Moving to Japan presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities, not least finding a suitable place to live. One question we often get asked is whether apartments in Japan come furnished.
While most apartments in Japan are not furnished, there are some furnished options available in some residences in major cities like Tokyo.
Could one of these be the right fit for you? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll look into the pros and cons of choosing a furnished apartment in Japan, helping you make an informed decision based on your needs.
What is a Furnished Apartment?
A furnished apartment in Japan typically comes with essential furniture and appliances. This makes it a convenient option for those looking to move in quickly.
Here’s what you can generally expect:
- Washing machine
- Rice cooker
- Air conditioner
- Vacuum cleaner
- Dining table and chairs
However, smaller items like cooking utensils are usually not included. Furnished apartments are often more suitable for short-term rentals and single-person dwellings.
The Downsides of Furnished Apartments
The convenience of a furnished apartment comes at a cost—literally. These apartments are generally 20-30% more expensive than their unfurnished counterparts.
Especially in Tokyo, where the cost of living can be high, this can quickly add up. Some furnished apartments even include additional fees like cleaning, utilities, and contract fees, making your monthly expenses even higher.
If you have specific preferences or your own furniture, furnished apartments may not be the best choice.
Most furnished apartments have a strict policy against removing any installed furniture or appliances, limiting your options to personalize the space.
If you’re someone who enjoys personalizing your living space, a furnished apartment might not be the best fit.
The pre-installed furniture and appliances often leave little room for customization, making it challenging to make the place feel like “home.”
While furnished apartments come with essential items, most of these are second-hand.
Even though they are cleaned before you move in, some people may be uncomfortable using items that others have used before.
Potential Repair Costs
Always read the contract carefully when renting a furnished apartment. If something breaks, you might be responsible for the repair costs, depending on the terms.
Contracts often categorize furniture and appliances as either “additional facilities” or “outside facilities, lent, or free of charge.” If they fall under the latter, the tenant is usually responsible for repairs.
The Upsides of Furnished Apartments
Lower Initial Costs
One of the most appealing aspects of furnished apartments is the lower initial costs. Moving into a new place often involves hefty upfront expenses.
Buying furniture and appliances on your own could cost around 200,000 to 300,000 yen for a single person or over a million yen, depending on your needs.
Furnished apartments can significantly reduce these initial expenses, making them an attractive option for those on a budget.
Cheaper Moving Costs
Since you don’t have to move furniture and appliances, the cost of moving is generally lower.
Depending on the distance and timing, moving costs can be significant; however, furnished apartments can help you save on this.
Furnished apartments save you the time and effort of shopping for furniture and appliances, setting delivery times, and dealing with the disposal of items when you move out.
This convenience can be a significant relief, especially if you’re new to Japan and still navigating the ropes.
Who Should Consider Furnished Apartments?
If you plan to stay in Japan for a short period, perhaps due to work assignments or personal reasons, furnished apartments are an ideal choice.
They offer the convenience of a ready-to-move-in space without the hassle of purchasing and transporting furniture and appliances.
Moving to Japan can be costly, and furnished apartments provide a way to minimize your initial expenses. This is particularly advantageous for individuals on a budget.
Frequent Job Transfers and Solo Living
For those whose careers involve frequent job transfers or who are living alone, furnished apartments can be a practical solution. They offer a comfortable and convenient living space without the need for extensive furniture.
Lack of Interest in Interior Design
Not everyone has a passion for interior design, and that’s perfectly fine. If you’d rather not spend time and effort decorating your living space, a furnished apartment can be a stress-free option.
Comfortable with Second-hand Items
If you don’t mind using items that others have used before, furnished apartments can save you money while providing essential furnishings.
Who Should Avoid Furnished Apartments?
If you plan to make Japan your long-term home, furnished apartments may become more expensive over time due to the higher monthly rent.
Living with Family or Partner
Furnished apartments suitable for families or couples are rare in Japan. If you’re moving with a partner or your family, an unfurnished apartment would be a better fit.
Many furnished apartments do not allow pets, which can be a significant limitation for animal lovers.
If you’re passionate about interior design and have a vision for your living space, furnished apartments may not provide the flexibility you desire.
Furnished vs. Unfurnished Apartment: What’s Better?
When it comes to choosing between a furnished and unfurnished apartment in Japan, here are some recommendations to consider:
- For short-term stays and individuals on a budget, furnished apartments are often a practical choice.
- If you value convenience and don’t have strong preferences for specific furniture and appliances, furnished apartments can be a hassle-free option.
- However, if you plan to stay in Japan for the long term, are moving with family or a partner, or have particular tastes in interior design, you might find an unfurnished apartment more suitable.
Ultimately, the decision should align with your unique circumstances and preferences.
Furnished apartments offer convenience, but they also come with their own set of considerations. By understanding the pros and cons, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and lifestyle.
I hope this guide has helped shed light on the world of furnished apartments in Japan. If you have any questions or need further assistance in your housing journey, feel free to contact us at Tokyo Portfolio. We’re here to make your transition to Tokyo as smooth as possible.