Education and Student Life

Private Apartment

Ju Yaqin (China)

I had been living in the dorm from middle school to college, however, instead of living in a dorm, I was looking forward to leading an independent life in the apartment. When I came to Japan, I finally rent my apartment. Here I will talk about my experience living in a private apartment.

Low Rent and distance to my university

It was my friend in Japan that helped me find the apartment. It takes 15 minutes by bike. The rent is a little over 20,000 Yen. Compared with those apartments around our university, it is fairly cheap. Probably someone will say it is horrible to ride a bike for 15 minutes every day. However, it has become a good exercise for me. I like Japanese sweet food very much. Thanks to the cycling, I did not become fat at all. Moreover, I could fully enjoy the wonderful natural scenery on the way to school, helping me keep a pleasant mood every day.

My rewarding life in Japan

Living in a private apartment, what also makes me feel great is that I could cook my favorite food whenever I want to. When I was in China, I used to eat in the cafeteria and finally got tired of those dishes. Now I have my own kitchen. Whenever I have time, I could cook delicious food on my own. Sometimes, I would invite my friends to my apartment and have parties while eating hot pot, dumplings and so on. I spent every day with fulfillment accomplishment.

The most interesting thing to live a private apartment is that you could decorate you room as you like. When I first moved into my new apartment, it was only an empty room. However, the image of my room rose before me immediately. Maybe someone will think that it will cost a lot buying furniture and so on. Please don’t be worried about that. As for furniture, you could buy from those senior students who are to graduate in a low price.

Don’t you want to experience living in a private apartment? Before that, I would like to note something that you have to pay attention to when you rent a private apartment in Japan.

How to find an apartment

There are mainly 2 ways. One is through real estate agent, and the other one is through your friends in Japan. When you try to find an apartment, you’d better look at as many as you could, check the transportation and environment around carefully and then choose the one you like best.

Payments when you rent an apartment

Secondly, when you rent an apartment in Japan, you have to deal with the following payments: rent (monthly payments), common service charge (monthly payments), security deposit called "shikikin" (payment when you sign the contract) and mandatory “gift” payment called reikin (payment when you sign the contract). Rent and common service charge need to be paid monthly together. Common service charge is monthly fee for common areas of an apartment building (lighting, etc.). Security deposit typically costs between 1~3 month of rent. It is used as a sort of “cleaning fee” when you move out of this apartment. You could get the remaining back if there is any. Mandatory “gift” payment typically costs between 1~2 month of rent and is non-refundable. When you find an apartment through a real estate agent, you need to pay a fee called “Chukai Tesuryo", which is non-refundable and typically one month’s rent. Please note that the above payments are different depending on different situation.

Sign and terminate a housing contract

A majority of realtor agents will not speak English or other foreign languages. The contracts will be in Japanese and all contact will be in Japanese. Therefore, if you are not so good at Japanese, please get a Japanese friend or someone who could understand Japanese well to help you. When you want to move out of the apartment, please do inform the landlord in advance, or you will have to pay some fee that might be unnecessary.