How Much Is An Apartment In Japan? Expensive Or Not?

Undoubtedly, Japan is one of the most expensive countries in the world. Especially in big cities such as Tokyo and Osaka where the housing prices are extremely high, owning a modern house seems to be out of reach for many people. However, it does not mean that living in Japan is a dream for the rich only. The housing prices here are surprisingly vary widely depends on the location and status of the house. Hence, you might still be able to afford an apartment in this beautiful country as long as you get enough information.

To help you sold this problem, in today’s location guide, we will give you a walkthrough on the topic of How Much Is An Apartment In Japan? Expensive Or Not? Let’s check it out!

How Much Is An Apartment In Japan? Expensive Or Not?

1. How to find an apartment in Japan?

If you are planning to move to Japan and looking for a good place to stay, your first questions probably are “How to find an apartment in Japan?” and “How Much Is An Apartment In Japan”. Let’s leave the second question there for later on. For the first one, you can use websites to look for potential lodging or contact directly with Japanese real estate agencies. However, for most websites, Japanese is the only language option. Also not so many Japanese estate companies offer client service in English so it is quite inconvenient and difficult for foreigners. If you are struggling with the same issue, please take a look at some suggestion sources below. They all have an English option or staff whom you can easily communicate with in English or Chinese. By surfing these useful websites, you will gain a lot of insight into the housing market in Japan.

1.1. Modern living Tokyo:

Obviously, finding a comfortable place at a reasonable price in Tokyo is not easy. This city is too populous and ridiculously expensive. You need to pay a high amount of money not only for the house but also for the commission fee. For most real estate companies, they’ll ask you to deposit an amount equivalent to one month’s rent before you officially move in. But in Modern living Tokyo, the initial cost is surprisingly low. Via its website, you can look for price range and availability of properties in Tokyo. Another great thing is that they accept payment by payment and cash so there is no need to open a bank account in Japan. Plus, all houses and apartments advertised on their website are well equipped and nicely designed. Also, their client service quality is very impressive.

how much is an apartment in japan

It is very easy to look up information on this website.

 1.2. Tokyo Room finder

Another good option is Tokyo Room finder. It is trustworthy, convenient and flexible. Similarly, with Modern living Tokyo, Tokyo Room Finder also provides you a wide selection of dorms, apartments and shared houses. You can easily find a place which suits best with your taste and financial situation. Moreover, they have a lot of useful information about Japanese culture, tourism attractions, Japanese cuisine, and so on. You can see, it does not only help you to answer the question of how much is rent in Japan but it also is a perfect source for you to study about Japanese lifestyle and people.

how much is an apartment in japan

You can see, it is not only help you to answer the question of how much is rent in Japan but it also is a perfect source for you to study about Japanese lifestyle and people.

2. Types Of Accommodation

Before we take a closer look into types of accommodation in Japan, below are few terms for house renting in Japan that you need to pick up.

SNAcronymsMeaning
1RSingle Room
2KKitchen
3DDining
4LLiving Room
5SStorage

2.1. 1R

This is a single room which is connected directly with a bathroom and a small kitchen. The size is about 12 – 20 sq m2. It is the cheapest kind of apartment so do not expect much. You will have to cook, sleep, and work in the same area so the smell of food might get into your clothes and bedding sheet. Some places does not even provide a built-in kitchen so you might have install one yourself.

how much is an apartment in japan

1R apartment

how much is an apartment in japan

The layout of 1R apartment

1.2. 1K

This refers to an apartment with a kitchen which is normally separated by a wall. However, it sometimes consists of only a simple sink, and its counter is very small. There are not many differences between 1R and 1K apartments. A typical 1K apartment is about 20 -25 sq m2.

how much is an apartment in japan

1K apartment

how much is an apartment in japan

Simple layout of 1 K apartment

1.3. 1DK

A 1DK apartment is fairly larger than a 1K apartment. The size is about 25-35 sq m2. The dining – kitchen area is separated from the bedroom. It has enough space for you to put all the necessary furniture such as TV, refrigerator, sofa, tables,… without making you feel stuffy.

how much is an apartment in japan

1DK apartment

how much is an apartment in japan

1DK is a good option for single people

1.4. 1LDK

1LDK is about 40 to 60m². The biggest difference between 1DK and the above types is that it has a separate bedroom. You do not have to worry about the smell of foods lingering on your clothes any more. The bathroom also separates from the toilet. And another convenient thing is that you have a quite spacious living room to decorate and place more furniture.

If the apartment is labeled as 2LDK, it means that the property has two bedrooms. Similarly, we will have a 3LDK. This type of house is spacious and therefore, its price is very high. This type is very suitable for couples for families. The average rent is remarkably higher than previous types but it is totally worth it!

how much is an apartment in japan

1LDK apartment

how much is an apartment in japan

LDK apartment is very spacious and suitable for a family

2.5. 1SLDK

1SLDK is quite similar to 1LDK, except that it has an additional large closet. This high-end type is rare and of course, very expensive. You are wondering how much is an apartment in Japan? and how expensive it can be? Well,  just so you know, prices of these houses can easily make you back away from the dream of moving to Japan.

how much is an apartment in japanRead more:

3. How Much Is An Apartment In Japan?

3.1. Aspects Which Set Rental Price

Before break down the question “How much is the average rent in Japan“, let’s see what impacts rental price first.

Location

Obviously, houses located in big cities and in central areas have much higher prices than those located in smaller cities and in rural areas. However, you do not need about long hours commute to work. The public transportation system in Japan is very well-developed so living far away from central Tokyo is still a good option for many people. In fact, thanks to the Shinkansen, it is very common to travel by train to work every day here.

how much is an apartment in japan

Direction

Normally, a West-facing home is normally at a lower price. The main gate of a house is one of the most important areas as the main energy will come to the house through it. According to Feng Shui, it is believed that devil energy will come from the West. Therefore, people usually avoid a West-facing house if it’s possible. However, to an apartment, the main balcony is the most important area. In this case, the main entrance will face the West but it’s totally fine.

how much is an apartment in japan

Main energy will enter the house through the main entrance. Therefore the direction of the main entrance is one of the most important areas in the house.

House status

Not every house/apartment in Tokyo is expensive. There are some old properties at affordable prices too. You can even buy some houses at surprisingly low prices too. Well, the reason behind this is very simple. Buying a cheap house is good. But then you will have to put a lot of money and effort to reconstruct and decorate this old house. Costs for design and finish might eventually set off the original price of the house.  For example, basic wood-framed house costs on average 200,000 Yen/sq m2. However, after all the design and reconstruction, the total cost can climb up to 1,000,000 Yen/sq m2.

how much is an apartment in japan

Old houses in Japan are quite cheap. But they are usually located far way from the center area. Besides, you will need to put a lot of efforts into reconstruction and decoration.

Transportation

Houses surrounds train/bus stations are at much higher prices. Well, time is money right? Each one-minute reduction in walking distance from house to the station equal a growth of 16,000 yen/sq m2. So, make sure to consider this aspect while you are looking for a house.

how much is an apartment in japan

Similarly, houses located near supermarkets, main roads, schools, hospitals,… are also on sale at much higher prices.

3.2. Related Expenses

To buy a house, there are a lot of fees to be expected. You can see more details about how much is an apartment in Japan and related fees in this post: Buying A House In Japan – Not As Difficult As You Think

In the section below, we will only discuss about rental fees.

Deposit

As mentioned in above section, you will need to deposit an amount of money to the renter. Normally, it is equivalent to one month’s rent. Yet, for luxurious high-end properties, you might need to deposit at least 3 month’s rent. So make sure your financial situation can afford at least 2 month’s rent. Do not worry, this deposit will be returned to you when you are leaving the house with good condition.

Key money

When you rent a house in Japan, you’ll be asked to pay the landlord of the property. This payment will not be returned to you after the cancellation of the lease. So try to avoid properties required high amount of key money. It usually equals 2 month. However, nowadays, many landlords offer Key money – free rental housing.

Commission

Apartment hunting is very time-consuming and complicated. Therefore, you should get yourself an excellent real estate agent who can take care all of your requests and find out the most suitable apartment for you in a short time. Of course, this type of service is not cheap. You usually have to make a payment equals one month’s rent + tax. But it is totally worthy!

Other types of costs

Below are some types of monthly expenses that you will need to pay while renting a house in Japan. These fees have to pay associated with the common spaces and facilities

  • Maintenance fees: It is to cover daily costs for the maintenance of entrance, garbage disposal area, elevators, etc.
  • Park or bicycle fees: If you do not own a private vehicle, then this fee can be taken off the list.
  • Internet: Normally, the landlord will set the internet for you. But in some cases, you might have to deal with it yourself. It does not take too much money but is still quite inconvenient.
  • Utilities (gas, water, …)
Guarantor

You must have a guarantor who can vouch for you. If you do not, there are companies that can act as guarantors for you. This will cost you a bundle of cash as well. But it is quite inevitable.

So, as you can see, there’s a lot of money you need to pay before you can actually move in. Now you probably can understand how expensive is it to live in Tokyo right?

how much is an apartment in japan

Luxury houses in Japan costs a nicely bundle of cash

3.3. Average Housing Price In Japan By Prefecture

Now let’s find out the answer for the question “How much is an apartment in Japan?

Average land prices

The chart below gives information about the average official land prices in Japan as of July 2020. As you can see,  Tokyo, without a doubt, ranked first as the most expensive city in the country with the average price of 1,160.1 thousand yen/sq m2. This number almost quintupled the price in Osaka which is 336,46 thousand yen/sq m2. There is a huge gap over there. So do not freak out when you check housing price in Japan. Ridiculously high prices should be expected.

In a  real estate markets survey, the result showed that the average housing price of a new house in Japan is ¥35,760,000 (~ $337,000). If you want to buy a house in Japan, please check more information here: Buying A House In Japan – Not As Difficult As You Think

how much is an apartment in japan

Average rent price

So, you might wonder: “What about the renting price”? “How much is a small apartment in Japan?”, “How much is the average rent in Japan? “. Well, it depends on a lot of factors which we have gone through in the above sections.  But you can take reference from the data below. The average price for a 1-bed apartment in Tokyo is from 60.000 yen t0 approximately 130.000 yen, which are significantly higher than that of the country average. Normally, the price for similar apartments in central Tokyo starts from around 90,000 yen.

City1 Bed3 Bed 2 Bed
1-bed apartment in the city centre1-bed apartment outside the city centre3-bed apartment in the city centre2-bed apartment outside of the city centre
Japan — country average87,583.7258,146.12193,975.33112,851.24
Tokyo129,208.4676,792.09315,006.81161,248.24
Yokohama117,500.0081,875.00278,333.33142,857.14
Fukuoka67,218.7547,187.50151,666.6782,428.57
Osaka73,846.1554,571.43157,272.73109,166.67
Kobe92,500.0059,166.67197,500.0098,333.33
Saporo68,513.3345,000.0090,000.0067,000.00

Source: Numbeo.com.(July 2020)/Average price unit: JPY

The chart below describes the change in average apartment rent in Tokyo from 2008 to 2020. Though there is a remarkable drop in the price, it is clear that the price increased dramatically from the first quarter of 2013 to now.

how much is an apartment in japan

If your financial situation can not afford one-room rental apartments, choosing shared rooms is a good option too as they usually have lower initial and monthly costs.

3.4. How Expensive Is It To Live In Tokyo?

There is no exact answer to this question as costs depend on many factors such as locations, types of houses. But you can take data form below table as a reference. Total expenses for 1 month staying in Japan is roughly about 95000 yen to about 19000 yen. The number, of course, could climb up if your financial situation allows.

Price 

(yen/per month)

Homestay Apartment HotelDormitory 
Rental Fee8500010000015000090000
Service charge00200001000020000
FoodLunch only 10000300004000030000
Utilities00100000010000
Total 95000160000190000150000

Below is an example of an initial cost, this is the average deal you would receive for an apartment being rented at 60,000 JPY (560 USD) per month. Though the monthly rent is only 60,000 JPY but you actually may need to pay up to 281,000 JPY (2630 USD) before actually moving in. It’s insanely expensive right?

Fee TypeJPYUSD
First month’s rent60,000560
Property maintenance fee3,00030
Realtor fee60,000560
Key money60,000560
Guarantor fee30,000280
Insurance fee20,000190
Cleaning fee30,000280
Changing lock fee18,000170
TOTAL281,0002,630

Source: international()org

You can take a look at how a $950/month apartment in Tokyo looks like in the link below:

Conclusion

So now you have already had the answer to the question “How much is an apartment in Japan?“. What do you think? In your opinion, is it expensive or not? Are you able to afford a house or an apartment here? Are you ready to start studying the Japanese housing market and find your future home in Japan?

Hopefully, you found our blog useful. If you have any further queries and concerns, feel free to leave your comment in the below section.

About Yuu Sato

Yuu Hiasa has been working in hospitality industry since 2003. In the past, he used to work as a tour guide and now he is running his business of supplying comfortable accommodations in Japan. Thanks to this experience and his passion for writing blog, the articles by him provides awesome tips and things to do when you are traveling in the country of cherry blossoms.