Tokyo Rent Guide, Tokyo Apartment, Tokyo house

Tokyo Rent Guide | 9 Important Criteria for Selecting the Ideal Apartment in Tokyo


Are you planning to live in or move to Tokyo? It’s understandable if you find the process of finding and choosing an apartment in this bustling city confusing, especially if it’s your first time. I’ve been there too, and it can be overwhelming. But fear not! This guide is here to lend a helping hand.
Having experienced the confusion firsthand, I understand the challenges of searching for an apartment in Tokyo. That’s why I’ve put together this comprehensive rent in Tokyo guide to assist anyone coming to Tokyo for the first time or even those looking to move to a different area within the city.
Say goodbye to the confusion and hello to your dream apartment in Tokyo. Let’s dive into this Tokyo rent guide, which is designed to help you make informed decisions and find the perfect place to call home.

Table of Contents:

1: Location, Accessibility, and Neighborhood

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When it comes to finding your dream apartment in Tokyo, the location is more than just an address—it sets the stage for your daily adventures. Consider the following key factors:

  • Proximity to workplace, schools, and amenities: Choose a neighbourhood that is conveniently located near your workplace or educational institutions. This will minimize your commute time and allow for a better work-life balance. Additionally, look for nearby amenities such as grocery stores, healthcare facilities, parks, and recreational areas to make your daily life more convenient and enjoyable.
  • Accessibility to public transportation: Tokyo boasts an extensive public transportation system that is renowned for its efficiency. Look for apartments that are within easy reach of train stations, bus stops, and subway lines. Having convenient access to public transportation will make it easier for you to navigate the city and explore its diverse neighbourhoods.
  • Safety and cleanliness of the neighbourhood: Tokyo is known for its safe streets and well-maintained public spaces. Research the safety track record of the neighbourhoods you are considering. Look for well-lit streets, visible police presence, and cleanliness in the area. Feeling safe and secure in your neighbourhood is essential for your peace of mind and overall well-being.

By considering these factors when choosing the location of your apartment in Tokyo, you can ensure that you will be able to find a neighbourhood that suits your lifestyle, provides easy access to essential services, and enhances your overall experience of living in this vibrant city.

2: Size and Layout

tokyo rent guide, blueprint, floor plan, draft

When searching for your ideal apartment in Tokyo, it’s crucial to consider the size and room layout that best suits your living requirements. Take into account the following aspects:

2.1 The number of rooms and square footage:

  • Evaluate how many rooms you need based on your lifestyle and household size. Determine whether you require separate bedrooms, a home office, or additional space for guests.
  • Consider the square footage of the apartment, keeping in mind your desired level of comfort and the amount of furniture and belongings you have.

2.2 The functionality of the floor plan:

  • Assess the flow and functionality of the layout. Imagine how you would move through the space and whether it aligns with your daily activities and routines.
  • Take note of the placement of rooms and the overall organization. Ensure that it offers a practical and efficient living experience.

2.3 Storage space and balcony:

  • Check for sufficient storage options, such as closets, cabinets, or additional storage areas within the apartment complex. Ample storage is essential for keeping your belongings organized and minimizing clutter.
  • If having outdoor space is important to you, consider apartments with a balcony or terrace where you can relax and enjoy the views of the city.

Remember, the size and layout of your apartment should not only be able to meet your current needs but also allow for flexibility and potential changes in the future. By carefully considering these factors, you can find an apartment that provides the right amount of space and a layout that enhances your daily living experience in Tokyo.

3: Affordability and Budget

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When embarking on your search for the perfect apartment in Tokyo, it’s crucial to establish a realistic budget that aligns with your financial situation. Here’s what you need to consider:

3.1 Assess your financial standing:

  • Take a comprehensive look at your monthly income, including your salary, allowances, and any other sources of revenue.
  • Evaluate your living expenses, such as groceries, transportation, utilities, and other essential costs. This will give you a clear understanding of how much you can allocate towards rent.

3.2 Set a budget:

  • Consider your desired lifestyle and financial goals. Determine the maximum amount you can comfortably afford to spend on rent each month.
  • Take into account your savings goals, emergency funds, and any other financial commitments you may have.

3.3 Research rental costs in different neighbourhoods:

  • Explore the rental prices in various neighbourhoods in Tokyo. Keep in mind that the cost of renting can vary significantly depending on the location and the type of apartment.
  • Compare the rental costs with your budgetary constraints to identify neighbourhoods that fall within your affordable range.

3.4 Account for additional expenses:

  • Remember to factor in additional expenses beyond rent. Utilities, maintenance fees, internet, and other services may be separate costs that you need to consider when planning your budget.

By setting a realistic budget and analyzing the rental costs in different neighbourhoods, you can ensure that you will find an apartment that not only meets your needs but also fits comfortably within your financial parameters. It’s important to strike a balance between your desired lifestyle and your financial stability to ensure a worry-free and enjoyable living experience in Tokyo.

4: Amenities and Facilities

tokyo rent guide, treadmill, workout, fitness

When searching for your ideal apartment in Tokyo, it’s important to consider the amenities and facilities that can enhance your daily life. Here’s what you need to know:

4.1 Assess available amenities:

  • Take note of the amenities offered by the apartment building or complex. These can include a wide range of features designed to make your life more convenient and enjoyable.
  • Look for amenities such as a security system, which can provide peace of mind and ensure the safety of residents. An elevator can save you from climbing multiple flights of stairs, especially if you’re on a higher floor.

4.2 Prioritize your needs:

  • Identify the amenities that are essential to your lifestyle. For example, if you own a car, the availability of parking facilities can be a significant consideration. If fitness is important to you, having a well-equipped fitness centre within the building can be a valuable asset.
  • Consider amenities such as laundry facilities, communal spaces, or a rooftop terrace that can provide opportunities for socializing and relaxation.

By considering the amenities and facilities available, you can ensure that your chosen apartment provides the conveniences and lifestyle enhancements you desire. Whether it’s security, convenience, or leisure activities, finding an apartment that aligns with your needs and preferences will contribute to a fulfilling and comfortable living experience in Tokyo.

5: Safety and Security 

tokyo rent guide, key, castle, security

When it comes to choosing your apartment in Tokyo, safety and security should be at the top of your list. Here’s what you need to consider:

5.1 Research crime rates:

  • Take the time to research the crime rates in the neighbourhoods you’re considering. Look for areas with lower crime rates and a reputation for safety. This will help you narrow down your options to areas where you can feel secure.

5.2 Evaluate building security measures:

  • Assess the security measures implemented in the apartment building. Look for features such as security cameras, access control systems, and secure entrances. These measures can deter unauthorized access and enhance the overall safety of the building.

5.3 Consider neighbourhood safety:

  • Pay attention to the safety of the surrounding neighbourhood. Look for well-lit streets, visible police presence, and a general sense of cleanliness and order. A safe and well-maintained neighbourhood will contribute to your peace of mind and overall well-being.

5.4 Trust your instincts:

  • Trust your gut feelings when visiting the apartment and exploring the neighbourhood. If something feels off or doesn’t sit well with you, it’s important to listen to your instincts. Your intuition can often be a reliable guide when it comes to assessing safety and security.

Remember, feeling safe and secure in your new home is crucial for your well-being and peace of mind. By researching crime rates, evaluating building security measures, and considering neighbourhood safety, you can make an informed decision and choose an apartment that prioritizes your safety and security in Tokyo.

6: Transportation Options 

tokyo rent guide, landscape, evening, sunset

When selecting your ideal apartment in Tokyo, it’s essential to take transportation options into account. Here’s what you need to know:

6.1 Proximity to public transportation:

  • Look for apartments that are conveniently located near train stations, bus stops, or subway lines. Having these transportation hubs within close proximity will make your daily commute a breeze and provide you with easy access to the entire city.

6.2 Convenience and efficiency:

  • Consider the convenience and efficiency of the transportation network in the neighbourhood. Tokyo’s public transportation system is renowned for its reliability and punctuality, allowing you to navigate the city seamlessly. Look for areas with well-connected transportation routes to ensure you can travel efficiently and explore all that Tokyo has to offer.

6.3 Time and cost savings:

  • By choosing an apartment near public transportation, you can save valuable time and money. A shorter commute means more time for leisure activities or extra sleep in the morning. Additionally, relying on public transportation can help you cut down on transportation expenses, such as fuel and parking fees.

6.4 Bicycle renting options:

  • In addition to public transportation, consider the availability of bicycle renting options near your apartment. Nowadays, there are numerous mobile apps or website that provide information about bicycle rental locations and hubs in Tokyo. By finding a location near a bicycle rental place, you can enjoy the convenience and flexibility of cycling as an alternative mode of transportation. It’s a great way to explore the city, especially for shorter distances or when you want to enjoy the scenic routes.

By prioritizing proximity to public transportation, considering the convenience and efficiency of the transportation network, exploring bicycle renting options, and embracing different modes of transportation, you can ensure that your new apartment in Tokyo provides you with a range of transportation choices to suit your needs and preferences. Say goodbye to traffic congestion and embrace the freedom of exploring Tokyo on wheels or through its extensive public transportation network.

7: Natural Lighting and Ventilation 

tokyo rent guide, light space, architecture, reside

When it comes to creating a comfortable and inviting living room apartment – space, natural lighting and ventilation play a vital role. Here’s why you should pay attention to these aspects when choosing your apartment in Tokyo:

  1. The abundance of natural light:
    A well-lit apartment not only creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere but also offers several benefits for your overall well-being. Sunlight streaming through windows can boost your mood, increase productivity, and even improve your sleep patterns. Imagine waking up to the gentle rays of the morning sun and enjoying a bright and airy living space throughout the day.
  2. Consider the orientation:
    The orientation of the apartment is crucial in determining the amount of natural light it receives. South-facing apartments tend to receive ample sunlight throughout the day, while north-facing units may have more indirect light. East-facing apartments capture the beautiful morning sun while west-facing units enjoy stunning sunsets. Think about your preference for natural light and choose a unit that aligns with your desired level of brightness.
  3. Importance of ventilation:
    Adequate ventilation is essential for maintaining a fresh and healthy indoor environment. Proper airflow helps to circulate clean air, reduce humidity levels, and eliminate odours. When visiting potential apartments, pay attention to the presence of windows and their ability to open. A well-ventilated space will contribute to your comfort and ensure a pleasant living experience.
  4. Brighten up small spaces:
    If you’re considering a smaller apartment, maximizing natural light can make a significant difference in creating the illusion of a more spacious and open area. Sunlight can visually expand rooms and make them feel more inviting. Look for apartments with large windows, skylights, or balconies that allow plenty of light to flood in.

By prioritizing natural lighting and ventilation, you can create a harmonious living environment that promotes your well-being and enhances your overall enjoyment of your Tokyo apartment.

8: Noise Levels and Privacy 

tokyo rent guide, living room, sofa, couch

Finding an apartment that offers peace and privacy is essential for creating a relaxing and enjoyable living environment. Here’s why you should carefully evaluate noise levels and privacy when choosing your Tokyo apartment:

  1. Assessing noise levels:
    Take into consideration the potential sources of noise that may impact your daily life. Are there busy streets, construction sites, or major highways nearby? These factors can significantly affect the tranquillity of your living space. While the vibrant energy of Tokyo is part of its charm, finding a balance between being in the heart of the city and having a peaceful retreat is crucial. Look for apartments that provide adequate soundproofing measures, such as double-glazed windows or insulated walls, to minimize external disturbances.
  2. Privacy considerations:
    Your privacy is another crucial aspect to evaluate when selecting an apartment. Consider the proximity of neighbouring units and the potential for noise disturbances from adjacent residents. Do the apartments have separate entrances? Are there shared walls or common areas that could affect your privacy? Understanding the layout and design of the building can help you determine the level of privacy you can expect.
  3. Create your oasis of tranquillity:
    If noise levels or privacy concerns arise, there are steps you can take to enhance your living experience. Consider using sound-absorbing materials or rugs to minimize echoes and external noise within your apartment. Window treatments, such as blinds or curtains, can provide an extra layer of privacy and help create a cozy atmosphere.

By carefully evaluating noise levels and privacy considerations, you can find an apartment that offers the tranquillity and privacy you desire, allowing you to retreat from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and create your own haven of serenity.
(7 ways to create serene spaces at Home)

9: Building Age and Maintenance 

tokyo rent guide, electric, wiring, electrics

When searching for your ideal apartment in Tokyo, it’s important to consider the age of the building and its maintenance history. Here’s why building age and maintenance should be on your checklist:

  1. Embracing the charm of older buildings:
    Older buildings can exude a certain charm and character that newer constructions may not possess. From unique architectural features to historical significance, these structures have stories to tell. If you appreciate a touch of nostalgia and appreciate the craftsmanship of bygone eras, an older building might be the perfect choice for you.
  2. Consider the maintenance requirements:
    While older buildings can have their appeal, they may require more regular maintenance and upkeep compared to newer counterparts. Be aware that certain aspects, such as plumbing or electrical systems, may have aged and could potentially require repairs or upgrades. It’s essential to inquire about the maintenance practices followed by the building management and assess the condition of common areas to ensure a well-maintained living environment.
  3. Responsive management and prompt maintenance:
    A crucial aspect to consider is the responsiveness of the building management or landlord when it comes to addressing maintenance issues. Inquire about their track record in resolving maintenance requests promptly. A proactive and responsible management team is essential for ensuring that any concerns or repairs are attended to in a timely manner, allowing you to enjoy a hassle-free living experience.
  4. Seeking assurance through documentation:
    Ask for documentation or records of past maintenance activities and repairs carried out in the building. This can provide valuable insights into the care and attention given to the property. Look for signs of regular inspections, upkeep of common areas, and any upgrades made to the building over time.
  5. Your role in maintaining the apartment:
    Remember that maintenance is a shared responsibility. As a tenant, it’s important to fulfil your obligations in keeping your apartment in good condition. This includes reporting any issues promptly, taking care of the premises, and adhering to any rules or guidelines set by the building management.

By considering the building age, maintenance history, and responsiveness of the management, you can find an apartment that not only captures your imagination but also offers a well-maintained living space. Whether you choose the charm of an older building or the modern conveniences of a newer one, prioritize a living environment that reflects your preferences and ensures a comfortable and enjoyable stay in Tokyo.


Embarking on the journey to find your ideal apartment in Tokyo requires a thoughtful approach and a keen eye for detail. By taking into account important factors such as location, accessibility, size, affordability, amenities, safety, transportation options, natural lighting, noise levels, building maintenance, and cultural fit, you’ll be well-equipped to make a decision that suits your lifestyle.

For me, budget is one of the most crucial criteria. Determine your financial capacity and set a realistic budget for monthly rent, utilities, and other associated costs. Keep in mind that certain neighbourhoods and apartment features may come at a premium, so balance your desired amenities with your budgetary constraints.

Additionally, it is highly recommended to have discussions with at least two real estate agencies. While real estate agencies can provide valuable guidance and access to a wider range of available apartments, it’s important to note that their recommendations may not always align with your preferences. By consulting multiple agencies, you can compare their offerings, advice, and fees, allowing you to make a more informed decision.

Lastly, it is important to visit prospective apartments in person whenever possible. This allows you to get a firsthand feel for the space, assess its condition, and ask questions to the landlord or property manager. Online listings and virtual tours can be helpful, but nothing beats experiencing the apartment in person.

Remember, finding the perfect apartment takes time and patience, especially for first-time foreigners in Japan, but with careful consideration and the guidance of this comprehensive guide, you’ll be one step closer to discovering your dream living space in the vibrant city of Tokyo. Good luck in your apartment search, and may your new home be a place where unforgettable memories are made!

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can foreigners rent apartments in Tokyo? 

A: Yes, foreigners can rent apartments in Tokyo. However, there are certain requirements and procedures that need to be followed, such as having a valid visa and a registered address in Japan. It’s recommended to work with a real estate agency that specializes in assisting foreigners to navigate the rental process.

Q: How much does it cost to rent an apartment in Tokyo? 

A: The cost of renting an apartment in Tokyo can vary depending on factors such as location, size, and condition of the property. Generally, apartments in central areas and popular neighbourhoods tend to be more expensive. It’s important to set a budget and consider additional costs such as key money, security deposits, and agency fees, which can amount to several months’ rent.

Q: What is key money? 

A: Key money, also known as “reikin” in Japanese, is a non-refundable gratuity paid to the landlord or property owner as a customary practice in Japan. It’s typically equivalent to one to three months’ rent and is separate from the security deposit. Not all apartments require key money, but it’s common for many properties in Tokyo.

Q: What is a guarantor and do I need one to rent an apartment? 

A: A guarantor, or “hoshōnin” in Japanese, is someone who acts as a financial guarantor for the tenant and assumes responsibility for the lease agreement in case the tenant is unable to fulfil their obligations. Some landlords may require a guarantor, especially for long-term leases. For foreigners without a guarantor in Japan, there are companies that provide guarantor services for a fee.

Q: How long is a typical lease term in Tokyo? 

A: The standard lease term for apartments in Tokyo is typically two years. However, it’s possible to find apartments with shorter lease terms, such as one-year or even month-to-month rentals. Shorter-term leases may have higher monthly rents or other conditions, so it’s essential to clarify the lease term before signing the agreement.

Q: What are the “key money” and “security deposit” used for? 

A: Key money is a non-refundable gratuity paid to the landlord, while the security deposit, or “shikikin” in Japanese, is a refundable deposit held by the landlord to cover any potential damages or unpaid rent. The security deposit is usually equivalent to one to two months’ rent. Upon the termination of the lease, the security deposit should be returned to the tenant after deductions for any outstanding expenses or damages.

Q: Can I negotiate the rent or other terms of the lease agreement? 

A: In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate the rent or other terms of the lease agreement, especially if the property has been vacant for a while or if you’re dealing directly with the landlord. However, it’s important to approach negotiations respectfully and be mindful of local customs. Working with a real estate agent can be helpful in negotiating on your behalf.

Q: Are furnished apartments available for rent in Tokyo? 

A: Yes, furnished apartments are available for rent in Tokyo. These apartments come with basic furniture and appliances, making them suitable for individuals who prefer a hassle-free move or those staying for a shorter period. However, furnished apartments generally have higher monthly rents compared to unfurnished ones.

Q: What are the tenant’s responsibilities regarding maintenance and repairs? 

A: Tenants are typically responsible for minor maintenance and repairs in their rented apartments, such as changing light bulbs or replacing batteries. Major repairs and maintenance are usually the responsibility of the landlord or property management company.

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