FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
How can I find an apartment?
Follow the steps outlined in Finding an Apartment in Tokyo.
How long does it take to find an apartment?
Anywhere from 2-6 weeks. How quick you find a place depends on availability/vacancy, location, and your limitations (rent cap, area, type of apartment, etc.). We recommend visiting at least five properties before making a decision.
How can I find a furnished apartment?
Visit foreigner-friendly real estate agents listed on the agent listed on Housing Information in Tokyo for Foreign Students (PDF: 186KB) and specify your preference for a furnished apartment. Your agent will show you listings of what is on the market.
Can I live in the TUJ dorm next semester (2nd semester)?
Priority is given to first-semester incoming students. If rooms are still available after new students are placed, you can stay on in the dorms. Please inquire at OSS.
I want to live close to school. Which real-estate agency should I go to?
Visit real estate agencies around the school and stations close to the campus.
How much does it cost to move? Is the rent all I have to pay in order to rent an apartment?
Moving in Japan can be very expensive and real estate agencies charge many different fees. For private apartments you can expect to pay anywhere from 2 months rent up to 6 months rent for the entire move-in cost. This money is expected to be paid in full at the time you sign the contract. Average move-in costs for TUJ students is somewhere around ¥250,000. Guest houses and private dorms in general do not charge such high move-in fees.
Do I need a guarantor? Can TUJ be my guarantor?
When renting an apartment in Japan, you will almost certainly be required to have a guarantor. The guarantor has to be a person living in Japan. The landlord or agent will definitely call them to check that they are in the country and have a suitable income to support you in case of problems. For Japanese, this is usually a relative. For foreigners, however, if your family lives overseas they cannot be a guarantor. There are agencies available that can act as your guarantor; however, you have to make a payment which varies depending on your rent. You will also have to renew this guarantor contract with the guaranteeing agent after a couple of years. Depending on your landlord or real estate agent, they may or may not accept this guarantor agency system. TUJ cannot be your guarantor.
Who should I place under "emergency contact?"
Generally for Japanese, it will be a relative whom resides in Japan. However, a friend can be accepted if s/he agrees. If you do not have any of the above, you may use TUJ as an institution with the school's general phone number as your contact (03-5441-9800).
What are Shiki-kin / Rei-kin?
Shiki-kin is "key" money. This is the actual deposit, and you will usually get this returned when you leave the apartment (minus charges for cleaning, damage, and so on).
Rei-kin is "gift" money. This is a gratuity given to the landlord to thank him/her for renting space to you. This is a custom that is still very much in practice and generally non-negotiable. You will not get any of this refunded. In recent years, some housing agents have been advertising "rei-kin free" housing.
How do I pay my rent?
How to pay will be explained when you sign the contract. Some landlords accept cash payment while others prefer bank wire transfer. Monthly payment is most common.
How can I get internet connection in my apartment?
Some apartments come with internet connection intact. For apartments without connection, do some research and select a provider. You will need to set up an appointment with your provider to come and install the connection.
Where and how do I sign up and pay my utilities?
In private apartments either the real estate agent will give you utility information or there will be a plastic bag attached to the door or mailbox that has sign up information in it. To pay for utilities, either sign up for automatic withdrawal from your bank account or take the bill to the convenience store to pay with cash.
How do I move my belongings to the new place?
For those with only a few bags, it is best to take a train or taxi to your new residence. If you have extra luggage or furniture, you might consider hiring movers. The costs of hiring a mover depends on the amount of luggage, distance, and which floor you live on. You can expect to pay about ¥15,000 - ¥30,000. This service generally includes carrying your belongings into the van, transporting them to your new residence, and setting them in your place of preference in the room.
What should I do with my alien registration and National Health Insurance after I move?
Visit the ward or city office of your new residence. First, update your new address on your alien registration card and then head over to the health insurance desk and update your card. Health insurance cost varies per city/ward and they will adjust any over or underpaid premiums.
Where and how do I change my mailing address?
Visit the post office near your new residence and fill out a change of address form. Please be sure to also update your billing statements and information for your cell phone, bank, and credit cards. Lastly, do not forget to inform TUJ, namely AAC and OSS, of your new address.