Apartments in Japan: How Japanese People Rent with No Regrets | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Apartments in Japan: How Japanese People Rent with No Regrets

By Yae Sep 12, 2018


Renting a desirable apartment in Japan can be quite difficult when you consider the cost of rent, the facilities and the convenience of its location. There are plenty of rental apartments everywhere in Japan, but do you know which points Japanese people care about most when choosing an apartment to rent? Everyone has their own preferences for living, but in this article, I will share some key points that Japanese people use to evaluate rental properties to make well-informed decisions with no regrets.


1. In which Professions Do Employees Rent over Buying in Japan?


Of course, everyone wants a sweet, permanent home to themselves instead of renting an apartment to live in Japan. However, some Japanese people have no choice but to look for rental apartments due to their jobs and working styles. For example, people who work in jobs that require them to transfer between company branches or to live abroad will find it difficult to settle and become a permanent homeowner.

The major type of jobs which have company transfers in Japan are as follows:

・Bank workers
・Commercial firm workers
・Manufacturer sales representatives
・Customs officers
・Police officers
・Life insurance workers
・Japan Self-Defense Forces
・House building companies

That’s quite a lot, don’t you think?
Although it depends on the company, most people need to be transferred every 2 or 3 years. Therefore, people need to find new houses to live in from time to time. Even though people know they won’t live forever in the same place, they are trying hard to find the best apartments to rent where they can live comfortably in limited terms.
What kind of conditions offer the most comfortable living? Let’s see in the next section.


2. Important Points People Care About for Living in Japan


Japanese people will commonly use these three points to choose a convenient and comfortable apartment to rent.


1. South-facing Rooms with Lots of Sunshine


Getting plenty of sunshine is important for people to feel happy! Many Japanese people prefer to live in apartments with south-facing windows so as the sun moves across the sky, their rooms filled with sunshine all day long, all year round. If there are no south-facing rooms available, the next best option is a southeast facing room.

Why do Japanese people care so much about getting sunshine in their living quarters? On top of brightening rooms, sunshine can also help people save electricity. In the winter, the sun is at a low angle, providing rooms with direct sunlight and heating. In the summer, the sun shines from a high angle so that the sun doesn’t cause too much heating. As a result, people can reduce their use of air conditioning in all seasons. Drying your laundry becomes faster and more energy-efficient when you can hang it up on the sunlit balcony instead of using a dryer. Wouldn’t you feel happier living with the sun as your roommate?


2. Living Above the Second Floor of an Apartment


People can pay the cheapest monthly rent by living on the first floor. However, living on the first floor can have some concerning points, such as:

・Strangers can see the first-floor windows or balconies from outside all the time.
・Increased risk to have thieves in the night.
・Greater number bugs or mosquitoes flying around all the time around the first floors.

The points above mean that people who live on the first floor can’t leave the window open as often to get fresh air.

Despite the cheaper rent and increased convenience (you won’t need to take the stairs or elevator if you live on the first floor), these points can be deal breakers for a Japanese person looking to rent.


3. A Place Where You Can Do Everything in 10 Minutes


Ease of accessibility is the most important point that Japanese people care about when looking for any residence. Many people lead a very busy lifestyle in Japan: they must go to work, clean the house and maybe even raise kids. Living in a convenient place means a lot to them. Many Japanese people prefer to live in an apartment with the following conditions:

・5-10 minutes’ walk to the closest station or bus stop.
・5-10 minutes’ walk to the clinic of internal medicine.
・5-10 minutes’ walk to the daily supermarkets or convenience store.

Time is money. Especially for those who frequently commute, they want to finish their daily routine as soon as possible so that they don’t waste their time.



Many Japanese people are trying to find desirable apartments for rent that stay within their budget. Obviously, the real-estate market is aware of the demand for south-facing rooms, upper-level floors, and accessible locations. Therefore, the rent will be higher for an apartment that has all of these features. Even still, sometimes people have non-negotiable points that must be met in order to live comfortably.

If you’re also hunting for apartments to live in Japan someday, I hope this article will guide you in the right direction!