How to find a Short Term Apartment in Tokyo

Although due to the ageing population and low birth rate, Japan as a whole is experiencing rapid population decline, the same cannot be said for Tokyo, the country’s capital city.

Tokyo is one of the world’s largest cities with a population of 13.8 million although the main 23 wards of central Tokyo only have a population of 9.3 million this still leaves the city standing as the world’s 6th most populous city.

Both culturally and commercially Tokyo is a buzzing place to be and a city undergoing radical change. It is a popular place to live to say the least and this does of course impact the prices.

Japan has a reputation for being notoriously expensive and although this is true in certain areas of the city the cost of living has been consistently dropping for around 20 years due to flat inflation rates.

It is possible to find high quality short-term rental accommodation in Tokyo but you need to know where to look. This post is designed those looking for a place to rent in Tokyo for 3 months to 1 year. It is not going to be useful information for holiday makers and those on a week long business trip.


Pedestrian-Crossing-in-Akihabara, Tokyo

Photo by Jezael Melgoza on Unsplash

Finding and arranging a short term apartment rental in Tokyo can be tricky for a few reasons – firstly there are fewer apartments available for short term rental than in other major cities – this is changing now but traditionally Japanese landlords are quite conservative and prefer to opt for long-term tenants.

Tied into the long term rental culture are all kinds of costs that are particular to Japan such as a gift to the landlord in advance for taking care of you, deposits of up to 2 or 3 months rent and the necessity of a guarantor. None of these costs are viable for those looking for a short term rental in Tokyo so it is important to get good advice in order to save both time and money.

Finally, as a foreigner things can be a little more difficult due to the language barrier and landlords perceived difficulty of dealing with foreigners. Therefore there are fewer short term rentals available in Tokyo for foreigners than for the native Japanese population.

A short-term apartment can offer many of the conveniences of home ownership such as having a fully furnished functional living space, kitchen, as well as amenities such as meeting spaces, weight rooms or exercise equipment close at hand. These kinds of facilities are not available in all rental apartments in Tokyo but are common. This article will address the art of finding a short-term apartment that will suit all of your needs when you are in Tokyo.

There are several factors you ought to take note of during your property search, Including your budget, location, requirements and desires.

Set a Budget

The first factor that must be considered when looking for a short-term apartment in Tokyo is budget setting.

Different areas carry different costs. At the time of writing a 1 bedroom apartment (20m2) in Shinjuku costs from ¥130,000 per month whereas the same sized apartment in Roppongi area will start at around ¥170,000 per month.

How much more expensive are short term apartment rentals in Tokyo?

When renting for less than 1 year you will expect to pay a premium on your apartment rental price. How much more of course varies but on average you can expect to pay around 20% more per month. This is partly for the inconvenience for the landlord of a short term let but also it is often because short term rentals are fully furnished and in serviced buildings with a concierge and maintenance right at hand.

Time needed to find a short-term rental apartment in Tokyo

Securing accommodation for a short-term in Tokyo requires that you apply for the space in good time as contracts can take a week or two to organise. This varies by property (each management company is a little different) and also it may depend on the season and how busy real estate agents and property lawyers etc are.

Typically a short term rental can be done within the space of two to three weeks once you have decided on a property. We recommend that you contact us to get an idea of timelines as early as possible.

Search for your ideal space

Location is a critical factor to consider when searching for a short-term apartment in Tokyo. Do you want a place close to your work or one that best suits your lifestyle, or ideally both?

You may need to make some compromises here – the areas of Tokyo that offer quiet neighbourhoods, in a central location as well as really good dining and entertainment are typically the most pricey areas.

Commuting in Tokyo can be very stressful on the trains so the time you spend commuting each day can have a material impact on your quality of life so please factor this in.

Being a foreigner in Tokyo, you may also want to consider the population of other foreigners in your neighbourhood. The areas of Tokyo with fewer foreigners may offer you a richer cultural experience and help you to brush up on your Japanese language skills but on the other hand having some nice bars that are frequented by other foreigners can be great for sharing your experiences of the city freely and quickly exchanging knowledge and information.

Give some thought to your weekends too – Tokyo has a great transport system but if you want to be taking the Shinkansen out of the city to the mountains for skiing at weekends then it makes sense to live close to a station where the Shinkansen runs from such as Shinjuku, Ueno or Tokyo.


For initial costs, please check the property page or contact us for more information.

Thank you. Team