Renting an Apartment in Tokyo

On November 26, 2013

Photo by Takahiro Hayashi

Renting an apartment in Tokyo can be a daunting task. You’ve given up the security and comfort of your home country to start a new life in Japan and getting your apartment set up as quickly and easily as possible is tops on your priority list.

The good news with the rental market in Tokyo is there is an abundance of properties to choose from, the downside is that Tokyo does have a reputation for not being very foreigner friendly.

Fortunately all the agencies that are listed in GaijinPot Apartments are ready and able to help inquires from everyone.

To make your apartment hunting experience as smooth as possible follow these tips:

1. Plan Your Budget

The maximum budget for most rental property is 30% of your Japan earned monthly income.

For example, if you want an apartment that is listed at ¥100,000 / month then you have to prove you make at least ¥300,000 / month.

An important note for anyone who earns their income from outside of Japan, many rental agencies will only consider the income you earn from within Japan.

2. Get Your Paperwork Ready

  • Copies of your passport, visa, and both sides of your residence card.
  • An employment letter with salary information (在籍証明書 – zaisekishomeisho)
  • If you have been in Japan longer than one year then your tax documents (源泉徴収表 – gensenchoshuhyo)

3. Have A Guarantor

Having a guarantor is a very important part of Japanese culture and this can pose a challenge for someone who has just arrived in Japan and doesn’t know anyone.

In this case you can use a guarantor company.

A guarantor company is a third party insurance company that agrees to act in lieu of a guarantor. Most likely the property manager of the apartment you wish to apply for will be able to introduce their preferred guarantor company.

If you do have a Japanese guarantor, then they will have to prepare the following documents:

  • Proof of residence (住民票 – jyuminhyo)
  • Income statement (源泉徴収表 – gensenchuhyo)
  • Name stamp (印鑑証明書 – inkanshomeisho)

Be certain to give your guarantor plenty of time to get these documents ready as they will have to go to their local government office to obtain them.

Please note that to have a successful guarantor they will be evaluated the same way you will be. They must show that the rent of the apartment you want to rent does not exceed 1/3rd their monthly income.

4. Have An Emergency Contact

If you are using a guarantor company than you must provide an emergency contact person. This person will need to provide the following information to the guarantor company.

  • Name in kanji (this person must be a Japanese citizen)
  • Home, work and cellular telephone numbers
  • Home and work postal address
  • Birth date
  • Email address

Renting an apartment in Tokyo is a challenging right of passage that all new arrivals go through. The secret is to be well prepared and you should have no troubles moving into your new apartment!


Passionate Storyteller. Adventurous Traveller. Motivated Entrepreneur.

Anthony Joh - Digital Marketing Strategist

As an inbound marketing expert, Anthony Joh brings an intuitive understanding of the East and West to help Japanese clients achieve growth in new markets around Asia.

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