Bills in Japan
For many people whose dream is to move to Japan, the last thing that comes to mind is utility bills. Finding an apartment can be stressful enough with so many options to consider. You’ll be asking yourself: where should I move to? How much should I be paying for rent? What’s key money? For all of those needs, you should head on over to the Village House website which can help you with all your apartment hunting needs. Follow this link!
Once you have chosen a place to live, it will only be a matter of time until you have to start paying the utility bills. You can’t put the electricity bill off forever – and you don’t want to be in the unfortunate position of having your electricity and water cut off because you weren’t sure how to pay your utility bill!
Now, bills in Japan may differ slightly from how utilities are processed in other countries. Setting them up often requires a trip to your local city hall. However, like most things, what can seem complicated at a first glance is much easier once you learn a few tricks. After reading this article you should know everything you need to know about how to pay bills in Japan.
How to Pay Bills in Japan
Most of the utility bills that you are expected to pay in Japan will be the same as anywhere else in the world. Two that you will almost certainly have to pay are the electricity bill and the water bill.
Not all homes use gas in Japan, although if your apartment uses gas then you will have to pay the gas bill. For people renting apartments with communal areas, you may have to pay a Kanri bill. But let’s break these down one at a time, shall we?
Paying the Electricity Bill in Japan
In Japan, you are expected to register your address with your local city hall. This means that when you move into a new rental apartment you will go to the city hall and give them all of your details – the process is easy enough, but may take an hour or two to process.
Once the city hall has registered your address they will set up your utility bills. An official who works for the local utility company will likely come to your residence and check the electricity meter. After this, you will receive monthly electricity bills in the post.
Electricity is handled by private companies in Japan, so it would be wise to check which companies provide usage in your area. They offer competitive rates, so you should consider taking your time to do the research before committing to a contract.
Once you have chosen a plan, you will be sent monthly bills. You can opt to pay the bill via automatic bank transfer if you wish – this is convenient and a good option for someone who might forget to pay the electricity bill!
Many people opt to pay the electricity bill every month, rather than the automatic bank transfer. This is a good way to keep track of the money you are spending. You can take the bill to your local convenience store and pay there.
The process is very quick. Alternatively, you can take the utility bill to your local post office – although this process can take a little longer. However, the process is easy – now you know how to pay your electricity bill in Japan!
Paying the Water Bill
Water bills are treated just the same as electricity bills. Once again you will set up your water usage after registering your address at the city hall; an officer will check your water meter and bill you for your monthly usage. This bill can be paid automatically, or you can opt to pay it personally.
Unlike the electricity and gas bills, water in Japan is a public utility. This means that no private companies are offering different rates of pay. Of course, this is easier for residents, as there is only one fixed water bill and rate to pay.
How to Pay Bills in Japan: Gas Bills
No matter what apartment you choose, you will have to pay both the water bill and the electricity bill. However, you might not always have to pay a gas bill. Many new homes in Japan are built to be run entirely on electricity. That means there is no avoiding paying the electricity bill in Japan.
However, older homes and apartments still use gas. If this is the case then the city hall will let you know when you register your address. Once again an official from the utility company will come and take a meter reading, then you will have to pay a monthly bill.
You can choose to pay it through direct debit, or in person. We recommend choosing the same method with all of your utility bills, you can pay for all of them in one go – this will make sure you don’t forget one!
Bills in Japan: Kanri Bill
One hidden cost of living in Japan that you might encounter is the Kanri bill. This is a maintenance service that you will have to pay on top of your monthly rent. The Kanri bill pays for the cleaning of communal areas such as hallways or bicycle parking areas.
For affordable housing, the Kanri bill is normally very minimal: only a few thousand yen. However, for the high-end and luxury housing, you can expect to be paying a much higher Kanri bill. Unfortunately, this is a factor of living in such luxury housing! If you are looking into renting in Japan, you should take into consideration the Kanri bill on top of the rent when budgeting.
Saving Money and Lowering Utility Bills
A great way to save money on your utilities is by making your apartment more eco-friendly. Consider making an effort to make your living space more sustainable and energy-efficient. A guide on how to do this can be found on our website, here.
We hope that after reading this article you feel more at ease with how to pay bills in Japan.