Apartment Hunting in Japan 2010

So remember how I was telling you that I was looking for apartments? Well I wanted to document this whole experience, just in case some other foreigner coming to Japan, or changing jobs (who…much like me…also has no clue of what to do) will have a better idea of how to get through this process. I have about three months until I have to move out and change jobs, so this will be an ongoing process.

Anyhow, I had a friend help me get some info on some different apartments. I wanted the ones that require little or no key money…and they do exist. However, what I found out is that just because an apartment has zero key money doesn’t mean they won’t try to recoup those costs in other parts of the rental. What I observed was that if an apartment had a low key money fee (reikin, 礼金), then the deposit (shikikin, 敷金) was higher and vice versa. Key money or not, it seemed as though ¥250000 to ¥400000 yen is the necessary money to move in to a new place.

I took some pictures of some of the floor plans that I found interesting, I also took some pictures of the move in quotes for three different apartments I was looking at (see below). The apartment I live in now is 53000 yen which is a mid-priced apartment here in Ibaraki. But for an apartment this size, in Tokyo, I’d probably be looking at 70,000 yen or more. It’s one of the major reasons I’m contemplating staying here in Tsukuba; you get more apartment for the money. The other reason I’m staying is simply because I like it here.

Apartment Floor Plan 1

Apartment Floor Plan 2

Apartment Floor Plan 3

Apartment Floor Plan 4

Apartment Floor Plan 5

Apartment Floor Plan 6

Of the apartments I’ve ones I looked at so far, there was one that was simply amazing. It’s so much bigger than the apartment I have now, but the rent is only 2000 yen (about $25.00) more. I am considering it just for the prospect of having a bed instead of a futon. Don’t get me wrong, I love futons, but in my humble opinion, beds are more comfortable…hands down. Getting back to the apartment, it’s a mix of eastern and western style living (it has a tatami room and hardwood floors in the same apartment). It’s also a five minute walk from my Kyokushin school. I REALLY liked the place. The inital quote for the move in fees was ¥389,000! Pretty steep, right. But after going in and have a sit-down with the apartment agents, the final move in costs ended up being ¥284,300 which is quite reasonable for what I’d be getting (and considering other apartments in the area).

Apartment Original Quote

Post-meeting Quote

Pricing for a different apartment

Pricing for one more apartment

Will it work out? I don’t know for sure. But I will claw and fight (not literally…unless I have to, lol) to make sure that not only I can stay here in Japan, but live a comfortable, happy life. So if you’re thinking about getting an apartment in Japan, it’s a really good idea to start saving now. The two apartment companies I’ve been dealing with (which seem to be quite reputable in this area) are ISSEI and Kazusaya. I’m pinching pennies and tightening my belt a bit right now, but I can do this. And if I can…you can.

Happy hunting,

Donald Ash

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