The new school year is just around the corner in Japan – where the school year starts in April and ends in March – so for our eager scholars looking for some information on how to find a short-term apartment in Tokyo, look no further!
Depending on your learning institution (university, language school, specialty/vocational school, etc.) you might have access to student housing through a dormitory or other school sponsored housing. But, in most cases you should also have the option of finding your own place to stay if you wish to. So in this article I want to go over some of the tips that I have for finding great values for student apartments in Tokyo!
If you need some more background info on apartments in Japan, we have a variety of articles on topics like:
- Japanese Apartment Layouts (understanding 1R/1K/1DK/1LDK etc.)
- Japanese Apartment Bathrooms Explained
- Japanese Apartment Kitchens Explained
- What is the Average Rent in Tokyo: 2020 Ranking by Ward and Layout
There are tons of different paths that students come from and choose to go, but in this article I will focus on short-term, furnished apartments. These (I think) are the most flexible in terms of being able to adjust to changes in your life plan.
The standard Japanese apartment lease is a 2-year lease. But, if you don’t know that you’ll be in Japan for a full 2 years, it doesn’t make sense to get hit with lease cancellation fees. Thus, a short-term apartment makes life much simpler by being able to adapt to what is happening in your life. Be aware that lease terms for short-term apartments can range from 1-month to 1-year – check with your real estate agent so you don’t end up in a position where you have to break your lease!
I can’t say I speak for all students, but budget does seem to be a primary concern for many. When talking about how we found our apartments, my classmates (back when I was a student in Japan) and I found that we just chose whatever was cheapest. And that makes a lot of sense; students are generally pretty limited in terms of how high they can set their budget. With this in mind, chances are you’re probably not going to stay in a high-rise luxury apartment in downtown Tokyo as a student – but you can actually find some very convenient locations with affordable apartments that might surprise you.
As for a basic crash course in navigating the listings page of our website, check the “Short term” and “Furnished” boxes in the search criteria.
Then, you’ll want to focus your search in the area that you want to look for. For example, here’s a link to the available short-term, furnished apartments in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo! If you’re looking for some info about the different areas of Tokyo, head over to our Area Guides to take a look at transportation, livability, and photos around the various neighborhoods of Tokyo.
Back to the matter at hand, here are some examples of short-term furnished apartments in Shinjuku that should prove to be very convenient for those attending schools near downtown Tokyo!
Note: the links below to the listings might be offline by the time you view this article – use our main for rent listings page to start a search with your search criteria if that’s the case!
- Rent: ¥76,550/month ($720 USD)
- Nearest Station: 8 min to Akebonobashi Station (Toei Shinjuku Line – 3 min to Shinjuku, 6 min to Jimbocho)
- Features: Furnished
- Surprisingly enough, it is possible to find student-friendly housing like this in locations that put you just one stop away from the excitement of downtown Shinjuku (which is about 2.5 km away – maybe a 25 minute walk). The agent has listed this apartment as “furnished” on our website, but unfortunately there are not any photos of the interior so if you are interested in this convenient location, it’s a good idea to send an inquiry to the agent to check what type of furniture will be provided. Those moving to a location like this will also have bragging rights of being able to claim they lived in Shinjuku – whether or not that’s important to you is a different story.
- Rent: ¥114,000/month ($1,070 USD)
- Nearest Station: 5 min to Shinjuku-sanchome Station (Fukutoshin subway line, Marunouchi subway line, Toei Shinjuku Line), 15 min to Shinjuku Station
- Features: Furnished
- This apartment might be stretching a typical student budget, but I think it’s still worth a mention when talking about short-term furnished apartments that you can find in Shinjuku. This is an incredible location close to downtown Shinjuku that would be a perfect spot for those looking to really maximize their time exploring the city when living in Tokyo.
Now, those are examples of apartments pretty close to downtown Shinjuku. A location like this will give you a practically unlimited amount of shops/restaurants/cafes/entertainment nearby to explore. Which is really great, but also does mean rent is a little more expensive. But, if you expand your apartment search to even places in Saitama (the prefecture just north of Tokyo), you can find some really awesome values.
- Rent: ¥78,000/month ($730 USD)
- Nearest Station: 4 min to Kawaguchi Station (Keihin-Tohoku Line – 22 min to Ueno; 23 min to Shinjuku, 1 transfer)
- Features: Furnished
- Just a hair more expensive compared to the first apartment in this article, this 1LDK (essentially a 1 bedroom apartment) will provide a more comfortable amount of space. Anybody who has lived in a typical Japanese studio apartment (around 12 sq m or 130 sq ft) will tell you that it can start to feel cramped real quickly, and entertaining more than one guest will quickly use up all the space in the apartment. But a 1LDK apartment like this is a very good choice for those who are worried about the space of a smaller studio apartment. And just over 20 minutes to major hubs in Tokyo, the commute is very reasonable. The listing states that it’s furnished, but the photos don’t show any furniture – which isn’t a red flag or anything, but it’s something that I’d check with the real estate agent about. Use the Inquiry form to contact them and you’ll be able to ask about the state of the furnishing.
- Rent: ¥61,550/month ($580 USD)
- Nearest Station: 14 min to Nishi-Kunitachi Station (Nambu Line – 40 min to Shinjuku, 1 transfer)
- Features: Furnished
- Here’s an example of an apartment in the western part of Tokyo (outside the 23 wards). Apartments around these parts tend to be cheaper in rent and offer a more residential environment. Although, larger stations like Tachikawa are home to a variety of shopping malls and offer a lot of the same conveniences of living around a downtown hub like Ueno or Ikebukuro. This apartment in particular will fall in the more residential neighborhood end of the spectrum, and is also a good balance to the other apartments to show that you can find cheaper alternatives if you look outside of neighborhoods close to downtown Tokyo.
Another feature that is easy to miss is that sometimes these short-term rental apartments will come with a bicycle – which is great, but can also be a little intimidating. A bicycle is really helpful for getting around residential areas – but getting used to the flow of traffic in the city or in your neighborhood can take a little bit of practice. Also, things like knowing where you can park your bicycle or where you need to get off your bicycle (sometimes in shopping streets there are signs, or even unsaid rules, about where/when it’s ok to ride a bicycle on the street). I’ve even heard of stories about police officers detaining foreigners on bicycles and asking about bicycle registration etc. So, just in the process of fully disclosing information I’m throwing this out there. In terms of cycling around Tokyo it took me a few months to gather the courage to get out there – keep your wits about you, use hand signs, etc. Personally I try to stay off the sidewalk as much as possible, but I understand that riding in the road also can be intimidating.
Japanese Language School: Worth It? Video
If your a prospective language school student looking for a first-hand account of someone who attended a language school in Japan, our staff writer Scott talks about his experiences in school in this video: