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Tokyo Housing & Pets

Some of the world’s most expensive land can be found in central Tokyo. Consequently, even tiny apartments in the city center are very expensive. However, housing costs are distinctly lower in Tokyo’s suburbs, surrounding prefectures and in other regions and cities of Japan. Additional commuting costs are often more than compensated by the savings on the rent, especially as many Japanese companies pay part or all of their employees’ commuting expenses. If you prefer to live close to city centers, gaijin houses are an inexpensive option to consider.

Utilities such as gas, water and especially electricity are expensive, and phone rates are high. For international calls, consider callback services and other offers for the expat community.

There are many factors that influence the price of housing in Japan, including the location, size, age and over-all quality and popularity of the building. Negotiation on the list price may be possible, however this is generally rather difficult with newer buildings and very much depends on the time of year and other factors such as how long the property has been vacant for and how keen the owner is to find a new tenant.

Please note that owners in Japan prefer to have housing contracts signed and payments made by registered companies in Japan.

Central Location – Tokyo (Minato-ku)
Size            Monthly Rent                  Availability
1 Bedroom JPY 250,000 – JPY 600,000 High
2 Bedroom JPY 400,000 – JPY 750,000 High
3 Bedroom JPY 600,000 – JPY 1,200,000 Moderate
4 Bedroom JPY 900,000 – JPY 2,200,000 Moderate
5 Bedroom JPY 1,600,000 – JPY 2,500,000 Very limited


There are four steps to take to bring you pet to Japan:
1.  Have your pet fitted with a microchip for identification.
2. Vaccination against rabies with an inactivated vaccine, then given a booster shot more than 30 but less than 365 days later.
3.  A blood test at a Japanese approved lab that shows a serum antibody level of at least 0.5 IU/ml. At least 180 days but less than 2 years should have elapsed since the blood test upon your arrival in Japan; plus your pet should be given periodic booster shots, and not appear ill when it arrives.
4.  Notify the Japanese Animal Quarantine Service at least 40 days prior to your arrival.

People coming from a designated rabies-free area have a bit looser regulations, as well as animals of US military personnel.

If you satisfy all the requirements the quarantine time for your pet will be less than 12 hours.  If your pet must be quarantined, the costs are typically 2500-3000 yen per day for a private company to hold and feed your pet, which will be done at your port of entry, not your final destination. Unless you live a stone’s throw away and can feed your friend yourself, the costs can grow quite high.

Your airline may also have other regulations or surcharges such as cage type and weight, especially with regards to taking the pet with you in the cabin (PETC) or stowing it in the aircraft belly (AVIH), so be sure to contact them a few weeks before your flight. It may cost several hundred dollars to take your pet. For additional data or other animals, please go to the Japanese Consulate in New York, Misawa Japan or the Japanese government’s quarantine page. Be aware though that in Japan most apartment owners do NOT allow cats and dogs.