Tokyo doesn’t have to be as expensive! Even for a big city, you can find convenient, affordable apartments that are friendly to first-time renters and young professionals just getting started in their careers.
Today we’re going to highlight a few neighborhoods to check out if living cheaply is a priority in your apartment search. We will highlight a few apartments in the $500 a month range, as well, to give you an idea of what to expect.
At this price point all the apartments will be 1R studio apartments. It’s pretty unlikely to find anything more spacious unless you are also considering a 60-min commute or living in a 30+ year-old building. However, those option do exist if you are curious!
The numbers show that the most affordable wards tend to be the northern culprits: Katsushika, Kita, Itabashi, Nerima, and Adachi. For even more info, check out our article with an in-depth breakdown of average rent by layout in the 23 wards of Tokyo. In today’s article we’ll introduce a few examples of affordable apartments and the neighborhoods where you can find them!
To start things off we have a very balanced entry-level apartment for rent in Nerima Ward. Not too far from the station, a reasonable 12-min walk. Nerima Station itself is no slouch. Here you’ll find a wide variety of shopping and dining options, brought to you by the Coconeri shopping mall and Emio shopping mall. It’s very convenient to have familiar shops near your station. And to top it off, Nerima Station is directly connected to the major hub of Ikebukuro Station via the Seibu Ikebukuro Line – just 10 min away! This quick and easy commute into the city is a huge bonus for those working or studying closer to the city center.
Although the apartments in this price range of ¥50,000/month will tend to be pretty similar in terms of interior and features, you have a decent amount of options to consider when it comes to picking which neighborhood you want to live in. For example, the apartment above near the Koenji neighborhood would give you access to the Chuo Line to take out towards Kichijoji, Tachikawa, or even further west towards Takao (popular mountain for day hiking). This is a very livable residential neighborhood, and thanks to the easy transportation into the city it’s a great choice for commuters as well.
If you keep your eyes open you’ll also be able to find recently built apartments at this price range! Built in 2018, this newer construction allows for features like built-in Wi-Fi for residents – a real value that can help with keeping monthly costs low (a dedicated internet connection for home can cost around ¥5,000 – ¥7,000/month or more depending on the speed). Trash bins are also a nice feature to help keep the area around your apartment neat.
One of the most difficult factors to plan for when moving to a new apartment in Japan is how expensive initial move in fees will be. We’ve written articles to help give potential apartment renters an idea of what moving to a new apartment in Japan is like (How to Avoid Hidden Costs When Renting an Apartment in Japan, How Much Do I Have to Budget to Move to Japan?), which are good resources for gauging the true cost of moving. So, apartments like the above which do not require key money or a deposit are a fantastic value to the budget-minded apartment hunter.
Another example of a no deposit/no key money apartment! This apartment also comes with a small refrigerator – a great perk for those moving into their first apartment in Japan. The neighborhoods in Katsushika Ward tend to be a fairly different version of Tokyo compared to the bright lights and excitement of Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Harajuku. This makes it an ideal location for those who prefer living in a more subdued residential area. And at just 14 min to Akihabara Station via the Chuo-Sobu Line, it’s still very accessible for getting into downtown Tokyo.
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Lead image background photo: Tokyo and Chiba across the Edogawa, via iStock