|Types of Housing|
Many people in Japan live in normal detached houses, but these can be very expensive in or near the big cities. Houses and apartment buildings in Japan may be less solidly built than what you are used to. In general, newer buildings are better, but they are also more expensive. Before you decide on a place, check the surrounding area. (It may also be worth checking that your mobile phone works inside.)
Apartment size descriptions
You will see apartments described as 1K, 2DK, 2LDK, 3K etc.
Room sizes are measured in units of the area of one tatami mat (jou), even though they may not have tatami flooring. A typical 6-mat (6-jou) room is about 10 square meters. Bedrooms are usually 4 1/2-mats or 6-mats in size.
Types of apartments
Apartments in Japan are called by different words depending on the construction materials.
A ferro-concrete apartment building.
Apato usually refers to a two-story wooden apartment building.
Danchi typically refers to groups of large apartment buildings owned by the local housing authority. They are usually large, good-value "mansions" designed for families. These are popular and may be difficult to get. Urban Renaissance Agency public rental housing does not require guarantors, or key money or a real estate agent’s fee. However, you do have to provide a deposit equal to three months’ rent. To find URA public rental apartments in your area, see http://www.ur-net.go.jp/sitemap/english.html (the website is English, but you will need to speak Japanese to inquire about properties).
These have higher monthly rents, but are fully furnished, and do not require large deposits or key money. This may be the best option if you want somewhere to live just for a year or so. See for example http://www.leopalace21.com/ (in English, Chinese, and Korean).
These are cheap lodging-houses specially for foreigners, normally with single rooms only, rented by the day, week, or month. They are usually cheap and fully furnished, but you may have to share kitchen and bathroom facilities. Utilities are often included in the rent.