Tokyo Apartment Key Words and Phrases


Here is a list of keywords to keep in mind when you go through the process of renting an apartment in Tokyo. These are good points to check when you choose your home, as they effect the money you will have to pay, the options you have once you move in, and what will happen at the end of the tenancy agreement.



Regular lease

This is the standard Japanese apartment rental lease and indicates that you the tenant have an automatic option to renew the lease upon expiration.



Fixed-term lease

The alternative to a standard lease is the ‘fixed term’ contract. In this instance, you the tenant will agree to a move out date prior to signing the contract – something which can not then be changed.



Renewal Fee

Some landlords will require a renewal fee in order to renew an existing lease. Typically koshinryou is usually 0.5-1 months’ rent.



Agent Commission

There is a standard agents commission of one month’s rent, plus 10% tax.



Security Deposit

Landlords will often request a security deposit of 4 – 6 months rent in advance. When you move out or at the end of the lease, the cost of cleaning or repairs will be deducted from this security deposit.



Key Money

In the case of a typical Japanese style apartment key money is usually required. Key money is a non-refundable up-front payment to the landlord for letting you rent the property. It is usually the equivalent of two months rent but can sometimes be negotiated, and in the case of the more expensive properties key money is not usually requested. Expat properties will not require key money. In some cases, you may be able to pay the key money in monthly payments spread out over 2 years.
– For example, if the rent is ¥120,000/ month and the key money is ¥240,000 you would pay ¥130,000/ month.



Monthly Maintenance fee

In some typical Japanese style apartments a monthly building maintenance fee will be added to the rent. In the case of expat apartments maintenance fees are almost always included in the monthly rent.



Renewal Fee

In the case of typical Japanese apartments (usually under ¥350,000 – ¥400,000/ month), a renewal fee is often charged at the end of the contract, usually two years, to renew the contract. This renewal fee is typically equal to 1 months rent and is paid to the building owner.




It is important to know that you cannot own a car in Tokyo without having a parking space first. Almost all apartment buildings or homes offer parking spaces for tenants but if you need parking it is still important to check if the property you are interested in has parking available.

In some cases the cost of a parking space is not included in the monthly rent. Parking spaces usually cost from ¥40,000 – ¥70,000/ month depending on the building and area.




Some landlords will not allow you to keep pets. If you own or are planning to keep a pet, it is important to inform your real-estate agent and request to see apartments or houses whose owners will allow pets. In some cases a landlord may allow cats but not dogs, (or vice versa), or small dogs but not big dogs.



Distance from station

Central Tokyo is the most expensive area to rent an apartment in, but the rental fees are also influenced by how close to major subway and commuter train stations a property is.



Apartment Size

Although Housing Japan will include size in terms of sqm, the standard in Tokyo is to measure room sizes in tatami mats (jo) with one tatami mat roughly equating to 180cm x 90cm.

Another measurement used for the size of an apartment is layout: Living, Dining and Kitchen area defines the size of apartments in Japan. Some examples:

1K: one room apartment with a kitchen
1DK: one room apartment with a dining and kitchen area
1LDK: one room apartment with a living, dining and kitchen area