share house in Tokyo

12 Apr

House sharing or flat sharing was not popular in Japan before, but now it’s changing.
This is the Tokyo way of house sharing!

(You may wanna turn up the volume.)

Share house in Tokyo…
It’s completely different from guesthouse that foreigners used to like to live in.

It’s modern, comfortable and stylish. There are even share houses especially designed for common interests.
These days share house is getting so popular in Tokyo many books, magazines, and specialized websites for share house are released. 10 years ago there were only 30 share houses in the Tokyo metropolitan area (Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba ), which has increased over 600 today. This means 10,000 people live in share house. But why?

Roman tei, 8 minutes walk from Oji station, was renovated from a 40-year-old wooden house to a share house for only women. 9 women live there. Each of them has a private room where bed and desk are furnished and they share bathroom and kitchen. Rent for 5Jo (as large as 5 tatami mats) room is 66,000yen (energy bill inclusive) monthly and this is not very reasonable when compared with average studio type room in the neighborhood area that costs 60,000-70,000yen.

According to Hitsuji Fudosan (real-estate company)’s survey, half of the renters are company employees. Over half of the renters earn more than 3,000,000 yen (USD30,000) yearly. This illustrates they chose share house not because they want to save money by sharing the living costs, but because they want to have communication with people. There are actually many good reasons they want to choose share house to live in. When 70% of the renters are women, better security is one of the important points to consider. It’s also good we are not required to pay security deposit and key money when we rent a share house. (note: Most of the apartment for rent require these money depending on which part of Japan we live in. Key money is a reward for the owner. It’s merely a custom in Tokyo area only.) Also, we don’t have to buy home electrical appliances such as TV, fridge, rice cooker, microwave, or air-con and furniture because they are all furnished.
“Share Place” in Kanagawa is such a spacious share house with various facilities such as theater room and library. 12Jo (as large as 12 tatami mats) room costs 83,000yen (energy bill inclusive). There are 57 rooms and they are fully rented. The share house used to be a company dormitory.

Japanese women’s average age for first marriage is 28.5 years old. It looks like there is some kind of connection between increasing rate of unmarried people and increasing people of living in a share house. When it’s comfortable to live in a share house with family-like share mates, some of the renters may not feel like rushing for marriage. It’s the key for happy life at a share house to observe the rules and stay away from each room in order to respect each other’s privacy.

Concept share house is a type of house that targets specific renters for the same interests. “Heart Terrace Tamagawa” is designed especially for bikers.

Kirin’s opinion:
What are share houses in your country or city like? Have you ever stayed at an interesting share house or with someone interesting? My share house experience is limited to the time I was living in Australia with working holiday. No, it was actually share room, I shared a room with a couple of others because I was a budget traveller who always had to save money for travelling. That’s why it was no privacy and I didn’t like it. It looks fun to share a house with keeping privacy at each room. If I fell in love with one of the share mates, that should be so much fun and exciting! Too bad, I miss this experience in my life, it’s too late I alredy have my hubby who I live with. (lol)


17 Responses to “share house in Tokyo”

  1. Patty April 12, 2010 at 1:40 pm #

    Well, in US, most kids have to roommates when they go stay at the school's domintary. That helps enforce your social life at school away from home. I've lived w/ roommates while I'm at school and shared apartment after school. You're right, there's no privacy, but starting out in the work force and not earning alot of money, sharing is best way to get the most out of your money. We usually share a 2 bedroom flat, and split everything down the middle (i.e. water bill, electric), and everyone is responsible for their own food and are expected to help in the kitchen since that's a common space.

    • kirin April 14, 2010 at 11:13 am #

      You mean you shared common space and bills but you had your own room to sleep in, right? I was sharing a room with other 3 girls in Australia. This means I had no time to be completely alone. I slept on a bunk bed. I shared commom space with 2 or 3 guys in addition to those girls. That's why I didn't like it. šŸ˜¦

  2. Emily April 12, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

    That's interesting to see they have stuff like that in Japan šŸ™‚ They have stuff like that over here in the States and mostly college students do stuff like that as far as I know. I wouldn't be comfortable living with people I didn't know because I need my privacy. I am accustomed to being around a lot of people since I grew up in a big family but it was too crowded for my taste. I now live in a big apartment with my husband to be and my bunny.

    It's also interesting to know that women are waiting until later to get married. It seem to be the trend over here too. I got a divorce last year but I'm getting married again this year. I'll be turning 25 in Aug.

    • kirin April 14, 2010 at 11:20 am #

      I think I am feeling something similar to you. I live with my hubby and my dog (Pi-chan) in a condo (it's not luxurious kind, it's like an apartment house but we bought it) that has 3 bedrooms. This is considered a bit too spacious for most of Japanese but I like it. I need time for myself. šŸ™‚ You are so young but you've already gone thru divorce? Anyhow it's good to hear you're happy with your current partner. šŸ™‚

  3. Lisa April 12, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

    Wow, this was really an interesting entry! I had no idea shared houses were gaining such popularity in Japan. I've had shared housing as well, mainly at university – and most of the time it was fine. I found from experience though that it's better to have both boys and girls though, because it raises the level of tidyness, haha! Only girls = messy. Only boys = messy. When it was mixed it was always easy to tidy, how odd…. ;P

    I think when/if I return to Japan a shared house like in this show would be ideal! It would be great to meet new people as well as like someone said, kind of have a second family, to feel more secure. I'd never ever consider a foreign guesthouse though, and never will. I think one of the differences is that with the guesthouse, most people only stay for a few months etc, so it doesn't feel as secure, plus it would be too easy to be 'separate' from real life in Japan. But do you think they would accept a foreigner in one of the shared houses mentioned on the show? Maybe not…or?

    • kirin April 14, 2010 at 11:28 am #

      Boys and girls…interesting! šŸ˜€

      It looks like they also accept foreigners.

      But the problem is they are so popular you may have to be on their waiting list. :p But I think it's definitely a good experience to you and you can improve your Japanese so well if you share a house with Japanese people. Sounds fun and very suitable to you. šŸ™‚

  4. shaynaJo April 14, 2010 at 9:12 am #

    hi kirin, interesting post there =)

    Anyhow, I think this is quite normal in my country, or should I say normal for me.
    Since I moved out from home to study in university, I've been sharing house or room even until now.
    My worst was when I was staying in a big house of 6 rooms, together with 9 girls! Hahah..
    However, as Im working now, I'm staying with some friends (3-4 ppl) together in a condominium. I think this is the best way for us to save cost on rental especially for people like us who havent really make our big bucks! hahahha..
    If I have the money, I would buy my own condo and might just stay alone šŸ˜›

    • kirin April 14, 2010 at 11:36 am #

      Hi Shayna,
      I know sharing a house or flat is a good way to save money, but it was not common in Japan 10 years ago for example. I have no idea when it started to be common…Also I have no idea why it was not popular 10 years ago. At the same time, many people whether men or women still choose to stay with their parents house before they get married. I was that kind. :p My father lived (still he does) in a big house alone and it was not very much far from Tokyo, I stayed there with him even after I graduated from uni, and I commuted to the office from that house before I got married.

  5. n a n d a April 15, 2010 at 6:48 pm #

    Sharing house is #2 option my country. Esp. for college students who normally dont earn much money. #1 would be rent a room *bedroom. no kitchen. bathroom inside/outside available by choice, w/ diff prices of course* in a house or some sort of boarding house.
    I didnt even know its not popular in Japan.
    I saw dorama "Last Friend" and its about several young people sharing a house together.
    Looks like its getting more common nowadays ^ ^

    • kirin April 17, 2010 at 4:31 am #

      Sharing house or flat with others was not popular 10 years ago, if I am not wrong. Land in Tokyo is rather expensive (not as much as Singapore but still high level as New York or Hong Kong.) but it was very strange we didn't have that custom for a long time.

  6. pinkplasticglitter June 6, 2010 at 10:47 am #

    It's pretty common here in Germany, actually I'm sharing an apartment with two other girls right now. šŸ˜‰
    Here it's also mostly for students or those who don't earn that much money, but some time ago I've seen a show on TV that showed even doctors and the like sharing the house with others, for similar reasons the people in your video named.

    But I think I prefer living alone or with close friends. ;P

    • kirin June 7, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

      Yeah, I think so too. In Japan somehow the custom of sharing house was not very popular until recently, in spite of high rent in Tokyo, especially. Maybe that's the reason most of studio type apartment for a single resident is around 20-25 square meters. It's very small, in order to make the rent reasonable price, I guess. But at such a small kitchen in 20 sqm room we don't feel like cooking. It's like we have to sacrifice comfort in life in exchange for small rent. šŸ˜¦
      It's natural now people share house and enjoy cooking, too.

  7. Cath September 17, 2010 at 9:45 am #

    I did share an apartment with other people for about 3 years after I graduated. Mm… during the last 2 years of the experience, my housemates often come back after I sleep. And I leave for work while they’re still sleeping. So… I felt I was actually living alone most of the time.
    But this experience did show me that I’m able to live by myself… I don’t get bored and absolutely love the freedom and privacy of being alone most of the time. I do enjoy company of course… so I guess going to an empty house is refreshing for me.

    • kirin September 17, 2010 at 2:12 pm #

      I personally like space and time to be myself. I may spend more time in my room than with others if I were to share a house, after all. haha! ^ ^;

  8. Lotto 6/42 Results : October 26, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    bunk beds should be made from strong materials like steel or better yet composite fibers”’

  9. sampee October 30, 2010 at 6:34 am #

    i envy you people who had experience this kind of life style. makes me wish i was born like you guys.

    • kirin October 31, 2010 at 12:27 am #

      Sharing a house is not always good. Sometimes we should miss privacy. Even if each one is given a single room, sometimes it's not enough if one wants to enjoy her private life. :p

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