Questions on moving to Japan and finding the right apartment?
We have you covered in our FAQ.
Simply put, all real estate agencies access the same national databases. With the exception of exclusive listings for a few luxury apartments, you can get the same apartment information from any agency.
That being said, everyone needs to know that you have only 1 chance to apply to an apartment. Once your application is processed by the property manager (not the real estate agency), and if by chance, you are rejected, you can not ask another agency to reapply to the same apartment.
This is where our team at Apts.jp is at your service -- when we apply on your behalf, we build the strongest case for the property manager to accept you.
We work with our clients on a personal level to find them lifestyle-enhancing apartments in Tokyo!
We've helped many of our clients with all of the following- part of our full-service package that's standard for all clients- but it's definitely good to know what is required for moving in and out of an apartment.
For mobile phones, you can go to any of the major carriers (NTT Docomo, AU Mobile, Softbank Mobile), but if you have your residence card and a credit card, IIJmio has the best deals. For IIJmio, you can go to a BIC Camera and register there, or if you can read Japanese, you can register online.
Inkan ("signature seal/stamp")
If you plan to stay 2 years in Japan, definitely buy an inkan, because having one will make your life a lot easier. Figure out how you want your last name spelled (hiragana, katakana, or Roman alphabet). Usually, it only costs 3-4,000 JPY to make, but it will depend on how many letters there are in your name. It normally takes 4 hours to make, but for an extra fee, some places like Hanko21, will make it immediately.
If you stay more than 2 years, buy 3 inkans. First one for stamping non-contract documents, 2nd one for bank accounts, 3rd for contracts (this one needs to be registered at your local ward office and once registered, it'll be your official seal "jitsuin".
Opening an account at Mitsui Sumitomo Bank, Mizuho Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Bank, or Japan Postal Yucho bank is best. All business transactions revolve around those 4 main institutions, but to apply, you need an inkan "signature seal/stamp", residence card with registered address, and passport. The registration is all in Japanese, so having a friend to help translate will come in handy, or just ask us :)
Other options with English registration are Prestia (SMBC Trust Bank) and Shinsei Bank.
One thing you should make sure with your bank (in your country of origin) - and prior to your arrive in Japan - is to release the transfer limit for international fund transfers. Initial costs are pretty hefty.
Procedures at the Ward or City Office
Notification of Departure and Arrival
To ensure a smooth transition, it is necessary to submit a "Leaving Residence Notification" at the City or Ward office where you currently reside. Within 14 days of your moving date, you will receive a "Certificate of Leaving" upon submission. Similarly, when moving to a new area, it is important to submit an "Incoming Residence Notification" at the City or Ward Office of your new location within 14 days. In case you are relocating within the same area, please submit a "Changing Residence Notification."
For opening / closing your account, submit an application at the following link:
For opening / closing your account, call the Customer Center in Japan:
For opening / closing your account, submit an application at the following link:
Mailing Address (Japan Post)
Please go to your local post office to change your mailing address. For more information:
Step 1: Search Properties or Contact Us
Contact us for any inquiries- we will help you find a great home!
We will also discuss what kind of support you would like from our full care-package service (https://apts.jp/services).
Step 2: Schedule Apartment Tour
Let us know your schedule and we will set up apartment viewings.
Step 3: Apply to Apartment
In order to apply to an apartment, the following items required to submit applications may take time to prepare, so we recommend that you ready them as soon as possible (ideally, you would have these prepared before applying to apartments to expedite the application process):
Other requirements that you may need to prepare:
Step 4: Contract
If your application is approved, you can move on to the final contract process. If you can't read Japanese, we will review the terms and conditions of the contract together. You will need an inkan for the signing- please ask your agent whether it has to be a registered seal. Also, at this time, you will need to have opened a Japanese bank account to pay the initial move-in costs.
Step 5: Move-in
Home, Sweet Home!
Common Area Usage
Don’t leave personal items in the building’s common areas, such as building entrance, hallways, terraces, and lounges. Also, placing personal and business advertisements are prohibited within building common areas.
Do not pour cooking oil or any pipe cleaning agents down the drain.
Be mindful of the noise levels coming from your apartment. Repeat offenders may have their contract terminated.
Notify the building management if you leave your apartment for more than a month.
No Outdoor Grilling
Barbeque within building premises is usually prohibited, unless you have written consent from the owner.
Each of Tokyo’s wards have different garbage pick-up dates. For most areas, you must separate your trash- burnable, non-burnable, and recyclable; ask your building manager for details.
Do not use the apartment for purposes not stated in the contract.
(e.g. sub-leasing, Airbnb, etc.)
Prior to vacating the apartment, the tenant is responsible for repairing any non-natural wear and tear damages.
Remodeling the Apartment
Remodeling or any alteration of the apartment without written consent from the owner may result in the immediate termination of your contract, as well as fees for reverting the alterations.
Contract Early-Termination and Fees
The contract will state how many months prior you need to notify the property manager/owner before your move-out date. The contract period is usually 2 years and if you move out within the first year, there may be an early-termination fee.
You will have no problem applying for an apartment with a monthly income 3 times that of the rent. For example, if the total monthly rent is 120,000 JPY, you would be in a great position with a monthly income of around 360,000 JPY (4,320,000 JPY annually).
If your income is below 3 times that of the rent, it becomes very difficult to get approved for an apartment.
Two factors affect how landlords and property managers set up the screening process.
First, Japan does not have a credit score to cross reference your eligibility to rent. Second, Japan real estate regulations make it next to impossible for landlords to evict tenants if the contract is a standard lease (as opposed to fixed-term lease); and most properties on the market are standard leases. To mitigate risk for landlords, property managers may ask many personal questions that could seem irrelevant to the rental process
What to expect?
Each landlord / property management company will have different criteria, but overall, we've found that submitting financial statements or letter of employment that shows a stable source of income is the biggest factor for assessing your eligibility. If your monthly salary is not 3 times the rent, the likelihood of passing screening is very low. If you don't have financial statements, your letter of employment must state your job description, job title, and monthly or annual salary. (If you are a business owner, freelancer, or a student, the required documents are different. Please contact us and we will find the best solution for your circumstance.)
Another big factor is your Japanese proficiency. It has become more mandatory that tenants sign up to a guarantor company, so expect a call from them inquiring about your background once your application has been submitted. (Some are very professional and polite; others, very rude and unfriendly. In either case, keep your composure.) If the apartment you choose has this Japanese proficiency requirement, the guarantor company will assess your level when they call you.
Guarantor / PM phone call: Questions to expect
Any information you provided to fill in an application form will be confirmed during the call.
If you pass the guarantor company's screening process, the landlord will review your application and will have the final say.
Apts.jp takes no part in this screening process, but we will prepare your case so that you will have the best chance of being approved.