Frequently Asked Questions

Before you look for apartment….

Before you look for apartment….

Kyoto, with its hundreds of temples and gardens, was the imperial capital , and it continues to function as the major cultural centre of Japan. You can visit many peaceful walks and traditional architecture.

You can enjoy natural beauty of each different season in Kyoto, which is surrounded with mountains and has rivers through towns.

Streets in Kyoto run through the city and it looks like a chest board.
Going north is called “agaru( to go up)” , going south is “ sagaru( to go down)” , going east or west is “ iru ( to enter)”.
If you remember the name of the streets , you will find the direction easily you want .

Kyoto is also a city with lots of universities and institutions. You will see many students in town. Therefore there are a lot of accommodation for students from various places .
There seem to be many one-bedroom apartments called “one-room mansion” being under construction for students.

Where to find an apartment?

If you are looking for an apartment in a specific area, you should go to a real estate agency near the train station in the area you wish to live. There will be many listings there for that specific area. 
When you find an apartment through a realtor, after signing the contract, you need tp pay the real estate agency a contract handling fee. 
Before signing the contract, you need to inquire them what other fee you are required to pay including insurance fee.
Real estate listing books are available at book stores or stations. They indicate each rent on each area, which will give you some idea which area is expensive or not. You should call or go to the real estate agency that put each advertisement out to obtain more detail information on rooms.
University is the first reliable resource center for foreign students. You should go to Foreign Student Centers , Student Guidance Offices and International Centers at your university.
When you find an apartment through University Co-op, and if the rent is higher than the certain level, you need to pay the contract handling fee.
They are public organizations . You can obtain some advise to find accommodation and some guide books .
Kyoto Student Guidance Offices by Center for Domestic and Foreign Students is located at Hyakumanben, which is specialized in assisting university students from foreign countries with finding accommodation. 
Registraion is needed when you need their assistance. To register, you need your student i.d., and student visa( alien registration card or passport is required for the verification). The commission charge is free.


You must pay rent to the landlord or realtor every month.
Every residence is required to pay this fee to maintain the building. The cost depends upon the apartment. You will pay this fee with rent every month.
You need to pay for utility expenses privately such as electricity, gas, water and telephone charge .
You will deposit this money with no interest to the landlord at the time of contract. This usually equivalents to 1 to 2 months’ rent, and a portion will be refunded when you move out after being reduced the charge for cleaning or repairing and other reason by custom. You should be cleared up with the landlord at the time of contract.
KEY MONEY (Reikin)
This is not refundable. The fee will vary depending on apartment.
You should keep the receipt when you paid the deposit money and key money to prove that you already paid.
A contract handling charge equal to about one month’s rent which is paid to the real estate agency , not to the landlord.
University Co-op tends to require less commission charge. 
You don’t need to pay the commission charge to university guidance center or Student Guidance Offices.

These types of fee written above are usually required to be paid with cash at the time of contract, but it is safety to send by wire if the price is high.

You should be cleared with landlord or real estate agency how much other expenses you will need to pay such as fire insurance, bicycle deposit charge , at the time of contract.

How goes the contract?

DORMITORY(Ryo, Kaikan)
Many universities and communities have dormitories for foreign students. You can apply at the college office. The rent is very inexpensive and usually you don’t need to pay the deposit money or key money. But you may have to pay registration fee.
Most of the rooms are furnished, therefore you will start your new life smoothly.
There are usually many pre-requisites and necessary papers, therefore you should inquire it at each organizers in advance.
Wooden and two stored buildings with one entrance. You have room key for your own room. Space and facility condition are different each other. 
The rent per month for 6 tatami mat floors with a kitchen is about 20 to 30 thousand yen, with deposit and key money equivalent to 2-3 months’ rent.
Residence share the public space such as bathroom and laundry space. If shower and bath space are available in the building, the maintenance fee per month or deposit money would be a little higher.
Apartments with several bedrooms and bathroom are for family, which charges higher rent, key money, and deposit than ones for singles. 
Older apartments is cheaper .
ROOM( Kashima)
Private bedroom with shared kitchen, bathroom, and front entrance. This type of room is cheaper than apartment.
They are steel framed concrete buildings. Usually they are well maintained. Increasing number of flat for single person called one-room mansion is available these days.
Privacy is well secured but it tends to be more expensive.

Most of these mentioned above are not furnished except for student dorms.
You are assumed to clean your room and take away your belongings when you move out and room is expected to be looking same as it had been before you borrowed.

Starting your new life in your new apartment

You will make a contract on your rent with your landlord or realtor. You are supposed to sign on the paper and abide by the determined rules.

When you find apartment through real estate agency especially, you are required to have a person who stands surety for your rent with his or her signature.
If you don’t pay the rent they are inquired to cover the charge, therefore you should be responsible for your payment and rental status.
To cancel a contract, the landlord must be notified in advance. Normally you should notify them more than one month in advance before you leave.
You need to clean up your room , balance utilization fee and return the room key to the landlord. You should consult with your landlord in advance about garbage, for in Kyoto you have to pay for large sized garbage to dispose.
The length of contract varies depending upon the types of room or owners. One year is common in Kyoto or you may stay until you graduate if you choose apartment for only students. If you extend the length of contract you must renew it, which costs a charge equal to one to two months’ rent that is paid to the landlord usually.
You must confirm this charge and period so that you may not be claimed the renewal charge without noticed.
The contract shows general and common rules. Usually there are more specific rules which are different from places. For example, in most cases you are not allowed to keep pets in your room, not allowed to use oil , kerosene heater, not allowed to tap nails on the wall and so on. You must follow these specific rules after an agreement.

After signing the contract and paying the required money , you are to receive your room key. Now you have your room to live in!!
Unless you live in dormitory or small apartment, you have to phone each company in your area and ask that they be turned on. Since gas can only be turned on by a qualified personnel from inside your apartment, you must be at home on the first day of usage.
In the case of long term basis, a telephone line can be bought from NTT which costs on average 80,000 yen. You can take over the line from your friend who is supposed to leave Japan or you can sell the line for 30 to 40 thousand yen when you cancel.
There are also phone rentals available from about 2,000 yen. Phone rentals seems to be more available at older apartment.
Cellular phones, PHSs are also available.
Any type of phone will be charged monthly other than communication fee. 
Phone bill will come about one month after you used, therefore you are responsible for your phone bill when you move out.
Garbage disposal laws differ from area to area. You should know how to separate garbage and when and where to dispose of it. When you start your new life, you need to ask the detail to the landlord or person in charge.
Once you start your living, you will be aware that there are some differences in terms of custom of living or rules between Japan and your mother country. 
If you don’t have social responsibility with common sense , you cannot avoid any claim, For example, if you are always giving trouble to neighbors, staying your room uncleaned, there is no blame for them to complain.
But there may be some other rules that are not mentioned on the contract. If you get into some trouble with your landlord on the rules which are not written on the contract, you need to have further discussion with the landlord to reach the agreement.

If you leave your apartment vacant for a long term , you should notice it to your landlord so that they will not worry about you.

When you leave your apartment for good, you should clear the all remaining bill such as utility bill and international calling bill.
You must report to the post office to change your address so that shipping can be forwarded smoothly.
Don’t remain any garbage or trash in your room. You should consult with your landlord about garbage which might be charged on dispose.

Trouble between you and your landlord tend to occur because of the misunderstanding of culture differences. You should consult with official personnel in public organization such as International Fund or friends, senior students, if you have any question in your living.
We have to avoid the worst case such as you are to be claimed unexpected payment or you are forced to move out.

The following are public services for your accommodation.

Municipal Dwelling House
  • Kyoto City Housing Department
  • Phone: 075-223-2701
  • Quarterly notification ( Apr. Jun. Sep. Dec)
  • Advertised on “ Simin Sinbun “( City Paper) etc.
Prefectural House
  • Kyoto Prefectural Housing Loan and Management Corporation
  • Phone : 075-432-2018
  • Notification: 5 to 6 times a year.
  • Advertisement will come out one month in advance before you can apply.
Some example of pre-requisites for these 2 types of houses are the following:
  • You have alien registration card and are currently living in Kyoto prefecture or Kyoto city .
  • You have certain amount of income which should be within the required range.
  • You have a person as surety .
Management groups・Consultation

Public Interest Incorporated Foundation Japan Property Management Association Kyoto Branch