Worst time to rent a home in Japan

There is one thing you need to know if you are planning to move to Japan. Japanese people don’t really like to rent their properties to the non-Japanese people. You probably wonder why. Well, there are few reasons for that. Firstly, they dread the idea of communicating with someone who doesn’t speak their language. If you speak Japanese, you will be in a slightly better position. But, there are more reasons why they avoid foreigners on their properties. They think that non-Japanese people will be loud, rude and bad for the neighborhood. Also, they believe that other nationalities don’t take as much care about recycling like them. Basically, these are all prejudices. Unfortunately for non-Japanese people, that is not conflicted with their laws when it comes to renting. So, for someone who isn’t Japanese, any time could be the worst time to rent a home in Japan.

What is the worst time to rent a home in Japan?

So, now that you know how things are, do you still want to move to Japan? Let’s assume that you are a brave person, who doesn’t easily quit when the obstacle appears on their way. In that case, you should at least know what is the worst time to rent a home in Japan, so you can avoid it. Imagine what if would be like if you called international moving company Japan and came there just to found out that maybe it’s not the best time for house searching. It is better to be safe than sorry, right? You wouldn’t want to stay in a hotel or a friend’s house more than you need to. And not to mention that Japanese people from work don’t like to mix business and friendships. So you shouldn’t rely on that.

It is also good to know when is the worst time to rent a home in Japan if you own a real estate. You want your place to have tenants, right? Then you need to know how can seasonal demand affect your chances to rent property. Some months are better from the others, like in many businesses. The cycle contains:

  • peak season – January to March,
  • lower demand – April to July,
  • preparations for the new peak season – September to December.
When is the worst time to rent a home in Japan - college building
The peak season is from January to March, and from April students start to attend college

Peak season

Unlike the US, the peak season for tenants and landlords in Japan is from January to March. Firstly, the demand is high because college students start their studies in April. So you know they would want to find an apartment before the classes start. Unless they can travel from home, which can be impossible if a home is far away. Or, they have to pay for hostels, which many students can’t afford. Perhaps they can stay with a friend for a while, but they still must search for the longterm solution. So, if they don’t start looking for the property on time, this could be the worst time to rent a home in Japan.

There is another reason why the period from January to March is the peak season. Many developers, leasing brokers, and other real estate companies close their books at the end of March. Of course, we all know what that means. Everyone will do whatever they can to close as many deals as possible. At the end of the financial year, everyone is chasing the results.

April is the month when companies start their fiscal year. So, that is also the time when they hire new workers. Those workers, along with the students, will be searching for apartments from January to March. If someone is moving for a job with a family, not having a place to stay can be a really big problem. Of course, they can always use some of the warehouses in Japan to store their belongings for safe keeping. But that can’t last for long, a family needs a secure place to start a new life with all of their belongings. That is why they will be really serious in house hunting for the first three months of the year.

Lower demand

Piggy bank
The great thing about lower demand is that tenants can get a discount on rent and save some money

After the fiscal and the school year start in April, the market calms down. People even accepted higher rents just to be moved in before April. So, now the real estate agents try to fill up vacant properties. With the lower demand, it’s not going smoothly. That is why that is a good time for tenants.

If you are someone who is looking to rent a place and not in a hurry, that’s great. Wait for April to start and then call a moving company like Kokusai Express or similar. Landlords don’t want their properties to be empty, so they are willing to negotiate. Tenants can easily get either discount on rent or maybe upgrades of properties for the same money. Sometimes landlords offer no key money as a way of a bargain. If you are wondering – key money if a gift that tenants give to landlords as a “thank you for letting me using your property”. If you get any of these deals, it means that it’s not the worst time to rent a home in Japan.

Preparations for the new peak season

From September the market is starting to be more active. Many real estate companies have to report their half-year results, so they will step up their game. Also, they work hard along with the landlords until December to prepare everything for the upcoming peak period. So anyone who is planning overseas moving should be in contact with the real estate companies by now. Because if you are moving from afar, you have to start preparations early. The great news is that the good companies will try to find tenants before the peak season, so you will have a lot of choices at your disposal. This also isn’t the worst time to rent a home in Japan, because sometimes you will have the opportunity to negotiate for a small discount on rent.

Japanese street at night
Tenants can catch a good deal before the peak season when everyone’s trying to prepare for it


Obviously, whether it’s the worst time to rent a home in Japan or not depends on who you are. If you are a tenant, try to avoid the peak season, because of the big demand. We know that Japanese customs can sound a little complicated, but before you move from Japan to California, do a little research. You will find out that it’s really not that complicated and fall in love with the Japanese vibe for sure.

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