Kitchens in Tokyo Apartments – What You Can Expect

Although kitchens can be the dream room for some people in the house, Tokyo kitchens might not exactly be your “dream kitchen”.  Or they might be!  Depends on budget and expectations, really.

Tokyo’s apartments are relatively compact, leaving little space for your kitchen. The irony is that if you rent an older apartment, the kitchen sink can actually be quite large. -Although not for the desires you wanted it for, but for all those dishes you will be hand washing– More about that later!

Now let’s get to exploring Tokyo kitchen types/styles, plus a few tips on things you might need for your Japanese cooking life.


Different Kitchen Sizes and Styles

There are several common kitchen types in Tokyo.  Below are the most common.

In general, the overall size of the apartment will mostly determine how much space is available for the kitchen, so if you’re interested in some of the kitchen styles that take up more space, make sure you set your rent budget accordingly (because there is not going to be a 20 sq m corner kitchen, in a 25 sq m apartment, etc.).


– Hallway Kitchen –

Hallway Kitchen
These tend to show up in studios or smaller apartments (1K, etc.- read about Japanese layouts on our “how to rent” article at Step 4 HERE). It is a kitchen found in a hallway, usually separated from the main room with a door.Hallway kitchens usually offer 1 or 2 burners, a small sink, and some counter space. Best for singles, those who don’t cook too much, and cooking for one! Positive side is that these types of kitchens are often separated from the main living space, which means that you don’t have to see that pile of dishes you couldn’t get around to washing. A kitchen separated from the main living space is also good if you’re regularly cooking super strong smelling foods.


– Counter/Bar Kitchen –

Counter/Bar Kitchen
You guessed it- a kitchen with a countertop facing your living space (either dining room or living room).Great for those who want to entertain as they cook.  You’re not separated from your family/friends/guests and can even use bar stools to eat at the counter instead of- or in addition to- a dining table. You can even use the counter as your buffet line, or having an open bar with your favorite bottles! Multi-purpose possibility is a huge point.


– L Shape Kitchen –

L Shape Kitchen
Great for those cooking masters who want to get a full course meal done and presented to your guests. Sometimes these kitchens can even combine with Counter Kitchen styles (above), creating the ultimate kitchen prep space (C Shape- see below). This is a good option for those serious about cooking.


– Island Kitchen –

Island Kitchen
Island style kitchens are basically floating Counter Kitchens, that aren’t attached to a wall.  These offer wide open and flowing spaces, and allow the kitchen to be somewhat part of the entertainment space.  Really good for cooking prep with multiple people.


– C Shape Kitchen –

C Shape Kitchen
This is like the ultimate combination of the “most serious” kitchen styles. As can be seen in the photo above, C Shaped Kitchens make you split into multiple people to do 10 things at once, which is a kitchen super power. The most serious of kitchen shapes!


Kitchen Appliances That Can or Can’t Be Found In Your Tokyo Kitchen

Included appliances for Tokyo kitchens, depend on the size of size of the apartment, as well as the “luxury” nature of it. Typically, MOST Tokyo apartments DO NOT have built-in Ovens, Dishwashers, and Garbage Disposals.

Baking and Casserole dinners are not a common thing here. The typical meal in Japan consists of many small dishes, not one big roast. A bowl of rice, miso soup, a small salad of some vegetables, and a main, typically grilled fish. Never needing an oven, as something like a turkey would.


The Dishwasher situation is pretty similar to the non-usage of clothes dryers situation.  Most people in Tokyo wash their dishes by hand.

Garbage Disposal– What’s that? Instead, they have a small plastic bag in the sink collecting food scraps that gets thrown into the trash once full.


Although Ovens, Dishwashers, and Garbage Disposals are rare, they do start to become more common in higher end apartments. A 1 Bedroom over ¥200,000, or a 2 Bedroom apartment around the ¥300,000~¥400,000+, might have them. If your priority is to have one or all three of those amenities in your kitchen, please know that they are rare under ¥200,000.


A new and fun addition to your kitchen- common to Japan- is the fish broiler.  If an apartment has it, it’s located right under the stove. It is a small mini grill with the primary purpose of cooking fish, but really can be used for mini casseroles, or quesadillas, even crisping up some carnitas after slow-cooking them. However, it’s probably not a good idea for baking.


Most stove tops in Japan are gas. The smaller studio kitchens tend to have IH stovetops, which require specific IH compatible pots and pans to be used on it. Seldom would you find an electric stove top, unless it is a built-in hot plate.




Tips to Help You Become The Next Iron Chef In Your New Tokyo Kitchen

★Already living in Tokyo?  Check out these simple methods for upgrading your kitchen!




We hope that our overview of Tokyo kitchens helps give an insight into what’s possible.  We know for some people, kitchens are a huge priority during apartment hunting.  We will do our best to find you someplace that you’ll love to call your Tokyo home.  BTW- we are currently accepting cookies as thank you gifts!  😉


Another article you might be interested in: 9 Steps for Renting A Tokyo Apartment


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