Apartment floor plans are described by the LDK abbreviation, where L, D and K stand for living room, dining room and kitchen, respectively. Usually, the LDK abbreviation is preceded by the number of bedrooms in the apartment. A typical studio apartment consists of a small kitchen that is not separate from the living space.
Floor plan examples:
1K = one bedroom + kitchen
2LDK = two bedrooms + living room + dining room and kitchen.
In most apartments, except for studios, the toilet is separated from the bathroom. You may still find a traditional Japanese squat toilet in some older apartments.
Most apartments come with tatami floors and/or wooden floors. The size of each room is typically measured by the number of tatami mats. The dimensions of these mats are 90cm X 180cm (3'X 6').
Room size examples:
6-mat room = approx. 10 m2 or 107 sq. ft.
8-mat room = approx. 13 m2 or 140 sq. ft.
Fees and Rent
In Japan, real estate agents not only sell properties but also manage rental apartments, condos and houses. They are responsible for rental contracts, property maintenance, and collecting monthly rent.
The minimum rental period is usually a couple of years. You should notify your real estate agent at least one month before moving out.
Fees and deposits are required to make a contract.
Fees and deposits are required to make a contract. A reservation fee paid to the real estate agent will reserve an apartment until you sign a formal contract. It is usually equivalent to one month's rent and is refunded once the contract is signed.
A deposit is paid in advance to cover eventual cleaning and repair costs. It is usually equivalent to a few month's rent and the balance is refunded to you when you move out.
・ Service fee
A service fee is a non-refundable payment made to the real estate agent. It is usually equivalent to one month's rent.
Key money is a non-refundable payment to the property owner. It is usually equivalent to a few month's rent. In recent years, key money is being abolished in major cities in Japan.
Apartments located near a train station or with rooms facing the sunny south or east tend to have higher cost of rent. A maintenance fee covers costs associated with the common areas of the building such as electricity used for lights in the corridor or entrance, and building insurance. It is usually included in the monthly rent. Monthly rent is typically paid through automatic bank transfer.
Prior approval by building administration is necessary if you would like to own a pet. It is also important to follow basic protocol, such as cleaning after the dogs when walking them. Dogs, three months of age, must be registered (must wear a collar with proof of registration) and immunized against rabies once year.
Enquiries about bringing pets into Japan should be addressed to the Animal Quarantine Service. To bring pets out of Japan, please refer to the embassy of the host country. If your pet can no longer be taken care of or is missing, you should consult the nearest animal center, which is under self-governing administration. For sick or injured pets, please refer to the closest veterinary hospital.