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Moving to Japan


3 Feb 2003

I am planning to move to Japan soon, I am learning Japanese at home, and I am on an intermediate level.
Here are the questions:

1. I am planning to take with me US$6000, which is a bit over
1000000 yen is this enough to begin a new life in Japan?

2. How much does an apartment cost in Tokyo or Osaka?

3. I am a Bodybuilder also, and my weight is 295lbs, what does the Japanese women think of muscles?

I would appreciate any help on this.


Hi Inter,

it really depends on how fast you will be able to procure a job. Which field do you intend to work in?

My info on rent is not up-to-date anymore, so perhaps some of our members currently residing in Japan could help you out with more info. Anyhow, first of all you have to find a real-estate agency that rents appartments to foreigners, not all of them are willing to deal with non-Japanese. Living in one of Tokyo's "suburbs" is much cheaper than somewhere near downtown (actually there is no such thing as city center in Tokyo) or in a fancy gaijin district.

As for muscles: I guess that's a question of personal taste, lol. 295lbs, wow! How tall are you?
Hi thomas!

I am going to search for a IT job, and I am 6.0",
I have heared that it is really difficult for a gaijin to find a apartment? Is this true?


from Tokyo

Hi Jonas,

You may be able to find a room for foreigners here.

Although living around Tokyo costs so expensive, an apartment over 20 years old is cheaper. If you want a neat apartment, Keio Line, Odakyu Line, and Tokyu Line area are comfortable and pretty cheap. 1 room is about 5-60,000yen/month.
Hey inter,
this page has a couple of classifieds for places to stay in Japan, a couple of roomate type deals plus gaijin houses and just general rentals, usually telling you the cost and location of the place and also the amount for key money (deposit)

I also want to move to Japan next year. What should I know in general? Assume if I already got a job, how much it will cost for a month living there?
Those are some really general questions, Tsukasa, and to give you a better answer, we'd probably need to know more specifics beforehand. I would encourage you to check out some of the other threads in this forum related to living arrangements in Japan as a good starting point. Generally speaking, it really depends on the following:

A) Determine where exactly you are planning on living. I say this because the price of living arrangements can (and does) vary considerably depending on where you are (Tokyo vs Asahikawa, for instance).

B) How much money will you be taking with you beforehand to cover your initial deposit, shikikin ("thank you money"), reikin ("key money"), etc.

C) How much will you be earning monthly once your current employment starts (to determine whether or not you can cover the rent).

D) Considering most apartments don't come pre-furnished, it's a safe assumption that you will probably need to have enough money to bring with you to cover whatever basics you may need (appliances, futon, etc., just to name a few).

These are just a few steps one must consider, and as you can see, it is by no means an easy formula to figure as rates vary and fluctuate all the time. At any rate, when you have more specifics in mind--by all means, please feel free to post here, and we'll try our best to answer your questions.
also, don't bother bringing over a tv, radio or DVDs since Japan's wavelengths don't always work right....different frequencies, and unless you have a hacked/universal DVD player, it won't work in Japan from other regions.....and, don't bring a car....unless you plan to spend some big yen in converting it over to J-standards....and want to pay a parking fee and other fees as long as you own the vehicle.. :D
Do bring over things you want to use regularly...because sometimes they are hard to find in Japan (even though you can generally find an equivalent over there)..... :D
1. I am planning to take with me US$6000, which is a bit over
1000000 yen is this enough to begin a new life in Japan?
2. How much does an apartment cost in Tokyo or Osaka?

As Thomas said, it depends on how soon you get a job! That will be the most important thing. If you get a reasonable job, everything else will fall into place; these days (in my experience), estate agents unwilling to deal with foreigners are not common, especially in Tokyo, especially if you have someone from your company to help you out with the transaction. Recently I was helping a French colleague find an apartment; one branch of a large estate agent chain said they couldn't help because he couldn't speak Japanese, but 3 of their other branches didn't care even when I pointed it out to them.
In Tokyo, you are looking at about 80,000 yen for a reasonable apartment for one person. I don't know about Osaka, but I would expect it to be the same (Tokyo isn't noticeably more expensive than other cities in the same way that, e.g. London is).
Due to deposits, commission and gifts to the landlord, you may have to pay the equivalent of 6 months to rent upfront, although recently there are plenty of places which don't require quite this much. If you budget on having to shell out around 400,000 yen upfront, that should be plenty. Though like I said at first, no job, no apartment (same as anywhere really).
I think someone else mentioned gaijin houses; about 60,000 a month will get you a private room with fridge, TV and shared bathroom etc. (think University dormitory) with no need for a guarantor and minimal deposit. A pretty good place to start your stay while you sort out a job, I would say. Look at the accommodation ads in classifieds.japantoday.com for ads for this type of place (the sakura-house link that Noriko gave you is an example of an agency that rents out places like this)
As an example of a typical affordable apartment in Tokyo, see the attached jpg (room layout). This is in ogikubo, about 25 min from Tokyo station (10 min from Shinjuku). 70000 per month, requiring an initial payment of around 420,000 to move in.


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