All About Typical Japanese Apartments

2022/3/15 Updated

When foreigners living alone look for an apartment in Japan, they may be puzzled by the fact that the size and facilities are different from those in other countries. Therefore, this article will explain how the size and facilities of a typical Japanese apartment for a single person are different.

The following article is also for you!

Guide to understanding typical Japanese apartment layouts and terms.

Are apartments in Japan different from those in other countries?

Foreigners who have decided to live in Japan may have various expectations and concerns. In particular, they often hear that apartments in Japan are very small, so they may worry about whether they will be able to find a room where they can live comfortably.

It is true that a typical Japanese apartment differs in some aspects from those in other countries. However, if you understand what differences there are, there is no need to be anxious and you will be able to live comfortably in a Japanese apartment.

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Please contact GTN to find a room in Japan.

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How big is a room for a single person in Japan?

The most common types of apartments for people living alone in Japan are studio, 1K, and 1DK. A studio is a room with a kitchen inside, a 1K is a room with a separate kitchen, and a 1DK is a room with a living room, a kitchen, and a dining room for meals.

A typical apartment in Japan is usually about 6 or 8 tatami mats in size per room. “A tatami mat is about 9.7 square meters.
Six tatami mats are about 9.7 square meters, and eight tatami mats are about 13 square meters. This includes the space for furniture and beds, so the actual space for people to live in is much smaller.

What is a “unit bath”?

Bathrooms and toilets are an important part of choosing a room, and there are two types of bathrooms in Japanese apartments: “separate” and “unit bath.

Separate is a type of bathroom with separate rooms for bath and toilet, while unit bath is a type of bathroom with sink, toilet, shower and bathtub together. In a unit bath, the bathtub is separated from the toilet and sink by a curtain, and you take a shower in the bathtub and take a bath.

Disadvantages of unit baths

In a normal bath, you can fill the bathtub with hot water, soak in the bathtub, and take a shower in the space beside it to wash your body, but in a unit bath, you have to take a shower in the bathtub, so you cannot fill it with hot water and soak in the bathtub at the same time.

The unit bath is very small, so it may be difficult to use until you get used to it. Also, the bathroom and toilet are only separated by a curtain, so when you take a shower, the washroom inevitably gets a little wet.

Advantages of Unit Baths

The advantage of a unit bath is that it is easy to clean since the bathroom and toilet are combined. Another advantage is that apartments with unit baths are often inexpensive to rent.

What are the typical facilities in a Japanese apartment?

For foreigners who are living in an apartment in Japan for the first time, they are probably wondering what kind of facilities are available in a typical Japanese apartment. The key is to understand that there are some facilities that are available in most typical Japanese apartments and some that are often not.


A typical Japanese apartment is often not equipped with a bed. This is because Japanese people tend to sleep on futons, so a bed is not always necessary. So if you are renting a room without a bed, you will need to either buy your own bed or get into the habit of sleeping on a futon.

However, not all apartments are equipped with beds, so if you really want to live in an apartment with a bed, you should ask the staff at the real estate agency for help.

washing machine (laundry)

Some rooms are equipped with washing machines from the start, and some are not. In some cases, you may be able to use the washing machine in a room that is not equipped with one, if the previous tenant left it behind. In some cases, the washing machine provided may be old and difficult to use, so you may have to buy a new one yourself.


A typical Japanese apartment often has a small veranda where you can hang your laundry. However, this is not always the case, so check if you need to have a veranda.

The balconies of Japanese apartments are so small that it is often difficult to grow plants or relax on them. It’s best to think of it as a place to hang your laundry.

Stoves and air conditioners

Most typical Japanese apartments have an air conditioner. Most of them do not have a stove, so if you want to use it, you will have to prepare it yourself.

It is said that in cold regions such as Hokkaido and Tohoku, there are more rooms without air conditioners than in other regions. This is because the summers are cool and there is no need to turn on the air conditioner, while the winters are very cold and stoves are often used.


Most apartments in Japan come with a kitchen, unless they are very cheap. However, the typical kitchen in a Japanese apartment is very small, often with only one or two stoves and a small sink.


A typical Japanese apartment often does not come with a bed, and there are two types of baths: separate and unit baths. Understand the characteristics of a typical Japanese apartment and find a room where you can live comfortably.

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