How Much Does it Cost to Rent an Apartment in Japan?

Japan has a reputation for being an expensive country. Although monthly rents are suprisingly relatively reasonable when compared to other developed countries (JPY 30,000 - 100,000 for a single-person apartment), the fees for moving house an add up quickly. But how much can tenants expect to have to pay each time they move?

In this article, we will break down the costs of moving house for tenants and gain a better understanding of how Japanese tenants approach moving house.

Deposits

From advertisements posted online or hung outside a leasing agency, you will often come across the terms "敷金" (shikikin, security deposit) and "礼金| (reikin, key money).

Although these are commonplace in Japan, they can be somewhat confusing for people not familiar with the Japanese system.

1. Security deposit

Security deposit are common in many countries. This is money held by the owner (usually 1 month's rent) and is usually refunded to the tenant whenthe tenant moves out if the unit is returned in a clean state with no major damage. However in Japan, this money is usually used by the owner to hire professional cleaning of the unit. Therefore, it is unlikely that the security deposit will be refunded in full to the tenant.

2. Key money

Key money (usually 1-2 months) is a non-refundable form of "appreciation" paid to owner of a property thanking him/her for leasing the unit to the tenant. Some people believe this payment is extra income for the owner, but in actuality the key money is usually paid to the real estate agency who found the tenant as an "advertising fee". Therefore, owners should not expect to receive this money when a new tenant moves into the unit.

Apart from the above two items, the tenant has to pay the following when renting a unit:

3. Agent Comission

The legal maximum agent commission for rental properties in Japan is 1 month's rent. However, some agencies offers discounts (50% or completely free) to gain an edge over the competition and rent out less desirable units more quickly.

4. Fire and Earthquake Insurance

This is insurance that covers the losses or damage to the property due to unforeseen accidents. This insurance usually cost upwards of JPY 10,000 depending on the size of the unit, age of building, and other factors.

5. Key Exchange Fee

For security purposes, the entire lock cylinder and key are replaced when a new tenant moves into the property. However, depending on the type of locks used in the building, this fee is sometimes not necessary. Newer buildings generally do not require the entire cylinder to be replaced.

Replacing the locks usually costs around JPY 12,000.

6. Hiring a Moving Company

When moving from one place to another with furniture or other large items, using a professional moving company is almost unavoidable.

The costs for various moving companies vary considerably due to the types of services requested, distance, time of the year, and other factors. 

Single Persons

Distance Price Range
Within 15km ¥25,000 - 35,000
Within 50km ¥30,000 - 38,000
Within 200km ¥40,000 - 53,000
Within 500km ¥50,000 - 69,000
Over 500km ¥60,000 - 68,000

Families (3 - 4 People)

Distance Price Range
Within 15km ¥84,000 - 95,000
Within 50km ¥70,000 - 105,000
Within 200km ¥82,000 - 130,000
Within 500km ¥105,000 - 175,000
Over 500km ¥150,000 - 235,000

*The above prices are general estimates at the time of writing this article for reference purposes only. Actual costs can vary considerably from those listed above.

7. Furniture and Interior Costs

In Japan, it is common that the owner provides nothing but a vacant room to the tenant. So it is the tenant's own responsibility to purchase their own furniture, electrical appliances, and other items.

Here is a very general overview of various items of furniture and home electronics

Furniture
Bed: ¥15,000 - 50,000
Matress: ¥10,000 - 30,000
Sofa: ¥25,000 - 50,000
Dining Table: ¥10,000 - 50,000

Electronics
Television: ¥40,000 - 150,000
Refrigerator: ¥40,000 - 200,000
Gas Stove: ¥5,000 - 10,000
Rice Cooker: ¥15,000 - 20,000
Microwave Oven: ¥10,000 - 15,000
Vacuum: ¥10,000 - 20,000
Washing Machine: ¥30,000 - 80,000
Air Conditioner: ¥70,000 - 150,000
Lights: ¥5,000 - 8,000

*The above listed prices are only for reference purposes. Actual prices can vary depending on location of purchase, quality, and other factors.

Conclusion

Taking all of the above costs into consideration, we can see that even a single person moving in Japan can cost hundreds of thousands of yen. Therefore, many people may not be willing to move as often unless there are special needs such as changing of work place, settling down, or having more children.

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