FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
How can I find an apartment?
Please refer to the PDF guide Housing Information in Tokyo for Foreign Students (PDF: 586KB).
How long does it take to find an apartment?
Anywhere from 2-6 weeks. The difference in how quick you find a place depends on availability/vacancy, location, your limitations (rent cap, area, type of apartment etc.). We recommend visiting at least 5 properties before making a decision.
How can I find a furnished apartment?
Visit foreigner–friendly real estate agents listed on the agent list in OSS and specify your preference for a furnished apartment. Your agent will show you listings of what’s on the market.
Can I live in the TUJ dorm next semester (second 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 there are many different fees real estate agencies charge. For private apartments you can expect to pay anywhere from 2 months rent up to 6 months rent for the entire move-in costs. This money is expected to be paid at the time you sign on the contract and must be paid in full. 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, and 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 can not 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 can not be your guarantor.
Who should I place under "emergency contact?"
Generally for Japanese, it will be a relative whom resides within Japan. However, a friend can be accepted if s/he agrees. If you do not have any above, you may place TUJ as an institution with telephone number of 03-5441-9800. TUJ cannot be your guarantor.
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, etc.).
Rei-kin is "gift" money. This is a “present” given to the landlord to thank him for being so generous as to let you into the property and charging you rent for the pleasure of living there. You will not get any of this refunded.
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 a connection, 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 withdraw from your bank account or take the bill to the convenience store to make a cash payment.
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 quite a bit of luggage or furniture, you might consider hiring movers. The cost 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 residence card and National Health Insurance after I move?
Visit the ward office of your current residence to notify that you are moving out. You should also inform the national health insurance department. Then at the ward office of your new residence, update your new address on your residence card as well as the health insurance card. Health insurance cost varies per city/ward and they will adjust any over or under paid premiums. You can confirm that the information on your income will be forwarded to the new ward office in order to keep the same premiums. See the TUJ International Student Handbook for more information about this process.
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. Be sure to also update your billing statements and information for your cell phone, bank, and credit cards. Lastly, do not forget to inform the various offices at TUJ, namely AAC and OSS, of your new address.