent via a normal Japanese agent for a cheap price.
A definite answer to a rental question
To find an apartment in Japan, you have to contact an agency that offers following options:
- Serviced apartment;
- A room in a shared house.
Especially for you we have picked two real estate agencies with good reputation. Both of them offer serviced apartment and shared house.
Below are the pros and cons of renting a serviced apartment via both agencies.
The process is quite simple, and it is just a little more expensive to rent a serviced apartment than a normal apartment in Japan – which is quite fair and understandable, as it is a faster and easier option. However, if you are looking for a cheaper opportunity, these two companies can also help you rent a shared house.
Unfortunately, if you are not Japanese, you don’t have many choices when looking for an apartment. The best possibility is to contact MetroResidence or OYO and get a serviced apartment, and if you cannot afford the monthly rent fee for it, just book an Airbnb or a hotel for the first month. After that you can try to find a real estate agency that will show you a usual non-serviced apartment. However, we are 95% sure that those agencies won’t be able to offer you any good options. Also, you will have to take care of all the utility yourself – and these procedures must be done monthly and in Japanese.