Expat Exchange
Hanami Festival in Kyoto, Japan
Hanami Festival in Kyoto, Japan
Hanami Festival in Kyoto, Japan

Real Estate in Japan

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Nov 27, 2021

Summary: Expats and retirees talk about real estate in Japan? How do you find a home in Japan? Should you buy or rent? What is the cost of housing?

William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance

How do I find a place to live in Japan?

Live in Japan? Answer this Question

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"I chose my neighborhood based on my commute to work. I found something that only took one train and was under 30 minutes. I specifically found my apartment with the help of a real estate agent, which is the norm here. I told him my preferences and sent him some listings that interested me. He responded by showing me some of the listings I found and some other similar places he had found," said another person in Tokyo.

"I live on base but I have lived off base before. They don't insulate their homes out in Japan. I would suggest a electric blanket., Space heaters for your rooms for the winter. I know the military use gas ones not elec," added another expat who made the move to Kanagawa Perfecture.

"My husband's company gave us a real estate agent. We told her what we were looking for, and our price range. We also brought our dog with us, so it was much more difficult to find a place. Most places that allowed dogs were much more expensive," explained one foreigner living in Tokyo, Japan.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Japan?

Live in Japan? Answer this Question

"I live in a "mansion" apartment, meaning it's in a high-rise building. It is normal for most people in the city to live in one. Expats might live in sharehouses or pre-furnished apartments for the lower costs and convenience, respectively," said another person in Tokyo.

"I lived in a Mansion ( high rise) 10 yrs ago off base. I had a agent find me a place. Its best to have a Japanese represent you to landlords. They will speak for you & if any problems ,can represent you," added another expat who made the move to Kanagawa Perfecture.

"We live in a two-bedroom apartment, called a "mansion". This means it is newer construction, built mostly of concrete and brick. It is a small building, with only 5 other tenants. The owner lives on the first floor. Our neighborhood is all Japanese, and we are the only foreingers in our area.This is not typical - most expats either live in high-class apartments that cater to foreigners, or else in tiny traditional apartments. It depends on your payscale. (ie executive or English teacher)," explained one foreigner living in Tokyo, Japan.

"Typically in flats, houses are rather expensive an full of many small rooms, which for my taste is unpractical," said another in Tokyo.

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What is the average cost of housing in Japan?

Live in Japan? Answer this Question

If you are thinking about moving to Japan, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"Housing costs are much higher than in the US. Housing has around the same cost as New York City, though a little lower. A 20 square meter apartment here can cost $600-$1,500 a month depending on the part of the city and distance from public transportation. In Texas, apartments can be the same price for triple the space," remarked another member in Tokyo.

"Electricity is high!!!!! No insulation. Get gas space heaters for the rooms to stay warm in the winter. The stackable washer dryer is what we had but the vent didn't vent to the outside . They had it come back inside which caused a major mildew problem in the bathroom. A lot of Japanese wash their clothes but hang their clothes on the balcony to dry. It is subtropical here so there is a lot of moisture in the air. Bleach will be your best friend to keep down on the mold in your restroom," explained one expat living in Kanagawa Perfecture, Japan.

"Housing costs are at least double what we paid in Texas. We had an 800 sqft apartment in Texas for about $900 a month. Here, for the same amount of space we pay close to $2000 US. For apartments catering to executives and foreigners, look to pay between 3000-$5000 US. For a traditional apartment, depending on the area, anywhere from $500US-$1000US," said another person in Tokyo.

"Mexico-Japan? You've gotta be kidding! I could buy out a small village for what I pay monthly, thank god my husband company pays for the flat, electrical and water, we once got a water bill for 1000usd! and we don't have any kids," added another expat who made the move to Tokyo.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

Japan GuideJapan Guide
Learn what members have to say about living in Japan.

Japan Forum Japan Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Japan on our Japan forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

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An index of all of our site's Japan information.

Contribute to Japan Network Contribute
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