Cost for One to Rent An Apartment in Japan? Upfront Cost and Monthly Expenses

Many of you are coming to Japan to start your new life as a student/worker abroad. When you rent an apartment in Japan, you will need to pay an upfront payment when you sign the contract, as well as the cost of furniture and various handling fees. If it is not your first time in Japan, you will also need to prepare for moving expenses in advance. How much money do you need to prepare in advance so that you will not get confused? What are the monthly expenses for a single person? In this article, we will give you an overview of the cost of renting an apartment in Japan.

Average upfront payment in Japan is usually five to Six times the rent.

What’s the upfront cost?

When you rent an apartment in Japan, the biggest expense comes from the initial cost, which is paid when you sign the contract. It usually includes a deposit, a gift, a realtor fee, a month’s rent (or more) in advance, a guarantor fee paid to a security company, an insurance fee, the cost of replacing locks, and so on.

Generally speaking, the initial cost for a one-person apartment is about 5-6 months’ rent, which sometimes varies depending on apartments and the way of signing the contract. Be sure to check in advance when renting an apartment.

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The deposit is usually one month’s rent. Some newer properties may charge two months’ rent.

The deposit is paid in advance. The landlord will return it to the tenant upon check-out, after deducting the amount needed to restore the apartment and the cleaning fee. If the tenant does not pay the rent, the landlord can deduct it from the deposit,

However, there are strict rules for renting a room in Japan, such as not drilling holes in the wall, not replacing wallpaper, and if you are renting a Japanese-style room, the cost of renovating the tatami mats and the paper on the sliding paper doors will be deducted from the deposit. You can be prepared for the deposit not to be leftover.


This is usually one month’s rent. Some newer properties may charge two months’ rent.

Unlike a deposit, which may be returned, a gift is given as a token of appreciation to the landlord to say “thank you for letting me rent this apartment”, and a “red envelope” given directly to the landlord is never returned.

Although there are no rules in Japanese law regarding gifts, it is customary practice in Japanese society. Therefore, when a housing agent posts an apartment for rent, he or she will usually specify whether or not a gift is required and the amount of the gift. However, more and more houses are now available for rent without a gift. If you want to save money on the initial cost, look for a house that doesn’t require a gift.

Realtor Fee

Usually one month’s rent.

If you get information of apartments from a real estate agent and sign a contract, you will have to pay a realtor fee. The usual price is one month’s rent, but there are now companies that charge only 0.5 month’s rent as a realtor fee.

If you rent directly from the landlord, you may be able to save money. However, some people feel that it is safer to have a third party in the middle to avoid direct contact between the tenant and the landlord. You can also do it the way you like.

Prepayment of rent

When signing a contract, one month’s rent is usually paid in advance in the initial fee. If you sign the contract at the end of the month, you may also pay the rent for the following month as (1+0.n) after calculating the rent for this month on a daily basis.

Guarantor fee

In the past, foreigners who wanted to rent an apartment in Japan had to have a Japanese guarantor. When a tenant leaves Japan without any notice or doe not pay the rent, the guarantor has to take responsibility for the aftermath. Therefore, it was difficult for a foreigner to find a Japanese person willing to act as a guarantor for him/her. Later on, there were guarantor companies, which were willing to act as guarantors for you if you paid them a fee.

More and more landlords and agents are now willing to choose companies as guarantors when signing a rental agreement – even if you can find a Japanese person who is willing to act as your guarantor.

The cost of a guarantor company is around 40%-100% of the rent, which may vary depending on the apartments. If you are renting through a real estate agent, the agent will provide you with one guarantor company at the time of signing the contract, so you do not need to find one on your own.

In addition, if you are a foreign student, you can refer to the information provided on the “JEES (Japan Educational Exchanges and Services)” website to choose the Japanese government as your guarantor. In this case, the guarantee fee is relatively cheap, around 4,000 yen per year. However, in order to choose the Japanese government as a guarantor, you must first be eligible for a visa to “student/study abroad” and be enrolled in a JEES-affiliated university, junior college, technical school, or a designated Japanese language school. In addition, once you graduate, drop out, or take a job, and your visa status is no longer “student”, you will need to cancel your contract and find your own guarantor or guarantor company.

Insurance fee

When you sign the contract, there is also a fee for insurance.

This insurance fee usually includes fire insurance, and property insurance. The insurance fee is usually around 3,000-7,000 yen per year, and since Japanese rentals are usually signed for two years, it is likely that you will pay the insurance fee for two years at the time of signing the contract, which is around 6,000-14,000 yen. Also, when you renew your rental contract, you will be required to pay the insurance premium again.

In this way, you can seek compensation from the insurance company in case of a natural disaster such as a fire or earthquake that causes damage to your house, furniture or building during the rental period.

The cost of replacing locks

Replacing locks is not a requirement for renting, but it is included in the agent’s recommended package. After all, you don’t know who the last tenant was, and you’ll feel safer if you can get new locks and keys.

The cost of replacing locks is usually around 15,000-20,000 yen. If the building is equipped with an automatic locking system, it may cost more, about 25,000-30,000 yen. Although it is a little expensive, it is recommended to replace the locks for the safety of your person and property.

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