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A Guide to Living in Rental Housing in Japan

To be polite, it is always better to know about the customs of the place you decide to live in.
In Japan, there are several that you should know of.
To give you a general idea, this article will briefly inform you of these rules. If you are:

  • going to start living in Japan soon
  • living in Japan and finding the rules there confusing

then, this article is for you!

The eight major things you should know

The eight major things you should know before you start living in your rental housing in Japan are rules on, taking out trash, using the kitchen, being quiet, using the bathroom, using shared spaces, parking, pet policies, and making holes on walls.

  1. Taking out trash
    • segregating trash
      It is important to separate certain types of trash from others, such as plastic and raw garbage. The idea behind this is to be more sustainable. Rules on how to divide your trash depends on the city you live in. For each type of trash, there are different trash bags you should use. Those trash bags also differ from city to city so make sure to buy some at a store in the city you live in.
    • When to take out your trash
      It is customary in most rental houses in Japan to have specific times and days of the week for each type of trash you take out depending on which housing you live in. However, there are some apartments that allow you to take the trash out to a certain spot in that building 24 hours a day, any day of the week. You should ask your landlord or real estate agent about it when you move in.
    • Trash you usually can’t take out where you live
      There is some trash that you just simply cannot throw out at the designated trash area of your building and you may need to take it to a special place. Some things you should not throw out are big items that don’t fit in the usual trash bag, relatively large electronic devices and cardboard boxes. If there ever comes a time that you have trouble figuring out where to throw away certain items, you should look it up on the internet or ask local authorities responsible. There is usually a thorough page describing where you should take them, as a lot of Japanese don’t know them either! Note that cities usually do not collect large electronic devices such as refrigerators or air conditioners. You will need to contact specific stores and pay money to get rid of them at stores.


Living in a new country can be exciting but change can be exhausting. If you’ve read this far, you have learned the basic things you need to know to be a polite neighbor in Japan. If you are unsure of anything, I suggest you ask your local authority or look it up online before you put it into action. Hope you have a great time in Japan, and best of luck!

If you are thinking of moving but have not yet decided on a new place to live:
SUGEE Housing, operated by SUGEE, is a real estate agent service specializing with foreign nationals. We have English-speaking consultants ready to assist you in your apartment hunting. If you are looking for a new place to live in Japan, please feel free to contact us.
Talk to a SUGEE consultant: