Finding a place to live is a significant step in your move to Japan. If you want to tackle this in Japanese, you will need to know a few specific words in order to successfully rent an apartment in Japan.
Real estate company – 不動産会社, fudousangaisha
Real estate agent – 不動産屋, fudousanya
Tenant – 借家人, shakuyanin
Monthly rent – 家賃, yachin
Deposit – 敷金, shikikin, or 保証金, hoshoukin
*Normally the equivalent of about 1-2 months’ rent
Guarantor – 保証人, hoshounin
*This is a person that promises to cover your rent or damages in case you can’t pay or suddenly leave the country. Often this needs to be a Japanese national, but it’s also common to pay for a guarantor company, or 保証会社, hoshougaisha.
Key money – 礼金, reikin
*This is also known as gift money and is paid to the landlord. There are many properties in Japan that do not require key money.
Contract – 契約, keiyaku
Renewal fee – 更新料, koshinryo
*Leases on regular rentals in Japan last two years. Some landlords will charge a renewal fee equivalent to about one month’s rent if you wish to continue living there for another two years.
Contract cancellation fee – 解約金, kaiyakukin
Insurance – 保険, hoken e.g fire insurance – 火災保険, kasai hoken
Apartment (older, wooden apartments) – アパート, apaato
Standalone house – 一戸建て, ikkodate
Condominium-type concrete apartments – マンシォン, manshon
Share house – シェアハウス, sheahausu
For more context on how to rent an apartment in Japan, read our article.
Words for describing the apartment/house
Entrance – 玄関, genkan
Room – 部屋, heya
Japanese-style room – 和室, washitsu
Western-style room – 洋室, youshitsu
*generally washitsu have tatami mats while youshitsu have other flooring, like wooden floorboards, instead
Kitchen – 台所, daidokoro
Bathroom – 浴室, yokushitsu; also お風呂, ofuro
Living room – リビング, ribingu
Dining room – ダイニング, dainingu
Toilet – トイレ, toire
Roof – 屋上, okujou
Closet – 収納, shuunou
Japanese-style closet – 押し入れ, oshiire
Tatami mat measurement – 帖, jou
*The size of 1帖, or one tatami mat, differs by region, although generally they are equal to about 1.53 square metres/16.5 square feet. Most apartments in Japan are between 6 to 10 tatami mats
~ year old building – 築…年, chiku…nen e.g. a five-year-old building – 築5年, chiku go nen
~ floor – 階, kai
Key phrases to rent an apartment in Japan
I am looking for an apartment
Apaato wo sagashite imasu
I am looking for an apartment near Shibuya Station for about 100,000 yen per month
Shibuya eki no chikaku de tsuki juu man-en gurai no apaato wo sagashite imasu
If you want to give a range instead, you can say:
I am looking for an apartment near Shibuya Station from 80,000 yen to 100,000 yen per month
Shibuya eki no chikaku de tsuki hachi man-en kara juu man-en made no apaato wo sagashite imasu
I would like an apartment under 80,000 yen a month please
Tsuki hachi man-en ika no apaato wo onegaishimasu
I would like a place on the Fukutoshin Line
Fukutoshin-sen ensen no apaato ga ii desu
Is there …?
… wa arimasuka?
E.g. Is there a bicycle parking space? 駐輪場はありますか？Chuurinjou wa arimasu ka?
I would like a 1DK
Wan DK ga ii desu
How old is the building?
Chiku dono gurai desu ka?
Are pets allowed?
Petto wo katte mo ii desu ka?
Note: when you look at the conditions of your contract, you can see whether pets are allowed by 可, ka which means allowed and 不可, fuka which means not allowed.
English-friendly real estate companies
We know how challenging it can be to find a place to live, especially if you do not speak the language. You could prepare all the Japanese words you know to rent an apartment, but it can still be extremely difficult understanding everything.
This is why Go! Go! Nihon also offers an accommodation service. We work with a number of accommodation providers across Japan to help you find the best place to live. No need to worry about finding a foreigner-friendly real estate company, or trying to understand all that Japanese in your contract.
Visit our accommodation page for more information.
For more language basics for your daily life in Japan, make sure to read the other articles on our blog.