View Full Version : Living in Japan: Rents
10-24-2005, 04:11 AM
I live in New York City and pay about $1000 a month for literally a 100 sq ft apartment. I have a very small room, and a roughly 4 ft x 4 ft kitchen (mini-fridge)which connects to a bathroom. I live in a very nice and convenient area of Brooklyn, so it's worth it because alot of people pay alot more for less, especially in Manhattan.
But what are rent prices like in Tokyo? The Japanese have a well earned reputation for being minimalist space-wise, so I imagine apartments as small as mine are not uncommon.
Also, what is the disparity in neighborhoods? In Brooklyn, for example, there are neighborhoods that you simply would NOT want to live in, on the basis of crime and, with gentrification pushing the poor farther and farther away from Manhattan, commute inconvenience.
Does Tokyo have its "bad" but cheaper districts? Could I, an outsider, live in them safely?
10-24-2005, 04:58 AM
I have no idea about Tokyo but GaijinPunch would. Japan doesn't really have good or bad areas based on the people who live there since most places are the same. Rent goes on how convenient the area is. For example if you live by a train station you're rent will be more than if you didn't. I live in a pretty good sized place for Japan and only pay 65'000 yen per month which also includes a car parking space. Not to mention that this place is only 3 years old (I was the first to move in :))
10-24-2005, 07:50 PM
god yakumo thats about 200 cheaper then the average around where i live, if you can even find a place for rent thats 750 its considered extremely lucky, for the amount you pay most of the time the best you can get is a one room apartment.
10-27-2005, 09:28 AM
Are you guys paying "reikin" each year as well and if so how much is it usualy?
10-27-2005, 09:57 AM
Are you guys paying "reikin" each year as well and if so how much is it usualy?
I'm not too sure what you mean by Reikin. I know the word Renkin but that's mining gold. Anyway, rent in Japan isn't as expensive as people make out as long as you aren't living in Tokyo or Osaka. My rent is just the same payment each month. When I moved in I had to pay 3 months key money (Same almost everywhere in Japan) which is basically meant to be a present for the owner of the house to say thank you for letting you live there. BULL SHIT is what I call it. The owner should be grateful that somebody wants to live there otherwise he'll be getting squat :D Still, when I leave this place I'll get 1 months money back.
10-27-2005, 10:31 AM
礼金 = Reikin = key money, literally courtesy cash! So it looks like Yakumo is falling into that particularly silly custom. Ah for the days of virtually free housing from the goverment that I had.
10-27-2005, 06:06 PM
Tokyo is a massive area. YOu can spend from 50,000 yen a month, to 2 million+ a month if you wanted to (and had the money). Here's the few places I lived in:
Meidaimae #1: Shared a two bedroom with two other guys (yes, I shared a room for a while). Was roughly 50 square meters for 160,000 yen a month. It was close to the station, and the area is convenient to Shinjuku and Shibuya trainwise, but is otherwise boring. The only thing there is Meiji University (which is where it got the name).
Meidaimae #2: Had a 19 or so square meter shithole on the 3rd floor, 5 feet away from a major highway (Koushu Kaido). The place was well over 25 years old, and the Ramen restaurant on the first floor let out their sewage 3 times a night which made all the units in the building smell like sulfer. It was awful. This was of course, a 1 room w/ a kitchenette for 75,000 yen per month. I had a shitty job at the time, and the owner of the building was Chinese, so was sympathetic to gaijin w/o a proper "hoshounin".
Ikejiri Oohashi: Much more conveniently located than Meidaimae, you can walk to and from Shibuya in about 20-30 minutes depending on your pace. 15 minutes easily by bicycle if you're not afriad of peddling uphill. Has some cool bars and restaurants. The unit I lived in was 30 square meters on the 1st floor, and well taken care of. Was a few hundred meters away from a decent park. 127,000 yen per month. (Note -- 1st floor apartments in Japan are ALWAYS cheaper than 2nd floor and up)
Tomigaya: My only pimp daddy abode in Japan, I lived here for 9 months until my fucking company decided it was time to move. To sweeten my employment deal, they gave me a housing allowance which is a business expense for them and a tax break for me. 119 square meters, 1.5 bath with a pretty nice shower. A mere 5 minute walk to Yoyogi park, and a 12 minute walk to Shibuya. Shinjuku wasn't that far either. Talked them down to 350,000 yen per month (remember -- I didn't have to pay for most of that, though ;) )
ALL of those places were considered close by Japanese. I generally always had enough side action (teaching private students and sellling games) to warrant the extra money for close quarters. When you get out into Kawasaki, Chiba, and Saitama, you're an hour away from the action, but you can find bigger places for much cheaper. Make no mistake though -- they're not Tokyo.
There are no "bad" neighborhoods in Tokyo in terms of crime. There are in terms of convenience, and if you really studied, probably in terms of earthquake as well. If you're thinking of moving there I can probably give you some ideas for good areas depending on your budget and what you're planning on doing.
Also note that the standard reikin + deposit + apartment locator fee (yes, you pay for this) is 2 + 2 + 1. Throw on top the first month's rent, and you've gotta have 6 months rent up front to move in. So, if your place is $1000 a month, you gotta have $6. Some places you can talk down to 1 month reikin, or maybe zero. I got lucky on my last place. We told them 4 months deposit, no reikin, and they took it.
10-27-2005, 06:31 PM
You can get a place in the middle of shibuya for $15,000.
10-28-2005, 09:34 AM
It all depends upon what place you want to live in as well. Do you want a room that's so small that you couldn't even stretch on the floor or a place that's got paper-thin walls or even a shit hole that's falling apart? The truth is that you'll never get anywhere close to what you could actually call a home in Tokyo without shelling out big wads of cash. Why do you think I moved from there? I could never afford a place like I have now in Tokyo.
10-28-2005, 10:16 AM
One of my very good freinds lives about one hour's commute from shinjuku on a limited express. The difference in quality of housing and size is really noticable compared to what many of my other freinds in Tokyo call home (cept the bastard in roppongi 4 bedrooms = rich parents). I know what I would prefer. I was on about a 25 mins from Osaka in Japan and it was really no bother and it felt like I was actually living in the countryside-ish.
As for your last comment - you will be given very little to no serious hassle about being a foregner in Japan. Japanese people are more likely to be a little nervous around you. Indeed a model friend of mine in tokyo made a child scream in a convenience store, he is very tall and african. Looks a bit like bobby actually!
10-28-2005, 05:29 PM
The average communte in Tokyo (not sure about Osaka) is an hour. That's not that bad considering everyone else is doing it, but remember -- on top of you shift, you have to tack on two hours. One before and one after work. There is sometimes a lot of value in paying more to live in the city.
10-28-2005, 09:41 PM
Thanks for the responses guys - extremely informative.
I am currently learning the language and would love to one day move - but it sounds like I will need some serious ¥. I don't know as I could deal with an hour commute either, I love being immersed in the pace of a big city.
A short vacation, on the other hand, is a goal for the immediate future.
10-29-2005, 12:43 AM
It costs about $20K to live where I am.. Japan is actually cheaper... belive it or not, new jersey and new york are more expensive than tokyo for a basic apartment.
However, the Japanese have more "deluxe" and "elite" apartment areas, and that is why it costs so much.
Try to price those! They might not even let in a foreigner, unless you're famous.
10-29-2005, 04:49 AM
The average communte in Tokyo (not sure about Osaka) is an hour. That's not that bad considering everyone else is doing it, but remember -- on top of you shift, you have to tack on two hours. One before and one after work.
That's nothing, I used to have to commute for nearly 2 hours each way to/from work, I had to get 3 bus' to get there, and 3 back. It worked out cheaper to move to the city with higher rent than it was living in the sticks and commuting every day.
10-29-2005, 07:22 AM
I used to commute 1 hour ten minutes from outside guildford to London - leichester square every single day for a couple of months. It was alright, but you needed the paper or a good novel every couple of days Now it would be psp and 4 episodes of anime a day. In London the cost of the train made it rather pointless (it was all about the work experience then), but in Japan the cost is so much lower, you will probably get more benefit from living out. Still see your point, commutes do grind you down over time.
10-29-2005, 06:08 PM
The more and more I hear about these commutes the more and more I value that I could walk two blocks and take the subway 1 stop (3 minutes) to Manhattan.
10-29-2005, 09:14 PM
Commuting is the only way I ever played handheld games.
10-30-2005, 06:08 AM
Commuting is the only way I ever played handheld games.Yep, either that or on the toilet :smt043
10-30-2005, 06:10 AM
Where do you think all my old GBA's end up! Mate of mine has a TV built into the wall of his bathroom, gaming in the bath tub anyone?
10-30-2005, 07:12 AM
I'm with both of you. The train, and the can. Now that 80% of my commutting is done on a bicycle, it's very dangerous for me to play handhelds... especially w/ the way these fucking morons drive over here.
10-30-2005, 07:26 AM
Odd story about my commute in Japan - I had my picture taken, hmmm once a week at least. I would just be on the train and especially young kids or high school girls would covertly take my picture with their phones. I lived very near an all girls college and I had to walk through hundreds of the girls on the way to the station = even more pictures, some even would ask me like "pozu" or "shashin shashin". I was in macdonalds with some other gaijin and we had our picture snapped there as well on one occasion. Shocking really, if it was the other way round I would be in prison by the next day!
Still vaguelly flattering, especially when I got a chorus of Kakoiiiiiiiiii from girls, just for saying ohayo or something.
10-30-2005, 11:41 PM
Depends on your age and morals.
If I was getting that type of attention, I would dress like the goddamn marlboro man and try to pick up girls.
Everyone thought I trained in karate.. and left me the hell alone :-(
For some reason men (only) were compelled to squeeze my biceps???!!
10-31-2005, 03:26 AM
I already had a girlfreind within two weeks of coming to Japan, I had no need to go out malboro man style!
People thought I was either a english teacher or a talent or host (I am proud of the last one) I wore suits a lot so I looked like I worked in a Gaijin host bar, when I mentioned I was from oxford, england they then assumed I was some kind of aristocrat. Also I am a snappy dresser.
Oh and I was fondled by many a man for no good reason...
Ps love the avatar, reminds me of some weird rare gaming dojinshi invloving princess peach I saw a while back.
10-31-2005, 04:02 AM
I am fond of nice clothes as well, it's expensive but pays off :thumbsup:
10-31-2005, 04:10 AM
I'm a Vivienne westwood type of guy, that certainly pays off in Japan. You hear whispers of Bibienne (vivienne) wherever you go. My Vivienne westwood rings may be the price of a several dev kits but it pays off in the girl department.
11-25-2005, 04:38 AM
I just got a new place, so here's my story....
Reiken is "key money" which is a gift to the owner. It was common during the bubble economy but it's not used now. My area, Kitakyushu, has a law banning this type of payment. I can't imagine anyone these days is paying it unless you're moving into very high end locations like Mori Tower in Roppongi.
Shinkan is what we would describe as a fee (there's no such thing as a non-refunable deposit). It's used for cleaning the apartment, replacing the tatami mats, the wall paper, etc. When you move in and you pay Shinkan you should expect these things to already be done for you. The spoken standard is 3-4 months, but when I was looking at places the agents told me that I could negotiate that down. It all depends on how much the owner wants a tenant.
You will also have to pay a feee to the real estate agent that is equal to one month's rent.
You will also have to pay fire insurance based on the term of the lease. Two years was about $180.
You will also have to pay to have a new lock put on the door, about $120 if I can remember correctly.
Some real estate agencies are charing a $300 fee to be your guarantor. Usually two guarantors are required in Japan. If you don't have a Japanese person who is willing to sign on the lease with you, then expect to pay that.
Those are most of the fees that you can expect to pay when signing the lease.
But wait, there's more....
You will have other costs to make the place ready to live. In Japan people remove the lights, fridge, stove, etc. I'm not sure about Europe but when you move into a new apartment in the US these items come with the unit. The first time I bought a fridge and a stove in my life is when I came to Japan, so plan on $500 to $1,000 extra if your place doesn't have these items.
Most people say 4-6 months rent is needed, and when it's all said and done that's probably pretty accurate. Just buying the lights/kitchen items, new locks, insurance, real estate fee, and guarantor fee you're up to about 3-4 months rent alone.
11-26-2005, 07:48 AM
Usually two guarantors are required in Japan. If you don't have a Japanese person who is willing to sign on the lease with you, then expect to pay that.
This is the only part I wouldn't agree with. As a filthy white bastard, I lived in 3 apartments with only one guarantor. One of them was a pretty dodgy setup, as the guarantor was only a few years older than me. Another was a friend's mom, and the other my company. For my last place, the company rented, and I was the guarantor.
You will have other costs to make the place ready to live. In Japan people remove the lights, fridge, stove, etc.
This is very true, and has been apparently overlooked in this thread. The higher-end the place, the less removable crap there is. Make no mistake though... you can rent a place for several thousand USD a month and still have to buy light fixtures for the love of God. O_o
Keymoney, however, is very much still alive. It's listed anyways. Here's yahoo's listing of Shibuya-ku:
click me (http://rent.realestate.yahoo.co.jp/bin/rsearch?pf=13&md=geo&geo=13113&from=0&to=0&sp=0&yr=0&wlk=0&subGeo=1&so=0). Most places are listed as 2/2, or maybe 3/2. You can probably get this to 4-deposit, 0-key, but I'm sure some places won't. Depends on how many vacancies they've had. I personally have had good luck with it. If you sort by price, and show all the pricey mansions first, you can see places that run 1.7 million yen a month. They have no key money, but they want a 6.8 million yen desposit. YIKES.
11-26-2005, 10:48 AM
I live in a danchi 3DL room apartment near yokohama, and have to pay about 75'000En (~US$700) per month, which is a very good rate for that area.
11-26-2005, 01:35 PM
Here in Chofu (only 30 minutes from KitaKyushu by car) we still have key money but maybe that's because Chofu is a pretty high class area :nod: No scum around here but then again we do have higher tax than KitaKyushu :crying: and 4 different binbags to separate rubbish that cost more than the two types that KitaKyushu have. Oh and our busses cost more as well :rolleyes: Hang on, Chofu (Shmonoseki) is a bloody rip off ! Oh well, at least we have nightly police patrol to show for our money even if they never need to do anything anyway :shrug:
As for this guarantor thing, it all depends upon where you want to live. For example the place where I live needed someone who earned at least 3.5 million yen a year to be the guarantor while my old apartment had no such rating.
The buying new light bulbs and even the fittings in some cases is a disgrace I think! In the UK we normally take the fridge with us and maybe the cooker depending on what type it is as well as the washing machines and so on but never light bulbs and would never dream of taking the fittings. Japanese realastates companies are real cheap money grabbing bastards :evil:
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