Finding an Apartment
Searching for an affordable apartment in Tokyo can be challenging, particularly for those who are new to Japan.
Housing Search Options
Tokyo Tech students and researchers typically have the following options when searching for an apartment:
- Visit a real estate agency in the area where you wish to live
- Search apartment listings on the Internet
- Search apartment listings at Tokyo Tech Co-op* and contact the agency or landlord in charge
When visiting Co-op, bring someone who speaks Japanese with you if you do not speak Japanese well.
*Co-op is located at 1st Cafeteria, Basement, Ookayama campus, and
Suzukake Hall, 1st Floor, Suzukakedai Campus.
Real estate agencies with English-speaking staff.
Real estate agency with a branch office near Ookayama Station. Allows searching for properties by area or budget. Has previously signed contracts with Tokyo Tech students/researchers.
Real estate agency with a branch office near Suzukakedai Station. Dealing with various properties in the Suzukakedai area. Has previously signed contracts with Tokyo Tech students/researchers.
- Mizusihma Shoji
Real estate agency with a branch office near Chuorinkan Station. Has previously signed contracts with Tokyo Tech students/researchers.
Real estate agency websites and listings in English
Real estate agency with a branch office near Ookayama Station; accepts inquiries online
- SUUMO (Tokyo)
Provides links to real estate agencies offering services in English; has online forms for submitting inquiries to each agency
Allows searching for properties by area or nearby station; search results may not always be in English
- Townhousing Ookayama
Real estate agency with a branch office near Ookayama Station; knowledgeable about properties around Ookayama Campus; accepts inquiries online
- AghartA Inc.
Has a section with many property listings;accepts inquiries online
- Live in Japan
Provides services in English, Chinese, and Korean; allows for property searches using various criteria
- Best Estate
Has property listings for Tokyo and Kanagawa in several languages
Allows searching for properties by area or nearby station and offers living guides for international students in several languages
Culture and lifestyle site for international residents in Japan; has a section with many property listings
Working with a Real Estate Agency
When visiting a real estate agency, bring someone who speaks Japanese with you if you do not speak Japanese well. Also, dress neatly to make a good impression on the real estate agent and/or property owner.
Your Housing Requirements
Clearly state your housing requirements, such as rent, closest train station, size, and furnishings. We suggest filling out the House-Hunting Requirements Checklist and showing it to the real estate agent.
At real estate offices and websites, you can find apartment advertisements similar to the one below. Hovering your mouse over linked terms will show you their English translations. Clicking the links will take you to relevant descriptions.
物件種目 貸アパート 最寄駅 大岡山駅 間取りタイプ 2LDK 賃貸条件
In Japan, apartment layouts are expressed using terms such as 1R, 1DK, 2LDK, etc. The number denotes the number of bedrooms. The letters denote other rooms, as follows:
- L: Living room
- D: Dining room
- K: Kitchen
- DK: One area serving as a dining room and kitchen
- LDK: One area serving as a living room, dining room, and kitchen
A 2LDK, for example, is an apartment with two bedrooms and a living-dining-kitchen area.
Room size is often measured in jo (畳 or 帖). Jo refers to the size of one tatami mat and is approximately 180 x 90 cm. Total size may be measured in tsubo, where one tsubo is approximately 3.3 m2. Aside from these measurements, square meters (m2) may also be used.
Tip: What is the difference between apaato (アパート) and mansion (マンション)?
Apaato are low-rise buildings of wooden or light steel-frame construction, while mansion are constructed with reinforced concrete, steel, or steel-reinforced concrete. As a result, mansion have thicker, more soundproof walls and are typically more stable during earthquakes.
Flooring and Furnishings
Various terms are also used to refer to the type of flooring and furnishings:
- 和室 (Washitsu): Japanese-style room with tatami flooring
- 洋室 (Yoshitsu): Room with western-style flooring, i.e., vinyl, carpet, wood, etc.
- 玄関 (Genkan): Entrance
- 下足入 (Gesoku-ire): Shoe storage
- 洗面 (Senmen): Washroom with sink
- 収納 (Shunou): Storage space
See the Glossary for more terms related to housing in Japan.
Location is usually described in walking distance from the nearest station or other landmark.
- 徒歩XX分 (Toho XX fun): XX-minute walk
In general, a one-minute walk corresponds to about 80 meters.
Tip: Beware of extreme deals
If you find an apartment that is priced significantly below average, there is likely a reason. The property may be old, located in an inconvenient area, be equipped with an older squat-type toilet, or have some other shortcoming. Be sure to ask the real estate agency about the reason beforehand.
Viewing the Apartment
If you find an apartment that matches your requirements, have the real estate agency show it to you. Do not sign a contract without actually visiting the site. Carefully check the apartment, as well as the surrounding area, nearest train stations and bus stops, supermarkets, convenience stores, and any other things important to your daily life.
Tip: No shoes!!
Do not wear shoes in the apartment. Remove your shoes at the entrance (genkan) before walking further in.