Finding a house in Tokyo is difficult even for Japanese. I started living in Tokyo 10 years ago. I still remember finding house was a tough job because there were too many options and too many new words I’ve never heard. If you have to find the place to live by yourself, you need to prepare for the information flood. Here I introduce some clues to swim in the flood. I give you 2 options for each question, so guess which is cheaper.
<Apartment vs. Mansion(Condominium)>
The definitions of these 2 words in Japan are different from other countries. Both mean apartment house in Japanese. But apartment (“Apaato”) is made of wood, and mansion is made of reinforced concrete. Apaato are usually older than mansion. So if the same condition, Apaato is cheaper. But wooden houses are colder in winter, and easier to hear the noise from neighbors.
Some old Apaato have been renovated and look pretty nice.
[Reference: realTokyoEstate (http://www.realtokyoestate.co.jp/renovation/case_1r.php)]
<1LDK(One Bed Room) vs. 1K(Bachelor Room)>
They may look like a cipher or something. But when you go to real estate in Japan, you’ll see these words a lot. L means living room, D means dining room and K means kitchen. 1K has 1 room and 1 small kitchen. 1LDK has 1 big room used as a living room, a dining room and a kitchen. Plus 1 more extra room usually used as a bedroom. 1K is usually smaller than 1LDK and cheaper.
Let’s see other types.
2DK room has 3 rooms – 1 dining and kitchen room and 2 extra rooms.
3LDK room has 4 rooms – 1 living, dining and kitchen room and 3 extra rooms.
Typical 1LDK room in Tokyo
[Reference: MONKEY (http://mnky.jp/23039/3)]
<Northern side of Tokyo vs. Southern side of Tokyo>
Northern Tokyo includes cities like Ikebukuro and Sugamo. It’s near Saitama prefecture and far from Tokyo bay.
Southern Tokyo has cities like Shinagawa and Toyosu. It’s near Kanagawa and Kanagawa prefecture and by the bay. All of the cities have Yamanote Line station. Yamanote Line is one of the most used lines by commuters in Japan.
But residences in northen Tokyo is much cheaper than those of southern Tokyo. Southern Tokyo is more like a business area than a residential area. Of course, there are Manshions there, but it’s way expensive so mostly for rich people. I myself live in northern Tokyo. My sister who is a composer lives in southern Tokyo. Our Manshions are the same size but her rent is twice as expensive as ours. Lucky for her, her company pays half so she can afford to live.
Expensive Mansions in Toyosu
[Reference: Wikipedia (https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/豊洲)]
Having many options also mean you can find whatever you want. Get as much information as you can and enjoy the adventure.