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Japan With Kids - Forums: Moving to and Leaving Japan: Moving To Japan: Housing
By Judith Ann Herd on Wednesday, April 23, 2003 - 4:44 pm:

FYI, be careful of rental agencies when renting an apartment or house in Japan. We have had serious problems with Tokyo House Bureau, an agency that will introduce you to landlords but do nothing to help if there is a problem. Beware

By Steve K on Monday, June 9, 2003 - 4:43 pm:

The same applies to Zaisei Housing in Edogawa (, which I've dealt with and sued to get back my deposit.

By Marie-Therese Hannon on Monday, January 30, 2006 - 1:14 am:

Hi there, I am moving to Tokyo in April and am looking for advice on how to find an apartment in the city. Any information is gratefully appreciated. Thanks. Maire

By Cornelia on Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - 11:09 am:

About rental real estate. You must do a very thorough walk through before agreeing to rent. Once you are moved in, it is very difficult to get repairs done quickly or ever. The next opportunity to get needed repairs is when the contract is renewed. Your contract renewal fee is your opportunity to be firm on normal maintanence such as replacement of tatami omote, or repair of broken wiring (electrical sockets that don't work and so on). The landlord is not responsible for any appliances that he does not provide. But he is responsible for what (s)he owns. Shoji doors should slide properly without getting stuck, etc.

This goes for both high end and low end housing. Landlords come in all shapes and sizes just like anywhere else.

By Nancy Lydon on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 4:57 am:

I will be in Tokyo next week to see if it could be somewhere I could live. As my husband is considering accepting a position with his company to be based in Tokyo. Does anyone know of any english tours that will take you to the neighborhoods of Tokyo that we could potentially live in? I would like to get a sense of what it is like to live there before we can properly make a decision if this is the right move for us. Also, are there any hotels that anyone recommends staying at that are closer to the expat neighborhoods.

Thank you for any help!

By Bethan Hutton on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 9:53 am:

Hi Nancy,

I don't think anyone offers formal tours, unless your husband's company has a contract with a relocation agent. One of the best-known relocation agents in Tokyo is Oak Associates
(Oak Associates, Aoki Bldg. 3F, 4-1-10 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0001
Tel: +81-3-5472-7079 web site:,
but I'm not sure whether they deal directly with individuals and what they charge. Worth a call anyway.

Otherwise, I think the easiest thing might be to contact one of the real estate agents dealing with expats, explain that you are probably moving to Tokyo, and ask if they could show you round a few likely areas (Hiroo, Azabu, Aoyama, Yoyogi etc are the biggest expat areas in Tokyo), and a few typical properties. They should be able to point out the main schools, but may not be so aware of preschools as there are so many of them. Your husband's company may use a particular agent, or here is a site with links to a selection:

Ones I have dealt with include Overseas Corporation, Plaza Homes and Ken Corporation. They all have English-speaking agents and will probably be helpful if they think they can get your business if and when you move over.

Good luck!

By Nancy on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 4:42 pm:


Bethan is correct, the services you are looking for are best provided by a relocation company. What you are interested in is called a "Survey Trip." In addition to Oak Associates, there are several companies offering these services. Sometimes the employee requests this as the employer may not be aware of this service - or what it costs. Taken into consideration the total cost of relocating an employee, the cost of services provided by a relocation firm is not a great deal. You should also check out the following site for another relocation company that is well known.

The survey trip offered by Tokyo Orientations includes much more than what a real estate agent will offer.

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