Finding a nice new place to live has always been a big hassle, no matter where you may try to go. It involves hours of searching, checking, and a good amount of patience. Once you finally put down a deposit, and you have gotten the key in your hand, you still haven’t finished doing the basic home set-up. Before you can even think about how to get all of your stuff to the new spot, you have to look at what utilities need to be turned on. You certainly can’t live without them and now must go through the process of getting them turned on in a completely different country. There will be a learning curve with these companies, as they have a slightly different way of getting your essentials turned on.
Electricity is one of the most basic and needed things when you start to move into the new apartment. It is also one of the easier utilities to get turned on. When you get to your new place, you will need to find the circuit breaker. It is usually in the front near the door in smaller apartments. There will be a card that you will need to fill out and send once you flip the main breaker on. Try and do this as accurately as possible, as they will use this information for billing services. If you don’t have a card, you will need to contact the landlord, or the company that owns and runs the building. If they own it themselves, you may need to set up a time for someone to come by and check the breaker and the circuits. Once that is done you will have power running in your new place. If you got your new apartment through a realtor, they could set up your utilities for you, and all you would need to do is flip the breaker on when you move in. There are nine companies that take care of greater Japan, but the one you will most likely end up using is Tepco.
Water and Sewage
Water and sewage are also relatively easy to get turned on. Water will already be set up and running when you get to the apartment, but you will need to contact the city, or local water company, to put it all in your name. It is the least hassle to get set-up, and can be done with little Japanese. Sewage will be included in the water bill every time. Watch your water consumption, as some landlords are trying to keep the use down for conservation purposes. This is especially true for buildings in which the landlord pays for the water bill, or it’s included with the rent.
There are a lot of apartments that still use gas for heating water, cooking, or central heating. You can usually see where they keep the large gas tanks somewhere near the main building. In order to get this one working, you will have to make an appointment with the local gas company. If you live in Tokyo it will most likely be Tokyo Gas. They will send an employee out to your apartment to check the lines, and turn on the gas. You will need to be present to sign off on it most of the time, so make sure to clear your schedule. Once they activate your lines you can connect your appliances as you see fit, but make sure that they are compatible with the type of gas that is being provided to your house. No one wants to spend hundreds of dollars on a stove just to not have it connect and work properly. You can check with the gas company to ensure you by the proper appliances.
Garbage pick-up in Japan is totally free. All you need to do is separate your trash accordingly, and set it out on the right days. There are no extra services that you will need to pay for, so make sure you follow the garbage schedule. The receptacle, or garbage area, will either on the apartment grounds, or there may be a collection spot along the street near your building. Just follow what the other residents do, and you’ll be alright.
Almost every thing that runs on the internet will use a fiber optic cable. Most places come with all of the proper hook-ups installed and ready for use. You will need to contact the local internet provider to get it put in if you don’t have any of it installed beforehand. In order to get the internet turned on you’ll need to call the local provider and set up and appointment. In Japan, they don’t do an on call basis for their internet providers, and it is more of a rotating schedule. Depending on where you live you may have to wait a while before they can send someone out to your home to get it turned on. If everything is ready to go when you move in you can get it all done over the phone. There are some online companies that can help you set-up your internet with a full English speaking staff. They are generally fast and easy to use, but will incur a few extra fees as they are being middlemen for your services. Be as patient as you can because you may have to wait a few weeks to get everything turned on. If you live in a share house, or in a building that provides its own internet, you can have it running as soon as you move in. It can end up being cheaper to use the buildings internet too, so make sure to check all of the options you’ll have around you.
It can seem like a huge hurdle when trying to get everything turned on for your move in. The one utility that seems to cause the most trouble is the internet. Some people have had to wait a whole month before getting it turned on. Even though it may be frustrating, you will need to bear with it. You can use other options in the meantime, like a pocket wifi. Everything else is generally ready for use and just need your name to be attached to the bill. Once it’s done, you can relax and enjoy your new surroundings.