Share Houses, an economical way to stay in Japan シェアハウス
Community living in Japan
If you're staying in Japan for a month or more, a hotel isn't necessarily the most economical housing solution. This is why many travelers opt for share houses. Practical, fun and affordable, this type of new medium-term housing is on the rise in Japan! And while not necessarily for everyone, this accommodation is attracting more and more young travelers... foreigners and Japanese alike.
What is a share house?
As the name suggests, share-houses have a simple concept: rent a room and share the common areas (kitchen, bathroom, toilet) with others.
From small houses of 3-6 rooms, to large complexes of about thirty rooms, these shared living spaces can take very different forms.
This diversity is also reflected in the huge variety of services they can offer.
Indeed, not all share houses are the same! The number of rooms can vary (from 3 to 30 on average), as does the size of the common space, some residences are only for women whereas others may cater to certain types of people (those with a common interest, single mothers, etc.) and the type of accommodation also varies from one residence to another, as some share houses offer individual rooms as well as dormitories for a variety of budgets. Some of the more spacious houses may even have a gym or a garden!
Nevertheless, share house rates remain affordable. Even in Tokyo, where room prices typically range from 10,000 to 90,000 yen per month.
Because this is the heart of the concept of the share-house: keep costs low, and enjoy your stay to the fullest!
The advantages: economical, friendly and practical accommodation
If there's one main advantage of this type of housing, it's their value for money.
The rates offered at share houses are much more attractive than those of traditional apartments. Most expenses are included automatically (internet, water, gas, electricity, maintenance costs) and extra fees like key money and agency fees are excluded (which can be equivalent to two or three months rent in Japan), so they appeal to travelers as well as students, and young workers both foreign and Japanese!
And this is another great advantage of share houses: their cosmopolitanism!
Whether wanting to save money or practice a foreign language, many Japanese choose to live in a share house during their studies. It's a good way for their foreign roommates to practice Japanese, and to discover Japan through the eyes of a native starting with a chance hallway conversation.
Finally, don't forget that share houses are very well established in Japan. And from north to south of the country, you will always find accommodation available to share in the big cities. They're also often close to train stations and shops, for even more convenience!
The disadvantages: you can't choose your neighbors!
While share houses are recommended for budget travelers wanting to take advantage of several weeks in Japan, they're definitely not suitable for all types of customers.
This is particularly the case for families or groups, since the rooms are often not able to accommodate more than 2 people.
Travelers staying for less than one month in Japan will also not be suitable, since a lease is generally signed for 30 days minimum.
Finally, don't forget that you won't meet your roommates in advance! And although in most cases cohabitation goes well, your neighbors may be noisy or lazy when it comes to cleaning or doing the dishes after a meal. Accepting the bad habits of others is just part of living in a community!
If the idea of sharing accommodation during your next stay in Japan appeals to you, here are some sites that may be of interest. It's possible to search for a share house by location, by train line, by budget, and even by equipment (TV, private bathroom, etc.).
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