What is a Japanese Apartment Like?

A Japanese apartment is different from what you can expect back home. The amenities are few if any. You will need to furnish it from the top down, including the light fixtures!

(Pictured: an apartment in Japan with a tatami mat room. This is a pretty nice new apartment)

When you step into any apartment, residence or even some offices you are expected to take off your shoes if there is an entrance way that is lower than a step up to the rest of the apartment.

It is very obvious. Once you are here you will do it naturally.

My first Japanese apartment in Nagoya had one tatami mat bedroom, a kitchen with linoleum floor and another room with a fake wood floor.

My second apartment just had one six tatami mat main room and a walk in kitchen area that was really, really tiny. Space to cook and that was it. The hallway and kitchen were combined.






Dealing with Condensation Problems in your Japanese Apartment

Japanese apartment, everyone has condensation problems in their home in Japan. Whether you live in an apartment, a house have double or triple pane glass or not, you will still have problems with condensation. It is a natural phenomenon. It is physics.

There is help. It is so mild in the winter here that you can open your doors and windows once a day for a few minutes to air out the house. It is a good idea to do this anyway for health reasons. It will also reduce the number of germs in your home.

Dehumidifiers are a big help as are double paned glass windows

Condensation is the result of water vapour wanting to go to the coldest part of any room. It cannot be totally prevented. The above suggestions should be a big help however, and if there is a way to heat your rooms evenly that should also help to some extent. In centrally heated homes the problem of condensation seems to be less in my experience.

Vinegar will kill the mold. "Kabi Killer," a very strong, noxious Japanese cleaner is amazing on mold, but you have to be careful you do not breath in the fumes too much. Wear a mask and air out the room you are cleaning as much as possible. Best to clean with kabi killer in short bursts of ten minutes or less. It is amazingly effective even on caulking that has mold.

iHerb mentioned elsewhere at our website sells less harmful cleaners for your bathroom and home. If you buy enough, they offer free shipping.

You can buy an item that dehumidifies a small area. These can be used in closets or bathrooms. You can also buy "takesumi" or bamboo charcoal in bags to dehumidify drawers and other small areas.

Bio Cleaners are a family of products that come in a little square plastic box with holes, and it contains good bacteria that helps to prevent mold. After you have gotten rid of the mold, this is a good product to get to prevent the re-occurrence of it.

Finally, hydrogen peroxide (called Oxydol) in Japan, is very effective on mold. You can of course use bleach as well.




Tokyo Apartments

Some are quite large if they are for two people or are in the countryside. Tokyo apartments and apartments in the other major cities of Japan tend to be smaller. A typical Japanese apartment in Tokyo is the standard

six tatami mat "rokujo" apartment.

Living in Japan

Learn more about living in Japan, how to live cheaply, things to do and not do, and more practical advice about living in Japan.

(Pictured: an apartment in Japan by Paul Canosa) Go to page one of this story




Continued from Page 1 of this story: Mark`s apartment in Japan

I spent the night in Mark's apartment having dinner and getting to know he and his family. The next day he proudly showed me the apartment and I tried to hide my shock. Even though I had read in Wharton's book,"Working in Japan," where it told you that the apartments here didn't come with much--it was still surprising to see that I didn't even have any lights.

Mark handed me a small plastic light fixture, that if I am nice about, I would say looked like a K-Mart reject. "A friend gave me this." I could see why, I thought. Obviously not a good friend!

Maybe a secret enemy if truth be told!

We screwed it into the kitchen ceiling. That would be the only screwing I would be doing for a while.

Now I would be able to see what I was chewing!

According to him this apartment was huge. According to me, it wasn't much bigger than my bedroom back home in Tsawwassen, a small town near Vancouver. It was a 2DK in apartment lingo. I had a Japanese oil heated bath, which everyone should try at least once. It was very deep; like a big cube in shape.

Although tall, I fit in it nicely and the water came up to my neck. It was very nice on those cold Nagoya mornings.

Jeff and Brian came over to my apartment a day or two later. I offered them the second bedroom until they found a place of their own. I'm happy I did as Jeff and I ended up becoming good friends.

By January though, I knew I was going to leave Nagoya. I had decided to move to Kanagawa to be near Ikumi.



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Short Term Stay in Japan?

Staying in Japan for three months or so? Or even less?

As mentioned elsewhere, the Sakura Hotels and apartments are very reasonable for short or long term living in Japan. As well, Leo Palace apartments are all over Japan and very reasonably priced too. They offer short term stays and people often live in one when they are intending to live somewhere for less than a year. They are clean and usually located close enough to a train station to allow for convenient commuting.

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