HOW TO: Search for an Apartment in Japan - Part 2

We're finally back with part two on how to find an apartment in Japan. In part one, we discussed ways to find apartment rental listings and real estate agents and gave you some helpful search words. Today, we're going to walk you through how to use Suumo, which is one of the Japanese apartment listings sites we listed in part one. As to be expected, each site is different, but most of the vocab below should be helpful when searching online in Japanese.

How to Use Apartment Search Sites - Suumo

1. Go to Suumo's site.

2. Choose the region you'll be moving to.

apartment, Japan, search, rental, lease, find, Japanese, suumo3. Make sure you're looking at rentals (賃貸), as some sites will want you to choose what exactly you're looking for, whether buying or renting.

Japan, apartment, rentals, find, search, lease, Japanese
4. Choose how you want to search, perhaps by train line or area, commute time, map, road map, rent, or real estate office. If you know some Japanese, you can also search using keywords.

Japan, Japanese, apartment, rentals, search

5. For this example, I chose to search by area (エリア) in Aichi prefecture (愛知県). As you can see below, a list of cities (and wards in Nagoya city) appear. I'll click the box next to any of the cities or wards I want to search in. After that, click the blue button at the bottom of the page. (If you click on the city or ward name, rather than check the box next to it, it will go straight to the results for that location.) 

However, if you want to choose other options first, scroll down the page before clicking the blue button (see second image below).

Japan, apartment, rentals, lease, search
As you can see below, you can choose any options or preferences (although the less you choose, the more listings you'll see, which is good to keep in mind for smaller cities).

Once you've chosen your desired preferences, click the blue button at the bottom.

Japan, Japanese, apartment, search, preferences, options

6. The next page shows the results. If you didn't set any preferences on the previous page, you can adjust them in the left sidebar below.

As you browse through the listings, you can select and deselect various options in the left sidebar to change or narrow the listings you see. For example, if you want an apartment with parking, check the box next to "駐車場あり". For this section (and on other sites as well), here are some words to know

Japanese Hiragana RomajiEnglish
賃料ちんりょうchinryou rent
下限 かげん kagenlower limit
上限 じょうげんjyougen upper limit 
管理費かんりひ kanri hi management fee
共益費きょうえきひkyoueki hi community fee
込み こみ komiincluded
礼金 れいきん reikin key money 
敷金/保証金しききん/ほしょうきんshikikin / hoshoukin safety deposit
なし nashinone
間取りタイプまどりタイプ madoritaipuunit layout
建物たてもの tatemonobuilding
種類しゅるい shuruitype
駅までの徒歩分数えきまでのとほふんすう  ekimadeno tohofunsuuwalking distance from nearest train station
以内いない inaiwithin
指定しないしていしない  sitei sinaino preference
専有面積せんゆうめんせき  senyuu mensekiarea
築年数ちくねんすう  chikunensuuage of building
こだわり条件こだわりじょうけん kodawarijyoukenpreferences
駐車場ありちゅうしゃじょうあり  chuusyajyouarihas parking
バス トイレ別ばす といれべつ  basu toire betsuseparate bath and toilet
ペット相談ぺっとそうだん  petto soudanopen to discussion regarding pets
2階以上住戸2かいいじょうじゅうこ  2kaiijyou jyuukounit on the 2nd floor or above
室内洗濯機場所しつないせんたくきばしょ  sitsunai senntakuki basyolocation for washing machine indoors
エアコン付えあこんつき  eakon tsukiair conditioner included
オートロック o-torokkuautomatic locks
フローリングー  furo-ringuwood (or hard) flooring
間取り付きまどりつき  madori tsukifloor plan included
物件動画付きぶっけんどうがつき  bukken douga tsukivideo of building included

7. The following image is an example listing. You can see an image of the apartment in the far left column, followed by the location, distance to train station or bus stop, monthly rent plus additional fees, key money and safety deposit, size, which direction it faces, what type of building it is and how old it is. You might see an area (such as in the yellow box in the image below) describing what pictures are available for the unit or house. To see the listing, click the address link (in blue) or the image.

Japan, Japanese, apartment, listings, search, find

8. The following image will be at the top of a listing's page, with essentially the same information as the previous page.

Japan, Japanese, apartment, listings, search
9. There are three tabs below the top part of the listing page. The first (which should appear by default) is the unit information, followed by neighborhood information and finally the real estate office info.

Japan, Japanese, apartment, listings, search

10. If you scroll down the apartment information page, you'll see a section with specifics about the place (what's included and other details). Next is a summary of info such as transportation, layout, the floor it's on in the building (if applicable), when you can move in, damage insurance, building structure, age of building, parking, conditions, number of windows, nearby stores and others. Included info will vary by listing.

11. The second tab lists general info about the neighborhood, such as the closest supermarkets, convenience stores and other important facilities.

12. The final tab lists info about the real estate office.

13. If you're interested in the apartment, you can make an inquiry directly from the page (translations for the input fields below) or you can contact the real estate office directly if you prefer.

Other Words to Know

As you begin your online search, or even if a real estate agent is looking for you and they send you apartment information in Japanese, you might also find some of the following words and phrases useful (in addition to the ones above). (This isn't a comprehensive list.)

Japanese Hiragana RomajiEnglish
バルコニー - barukoniibalcony
ガスコンロ対応 かすこんろたいおうgasukonro taiou can use gas stoves
クロゼット-kurozetto closet
シャワー付き洗面台しゃわーつきせんめんだい  shawaa tsuki senmendaibathroom sink with shower nozzle
TVインターホンTVいんたーほん  TV intaahondoor intercom with camera
オートロック-  ootorokkuautomatic locks
陽当たり良好ようあたりりょうこう  youatari ryoukougood sunlight
シューズボックス-  shuuzu bokkusushoe cupboard/cabinet
システムキッチン-  shisutemu kicchinsystem kitchen
南向きみなみむき  minami mukisouthward facing
追焚機能浴室おいたききのうよくしつ  oitaki kinou yokusitsubath that is able to reheat water
脱衣所だついじょ datsuijyochanging room (space outside of bath area to "change clothes" - may have sink area)
洗面所独立せんめんじょどくりつ  senmenjyo dokuritsustandalone sink
洗面化粧台せんめんけしょうだい  senmen keshoudaisink with makeup stand
2口コンロにぐちこんろ  niguchi konrosupplementary
駐輪場ちゅうりんじょう  Chuurinjyoubicycle parking
CATV - -cable TV
即入室可そくにゅうしつか  soku nyuusitsu kaimmediate move-in possible
3口以上コンロさんぐちいじょうこんろ  sanguchi ijyou konrothree or more gas nozzles
対面式キッチンふたいほけん  taimensiki kicchinopen kitchen
全居室洋室ぜんきょしつようしつ  zenkyositsu yousitsuall western rooms (no tatami)
保証人不要ほしょうにんふよう  hoshounin fuyouguarantor not required
単身者相談たんしんしゃそうだん  tanshinsya soudansingle people OK to discuss renting (e.g. for a family-sized apartment)
CATVインターネットCATVいんたーねっと  CATV intaanettocable internet
二人入室相談ふたりにゅうしつそうだん  futari nyuusitsu soudantwo people ok to discuss renting (non-family members)
全居室フローリングぜんきょしつふろーりんぐ  zenkyositsu furooringuall rooms wood flooring
2面バルコニーにめんばるこにー  nimen barukoniibalcony on two sides
敷金2ヶ月しききんにかげつ  shikikin nikagetsusafety deposit is two months rent
緑豊かな住宅地みどりゆたかなじゅうたくち midori yutakana jyuutakuchiarea has lots of greenery
外壁コンクリートがいへきこんくりいと gaiheki konkuriitoouter building structure is concrete
クロゼット2ヶ所くろぜっとにかしょ  kurozetto nikashotwo closets (in a room)
ルームシェア相談るーむしぇあそうだん  ruumushea soudanroom sharing open for discussion
南面リビングなんめんりびんぐ  nanmen ribinguliving room on South side
学生相談がくせいそうだん  gakusei soudanstudents OK to discuss renting
バス2路線ばすにろせん  basu nirosentwo bus lines nearby
敷地内ゴミ置き場ちきちないごみおきば  shikichinai gomiokibaon-site garbage collection area
平面駐車場へいめんちゅうしゃじょう  heimen chuushajyouground floor parking lot
LDK12量以上LDKじゅうにりょういじょう  LDK jyuuniryou ijyouLDK is 12 tatami mats or more
洗面所のドアせんめんじょのどあ senmenjyo no doabath area has a door
南面バルコニーなんめんばるこにー  nanmen barukoniibalcony on the South side
礼金1ヶ月れいきんいっかげつ reikin ikkagetsukey money is one month's rent
保証会社利用可ほしょうかいしゃりようか  hoshougaisha riyou kaOK to use a guarantor company
通風良好つうふうりょうこう tsuufuu ryoukougood air circulation

Hopefully this will get you started with your apartment hunt, but remember that you can also ask a real estate agent to search for you, and in major cities you might be able to find a real estate agency that offers services in English if you can't speak Japanese. For example, Surviving in Japan's current sponsor, the H&R Group, can help you find a place to live in Tokyo, Nagoya or Osaka. See part one for more.

Many thanks to David Thompson (husband) for doing the translations for this post!


This post was brought to you by Surviving in Japan's November sponsor, Japan Home Search, a service provided by the H&R Group and one of the most extensive English real estate and apartment listings in Japan to help you find the perfect home when relocating or moving to Tokyo, Osaka, or Nagoya.

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