About This Guide


Life in Tokyo: Your Guide is a lifestyle guidebook published for non-Japanese residents by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s Bureau of Citizens and Cultural Affairs to help them begin their new life in Tokyo. From the moment you enter the country, this guide has all the information you need to live your day-to-day life. You will even discover advice from fellow expats who have been living in the city for some time, providing extra knowledge that is sure to come in useful. Let this guide kickstart your new life in Tokyo!

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You can download a complete PDF version of Life in Tokyo: Your Guide, a lifestyle guidebook produced especially for expats starting their new life in Tokyo

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Life in TokyoTaking up residence

People often use a real estate company to find a place to live. Always check the contract carefully and make your decision after actually seeing the room.
You’ll have to furnish the place yourself.

When renting a home

  • Observe all the rules
  • Confirm how much money you must pay monthly in addition to the rent
  • Pay the amount by the due date

●What you should not do on rented property (examples):

  • Emit loud noises or speak loudly
  • Change the wallpaper of your room, drill holes in walls, etc.
  • Live with other people despite the contract specifying "single occupancy"
  • Place objects in common spaces, such as corridorsand stairs

For details

  • Real estate company or landlord

Money required when renting a home

Rent Paid monthly, in advance for the following month.
Management fee Electricity and cleaning fees, etc., for common spaces. Paid monthly.
Deposit This is a security deposit for unpaid rent or damage to the property. When you start renting, you deposit this fee with the landlord (about 1–2 months’ rent). When you leave, the charges of repairing the property are deducted, and if any is left, it is returned to you.
Key money A fee handed over to the landlord at time of contract. About 1–2 months’ rent.
Agent’s commission A commission paid to the real estate company. About 1 month’s rent.

* In many cases, a guarantor or a guarantor company is required at the time of contract.

Utility contracts

When you start living at a new place, you will need to arrange for electricity, gas, water, and other utility services. Do so after you decide on your moving date.

Type How to Apply
Electricity Choose the service provider, then apply. Phone, Internet
Water Apply to the Bureau of Waterworks, Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
Electricity / Gas
How to Apply Choose the service provider, then apply.
Phone, Internet
How to Apply Apply to the Bureau of Waterworks, Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
Phone, Internet

*Someone from the gas company will come to your place when you start or cease gas services.


The landlord will sometimes do these procedures for you, so be sure to check!

Utility costs

A rough estimate of monthly electricity, gas, water/sewer service rates for a person living alone.

Type Electricity Gas Water/Sewer Total
Amount (1month) 3,500 yen 3,500 yen 2,000 yen 9,000 yen
Type Amount (1month)
Electricity 3,500 yen
Gas 3,500 yen
Water/Sewer 2,000 yen
Total 9,000 yen

Seasoned residents say

  • If you’re going to a real estate firm, go with a friend who understands Japanese.

  • When renting a home, you will find that many properties are based on two-year contracts.