This time, I am going to talk about my experience of finding accommodation in Japan. Situation varies from country to country, so I am not sure if my own experience is valuable for everyone. When I got admitted in the university, they sent me a brochure that introduces university’s dormitories. (All the dormitories I mention below are offered by university.) However, I had learned from my senior that generally it will cost less if you can find an apartment and share with other persons. So I decided to follow my friend’s suggestion. It is not to say that dormitories are not good.
Actually, dormitories are safe and they have certain administration and events for students. If you want to stay in a dormitory, they may send people to pick you up at the airport, which is very convenient. In addition, some of the dormitories offer meals. You will have the opportunity to enjoy local family food. Of course, students from all over the world live in the same place, so you can make acquaintance with many people. They always arrange local students and international students to share a room or live nearby in order to help international students to get used to their new lives in Japan. There are lots of merits to live in dormitories. On the other hand, they have rule for students to abide by. For example, you should inform the houseparent if your friend wants to come or stay and it may not be acceptable for staying.
(Street in Tokyo, Japan)
However, in my case, I would like to have more freedom and less cost. In China, we have websites, where we can discuss, consult and meet people. It is not difficult to find people who are under same situation and want to share apartment. As a student, I wanted to share with people of similar background. Then I made acquaintance with two other students on the internet, and started to find accommodation using websites and communication applications in smart phone. There are agencies that offer relative service to overseas clients. They sent us pictures, locations, quotation and requirements of application for every unit. Not all the units accepted application outside Japan, so the choices were limited. We tried to decide one before coming, but it did not work out. It was not easy to have three persons to be happy with one thing.
(Train station, Tokyo Japan : A place near train station is always preferable.)
It resulted that we needed to do it in person. A senior friend in Japan helped us to reserve a cheap Japanese hostel and we stayed there while we were visiting real estate agencies and apartments. I think it is good to have a real look at the place before signing the contract as we were already here in Japan. If you come without determination of accommodation, it is better to find an agency with good reputation and well known in Japan or agencies that helped your friend got his/her place. If you can speak Japanese, it will be simple. If not, don’t worry, there are agencies that offer support in English. It seems like that most of the Japanese people prefer to live alone, so most of the apartments are designed for one person. Besides, there are units with two rooms. There are not lots of choices for people who want a unit with three rooms. Please remember that even you have decided the place it will take time to go through the application process in both cases of applying outside Japan or inside Japan.
To sign the contract, you will have to pay deposit (one month rent or two-month rent), cash gift (one month rent), and one month rent in advance. Cash gift is a thing that exist inclusively in Japan to express your gratitude towards the landlord for letting you live in his place. And it should be taken into consideration that most of the places are without furniture. You have to buy your own beds, desks, chairs and all the things you need. There are second hand furniture shops if you don’t want to spend too much money.
Thank you very much for reading the article!