Money to Live Alone at an Apartment in Japan

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I am going to move to an apartment in August and start a new chapter of my life. I had lived alone when I was in college but it will be my first time living in an apartment since I worked. Unfortunately, (or as you can guess), it costs some money to rent a room. I will write about what kind of things you have to pay when you rent a house/apartment in Japan. To be honest, I had to prepare more money than I expected.

Deposit (about the same amount of one monthly fee)

Deposit means 敷金 in Japanese, money to rent a room. Usually, it is the same amount of one-two monthly fees. Since more people live alone, there are some options you do not have to pay this deposit. In that case, however, you will have to pay a cleaning fee when you leave the apartment. You will get back the money when you leave the room if you keep the room clean.

Gratuity Fee Deposit (about the same amount of one monthly fee)

Gratuity fee (礼金) might be a Japanese unique system, and you pay money to your house owner when you start living. Since this money is to show gratitude to the house owner, the money will not be refunded.

First Rent (for the first monthly fee)

In many cases, the monthly fee will be automatically withdrawn from your bank account, but you may have to pay the first monthly fee by cash when you get a room. Of course, you will not have to pay the fee in the first month, but preparing a certain amount of money is not an easy task.

Brokerage fee (about the same amount of one monthly fee)

If you visit a real estate agency and they introduce you to an apartment owned by a different owner, you have to pay a brokerage fee to the agency. Again, it depends but in my case, I have to pay the same about as the monthly fee.


For the many apartments, it is mandatory to enroll in fire insurance in case of fire or other risks. It is not that expensive but still, you will need another 10,000 yen or so.

In Total

I rent a room for about 50,000 yen a month, but I had to pay about 250,000 yen to start living there. It was much more than I expected and even I, a Japanese person, got surprised by how expensive it was. There are some ways to rent a room at a lower price but this was a “typical” cost to rent a room. Please note that you will need more money than it is written at real estate agencies, especially for the first month. Renting a room is not so inexpensive.

Important Note

I did not know I paid some money which I do not necessarily have to pay. Please check the post below or watch the video, in order not to lose your money.

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