One aspect of living in Japan that most people overlook is how laundry is handled. Most apartments come equipped with washer hookups inside or outside the building. Almost no apartments have dryers as you have places to hang your clothes. Coming from western cultures, this can be a big change of process. Something that took two hours can now take a whole day depending on the weather. There are a few things one can expect when handling clothes in Japan.
The Washing Machine
As mentioned previously, you will most likely have hookups for a washer in your apartment. Japanese washers are generally smaller in size unless you want to spend a lot for a bigger version that may not fit your apartment. They come with many features for washing clothes and can handle different types of fabrics. You can keep it cheap by shopping at recycle shops and you will usually get well kept used appliances that will work perfectly. You can find dryers in Japan, but they are seen as a luxury item. Not many people use them, and you would need to install the proper things in your house. In general, don’t expect to dry your clothes in a machine in your apartment.
How to Dry Your Clothes
Since you won’t be using a machine, you will have some kind of small patio area to hang your clothes. It will be outside where it can get the most sun and wind. You can buy an adjustable pole to fit the patio, a stand-alone drying rack, or hang a line for your clothes to hang from. Some apartments don’t have patios, however, they can have poles outside of windows that can be used for drying clothes. It may seem like an inferior way to dry clothes, but it will actually help them in the long run. It will make them smell better after drying, too. If you don’t have a patio or a window area to dry clothes you can buy a collapsible hanger from the many department stores or 100 yen shops. They fold for storage and can hold a large amount of clothes at one time. Just set it next to a well-lit area where the sun can dry them.
No Dryer and It’s Raining…
If the weather is not allowing you to dry clothes normally, some bathrooms come equipped with a drying function. It is meant to dry your bathroom after showers, but it can dry small loads of clothes quickly. The problem is that it will increase your electricity consumption, as it may take long amounts of use to fully dry clothes. It should be saved for bad weather situations since it isn’t as effective as hanging clothes outside. You can also hang a clothesline in your apartment, or use swivel head hangers on the hanging areas of the walls.
Your apartment may not have a washer or proper hookups for one. Luckily there are many laundromats available for use. They are set up like western ones and even have dryers. Most people use the washers and dry their clothes at home, but you can use the dryers if you are pressed for time. The pricing per load is around the same as western countries, so make sure to have plenty of 100 and 500 yen coins with you.
Laundry is a straightforward thing in Japan. The detergent is comparable to western versions, and the main difference is how you dry your clothes after washing them. Try and set a laundry schedule, and keep the load size small for quick drying. Once you do it for a while it will become second nature. If you are looking to move to Japan soon, look no further than Village House.