3 Steps to Rent an Apartment in Japan | Guidable Japan

3 Steps to Rent an Apartment in Japan

By Guidable Writers Apr 25, 2017

Renting an apartment in Japan would be so much work for those coming from other countries. And it is even so much trouble for Japanese as well.

The biggest reason for it is that there are many strict rules in apartment-renting.

However, you may find it easier to do after you read the following 3 steps for renting an apartment in Japan. The first step is to get some documents and requirements about real estate. The second step is to find yourself a guarantor. And the third step is to prepare for moving into your new apartment.

This article would be useful for those who are getting ready to move to another prefecture in Japan, no matter what reasons for, such as transferring to another school or getting a new job.


First step: getting documents and requirements

If you go to a college which receives many foreigh students, the school might offer you a list of real estate firms, as well as for the companies with many employees from other countries. If your company has its own dormitories or apartments, and that would be the best.  Unfortunately, it is rather rare to see these days, so finding a real estate firm to rent an apartment for you is a better choice. The staff may have more experiences in helping residents from other countries.

Either small or big company, they require a background check. And you are required to pay in advance.

Background check:

  • Speaking Japanese.
  • Capability of paying the rent.
  • VISA such as student VISA or working VISA.
  • Certificate of alien registration = “Gaikokujin-Touroku-Shoumeisho”
  • Guarantor = “Hosho-nin”.
  • Deposit = “Shiki-kin”
  • Key money = “Rei-kin”


  • Landlord needs to communicate with you in case of emergency.
  • They may require a certificate of employment if you have a job.
  • They need a proof that you have official permission to live in Japan.
  • In case the payment is delayed or stopped.
  • Explain in the second step.
  • It is used for any damage or fixing equipment in the room when you leave. If there is no damage, you get a refund.
  • This is based on Japanese custom and you may not have it in your country. When kids start living in an apartment, their parents pay “Rei-kin” to the landlord for taking care of their kids.



Second step: finding a guarantor

Guarantor is required when you rent a room in Japan.  It has to be mostly Japanese.  However, it is difficult for you to find one if you come to Japan for the first time.

If you do not have any Japanese friends yet or you feel bad asking them to be your guarantor, you can find a company: they can be your guarantor.  It costs you around 30,000 yen~50,000 yen.  That is not so bad considering finding a good Japanese guarantor.


Final step: preparing for moving

There are so many things you need to do before and after you move.  Two major to-do list is stated as below.

  • Change the governmental paper work.
  • Notify services and accounts about your moving.



  • When you move from one prefecture to another, you need to fill-out “Ten-shutsu-todoke”.
    It is a paper work you need to submit to the city hall of your previous living prefecture.
    When you go to the new city, you need to fill-out “Ten-nyu-todoke” to inform that you will be living in the city.
    They now require you “Jyumin-kihon-daicho” which is like a Social Security Number in the US.
  • Change the address on your resident card, drivinglicense, credit card etc.


Moving to another city is exciting. On the other hand, there are so many things to take care of. This lady who is from US had such stressful time doing all the work by herself. However, she made it through all right, because she made a list of things to do before and after the moving.

Please do not panic and make a list, then you will be fine.  Enjoy moving and start a wonderful life in the new place.