When I was considering moving to Japan to teach English a couple of years ago, several of my friends who already lived there suggested I look into renting a room in a share house. That’s because, after living in Bangkok for years, I was quite shocked at how expensive apartment rent in Japan can be. A share house, however, would have solved that problem as well as been a great way to make some Japanese friends.
If you are thinking of moving to Japan, to teach English, will be there for a few weeks as a tourist, or for any other reasons, you also may want to consider renting a room in a share house. What is a share house? How much do they usually cost, and what type of accommodation can you expect to find there?
What is a share house in Japan? – A share house is actually just like it probably sounds to you. A house where you ‘share’ living space with all the other people living in it. In just about every case, you do rent your own room so can have as much privacy as you want, but the kitchen, living room and usually the bathroom facilities are all shared with everyone else in the house.
Most also come fully-furnished and with all the pots, pans, plates and cutlery, so there’s no need to have money for set-up costs in Japan when you arrive either.
How much is a room in a share house in Japan? – Obviously, it depends on the size of the room, the facilities the house has and, of course, the location the share house is in. A large room in a house with a lot of facilities and close to the center of Tokyo is going to be more expensive than a smaller room in a basic house on the outskirts.
When I was looking, I found rooms in share houses in Tokyo for as low as $450 and as high as over $1,000, but just about every one of them looked like places I could quite happily live in. Considering they also include all utilities, this can be an incredibly cheap way to live in a major Japanese city without breaking the bank.
With websites like Sakura House and Tokyo Share House , you can check out prices of a typical share house room as well as everything that comes with each one.
What is included in the price of a share house room? – In many cases, the amount you pay for a week or a month in a share house will include a fully-furnished room, electricity and gas charges, water, and most of the time free internet. Just be sure to check that everything is included before you book a room, as you don’t want any extra surprises later.
Deposits – Even better for people just arriving in Japan without a lot of money, many share houses only require a minimal deposit. As renting an apartment can cost upwards of $2,500 for deposits, ‘key money’ and other fees, it’s no wonder so many people love living in a share house in Japan.
Who lives in a share house in Japan? – As Japanese friends told me who have lived in one, this is what makes living in a share house so much fun, as you never know who you might be sharing with.
While the vast majority of people living in share houses are, of course, Japanese, you could also be sharing with a student from Europe, South America or the Middle East, a western teacher, an American writer or just about anyone.
The majority of people who tend to stay or live in share houses in Japan are usually in their 20s or 30s but that doesn’t mean, if you’re older than this, you can’t do so as well. There isn’t any age limit on who can live in a share house as they are open to anyone.
For more information on the concept of share houses in Japan, as well as comments from those who have lived in one (and all are positive, I might add), read this excellent article at Tofugu.