An animal-lover moving to Japan may be disappointed to learn that most Japanese apartments are not pet friendly. My animal-companion of choice would be a parakeet, but the terms of my lease clearly state: “You cannot keep dogs, cats, chickens or other pets.”
I assume that parakeets would fall under the “other pets” not allowed by my contract. Keeping a pet in a no-pets-allowed apartment is asking for, at the very least, a large amount taken out of your deposit when you move.
If you’re set on getting a furry, feathered, or otherwise animal friend, the best way would be to choose an apartment that allows pets in the first place. In this article, I’ll introduce a few ways to find your pet-friendly apartment, some cost considerations, and some useful vocabulary.
Finding Pet Friendly Apartments In Japan
Whether you are using Japanese (see vocabulary below) or English to search, you can scope out pet-friendly apartments by looking online. Our very own GaijinPot apartment search specifically has a “pets negotiable” search (click “show more” for this checkbox).
If you can’t find a pet-friendly apartment listed online, don’t be afraid to call or go in person to an realtor. A realtor that offers services in English may not necessary advertise pet-friendly apartments in English online, so it’s worth asking.
Also, connections matter, so I recommend talking with coworkers or friends in Japan about finding pet-friendly apartments.
Even if an apartment isn’t advertised as pet-friendly, you may be able to make a deal with the landlord. A column on the Japanese website Excite suggests that fish, hamsters, ants, and parakeets may very well be allowed in “no pet” apartments if you simply get permission from the landlord. Perhaps I can keep that parakeet after all.
Keep in mind that “pet-friendly” may apply only to certain pets. Even pet-friendly landlords may place restrictions on the type, size, or number of the pets allowed. Discuss your specific case when asking about pet-friendly apartments.
For the bad news, pet-friendly apartments may be older or farther from the station. Additionally, while a room may be pet friendly, elevators and hallways may not be. Although not common, there have been cases where an apartment has gone from “pet friendly” to “no pets allowed” while pet owners were still living in the apartment. Also, pet owners tend to face higher rent, as discussed in the section below. Taking all of these factors into consideration would be wise.
Cost Considerations of Pet Friendly Apartments
In addition to the regular expense of keeping a pet in Japan, such as food costs, vet bills, and registration fees for certain pets, you might have to pay more for your apartment than someone without a pet would pay. Below are some examples of possible extra expenses.
- Higher overall rental
- Additional monthly rent per pet
- Higher key money and/or security deposit upfront
- Higher cleaning/restoration fee upon moving out
This can be discouraging, but higher rent may be justified by a truly pet-friendly apartment. Some pet-friendly apartments have soundproof walls, cushioned floor, or even pet doors! Of course, this may be the exception rather than the rule, but with a little work, you can find a pet-friendly apartment in your price range.
Pet Friendly Vocabulary
If you are searching in Japanese or would like to check your current contract, a few words will come in handy.
Pets NOT Allowed
ペット禁止 (petto kinshi)
ペット不可 (petto fuka)
ペット厳禁 (petto genkin)
ペットOK (petto OK)
ペット可 (petto ka)
ペット相談可 (petto soudan ka — pets negotiable)
Do you own a pet in Japan? How did you find your pet-friendly apartment?