Residing in Japan/Getting Established – Wikibooks, open books for an open world


Discovering a great place to stay is troublesome irrespective of the place you’re, however it’s notably troublesome in Japan. Flats and homes are usually very small by American requirements, and quite cramped by European requirements.


There isn’t a scarcity of rental residences 賃貸マンション chintai manshon in Japan: yow will discover “for lease” indicators on each different metropolis block in Tokyo, loads of choices on listings websites, and new buildings are consistently being constructed (and previous ones demolished, because of authorities coverage supporting homebuilders). On account of falling inhabitants, the emptiness charge in most areas is rising, and thus housing is simple to search out. The inhabitants of Tokyo remains to be rising for a couple of years, however emptiness charges are nowhere close to as little as cities like New York. In smaller or grayer cities, like Kyoto, it’s doable to lease massive housing for fairly low cost costs, notably older inventory (50,000 yen/month for a mid-century machiya is affordable).

The important thing variables are:

  • Month-to-month lease
  • Commute: each practice and stroll to station
  • Measurement
  • Constructing age

Key points are:

  • Shifting bills (key cash, deposit, agent payment)
  • Guarantor
  • “No foreigners”
  • Pets

These ought to all be checked as quickly as doable, as they’ll all be deal-breakers.

You must also pay attention to:

  • Catastrophe danger (earthquakes and tsunamis)

Ideally you’ll have 4 to 6 months lease readily available, a longtime Japanese skilled grownup as guarantor, and a great command of Japanese or Japanese pal who can help.

Bear in mind that many landlords additionally cost a renewal payment 更新料 kōshinryō at contract renewal. That is primarily present in Kantō (together with Tōkyō) and Kyōto. There are different regional variations: in Ōsaka key cash is as a substitute deducted from a big safety deposit, which is called 敷引き shikibiki.

You must also take into account City Renaissance (see beneath), a semi-public housing company that avoids most of the issues usually related to Japanese housing.

Shifting expense[edit]

The principle consideration in getting an residence is cash. Often, leases are for at the least one or two years, and it may be troublesome for a landlord to evict a long-term tenant with out trigger. So getting an residence in Japan often requires a lot of cash up entrance, along with guarantor (see beneath). The up-front cash is split into key cash (礼金 reikin), a non-refundable payment to the owner, and deposit (敷金, shikikin), which is in precept refundable (minus cleansing charges), however usually fails to return again. Reikin and shikikin collectively often quantity to three or 4 months’ lease. For those who undergo an actual property agent to get your residence, you’ll need to pay the agent a fee as nicely, often equal to 1 month’s lease.

A few of these bills might be averted, analogously to “no-fee” residences elsewhere: direct leases (no agent payment) and no key cash residences exist, although the choice is extra restricted.


As a rule you’ll need a guarantor, who’s ideally a longtime Japanese skilled; Japanese individuals will usually use their father. (The thought is that residences are for youthful individuals, and established individuals can purchase their very own place.) In lots of circumstances it’s doable to make use of one’s employer as a guarantor, or as a substitute pay a further payment to a particular guarantor firm if this isn’t acceptable. When you’ve got younger Japanese mates, it’s usually doable to make use of their dad and mom, notably if in case you have met them already.

For those who use a Japanese pal as guarantor, please keep in mind to provide or ship a present, corresponding to some native sweets – that is an anticipated courtesy. Additional, pay your lease and don’t do something which can require recourse to your guarantor, notably when Leaving Japan.

For those who wouldn’t have an appropriate pal and your employer won’t act as guarantor, you don’t have any selection however to make use of a guarantor firm.

For those who want to use your employer as guarantor and the owner refuses, take into account one other residence, because the guarantor firm payment is solely wasted cash and there are many residences.

Beware that landlords making a fuss over a guarantor (solely accepting a Japanese particular person as guarantor) may very well simply not need foreigners, and are utilizing guarantor points as a method to keep away from saying so immediately. Thus if in case you have hassle with this, take into account decoding this as a “no foreigners” signal and look elsewhere.

No foreigners[edit]

Japanese landlords can refuse to lease to somebody with out giving a purpose. Specifically they might refuse to lease to foreigners, although they might additionally refuse to lease to Japanese whom they really feel are decrease class or outsiders, and these each occur. It’s thus most secure to ask up-front if foreigners are allowed, and to pay attention to doable anxiousness by the owner or administration firm all through.

In some circumstances a landlord categorically refuses to lease to foreigners, because of the further problem, danger, or just racism. In different circumstances, landlords or administration firms could categorical anxiousness a few foreigner who has poor command of Japanese or is just not used to Japanese customs – talking Japanese, being well mannered (and displaying command of Japanese manners), and displaying acquaintance with Japanese tradition and housing customs (esp. having frolicked in Japan) can go a protracted method to loosen up individuals.


As elsewhere, residences fluctuate during which pets they permit – cats, small canines, and huge canines are the primary classes. It’s best in the event you not have a pet, however if in case you have a pet or plan to get one, this is a vital criterion.

Constructing age[edit]

An uncommon function of Japanese residence is that new building may be very extremely prized, in distinction to the West, the place older buildings are sometimes fascinating. That is most just because Japanese buildings are shoddily constructed and designed to solely final a couple of a long time (usually 20–30 years), and there are basically no previous stone or brick buildings like New York’s prewar Brownstones or London’s Victorian tenements. Thus a 15-year previous constructing will usually be visibly shabby.

A second purpose is that constructing requirements are consistently enhancing, notably round earthquake security, notably within the wake of the Kōbe earthquake. It’s thus most secure to stay in an residence the place building began after the Kōbe quake, so accomplished after 1996/97 or so.

If you don’t thoughts a considerably rundown constructing, it can save you cash by renting in an older constructing, taking into account the priority about earthquake security.


Some residences in Japan are as small as 9 sq. meters (100 sq. ft)! Often, the dimensions of an residence is given in sq. meters or in tatami mats. The configuration of an residence is often described utilizing the next codes:

  • ワンルーム (wan-rūmu) denotes a one-room (studio) residence.
  • A “1K” has a bed room and a tiny however separate kitchen.
  • A “1DK” has a bed room and a kitchen massive sufficient to eat in.
  • A “1LDK” has a bed room and a bigger kitchen which may accommodate each a desk and a sofa.
  • “2K” often denotes an residence with two bedrooms and a small kitchen, however some landlords or brokers could use the time period to seek advice from one thing extra like a 1DK (during which the kitchen is a part of the smaller “bed room”).
  • After this, you will have 2DK, 2LDK, 3DK, 3LDK, and many others.

Naturally, in the event you plan on spending a lot time at house, you’ll doubtless need a 1LDK or bigger residence, although in the event you reduce on furnishings you might discover a 1DK, 1K, and even studio ample. In any location inside 45 minutes of central Tokyo, a 1LDK prices at the least ¥70,000/month in lease alone, and the price of lease goes up dramatically in the most well-liked areas of the central metropolis. One-room and 1K residences are sometimes less expensive, nevertheless.


Because the saying goes, “location, location, location” – location, and related commute time, is a key consider desirability and value. Housing in a modern, central neighborhood (corresponding to Omotesandō) might be very costly, whereas housing in a extra distant or much less modern space is less expensive.

The price of lease additionally goes down in the event you stay in a extra distant location, or if you’re farther from a station – an residence a 10-minute stroll to a station might be considerably cheaper than one a 5-minute stroll away, and even a 1-minute distinction could make a noticeable distinction in worth. Taking into account that commute time (and commute high quality, given crowded Japanese commuter trains) is a big consider high quality of life, you’ll need to stability commute, dimension, and high quality inside your finances. It’s doable to stay inside strolling distance of labor, however in central Tokyo that is very costly.

One other vital and simply neglected function is earthquake and tsunami danger. Main earthquakes and tsunamis happen periodically in Japan, and thus dwelling on landfill or in a low-lying space runs a danger of demise or critical harm from floor liquification in an earthquake (if on landfill) or flooding (from an earthquake). If dwelling close to the coast, together with Tōkyō, most secure is to examine the elevation of the handle through an internet site (elevation given latitude/longitude).


In Tokyo, essentially the most fascinating neighborhoods are primarily between central Tokyo and Yokohama, within the southwest (notably alongside the Tōyoko line 東横線 Tōyoko-sen), and a few west of Shibuya and Shinjuku, with a couple of in central Tokyo.[1] That is all within the conventional Yamanote space, which is construct on bedrock and at excessive elevation, therefore security from earthquakes and tsunamis. In contrast, the port and Shitamachi areas are constructed on landfill or swamp, and are at excessive danger from earthquakes and tsunamis.

By far the 2 hottest are Kichijōji (west of Shinjuku and Shibuya) and Jiyūgaoka (southwest, in the direction of Yokohama). Different constantly well-liked areas embrace Yokohama, Ebisu, Hiroo, Meguro, and Nakameguro. Common neighborhoods exterior the standard areas embrace Kamakura, Tomosu, and Kagurazaka, whereas a just lately redeveloped and well-liked space is Futago tamagawa (additionally within the southwest). Whereas Shibuya and Shinjuku are very energetic areas, they don’t seem to be usually thought-about nice residential areas, although music followers could get pleasure from Shibuya, and there are numerous residential towers close to Shinjuku. A neighborhood that’s fairly well-liked with youth and foreigners is Shimokitazawa, which has a quite funky really feel, much like Brooklyn.


If dwelling and dealing in Kansai, there are a selection of cities positioned in shut proximity, and it’s usually doable to stay in a single however work in one other. Ōsaka, Japan’s second metropolis, is the most important and has essentially the most jobs; Kyōtō, Japan’s conventional capital, is essentially the most cultural; Kōbe (in Hyōgo prefecture), a port metropolis, is essentially the most modern and comfy (because of the proximity to the ocean). It’s also doable to stay close to the boundary between Ōsaka and Kyōtō in an effort to work in a single and go to the opposite.

In Kansai, by far essentially the most modern space is Ashiya, in Hyōgo, by Kōbe, the Beverly Hills of Japan, house of many celebrities.[1]

An fascinating particularity of the Kōbe space is that there are Three rail traces in parallel within the slender strip between the mountains and the ocean. There’s accordingly “rail line satisfaction”; the nearer to the mountains is costlier and extra modern. This additionally ends in competitors between the rail firms to construct extra stations and residence complexes to serve the crowded space.


Kyōtō is an historic metropolis, with some neighborhoods having centuries or millenia of historical past. The principle curiosity within the central half (north of 4th Road 四条通 Shijō-dōri) and alongside the mountains, the place most temples are clustered.

As a foreigner, essentially the most fascinating housing, if not essentially the most snug, is to stay in a conventional machiya, notably within the Nishijin or Higashiyama areas. That is comparatively cheap and infrequently uncomfortable, because of the age and poor situation of the homes, however is an unforgettable expertise. Heating in winter is a selected downside – often individuals use unvented kerosene or gasoline heaters indoor, which is extraordinarily harmful for indoor air high quality because of the carbon monoxide (therefore one usually leaves the window open to ventilate, which fairly defeats the purpose). An electrical oil heater is way, a lot more healthy and safer.

Notably handy is to stay close to or alongside one of many two major subway traces, notably the north-south Karasuma line. A bicycle may be very helpful, because of the metropolis being comparatively compact and bikeable, and automobile parking being usually absent. For north-south biking, the aspect streets of Muromachi and Shinmachi are a lot safer and extra fascinating than the primary Karasuma road itself, and the trail alongside the Kamo river is well-maintained for a lot of its size and really refreshing, notably in summer season.

The south of the town, notably from fifth Road 五条通 Gojō-dōri south is historically poor and usually lacks curiosity, although there are scattered locations of curiosity even on this space.

Discovering an residence[edit]

There are a couple of total networks, corresponding to Suumo. You can even discover an space that you’re serious about and discover the rental businesses that cowl that space.

City Renaissance[edit]

City Renaissance Company (UR) is a semi-public company that gives comparatively cheap housing with out most of the inconveniences and bills of renting from a non-public landlord (no key cash, foreigners allowed, deposit constantly returned, no guarantor required, no renewal payment). They do require a safety deposit, which can be 1 to three months, and proof of earnings. As a big company, many places of work may have somebody who speaks English, and there are personal businesses that present English help.

See “There are benefits to selecting UR property” and “Dwelling Truths #3” for particulars.

Month-to-month mansions[edit]

An alternative choice to an residence is a “month-to-month mansion” or “weekly mansion.” These are designed for shorter stays and don’t require any deposit up entrance. To compensate for this, the month-to-month lease is about ¥20,000 to ¥50,000 greater than an equal residence.

Visitor homes[edit]

A “visitor home” is a constructing shared by a number of individuals. Tenants in a visitor home have their very own bedrooms, however often share bogs and dwelling house. Some visitor homes are precise homes in residential areas: others could also be arrange in residence blocks or in transformed industrial house. Numerous visitor homes are solely occupied by foreigners: these are sometimes referred to as “gaijin homes.”

There are apparent privateness and safety issues inherent in dwelling in a visitor home, and the opposite tenants could also be unbearable. Nevertheless, these are usually the most cost effective type of medium to long-term housing in main cities. A visitor home room might be had close to main practice stations in central Tokyo for as little as ¥65,000/month.


Hankou or (signature) seals are carved stamps used all through Japan for official issues. They’re legally thought-about as an equal to your handwritten signature and are used each time you’re required to signal an official doc (lease, mortgage, will and many others). You’ll need to buy your individual hankou in the event you intend to remain in Japan, and you’re obliged to register the hankou together with your native metropolis corridor.

Residency registration[edit]

All aliens who plan to remain in Japan for greater than 90 days should register with their native ward workplace 区役所 kuyakusho throughout their first 90 days in Japan. Registration, often called the Overseas residents’ registration system, is a comparatively easy process. Family registration can be required for Japanese nationals (戸籍 koseki), and foreigners are actually registered in the identical system. The varieties can be found in English, Chinese language and Korean, and also you solely must convey your passport and two pictures (the images can often be bought from a machine at metropolis corridor).

As soon as you’re registered, you may be issued a Residence Card (在留カード zairyū kādo). You might be required by regulation to hold both the cardboard or your passport always. Japanese police could ask you to indicate your card sometimes, so you need to carry it any time you’re in public. Underneath the previous system, this was as a substitute a Certificates of Alien Registration (外国人登録証明書 gaikokujin tōroku shōmeisho), abbreviated to gaitōshō (外登証?), and colloquially referred to in English as an “alien registration card” (“ARC”) or “gaijin card.” You might even see references to this in older references.

See Begin of a brand new residency administration system! (Japanese) for particulars.


Opening an account[edit]

Upon getting a Residence Certificates, you may go to a Japanese financial institution and ask to open an account. There are various banks in Japan. The most important are Mitsubishi-Tokyo UFJ (MTU), Sumitomo Mitsui (SMBC) and Mizuho. Along with these, many foreigners use Citibank (which has a full presence in Japan) or Shinsei Financial institution (a Japanese financial institution with overseas administration and intensive service in English). Observe that it’s worthwhile to open a brand new account at Citibank Japan even if in case you have a Citibank account overseas.

Another choice is Japan Publish Financial institution (JP Financial institution, Yūcho-ginkō), a financial savings establishment tied to the put up workplace, and the largest financial institution on this planet by deposits. That is very handy whereas in Japan, because of the intensive department community. Nevertheless, JP financial institution has a number of drawbacks for foreigners: it’s tougher to ascertain an account (they’re comparatively conservative and rigid); many duties can solely be executed in particular person, on paper (not over the web), notably abroad remittances; and you aren’t allowed to maintain a checking account open after leaving Japan, which may trigger critical inconveniences in receiving cash (remaining paycheck, return of residence deposit) or making remaining funds (e.g., utilities).

Some banks insist that you need to stay in Japan for a sure interval earlier than opening an account. That is incorrect, and if a financial institution denies you an account on these grounds you need to discover one other financial institution.

Utilizing your account[edit]

Some banks, notably the massive ones, provide you with an ATM card and ship you a month-to-month assertion within the mail–a well-known course of for many foreigners. Smaller banks should comply with the “conventional” strategy of providing you with a passbook as a substitute. To examine your stability, you insert the passbook into an ATM, and the numbers are printed immediately on the passbook.

Cheques are hardly ever utilized in Japan. As a substitute, you’ll most likely pay your payments and obtain your pay by means of furikomi, an interbank switch system. You may ship a furikomi from an ATM, or by means of on-line banking in case your financial institution presents it. There’s often a payment of 100-500 yen to ship a furikomi.

To make a money deposit, you insert the payments immediately into the ATM, which counts the cash and confirms the full earlier than depositing it into your account.

To make a money withdrawal, you should utilize your financial institution’s ATM or one other ATM throughout the similar community. MTU, SMBC and Shinsei all have massive nationwide ATM networks, together with 24-hour machines inside comfort shops. For those who go together with a smaller financial institution, you might be restricted to that financial institution’s ATMs, which can have tight working hours.

Sending and receiving cash internationally[edit]

There are a number of methods to switch cash from a overseas account to your Japanese account:

  1. Worldwide wire switch might be troublesome because of cash laundering countermeasures. Some banks solely help you ship a global wire in particular person. Examine together with your establishment at house concerning the guidelines and costs. There’ll most likely be charges to ship the wire, to obtain the wire and to transform the cash into yen.
  2. Writing a cheque to your self could also be cheaper and simpler than sending a wire, however often takes for much longer (as a lot as 5 weeks).
  3. You can even withdraw money out of your overseas account at a put up workplace ATM, then deposit the money in your Japanese account. This avoids charges on the Japanese finish, however relying on the overseas financial institution’s pricing, you might lose fairly a bit of cash in ATM charges and the change charge unfold.

Some banks in Japan now provide accounts in a number of currencies. When you’ve got such an account, you may obtain a wire from the US in {dollars}, then convert the cash to yen everytime you need to. That is helpful for profiting from change charge fluctuations, and can also provide you with a greater change charge than an ATM.

Well being Insurance coverage[edit]

Medical insurance is compulsory for all everlasting staff and is robotically deducted out of your wage packet. It goes in the direction of the upkeep of the Nationwide well being system and entitles you to free healthcare all through Japan.

Web entry[edit]


To do:
The best way to get entry to the Web in Japan?

Computing in Japanese[edit]

Home windows[edit]

It’s essential to do some minor modifications in an effort to displaying Japanese textual content.

Inputting Japanese Textual content[edit]

Within the ‘Regional and Language Choices’ Management Panel applet, select the ‘Languages’ tab. Be certain that the ‘Set up information for East Asian languages’ checkbox is chosen. Click on the ‘Particulars…’ button. Click on the ‘Add’ button and select ‘Japanese’. Click on the ‘OK’ buttons as vital to shut all dialog containers.

To check the brand new settings, open any Unicode-enabled textual content processing utility, corresponding to Microsoft Phrase. Press the mix [Alt]+[Shift] in your keyboard till ‘JP’ replaces ‘EN’ within the new part of your taskbar. To enter hiragana, enter the Japanese enter mode by urgent [Alt]+[~].

Sort a Japanese phrase utilizing romaji keys (e.g. “nihongo“) and both press [Enter] to depart that textual content in hiragana (e.g. “にほんご”), [F7] to vary the textual content into katakana, or [Spacebar] then [Enter] to decide on an alternate model containing kanji (e.g. “日本語”).

To return to English enter mode, press [Alt]+[~] once more.

Home windows 95/98/ME[edit]

To put in a Japanese typeface, merely open Web Explorer and open an online web page coded in Japanese. An Set up-on-Demand window ought to seem, asking to put in Japanese textual content help. After finishing this set up, the Japanese web page ought to show appropriately. (Please be aware: Wikibooks is just not coded in Japanese. Strive Google in Japanese.)

Home windows 2000/XP[edit]

For Home windows 2000/XP studying help, you’ll need to put in a Unicode typeface, corresponding to ‘Code2000’ or Arial Unicode MS. Each will cowl almost the entire non-Latin scripts used all through Wikipedia.

For enter help, you’ll need to put in the East Asian language information. You are able to do this from the ‘Management Panel’. Open the ‘Regional and Language Choices’ and navigate to the ‘Languages’ tab. Minimally, it would be best to examine the field for ‘Set up information for East Asian languages’, although you might want to additionally set up the advanced script information, too. Clicking ‘Apply’ will set up the ‘Arial Unicode MS’, ‘MS Mincho’ and ‘MS Gothic’ households of fonts. All of those fonts comprise the Hiragana and Katakana scripts, in addition to a considerable majority of the Kanji characters mostly used.

Relying on how your pc was initially setup, you might want the unique supply CD to finish the set up. Your pc will immediate you to insert the CD whether it is vital

If this doesn’t work you may as well obtain and set up the Workplace XP Instrument: Japanese Language Pack from the Microsoft web site.

Mac OS X[edit]

Apple computer systems show Japanese characters out of the field, and are able to inputting Japanese characters very merely. To take action, open up System Preferences (positioned within the “Dock”) or click on the Apple icon within the prime left of your show and click on ‘System Preferences…’. Subsequent, choose ‘Worldwide’ after which the ‘Enter Menu’ tab. Scroll down till you see ‘Kotoeri’ and examine the field to the left of it. This may by default allow the enter strategies ‘Hiragana’, ‘Katakana’ and ‘Romaji’.

To change between your regular enter and Hiragana rapidly you are able to do considered one of two issues. The primary approach to do that is to allow the enter menu within the menu bar (you do that by checking the field subsequent to ‘Present enter menu in menu bar’ in the identical place described beforehand), this can put a flag within the higher proper a part of your show. To vary between enter strategies click on the flag and choose the brand new methodology. Alternatively, you should utilize the keyboard mixture Command + House Bar to modify between strategies, though that is problematic in Apple’s new working system Tiger as that is additionally the shortcut for Highlight. There are additionally direct shortcuts of Ctrl-Shift-; for Romaji, Ctrl-Shift-J for Hiragana, and Ctrl-Shift-Ok for Katakana.

Please be aware, whereas within the Hiragana enter methodology you may briefly swap to Katakana by holding down the shift key in a lot the identical approach that you just briefly maintain down the shift key to sort capital letters in English.

X11 (GNU/Linux, UNIX-like, and many others.)[edit]

For displaying Japanese, you’ll need the proper fonts chosen. Please seek advice from your distribution’s documentation for extra on that.

You’ll need a helper utility for inputting Japanese characters. Probably the most outstanding are:

Exterior hyperlinks[edit]

  • AA Editors FAQ? – a information to typing particular characters utilizing frequent enter methodology editors
  • Let’s sort Japanese – a information to setting-up SCIM/Anthy on Mandriva Linux, in addition to a normal information to SCIM/Anthy
  • Linjap Challenge – The best way to make any Linux distribution prepared for asian languages with Canna/Kinput and and SCIM/Anthy
  1. ab マンショントレンド調査 第13回 住んでみたい街アンケート(首都圏/関西圏)2010年

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