Survival Japanese: Housing Terms

Survival Japanese: Housing Terms

Update: 29 June 2017

Looking for renting an apartment or a house is usually one of the first things that a foreigner moving to Japan will have to do. However, Japanese rental agreements have some unique features that might differ from those in your country. The terminology used to define the size, space and conditions of a place are quite unique in Japan, and a good knowledge of them is necessary to make the search even easier.

Japanese Housing: Words to Know

Japanese Housing: Words to Know

If you want to visit a real estate agency, some basic Japanese vocabulary will be most certainly needed.

Rentals
賃貸 (chintai)
Rental property
賃貸物件 (chintai bukken)
Apartment
アパート (apāto)
Apartment (large building)
マンション (manshon)
Separate house
一戸建て (ikkodate)
Real estate agent
不動産業者 (fudōsan-gyōsha)
Guarantor
保証人 (hoshōnin)
Tenant, renter
借家人 (shakuyanin)
Security deposit
敷金 (shikikin)
Deposit, security money
保証金 (hoshōkin)
Key money
礼金 (reikin)
Rent
賃料 / 家賃 (chinryō / yachin)
Monthly management fee
管理費 (kanrihi)
Initial moving fees
初期の費用 (shoki no hiyō)

Japanese Housing Layout Terms

Japanese Housing Layout Terms

The terminology used to define the size, space and conditions of a place are quite unique in Japan, and a good knowledge of them is necessary to make the search even easier.

• Room Layout and Size

For the measurements, three units are used: the common m², the tsubo (about 3.3m²) and the jō (about 1.65m², or 0.5 tsubo). When looking at the floor plan, you might also encounter specific terms. Here is a quick chart to give you an overview of what to expect. The number in front of the acronym usually indicates the number of bedrooms.

Acronym – Type of Room - Term
Explanation
R – Single room – 1R
Coziest type of apartment that can be found in Japan, 1R refers to one room directly connected to the kitchen and bathroom.
K – Kitchen – 1K
1K apartment usually has the kitchen separated from the main room. However, most of the time it consists of a simple sink and burner.
D – Dining – 1DK
1DK is slightly bigger than 1K apartments, and features a kitchen/dining room combination.
L – Living – 1LDK
An apartment with a separated living room and bedroom. Typically about 40 to 60m².
S – Storage – 1SLDK
Identical to a 1LDK, except that there is a large closet in which you can actually walk into.

• Vocabulary

Entryway
玄関 (genkan)
Shoe storage
下駄箱 (getabako)
Room
室 (shitsu)
Japanese-style room
和室 (washitsu)
Western-style room
洋室 (yōshitsu)
Japanese-style closet
押入れ (oshi-ire)
Western-style closet
物入れ (mono-ire)
Storage
納戸 (nando)
Counter for tatami mats
畳 (tatami / jō)
Dining room/area
ダイニング (dainingu)
Kitchen
キッチン (kicchin)
System kitchen
システムキッチン (shisutemu kicchin)
Bathroom
浴室 (yokushitsu)
Toilet
トイレ (toire)
Sink and Vanity
洗面 (senmen)
Laundry room
脱衣室 (datsui-shitsu)
Balcony
バルコニー (barukonī)
*This information is from the time of this article's publication.

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