Japan is famous, or infamous, for the size of its housing. Throughout the country, it is normal for houses, apartments, and other living areas to be small. The idea is to only take as much space as needed, since there isn’t much room to go around on the island. This idea has influenced the way the Japanese design their housing, even after Western designs were introduced.
Apartments are the best examples of this idea. A typical apartment will have one room that will have everything except the bathroom and toilet together. It’s not uncommon to see the kitchen area in the main room with no dividers. There is usually one closet to hold your belongings and even your futon. The toilet and the bathroom will usually be separated, but there are some apartments that have them both together. These apartments are becoming more common as they end up being less expensive as well.
DK? You Mean Donkey Kong?
Floor plans are annotated with 1K, 1DK, or 1LDK. The letters stand for living, dining, and kitchen respectively. The higher the number, the more rooms, the higher the price. Sometimes you can find some very reasonable housing space for cheap. On average, an apartment will be between 25-38 m squared, or 269-409 ft squared, for a single occupancy.
What to be Aware of
A 1K apartment is the most common you will find. It has one room for living and a small cooking area. Your living area will have to act as every room in a typical Western house. Using your closet wisely and employing creative storage ideas will help with the small space. There is a higher chance of the toilet and bath area being combined in these types of apartments as well. The space for cooking is smaller than most people would think, so it may be better to buy what you want to make on the same day. Make sure to check the floor plans to see if there are bathroom and washer hookups as well. Next is the 1DK, which is slightly larger. The kitchen is large enough to have a small dining area and is usually separated from the living area. Baths will be separated in these apartments, but the living area will be around the same size as the 1K. The 1LDK has an extra room that can be used as a living room, or have another person live if the landlord is ok with it. It is closer in style to a Western house. The cheaper options for apartments will most likely have some things missing from a usual apartment.
The Variables of Price
The higher the number the more room you will get. There will be a larger price tag, and it will also be affected by placement. Typically, a 1k with separate bath and toilet, washing space, and room for appliances will be around 60,000 yen a month. This price will adjust depending on what city, and how close you are to the station and other necessities. You can find a larger apartment for less if you look further from more populated areas.
There will be an initial shock when you first enter your new place. Some will have traditional tatami mat floors, some will have a Western design, others can be bare bones. Realtor offices will post their properties on flyers outside of their businesses. Use the annotations you’ve read here and it will make your apartment hunting much easier.