If you follow our blog and our Facebook page you’ve probably noticed that we share information on furnished apartments from time to time. Furnished apartments are extremely convenient for a variety of purposes: students only planning on staying in Japan for a year, those visiting Japan on vacation, and those moving to Japan for long-term looking for an immediate solution for accommodations. Most furnished apartments operate along with the possibility of short-term rental (but not all, so make sure to double-check with the agent with the property you’re interested in), which generally means the move-in process is simple.
To get a better understanding of this process, our partners at WACLASS have given us the opportunity to check out one of their short-term rental apartments for a night! Here’s our guided process behind how we chose the apartment and what was in store for us when we arrived!
Choosing an Apartment
There are a variety of factors that go into selecting a short-term furnished apartment. Here’s a quick list of criteria that we used.
- Location – Especially important if you’re on a tight schedule of sightseeing (or for business meetings). It’s extremely helpful to have an apartment that is either near places of interest to you, or near a station that can get you there quickly.
- Elevator Access – Some apartment buildings might not have elevators. Keep this in mind, because it can be pretty uncomfortable to carry your luggage up 5 stories after a long flight and arriving in a city where that you don’t know.
- Apartment Size – If you’re traveling in a group, you can find some spacious furnished apartments for short-term rental in Tokyo. Just make sure to double check the number of beds available in the apartment!
- Available Appliances – While most furnished apartments have appliances like refrigerators and microwaves (even so, you should ask the agent for a list of what appliances will be provided), appliances like washing machines might not be included in the room. Or, it may be the case where shared coin-operated machines are available in a public area.
- Additional Expenses – The last thing you want on your vacation is to be hit with additional fees that you didn’t plan for. It’s best to ask the agent managing the apartment you’re interested in about utility fees (water, gas, electricity, internet, etc.), and you should check if deposits are refundable.
After considering the above, it’s time to check out the options on the listings at realestate.co.jp! Here’s the first-hand account from our staff writer who made a record of her journey to find and stay at a furnished apartment in Tokyo! (Article originally written in Chinese.)
Step 1 Using the Search Tools to Find an Apartment
After I decided on the apartment size, closest station, and budget, I headed to the Real Estate Japan listings to start my search.
You can use the search tools on our home page, or access the listings using the Rent button at the top.
When you’re on the listings, use the Search Tools to the right to enter in your criteria. These are the requirements I chose for my short-term furnished apartment search.
After clicking “Search” the results page brought up a few apartments. You can click on the photo, the top title, or the “Details” button to get to the listing for a specific apartment. The apartment above also happens to be the one that I decided to go with for this experiment!
Step 2 Contacting the Agent
After accessing the listing and reading through the apartment details, I decided on booking the apartment. At first, the monthly rate of ¥360,000 seemed way out of my budget, but then I calculated how much that would cost for a short stay and realized it would be pretty reasonable (especially when factoring the apartment size and location). But, I wanted to know more about additional fees so I decided to send an inquiry to the agent.
On the listing page, fill out the “Inquire” form to get in touch with the agent managing the apartment.
Provide the most accurate information you can when contacting the agent. This way they’ll be able to give you their best recommendations and closest estimates for any fees.
Step 3 Complete Application to Rent the Apartment and Sign the Contract
I sent an inquiry to the agent using the form in the screenshot above. After a few days I received a reply confirming the date of my stay and the total costs. Upon agreeing to the terms, the agent sent an email contract to me that I was able to fill out and return – it was really simple! All that this agent required was a photocopy of my passport and my home address. This was all done online, so I didn’t have to even leave my house to book the apartment!
Step 4 Pay Rent
For this particular apartment the fees were rent, security deposit, and cleaning fee. Utilities were included in the rent, but be aware that not all short-term rental apartments operate like this!
Step 5 Receive Check-in Guide
After payment is confirmed by the agent, they’ll send instructions on how to get to and check into the apartment. The check-in guide contains information such as directions, apartment address/map, room number, details on how to enter the apartment building, details on how to get the keys, and other precautions. Definitely make sure you can access this when you’re heading out to the apartment. Printing a copy of the instructions could also be a good idea in case you won’t have internet (if you’re just arriving in Japan for instance).
The door of the apartment is automatically locked (オートロック, Auto Lock), and you need to enter the password to enter the building. Since the management company emailed the password to me, I was able to enter the password directly to enter the building.
When I entered the building I noticed that there is a delivery box in this building. If you buy something on the internet, you can ask the delivery person to place it in the delivery box. Then, you can retrieve it when you return home. (Note: If you want to use the home delivery box, you must ask the management company how to use it in advance. For example, the home delivery box of this apartment is only available to guests staying for more than 3 months because of the need for a special IC key.)
Step 6 Checking in
Just like staying in a hotel, this short-term rental apartment also had a check-in/check-out time. When you’re discussing the terms of the stay with the agent, make sure that you understand when the check-in/check-out times are (if they have any).
It’s of utmost importance to confirm what items and equipment are in the apartment. This way you can contact the management agency quickly to ensure that your stay is comfy and stress-free. Also, documenting the appliances can help you in the case that you find something is malfunctioning. If the management company mistakenly believes that you have broken it, you can have proof of the state of the appliances upon your arrival.
Here are more photos of the apartment!
Step 7 Check-out and Returning Keys
The check-out time specified by the management company for this apartment is 11 AM. I made sure that I had all my luggage and that everything was where I found it before I left the apartment. I locked the door when I checked out, then put the key back into the key box, and locked that. The management company said that once a guest carelessly forgot to lock the door, and he also took the key away!
In addition, the most important thing before checking out is to make sure you’re not taking anything that belongs in the apartment. If you accidentally forget something in the apartment, it will be very troublesome to confirm or retrieve it from the management company. Or, if you accidentally take away something tat belongs in the apartment, you will be required to pay compensation.
I received my refunded deposit in a few days with no problems.
Overall, this short-term furnished apartment experience was just like living in my own home or staying at a friend’s home: comfortable (and actually even more luxurious). Reinforced concrete buildings are more heat-resistant than wooden buildings. Indoor air conditioners and floors also have heating, so this apartment will feel quite warm in winter.
In addition, the apartment is also fully equipped with appliances and amenities, just like a hotel. All you have to do is show up with your luggage. The only difference with a hotel is that you are responsible for keeping the apartment clean during your stay, and most of the cleaning services will be charged separately.
I hope you’re able to get a better idea of the rental process through this article! If you also want to experience Japanese life, you should definitely consider a short-term rental apartment!
WACLASS Furnished Short Term Apartments
The apartment that our staff writer stayed in is owned and operated by WACLASS, which currently lists over twenty well-appointed designer apartments in convenient locations around Tokyo. To see available rooms, please click: WACLASS short term apartments in Tokyo
Lead photo: Real Estate Japan staff