GaijinPot Housing Service

How to Rent an Apartment in Japan from Overseas

Despite what you may have heard, it is possible to rent an apartment in Japan from overseas, before you even land here.

First, let’s deal with the question of why many agents in Japan do not answer emails or inquiries from outside the country.

Why many agents won’t deal with inquiries from outside Japan

Agents and landlords in Japan usually don’t take applications from overseas because many agents in Japan do not speak English and because completing a rental application usually requires paperwork documenting that you intend to have a medium- to long-term presence in Japan, including:

  • A local phone number
  • A Japanese bank account
  • Ability to pay move-in costs in cash (by domestic bank transfer)
  • A local guarantor (a person who guarantees to pay your rent in case you default)

Applying for an apartment also requires a lot of back-and-forth communication between you, your agent, and the agent or property manager handling the apartment you are applying for. This communication is usually done by phone or email, and applications are handled on a first-come first-served basis.

Especially during the peak rental season (January to March), you can lose your chance at a property if you don’t submit documents in a timely manner. If you are applying from overseas, the time difference can certainly have an effect on your agent’s ability to contact you and vice versa.

Housing discrimination against foreigners is also a big factor. Even if you are the perfect candidate for an apartment in every other way, an agent may choose not to deal with you simply because you are not Japanese; and a landlord may reject your application for the same reason. Unfortunately, they are not required to tell you the reason why they won’t work with you, and even worse, there are real estate agencies that display signage indicating that they will not deal with non-Japanese clients.

However, not all agents in Japan are this way, and more and more agents are open to working with foreign clients, despite the language barrier.

Agents listing properties on Real Estate Japan

All the agents listing For Sale and For Rent properties on Real Estate Japan can handle inquiries in at least two of the following languages: English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese and Japanese and are committed to working with foreign clients.

However, not all agents can handle overseas inquiries. Once in a while, we hear from users that they never got a reply about a property they’ve inquired on. In some cases, this is because the agent is not able to handle overseas inquiries. In other cases, the reason is that the staff person who was responsible for handling inquiries from non-Japanese clients is no longer working for the company and they are in the midst of hiring more staff. Whatever the reason, we apologize if this has happened to you. We also work actively with our partner agents to provide them with resources and consultation on dealing with foreign clients.

GaijinPot Housing Service

But let’s get back to the original question: how can you rent an apartment in Japan from overseas?

It is, in fact possible, with the GaijinPot Housing Service. We started the GaijinPot Housing Service a few years ago to deal with many of the problems faced by foreigners when they are trying apply for rental housing in Japan.

This is a housing service for foreigners looking for an apartment in Japan. With this service:

  • You can apply from overseas
  • Don’t have to speak or read Japanese – And will get full bilingual support
  • Don’t need a guarantor
  • Can pay for everything with a credit card
  • Will not be rejected for an application because of your nationality

When you apply for an apartment through the GaijinPot Housing Service, our staff will work directly with you to help you find a property that is suitable for you. You don’t have to speak or read Japanese and most importantly, you can do the whole application from your home country and move in as soon as you arrive!

The GaijinPot Housing Service currently lists over 2,600 properties throughout Japan.

You can see the full list here: GaijinPot Housing Service Apartments

You can learn more about the service here: GaijinPot Housing Service


Below, we introduce just a few of the several thousand GaijinPot Housing Service properties currently available.

One thing to keep in mind is that initial move-in costs in Japan are very high compared to other countries. In most cases, they are equal to between 5.5 and 7 times the monthly rent, so this is something you should budget for.

Apartment For Rent Near Sagamihara Station – No Key Money – No Agency Fee – 50-min commute to Shinjuku Station – Low move-in cost

Location: 4-min walk from Sagamihara Station on the JR Yokohama line. About a 50-min commute to Shinjuku Station, 44-min ride to Yokohama Station.

This property was built in 1987. For rent is a studio apartment on the 1st-floor. Please click on the photo for the full listing, more photos, and to inquire directly to the agent.

Studio apartment for rent near Sagamihara Station in Sagamihara-shi, about a 50-min commute to Shinjuku. Please click on the photo for the full listing, more photos, and to inquire directly to the agent.

  • Total Monthly Cost: ¥27,430 ($251)/month
  • Key Money: None
  • Deposit: None
  • Agency Fee: ¥40,000
  • Lease Period: 2-year regular lease
  • Total Est. Move-In Costs: ¥165,190
  • Size: 1K studio, 15.00 m² (161-sqft)
  • Floor: 1st-floor in 4-story building
  • Notes: Low move-in costs. This unit will be available in mid-June. Applications are now being accepted on a first-come first-served basis.

Apartment For Rent Near Kanamachi Station – No Key Money – 30-min direct ride to Ueno Station

Location: 3-min walk from Kanamachi Station on the JR Joban Line.

Kanamachi station is two stops from Kita-Senju Station and four stops from Nippori on the Yamanote line, two very convenient hubs. It consistently ranks as one of the most budget-friendly stations to live near in the Tokyo 23 Wards.

Kanamachi is home to Mizumoto Park, one of the largest parks in Tokyo’s 23 wards. It is known for its waterfront scenery and is a favorite among birdwatchers year-round and for hanami (cherry blossom viewing) in the spring.

Bright and clean apartment for rent near Kanamachi Station in Katsuchika Ward, Tokyo. Please click on the photo for the full listing and to inquire directly to the agent.

The property was built in 2010. Please click on the photo for the full listing and to inquire directly to the agent.

  • Total Monthly Cost: ¥63,195 ($577)/month
  • Key Money: None
  • Deposit: None
  • Agency Fee: ¥27,500
  • Lease Period: 2-year regular lease
  • Total Est. Move-In Costs: ¥205,700
  • Size: 1K studio, 20.25 m² (218-sqft)
  • Floor: 1st-floor in 2-story building
  • Notes: Convenient neighborhood with convenience stores and supermarkets nearby. Easy commute to major hub stations like Kita Senju, Nippori, and Ueno.

Apartment for Rent Near Umeyashiki Station – No Key Money – 17-min direct to Shinagawa Station

Location: 8-min walk from Umeyashiki Station on the Keikyu Main line. Great location for commuting directly to Shinagawa, Keikyu Kawasaki, and Yokohama Stations.

This property was built in 2007. Please click on the photo for the listing, more photos, and to inquire directly to the agent.

Sunny studio apartment for rent near Umeyashiki Station. Please click on the photo for the full listing and to inquire directly to the agent.

This is a clean, well-maintained property with a kitchenette and toilet separate from the bathroom. Please click on the photo for the full listing and to inquire directly to the agent.

  • Total Monthly Cost: ¥85,581 ($784)/month
  • Key Money: None
  • Deposit: ¥71,700
  • Agency Fee: Please inquire
  • Lease Period: 2-year regular lease
  • Total Est. Move-In Costs: ¥205,700
  • Size: 1K studio, 20.25 m² (218-sqft)
  • Floor: 1st-floor in 2-story building
  • Notes: This unit will be available in mid-July but the agent is currently accepting applications on a first-come first-served basis. Great neighborhood, within walking distance of two other stations (Kamata and Keikyu Kamata).

Lead photo: United Airlines flight landing at Narita Airport, via Wikimedia Commons