Renting in Japan can be extremely expensive, in large part because of that pain-in-the-butt key money. This one time, sometimes exorbitantly expensive, fee is a major reason why many foreigners may feel hesitant about moving to a new place.
When it was time for me to leave Tsukuba, the city I lived in for about five years, I had a little money in reserve to take care of key money and the first month’s rent at a decent apartment. However, I was trying to do my modeling thing at the time, and I tried to get an apartment through a company called FLAT, Inc. (a good company, actually).
Unfortunately, modeling & acting doesn’t make guarantor companies jump to vouch for you. In this particular situation, I wasn’t allowed to have friends be guarantors either it had to be a family member living in Japan. I couldn’t bring myself to ask a friend to do that for me anyway.
As my moving day approached, I really started to panic when my Japanese apartment applications were rejected. Just where the hell was I gonna live?!?
I asked my friend, Abasa for some advice. He suggested trying a sharehouse. Truth be told, I had never heard the term before. I did hear that guest houses like Leo Palace are quite popular, but I also heard that these rooms could be quite tiny. So I looked into this sharehouse concept.
It was definitely THE arrangement I needed at the time. It got me out of a real bind As we discussed in the previous sharehouse post, you’d be hard pressed to find an easier, more inexpensive style of housing in Japan.
Today let’s take a quick tour of a Japanese sharehouse:
I actually ended up living in one of their sharehouses.
If you get an initial email inquiry response from Shigeo, tell him “Your big brother, Donald Ash, sent me.”
Shigeo is a REALLY cool guy, and he’ll do his best to help you find a good place. Marvin is also really cool. Why there is a Japanese man named Marvin?! I couldn’t really tell you 😀 .
Although their website may leave a little to be desired, don’t let the site fool you. There was one sharehouse of theirs that blew me away. I think it was one located near Oizumigakuen station.
Not only was it super affordable, but the minute I walked in, I instantly felt like “Yep, this could be home.” Here’s the Wabisabi House Website:
If either of these sharehouses don’t suit you, or all of their rooms are occupied for some reason, I have a GREAT resource for you. Tokyo Sharehouse! This is where I actually found out about both of these companies. There are a ton of great deals on this site and some great search options to help you find just the place to suit you. Check them out by visiting here:
Sharehouse managers get back to you really quickly, too, just in case you’re wondering. Some sharehouse managers got back to me the very same day I inquired.
I hope this helps you guys out there struggling to find places to stay. I know how that feels. I’ve been there.
Do you have any sharehouse experiences you care to share? Good or bad?
Please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.