3 Tips for Taking the Stress Out of Furnishing Your Apartment in Japan

In Japan, January marks the start of the busy moving season as it’s a few months away from the start of the Japanese fiscal year on April 1st. However, moving usually peaks around mid-February to early April.

Below are three tips taking some of the hassle out of furnishing your new apartment based on my own experience and from my work at the GaijinPot Housing Service.

Figure out how big your apartment really is: Measure!

I have a friend who recently moved to Japan for work. He lived in temporary housing for a while, but decided to move to an apartment of his own. Just last month, he was finally able to settle everything without problem besides one thing: the furniture he ordered online crammed his apartment!

While moving, a lot of things usually take up our consciousness. In Japan, you will need to cancel and set up utilities, figure out how to move your furniture, and re-register your address with your phone, bank, work, school and other important places. For people who’ve just come from abroad, acquiring furniture is important, but surprisingly, it doesn’t occur to some that your furniture might not actually.. fit.

While it may come as a no-brainer for most, it’s surprisingly easy to forget, or even if you don’t forget–easy to put off actually measuring the dimensions of the furniture that you plan to get for your apartment to look like. 

I personally get the feeling: it’s easy to get carried away, imaging how you’d want your apartment to be. But taking time to figure out how large (or small!) everything should be, has definitely got to be something you must not forget to keep in mind.

Use online furniture stores

I am sure everyone who’s lived in Japan for long is familiar with the abundance and easy access to good quality and affordable furniture.

Brands like Nitori and IKEA dominate the market, are always expanding, and are easily accessible through the larger cities by being just a quick train ride or drive away. Delivery services in Japan are also extremely fast, reliable, and relatively inexpensive.

As of this writing, IKEA is running a “New Life” campaign, where delivery is free within their main delivery areas (outside the main area, it’s ¥9,800). You can see the details here: IKEA New Life furniture delivery.

Some other well-known brands include Lowya and Hinata Life. The stores I listed above do happen to have measurements to most of their items accessible on their website.

Of course, online retailers like Rakuten and Amazon also host many furniture and interior stores on their platform.

If you are interested in some lesser-known, but still cute and trendy furniture stores, you can check out this article I wrote on home decor stores as well! 

Rental Furniture

If you’re moving to the country for a short period of time, expect to fly home by a certain deadline, or just don’t want to be hassled by figuring out how to get rid of furniture once you want to throw them away, then another option to consider would be renting furniture.

Renting furniture allows the freedom to pick only the appliances or interior you want, while knowing that installation and returning would not be a problem in the future. While of course, it might be a bit pricey at first, it’d be better in the long run as it poses more benefits than drawbacks.

One benefit of rental furniture that some people may forget about is getting rid of your furniture when you move out or move back to your home country. In Japan you have to pay an additional fee to dispose of what is called oversized garbage (sodai gomi). This can really add up if you are throwing away many pieces of large furniture like a bed or a couch.

For house hunters who don’t want to move into a pre-furnished unit, or handle doing everything on their own in Japanese, the GaijinPot Housing Service does offer assistance with a customized rental furniture plan!

We’ll be glad to assist with your move if you could inquire with the GaijinPot Housing Service. Please feel free to touch base with us anytime!

GaijinPot Housing Service

If you are looking for an apartment in Japan (whether you’re applying from overseas or are already in-country), check out the GaijinPot Housing Service. With the GaijinPot Housing Service, you:

  • Can choose from 3,000+ properties throughout Japan.
  • Don’t need a guarantor.
  • Can apply from overseas.
  • Pay all your upfront costs and monthly costs with a credit card.
  • Receive full English service, from the room view, to application, to post-move-in support.

Learn More About the GaijinPot Housing Service


Article by Cindy


Cindy works for the GaijinPot Housing Service, helping foreigners find their home in Japan. She relocated to Japan after graduating from De La Salle University in the Philippines. Read Cindy’s self-intro to find out what brought her here!


Lead photo: iStock


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