Guarantor Options for Foreign Residents in Japan

Arranging a Japanese guarantor is perhaps the most difficult part of applying for an apartment for newcomers to Japan. You may not know anybody at all, or perhaps you have some Japanese acquaintances but don’t feel comfortable asking for them to vouch for you. Whatever the reason, you’ll be glad to know there are a number of options available.

When applying for an apartment in Japan, you will be asked to provide the contact details and signature of a guarantor. In most cases, a guarantor must be a full-time employed Japanese person who is willing to cover your rent in the case that you fail to pay, as well as the cost of any damages.

Guarantor companies bridge the gap for people who are not able to arrange their own guarantor and are used by Japanese and foreign residents alike. Many landlords and property managers ask tenants to use guarantor companies as they are considered more reliable, and some have specific vendors they prefer.

The following are agencies we regularly work with and can recommend for people in need of a guarantor. If a property manager requires a specific guarantor, this will be written on the apartment’s property listing.


1. iSmile by iThinkRent (Japanese Only)

iSmile by iThinkRent is one of the few guarantor companies who allow tenants to pay their rent with their credit card. This is a great option if your credit card has a good points program; simply complete the application process and pass the background check, and you’ll be racking up points for a holiday in no time!


  • English support
  • Pay rent with your Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club, or JCB credit card
  • Earn points on your credit card just like any other purchase


  • 1 month’s rent (divided over 12 months), paid annually



2. GTN (Global Trust Network)

GTN started as a service aimed at exchange students but now offer their services to anyone in need of a guarantor in Japan. They reassure apprehensive landlords by not only promising to cover your rent if you don’t pay, but guaranteeing storage or disposal of your belongings if you skip the country.


  • Support in Japanese, Korean, Chinese, English, Vietnamese and Nepali
  • Will act as a guarantor for students, or foreign-residents who work part-time
  • You don’t need a credit card


  • 30~100% of your monthly rent (depending on property), paid annually



3. Casa

Although they do not currently offer support in English, Casa is another guarantor company providing services for foreign residents. Their main benefit is a members-only website offering coupons and freebies for all sorts of goods and services. If you choose to go with Casa, can assist you with the paperwork, however, to complete the application you will need to speak on the phone with them which requires a “daily-conversation” level of Japanese (or a friend who can help).


  • Members-only coupon/gift website
  • You don’t need a credit card


  • 70% of your monthly rent


Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information on guarantors and what would best suit you. If you’re looking for more information on renting in general, take a look at our Before You Rent section for advice on how to best prepare yourself for house-hunting and the application process.

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