Making the Big Move: Furnishing Your New Home

So you’ve settled on your new pad, moved in, and now there’s empty or mostly empty walls staring back at you.  What to do?  Thankfully, you’ve got a lot of options.  Japan is home to some of the smallest living spaces in the modern world, and every year furniture and interior design companies come out with new and creative ways to make the most of your space.

If you’ve got the budget, anything is possible.  Even if you don’t, you’re not out of luck.  Here are some ways to maximize your budget when furnishing your new home:

© Hitorigurashi Interior no Zipang.com

There’s a ton of ways to work with your space no matter the size. Here’s a stylish, one room apartment set up.
© Hitorigurashi Interior no Zipang.com

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Making the Big Move: Apartment Hunting (Part 2)

Have an idea of the kind of property you’d like to rent?  If not, check out Part 1!  If so, you’re ready to start tackling some of the hurdles you might encounter when you visit a real estate agency.  These places are called fudōya or fudōya-san in Japanese.

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Making the Big Move: Apartment Hunting (Part 1)

© BIGLOBE

What a typical real estate agency looks like in Japan.
© BIGLOBE

As I wrote in my previous post, apartment hunting in Japan can be tricky.  This first step is understanding what kind of properties in Japan are available.  Unless you plan on staying here for many, many years you’ll be looking for rental property, called chintai bukken.  There are three main types:

  1. apartments, called apaato – These are generally older apartments made of wood.  Due to building regulations they can’t exceed two or three floors, unless under special circumstances.
  2. mansion-style apartments, called manshon – Don’t let the name fool you, you won’t be getting a real mansion!  These are the most popular because they’re generally newer properties and made of stronger materials like reinforced concrete.  Mansion-style apartments are usually four stories or higher, and it’s not uncommon to see high-rise mansion-style apartment complexes with 10 to 20 floors or more, especially in big cities.
  3. stand-alone properties, called ikkodate or kashiya – These are usually houses for lease but sometimes include maisonette-style rental properties.

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Making the Big Move: Finding Home

Apartment hunting and moving into a new place is a pretty daunting process anywhere, especially in Japan.  If you don’t know what to look for in a property, you may end up with a dud.  Once you get stuck with a bad property, there’s not much you can do but stick it out for awhile unless you have a lot of money to throw around; moving will set you back a few hundreds of thousands of yen (a few thousand USD) each time or more.  My husband and I lived in two duds before finally settling into the place we now call home. Continue reading