Where to live: Accommodation options in Japan

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You’ve chosen your school, completed the application, now you just need to book your flights and sort out somewhere to live. But what are your accommodation options in Japan, how do you make a choice and how do you arrange it all. Well, that’s where we can help.

As with any part of moving to a new country, there’s a lot to think about when picking and arranging accommodation. Understanding all the ins and outs of key money (what?), deposits, contracts, furniture, and hidden costs can be time consuming and complicated if you’re not sure where to start.

The advantages of using a service like Go! Go! Nihon to explore accommodation options in Japan are big and can save you a lot of time and money.

Cost of entry

One of the most confusing and frustrating parts of picking accommodation is navigating all the entry costs. With renting Japanese apartments and share houses, there are often a few unexpected extra costs on top of a deposit. There’s key money, a gift for the agent and landlord, a deposit, and sometimes a registration fee too. By using a service like ours, you can be sure that there are no hidden fees and you will know what you are paying upfront.


We try to partner with a variety of agencies in each city where we have partnered schools. This means that we offer options that are within reasonable distances of where you’ll be studying. What’s more, because we’re acting as an intermediary you don’t need to worry about your Japanese skills just yet, we can negotiate great deals and discounts and there are flexible contracts for short-term and long-term, so you can find an option that suits your needs best. There are also share houses that are women-only and accommodation that can be furnished or unfurnished, so whatever you’re worrying about, you don’t need to.

Apartment vs. Share House vs. Homestay

The biggest choice you’ll need to make is on the type of accommodation you’d like to stay in, here are the pros and cons for each.


Pros – Your own space! You can do what you like with your space and make it your own. You don’t have to worry too much about disturbing others (although please be mindful of your neighbours!) and you can cook and do what you want, when you want.

Cons – Many apartments in Japan, as you might expect, are rather small. This means that you’ll likely only have your bedroom and one other room to spend time in, if that. As you have to cover all the costs it can also mean that you might need to live a bit further out of town to get a decent place.

Share House

Pros – A social life right on your doorstep. You’ll get your own room in a share house but the bathroom facilities and the kitchen and living space will all be shared. This will give you a chance to mingle with the people you live with and get to meet people from all around the world. Sharing also means that cleaning is shared too so you don’t have to worry about doing everything yourself.

Cons – All of the above can be a negative too. Sometimes people don’t always pull their weight and you can feel like you’re cleaning up after others. You also may have to deal with noisy housemates or inconsiderate housemates, which can be difficult if you like your own space. More often than not most people are lucky and find good housemates but it is worth being aware that it’s a bit pot luck sometimes.


Pros – You get to learn how Japanese people really live and get a thorough understanding of the culture that you love so much. This also means you’ll get to try things you might not have necessarily thought of too. A homestay is also a great choice if you tend to get homesick. Having a family looking after you can help make you feel safe and welcome when you might be missing home.

Cons – When living under another person’s roof, you’ll have to live by their rules. This might mean that you have to be home for dinner at a decent time and you can’t always come and go as you please as you don’t want to be rude or disruptive. If you like having lots of independence then this might not be the best option for you.

Now you know a bit more about where to start when considering accommodation options in Japan, so why not let us help you get settled in? It’s a lot less hassle and one of the cheapest ways to live in Tokyo and other cities. Check our accommodation page today to find your new home.

If you like to read more about life in Japan, make sure to follow our blog where we cover everything you need to know about Japan!

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