Wondering how to furnish apartment in Japan as an expatt? In this article, I’ll discuss some of the key things to consider when furnishing your apartment in Japan as an expat.
Today I’ve brought you a guide on how you can furnish your apartment in Japan as an expat without worrying about spending overboard.
First off, I’d like to share my experiences as an expat student in Japan. I was bewildered to find out that most apartments in Tokyo or all across Japan don’t come furnished.
The tenants must bring their own furniture to the apartment in Japan, and as a student, I couldn’t afford to purchase all the furniture so I just bought a bed and table.
However, if you’re an expat worker in Japan, you can afford to furnish your apartment and there are multiple options in Japan that can come in handy when you wish to do so.
After conversing with many foreign expats in Japan I learned a couple of ways you can furnish your residence so that’s what I’ll be sharing with you today.
- Related: How To Rent An Apartment In Tokyo?
- Related: How Much Do You Need To Earn To Live Comfortably In Japan?
How To Furnish Apartment In Japan As An Expat
Japanese Apartments Are Not The Same As European/American Apartments
Japanese apartments aren’t renowned to be spacious and extravagant like apartments in Western countries. They’re predominantly compact and are fit for either two people or a family of 4.
Some foreign expats in Japan who come from Europe or the US had to learn this the hard way because they thought their furniture could fit the new apartment in Japan.
Well, turns out they were wrong and they had to purchase new furniture that could be easily moved through the door and that which would have the ideal size for their Japanese residence.
There are numerous luxurious apartments in Tokyo that are vast but keep in mind that these apartments can be exorbitant and they call for luscious furniture as well.
This means you have to spend a big chunk of money on both the rent and furniture. Speaking of rent, Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities in Japan where rent is quite costly.
Hence you might wanna reflect on how you can spend your money on furniture and still have some left to pay for rent and other expenses.
Therefore, it’s necessary that you’re cognizant of the duration of your stay in Japan, so you can decide on what furniture your Japanese apartment requires and what are some of the budget-friendly ways to furnish your residence.
How To Furnish Your Apartment In Japan?
Below, I’ve evaluated some of the budget-friendly and classical ways to furnish your apartment in Japan as an expat. You can go for any option that you may deem affordable and convenient for you.
Acquiring Furniture In Japan
Most foreign expats in Japan prefer buying furniture for their residences. This is one of the practical ways of furnishing your apartment in Japan. If you opt to buy furniture in Japan then it comes with added advantages.
This is because you can pick and choose any desired furniture piece that not just fits for purpose but also incorporates a new aspect to your apartment.
There’s a wide variety of places where you can buy appliances in Japan for reasonable prices. And who says you should purchase new fittings for your residence in Japan?
You can get your hands on refurbished second-hand furniture that won’t cost as much as brand-new furniture.
When you decide to buy furniture for your residence you’ll have a clear vision of which furniture would suit your interior, unlike furnished apartments where there might be useless fixtures.
Furthermore, the appliances you’ve purchased can be sold later on when you’re planning to move out of Japan.
Moving Furniture To Your Japanese Residence From Your Home Country
This might be the cheapest way of furnishing your residence in Japan. If you’re considering residing in Japan for over a decade then bringing your furniture to the host country would seem logical.
You wouldn’t incur any cost of buying new furniture or worry about your furniture rotting away in your home country. However, there are several nuances to this.
Remember when I said that Japanese apartments aren’t as spacious as apartments in the West? Moving in your furniture to your Japanese residence would require consideration.
You have to ensure that your furniture back home would befit your new residence and anything that might be large for your new apartment will have to be left out.
In fact, you’ll have to incur high shipping costs to move your furniture to another country and not to mention the duration your furniture would take to reach your apartment in Japan.
On a side note, most expats I’ve come across in Japan regret bringing in their furniture because they paid a huge sum for shipping and had to sell most appliances since they wouldn’t fit their new home.
Hiring Furniture In Japan
This is another cost-effective way of furnishing your Japanese residence as it doesn’t require a huge sum of money unlike purchasing new fittings plus you can choose from a plethora of appliances that would be of good use.
Since Japan has witnessed a flow of foreign expats, there have been new services established to cater to their needs.
Providing furniture for hire or lease is one of those services and what’s remarkable is that these businesses offer fixtures that match the likes of people from the West.
To make it convenient for the expats, businesses that render such services provide assistance in English. This makes it able for you to customize what kind of furniture you wish to hire and communicate seamlessly with them.
If you’re not satisfied with any fixture you can replace it handily and having to dispose the furniture when you leave Japan will be the least of your worries.
However, during the period of hiring the furniture, you’re custodial, which means you cannot let the furniture be impaired and you might have to bear the cost of repairing it if they’re damaged.
Where To Get Furniture And Appliances For Your Apartment In Japan?
Since you’ve come to the conclusion that you’ll be acquiring furniture for your Japanese residence, the question is going to be “Where”? Not to worry guys because I’ve curated some of the best outlets and credible sites in Japan where you can purchase furniture that offer mindblowing deals and offers.
However, there’s something you need to be aware of before you consider buying furniture for your apartment. Any furniture or appliance you bought while your stay in Japan must be disposed of before you leave.
You cannot abandon the fixtures in your apartment or anywhere else. The furniture can be sold or disposed of and you must pay disposal fees for each item.
Keeping that in mind let’s look at where you can get your hands on furniture that is of satisfactory quality yet reasonable.
Amazon Japan – Amazon is the go-to online shopping site to purchase anything you want for a reasonable deal. On Amazon Japan, you can find a collection of used furniture for discounted prices that are still in great condition.
Oh and don’t worry about shipping charges because Amazon Japan can offer you free delivery if you’re a premium member.
You can find appliances like TV, tables, chairs, couches, shelves, beds, and whatnot on Amazon Japan that are priced cheaply.
IKEA Japan – IKEA is a world-renowned furniture store that never lacks any sort of furniture. There are nearly 9 IKEA stores in Japan and over 3 of them are located in Tokyo. If you’re someone who’s interested in attractive interior design then IKEA Japan has a lot to offer.
There are several types of furniture provided by IKEA Japan like sofas, tables, kitchen appliances, storage, organizers, lighting, etc. These items sold at IKEA Japan are quite budget-friendly and the choices of furniture and appliances available are never-ending.
MUJI – MUJI is a Japanese shopping website that’s popularly known for offering a vast variety of commodities like clothing, furniture, and food. It’s a friendly website that grants unique deals for purchases and you can come across affordable furniture collections such as beds, mattresses, desks, chairs, and shelves.
Tokyo Sayonara Sale – This is a Facebook page that’s well-known among some of the expats in Japan where people can buy or sell hand-me-down furniture and other items. The foreign expats in Japan who have bought furniture items promote them on the Sayonara page in hopes of attracting a buyer.
Thus if you want to sell or buy any furniture you can always look at the Sayonara Facebook page which is credible and is comprised of several products that are cheaply priced.
Another cheap way to get furniture for your apartment is by keeping a check on the curb or entrances of residences in Japan where you can witness second-hand furniture placed for sale. They’re mostly in impressive condition and you can negotiate a fair deal with the seller.
Furnishing Apartment in Japan As An Expat: FAQs
Do apartments in Japan come furnished?
It’s uncommon for apartments in Japan to come furnished. Apartments in Japan are compact and only require a few pieces of furniture. If you’re planning to stay in Japan for over a year it’s recommended to buy your own furniture. There are several ways you can buy affordable furniture in Japan either in second-hand stores or websites like Amazon and MUJI.
How do you furnish your apartment in Japan?
If you’re an expat living in Japan then you might want to look for affordable ways to furnish your residence in Japan. You can move your furniture from your home country to your apartment in Japan or opt to buy furniture from stores in Japan itself. IKEA in Japan provides a wide array of furniture and appliances for affordable price ranges. Furthermore, you can check out websites like Amazon Japan, MUJI, or even a Facebook page called Sayonara Sale where you can purchase second-hand furniture.
Do Japanese apartments have fridges?
Apartments in Japan rarely come furnished unlike apartments in the West. Hence, it’s unlikely to find fridges or any large appliances and furniture in Japanese apartments. However, you could always purchase furniture and appliances for reasonable prices from second-hand furniture stores or Amazon Japan where you can receive amazing deals.