Apartment Hunting In Japan: Top 6 Foreigner-Friendly Rental Listing Sites And Tips

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How to Find an Apartment in Japan - Recommended Rental Sites and Advice for Foreigners

When the writer left her hometown in Taiwan and decided to live in Japan, she first encountered difficulty finding a residence in Japan.

Through the experience of renting overseas, this article will introduce her top rental listing websites that are friendly to international residents in Japan. By referring to this list, you can find an apartment that meets your needs. Below are some tips on getting started in apartment hunting here.

Basics of Apartment Hunting in Japan

There are two methods when looking for an apartment in Japan. The first is visiting a real estate company and having them find a property that meets your requirements. The second is searching for a property on your own online.

Regardless of your preferred method, you will likely have to pay a security deposit or key money, then co-sign your contract with a guarantor after deciding on a listing. A tenant screening will likely also take place before signing the contract. The table below has a list of terms used when apartment hunting and signing contracts in Japan.

Looking at this table, you’ll see that moving into an apartment results in paying an additional three to five months’ worth of rent towards your security deposit, key money, and commission fees.

Interested in keeping your expenses low or want to compare different rooms online? We recommend checking out the rental listing sites, which offer foreigner-friendly spaces that can help make your lifestyle in Japan all the better.

6 Top Rental Listing Sites in Japan - Share Houses, Private Apartments, and Foreigner-friendly Options

Below is a brief compilation of six rental sites and their features. In the next section, we’ll take a closer look at each of these websites.

1. OYO LIFE: Rent by Month and Sign Contracts Online

OYO LIFE is a housing service jointly headed by OYO—an India-based hotel group—and Yahoo! JAPAN.

OYO LIFE allows anyone to apply and sign a property contract online, including from a smartphone. You can move into your new apartment the day after signing the contract. No security deposit, key money, or commission fees are required. The rooms come ready with furniture, appliances, and an Internet connection. It's also possible to lease an apartment with OYO LIFE for as short as one month, making it ideal for short-term stays.

If you're overseas, all you need is your passport to apply for a room. After applying, you can get your key the day you arrive in Japan!

OYO LIFE has rental properties in Tokyo and Yokohama as well as the surrounding suburbs in the Shonan and Takao areas. The rent ranges from 50,000 to 100,000 yen per month. Are you an adventurer who wants to experience life on the move? This option may be great for you.

Search for Apartments on OYO LIFE

2. OAKHOUSE: Socialize at a Share House With Tenants From All Over the World

OAKHOUSE mainly offers share houses and apartments. Their official website is available in Japanese, English, Chinese, French, and Korean, and about 40% of their residents are from overseas. Since OAKHOUSE directly manages the apartments, you'll get an immediate response if there are any issues with your room.

Their share house properties are clean spaces with a communal living area, large kitchen, showers, and bathrooms. Recently, they've added several new rooms with bicycle and gardening themes.

Choose an apartment that suits your own interests. This way your room won’t simply be a resting space; it’ll act as an entertainment and healing oasis.

On the official website, data on gender ratio, age groups, and nationality of residents in the same house are made public, and events are occasionally held to promote socializing between tenants. Share houses are perfect for people who are looking to make more connections in Japan and around the world.

Search for Apartments on OAKHOUSE

3. SOCIAL APARTMENT: Make Friends and Keep Your Personal Space

The apartments that SOCIAL APARTMENT offer are great for people who want to socialize but also maintain their own space in beautifully-designed living quarters. Every tenant has their own private space at SOCIAL APARTMENT. Residents, however, are free to socialize with one another in communal areas, including a coffee bar, billiard room, library, and movie theater.

All the rooms and properties are very stylish and comfortably furnished, and some may make you feel like you're living on the set of a Japanese drama series with their trendy interior.

Properties are located near major train stations in the Tokyo and Kansai area. In Tokyo, there are also properties available in areas popular with younger people, like Kichijoji, Ogikubo, and Kiyosumi-Shirakawa.

SOCIAL APARTMENT’s Official Website: https://www.social-apartment.com/eng/

4. Youzi Liuxue: Rooms in Japan For All Overseas Students

Youzi Liuxue’s (Japanese) official website is available in Japanese, simplified Chinese, and traditional Chinese. The majority of properties are leased to Chinese students, which ensures you won't be turned away by a landlord for being non-Japanese. Nearly all of the listings on their website are available for private viewings or contract.

On the website, you can narrow down your search by neighborhoods and listings in close proximity to your school or university. Perfect for overseas students who are apartment hunting, it will display all nearby properties after searching for by school name.

Many rooms listed are either single or shared rooms, with some properties under 60,000 yen per month. This is ideal for those looking to save money or who don't feel confident in their Japanese language skills. They frequently have rental discounts available for international students, too.

Youzi Liuxue’s Official Website: https://www.youziliuxue.com/zufang/ja/index.php (Japanese)

5. SUUMO: Plenty of Properties With Detailed Search Options!

SUUMO is Japan's largest rental listing website, containing thousands of listings. It available only in Japanese, though, but detailed information on properties, including the number of floors, the construction year, and apartment layouts, are posted on the site.

You can search for properties located across the country with detailed requirements like the maximum rent you can pay, size of the apartment, type of flooring (tatami or not), whether or not a guarantor is needed, 24-hour trash services, and more.

If you find a property that piques your interest, you can contact the person in charge to view the room via the website or phone number on the listing.

SUUMO’s Official Website: https://suumo.jp (Japanese)

6. MUJI x UR: Renovated Housing Designed with MUJI

Urban Renaissance Agency (UR) leases rental properties to approximately 720,000 households in Japan. Those renting with UR security do not have to pay deposits and commission fees, and there is no need for a guarantor.

UR's properties are mainly quiet housing complexes in the suburbs and high-rise condominiums near train stations. However, the application requirements and screening process may be stricter than the previous companies introduced. Those with a mid-to-long-term residency or permanent residency in Japan who meet the monthly salary level can apply.

They have various properties available, but we recommend the apartments created in collaboration with MUJI. These old housing complexes, constructed during the Showa Era, are newly decorated with interior items from MUJI and renovated into a clean, bright space.

MUJI x UR’s Official Website: https://www.muji.net/ie/mujiur/ (Japanese)

Find an Apartment in Japan That Fits Your Needs

In addition to checking out the featured websites, try to get advice from experienced tenants to find the apartment that fits you! Please stay tuned for more articles on finding housing in Japan and what to expect when renting or owning property as an international resident.