When you’re just out of college or otherwise still pretty young, it’s hard to find the footing to get started in your career and life. And doing so outside of the comforts of your home country brings a whole ‘nother barrel of factors to consider (language barrier, culture barrier, finding new social circles, dating in a different country, lack of family contact, I could keep going folks). It can feel like there’s a lot of pressure when you’re just trying to dip your toes into life in Japan.
Personally, I felt like I was in a no man’s land after my first year: I kind of wanted to stay in Japan longer, but I wasn’t sure if I would be able to overcome the mental and social obstacles that made it seem so difficult to find solid footing for a successful future.
The concept of “thriving” in Japan probably isn’t that important for those coming to live in Japan for one year or shorter. It’s simply just not long enough to build a new life. That being said, those coming to Japan for a short-term experience should definitely learn as much about Japan and enjoy all the parts of the country that they can. But this idea of planning ahead for a successful life as a foreigner really only becomes important when your years in Japan begin adding up.
If you are finding yourself in this strange push-and-pull between Japan and your home country, take a look at some of the housing options and examples we’ve hand-picked below. A comfortable home environment can do a lot to help you focus on doing your best!
Share houses are an unmatchable resource for those who aren’t quite sure if they’re ready to move into an apartment on their own in Japan. This helps in so many small ways: furniture is ready, low move in costs (generally share houses only require cleaning fee plus a month’s rent as a deposit to move in – but always check with your agent), appliances are set up, utilities are taken care of, and you’ll have a social circle to interact with (again, your mileage may vary).
The photos above will link you to this share house in Suginami Ward. I think share houses sometimes get a bad rep for being old, cramped, dirty homes that are poorly managed. And when I was out doing room viewings as I prepared to make a move to Tokyo I did find such residences. If your budget is very low, those are definitely options to keep in mind. However, at just ¥51,800 per month, this is a very reasonable price for furnished housing! Not having to worry about purchasing and moving furniture was a huge convenience for me when living in a share house.
If your hobbies and interests include video games, you might be interested in a gaming share house like this one in Itabashi Ward. Outfitted with current gaming consoles and even computers for residents, this is a way to join social groups that share your interests!
Above is an example of a more recently built (2017) share house with newer appliances. The washer/dryer combo is an awesome benefit to have (most studio apartments in Japan are not set up to allow for a dryer). And as an added bonus, this share house allows for small pets in your room as long as they don’t make noise!
Unfortunately, currently, there’s no way on our website to search for these unique criteria (video games, pets, etc.) but if those are priorities in your apartment search, please feel free to send an inquiry to agents with your needs and they’ll do their best to find an appropriate solution for your apartment hunt!
Another option for those about to take the plunge into a longer, potentially life-long stay in Japan is to get a start in a furnished apartment. A lot of the same benefits of share houses can be found in furnished apartments, the trade-off being less social interaction for increased privacy.
This 1K furnished apartment in Toshima Ward does seem a little bit pricy at 100,000 per month. But, it is recently built (2018) and actually spacious enough for 2 people; making this a very viable option for a couple looking for a quick and easy apartment to move into in Tokyo. On top of that, the location at 5 minutes to Otsuka Station puts renters right next to the convenient Yamanote Line (12 min to Shinjuku, 16 min to Ueno).
If you are flexible with the location of your apartment, you can find that there are areas with more affordable rent on average (for more details, check out our in-depth article comparing the average rent varies between wards and layouts for 2020). One such ward with lower rent is Katsushika Ward to the northeast edge of the 23 wards of Tokyo. This furnished 1K apartment for rent in Katsushika Ward gives residents a comfortable living space to get their life in Tokyo started.
These are just examples of housing solutions that can help bridge that gap for those who are looking for a community in Tokyo, an apartment with low move-in costs, or those who are not quite ready to sign a 2-year contract for an apartment, but still want to explore the city. If you’re curious, here’s a quick rundown of how much money you can save by staying at a share house compared to signing a 2-year lease for an apartment (the deposit, key money, and other initial fees add up quick)!