Things to Know about Moving in Japan
How to Move to Japan
Moving to another country on your own is always complicated. There are a lot of preparations to be made, and one of the first steps is to find accommodation in your new destination. A place to call home and settle in for the next few months or years. Things get even more complicated if you are going to a country that is far away from your own, with a different language and culture.
The first thing to know if you are planning to move to Japan is that the real estate system works differently than in most countries, especially in big cities like Tokyo. Apartment rentals in Japan usually include several extra fees for different concepts, which may sound confusing if you are not familiar with them. Also, most apartments in Japan are unfurnished. This means that in big cities like Tokyo, moving into an apartment for the first time is often quite expensive (so depending on your finances, you need to have some previous savings).
Another thing you have to keep in mind is that foreigners in Japan make up less than 2% of the population, so to be honest we’re not a target of interest to most real estate agencies and landlords. In addition, many foreigners come for a limited period of time (so it’s not a long term investment) and in the past there have been problems due to miscommunication if the other party is not fluent in Japanese. For this and other reasons, a sad reality for foreigners who live or want to live in Japan is that access to the real estate market is more restricted. Many landlords do not accept foreigners (sometimes even if the other person is fluent in Japanese or will be living with a native Japanese, as in the case of couples, etc.). So the few places where they do accept foreigners usually tend to have a higher price. In this article I’m going to explain some basic concepts when renting apartments in Japan, as well as the things that you will be asked for. And if you are moving to Tokyo, stay tuned until the end because I will also introduce a company that helps foreigners to look for apartments in Tokyo!