Average Apartment Size in Tokyo – The Answer May Surprise You
There is a rumor that apartment in Tokyo is smaller than that in most other places in the world. Some ex-pats even compare its size to a rabbit hutch, which is of course exaggeration. So how small can it be? We will have a look at the average apartment size in Tokyo in data from now on and find out whether the figure will surprise you.
1. Average Apartment Size in Tokyo
According to the Japanese government’s Housing and Land Survey in 2019, the floor space of an apartment in Tokyo is approximately 65.9 sqm. But the only 41sqm is used as living space, in other words, to serve sleeping, cooking, and dining activities. In the eye of the international community, this may seem small but compared to other populous cities such as Hong Kong or New York, this average floor space is reasonable.
One thing to note that the number of smaller-sized apartments totally outnumber the other types. This is a result of the high population (nearly 40 million people in the great Tokyo area) making Tokyo the most densely crowded city on earth. And there are more and more people choosing to live alone, the rate is currently every one out of four. The high-rise building blocks with hundreds of studio apartments pop up at an incredible rate, responding to the huge demand.
Percentage of Different Apartment Size in Tokyo
In particular, according to Tokyo Kantei in 2017, only 4% of apartments listed on the re-sale market and 0.9% of new supply exceeded the size of 100 sqm (1,076 sqft). 90.3% of resale and 83.5% of new listing were below 80 sqm (861 sqft) in size. The 120 sqm (1,291 sqft) and over the apartment is even rarer, representing only 2% of the listings while those over 150 sqm accounted for below 1%. If you wish to find such a spacious condo, have your chance at the central wards of Shibuya, Minato, or Chiyoda. Because these places are where most luxury housing over 100 sqm concentrate, accounting for up to 10% of resale.
In most cases, it will be more like to come across a studio apartment with floor space less than 19.7 sqm (212 sqft) which is much lower than half of the average size. There are about 1.4 million condos of this size, accounting for 21% of Tokyo’s 6.8 million households.
Many even tinier places exist in Tokyo. It is estimated that almost 76,000 apartments in Tokyo are only 9.8 sqm in size.
2. Average Personal Living Space in Tokyo
Even though there are only 2 people per household on average in Tokyo, compared to 2.3 in Japan, due to the population density and downsized housing, the capital has lower a figure for personal living space. While large apartment (more than 29sqm) accounts for 31% of Japan households, that only takes up 22% of Tokyo households. In contrast, the crazy small apartment of less than 4.8 sqm in size accounts for 0.6% of Tokyo condos, which doubles the same data in Japan.
Refer to the following tables for details on the average living space per person in Tokyo:
|Living space per person||Percentage|
|Less Than 4.8-sqm||0.6%|
|5.0-sqm to 5.6-sqm||1.1%|
|5.8-sqm to 6.4-sqm||0.7%|
|6.6-sqm to 7.3-sqm||1.3%|
|7.4-sqm to 8.1-sqm||1.8%|
|8.3-sqm to 9.8-sqm||3.8%|
|9.9-sqm to 11.4-sqm||14.7%|
|11.5-sqm to 13.1-sqm||6.6%|
|14.9-sqm to 16.4-sqm||6.5%|
|16.5-sqm to 19.7-sqm||10.7%|
|19.8-sqm to 24.6-sqm||14.5%|
|24.8-sqm to 29.6-sqm||8.3%|
|More than 29.8-sqm||22.2%|
Source: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport & Tourism
3. Typical Tokyo Apartment And Average Cost
As we mentioned above, the average size for an apartment in Tokyo is close to 65 sqm. The price to buy a newly built apartment of that size is around ¥877,000/sqm ($8000) while the asking price for existing on the resale market is ¥542,000 /sqm ($5000).
On the other hand, to rent a two-bedroom apartment, you have to pay ¥203,730 ($1,903) on average. As the landlords will require that you earn three times the rental price, your income should be typically ¥679,000 ($6184) per month. This is really high a figure, compared to the average salary of office workers in their 20s, which is ¥280,000 ($2500) a month. There is no doubt that Tokyo is among the most costly place on the planet. In fact, Deutsche Bank marks Tokyo as top 10 in their Mapping the World’s Prices report and Mercer even ranks the capital of Japan as the third most expensive city.
However, Tokyo is large. There is always a cheaper housing solution available that you need a little more effort to find. Note that size and location are the two most important factors that affect the price.
3.1 Typical Tokyo Apartments in Size
Starting with 1R which means 1 Room, it is the smallest and cheapest type of apartment. Usually designed with a sleeping loft (fit for 1 person), a unit bath (combining shower and toilet), a compact kitchen (sink and an electric stove), a possible space for working or dining, 1R is less than 13 sqm in size. Despite its crazy small floor space, 1R is getting extremely popular among young people.
A little larger than 1R, 1K (1 Kitchen Room) has a wall separating the kitchen and bedroom, which helps to prevent the smell. There may be a bath in 1K too. The floor plan of 1K falls around 13jo (tatami mat counter) or 20sqm.1DK (1 Dining Kitchen Room) is almost the same as 1K but it will expand the kitchen space enough for a small table where you can dine. The floor space of 1DK is at least 15.5 jo or 23 sqm. The price of the above apartment ranges from ¥49,000 ($450) to ¥125,000 ($1100). For more details, please visit this article to learn about 1R, 1K, 1DK and the terms used in floor plan (image).
2DK is also a common kind of apartment in Tokyo, especially for roommates as it has 2 bedrooms. The living/dining/kitchen area is the same as 1DK. The price for 2DK is no less than ¥100,000 ($910).
3.2 Average Cost in Different Wards
Combining with the range of rental prices in various wards of Tokyo, to Japan’s National Association of Real Estate Transaction Associations provide us with the following table:
|Wards||Average cost per month by Japanese apartment size|
|1R||1K – 1DK||1LDK–2DK||2LDK–3DK||3LDK–4DK|
Note: the price above hasn’t included utilities and other maintenance costs.
How much living space should a person have?
According to Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT), the minimum living space they recommend for a person is 25 sqm (269 sqft). This figure is non-dependent on whether he/she lives in the city center or outskirts. However, to lead a healthy and satisfying life, a single person needs an ideal space of 40sqm in the city and even possibly 55 sqm in the countryside.
They also calculate the ideal living space for multiple-person households as follows:
In short, a household with 2 people in the city should be at least 30sqm in size. But ideally, it should be 55 sqm
Is a large apartment expensive in Tokyo?
Yes. Apartments of 100 sqm or over in size are not only hard to find in the market but are also considered a luxury in Tokyo. Accompanying the size, the price is of course premium. On average, in 2018, you have to pay approximately ¥1,750,000/sqm ($15,940) which almost doubles the average price in general and 45% more than the price for apartments under 80 sqm.
How to live comfortably in a small apartment?
There are many ways. Using futon (Japanese cotton-filled bedding) and other foldaway items for chairs, tables or storage can help save up some space. That is the ultimate Japanese traditional method. Besides, you can make use of the loft and balcony to put away stuff you don’t need to use much. Check out this article to know more.