Glossary of Japanese Real Estate Terms: Keywords for Renting an Apartment

By Jeff Wynkoop

The following is a list of important real estate terms for renting an apartment in Japan.

敷金 Deposit

Shikikin. This is the deposit paid when renting out a property. For residences, usually 1-2 months’ rent is required, for offices the amount is usually 6-10 months’ rent.

礼金 Gift or Key Money

This is literally ‘gift money’ and refers to a payment to the landlord or owner for the right to rent out the property. Shikikin will be returned to the tenant upon leaving the property (after deductions for cleaning, etc.), whereas reikin will not.

普通賃借権 Regular lease right

Futsuuchinshakuken. This is a regular lease right under Japanese law, and as a basic rule this type of lease gives the tenant an automatic option to renew the lease upon expiration.

定期賃借権 Fixed-term lease right

Teikichinshakuken. This is a ‘fixed term’ lease right. In contrast to a regular lease, this type of lease does not give the tenant the right to renew upon expiration.

地上権 Superficies

Chijouken. This is known as a superficies in English, and is similar to an easement or a leasehold right in common law countries. A superficies gives the person benefitting from the superficies the right to own property (such as trees or a building) which is located on another person’s parcel of land.

共益費 Common Area Maintenance (CAM) Fee

Kyouekihi. This means common area maintenance charge (or CAM) which is usually payable monthly to the landlord along with rent. This charge is for the cleaning of common areas, trash collection, etc.

借地借家法 Law on Leasing Land and Buildings

Shakuchishakuyahou. This is the Law on Leasing Land and Buildings. This law regulates the rights and obligations of parties in most leases in Japan, and is known to be relatively tenant-friendly.


One Room. A one room apartment. Usually includes an en suite toilet/bathroom and kitchenette.


This is shorthand for the types of spaces offered in an apartment. 1K means a one room apartment with a kitchen. 1DK means a one room apartment with dining area and kitchen. 1LDK is a one room apartment with living, dining, and kitchen area. Most families desire to live in a 2LDK or 3LDK.


Akewatashi. This is the word used for delivery (or vacation) of a property (rather than physical delivery, which is hikiwatashi).

正当事由 Justifiable reason

Seitoujiyuu. This means ‘justifiable reason’ and refers to the only grounds which allow a landlord to cause a regular lease to end upon expiration. What constitutes a justifiable reason under Japanese law is generally narrowly construed.

立退き料 Tachinokiryou

Traditionally this is the payment that landlords had to give to tenants to cause a lease to expire.

畳 Tatami

This means ‘rush (grass) mat’ and refers to the mats that make up floors in traditional Japanese houses. In modern Japan the number of tatami (also known as jo) in a house is used to describe floor area. One tatami equals 1.65 square meters, although the size of tatami differs depending on the region of Japan. The Nagoya size is used most frequently (1.65 square meters).

アパート Apaato

This is an abbreviation of the English word ‘apartment’. It is used to denote less modern apartments located in older buildings.  Generally apaato refer to two-story residential buildings made of wood.

マンシォン Mansion

This is another type of apartment and is used with respect to more modern properties. It is also often used to refer to condominium apartments (bunjou mansion). Mansions usually have three or more stories and are usually constructed of steel, reinforced concrete or steel-reinforced concrete.

分譲賃貸 Bunjouchintai

This refers to properties which were first built for individual sale, but are currently being leased out.

鉄鋼鉄筋 コンクリート Steel reinforced concrete

Tekkoutekkin konkriito. This means steel reinforced concrete, which is the safest building material for earthquakes. Also referred to as SRC.

更新料 Renewal Fee

Koshinryo. This is the renewal fee some landlords require in order to renew an existing lease. For residences, the koshinryou is usually 0.5-1 months’ rent.

原状回復 Genjoukaifuku

This means ‘restoration to original condition’ and is the basic standard landlords hold properties to when a tenant vacates an apartment. Please see this article for an explanation of what tenants and landlords are responsible for when a lease ends.

連帯保証人 Joint Guarantor

Rentaihoshounin. This is the Japanese word for joint guarantor, which often times tenants must furnish to landlords to be allowed to lease a property.

区分所有法 The Japanese Condominum Law

Kubunshoyuuhou. This is the law that contains the basic rights and duties of parties living in a condominium. Some of the contents of the law are mandatory, and some may be amended by agreement of the condo owners in the bylaws (規約kiyaku) and/or meetings of the Homeowners’ Association (管理組合 kanri kumiai).

You may also be interested in: Glossary of Japanese Real Estate Terms: Selling and Purchasing and Guide to Japanese Apartments: Floorplans, Photos, and Kanji Keywords

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