Moving to a mansion in Kyoto

Subaru hoshi no ko. Does that sounds like a mansion to you?

A mansion(マンション) in Japan is not a large dwelling house. It is usually a multiple unit block with a secure central entrance with an elevator and a centralized post box system. Apartments (アパート) on the other hand, usually has neither of that and is cheaper with the frame usually made of wood rather than concrete and steel. Apartment are never higher than 3 stories.

When renting a housing in Japan, you usually need a guarantor. And in case you don’t have a personal connection, there are guarantor companies you can pay to act as it. However they won’t pay anything in the case of you get default, so it’s meaningless and a waste of money.

Wanting to cut commutation costs and time, I moved to a 1R mansion in downtown Kyoto. The process is much more complicated compared to Sweden. I went to a real estate agency and said what type of housing I wanted and where. The agent then gave me three choices. I choosed two places and booked a time for checking it out in real life.

Having decided upon “Subaru hoshi no ko”, it was time to start writing the contract, which is more easily said than done. Having filled out the basic information, I took the papers and went for a hunt of seals(Hanko), stamps and certificates needed to complete it.

Firstly, having spent 30 min filling out mine and the real estates information two times and putting my hanko on these document, I went to Doshishas Office of International Students(OIS) to get their approval. It turned out that there was a small mistake in the move out date on the contract so everything was void. Having gone back the next day and redoing it, I went back to the Doshisha (OIS) but they didn’t approve it yet. They however gave me two new document I had to fill out and get approved from two new separate places.

My first task was going to an “automated certificate issuing machine”, using my electronic Student ID and paying for a two year fire insurance. Except for everything being in Japanese, this went quite smooth. The second task was going to Doshisha Enterprise to pay the (meaningless) guarantor fee. Going there I had to fill out some more documents and pay the fee.

This being done, I finally went back to the (OIS) with all these papers, after being throroughly reviewed, they carefully put their hanko on the contract. Thinking I was done, I proudly went back to the real estate agent. He told me that we needed the hanko of the mansions owner as well so he told me to get back after a few days. Coming back again, with all hankos collected (7 in total!), I went to OIS for the fourth time, they took a copy and the process was finally over.


日本のマンションは、一軒家ではありません。通常は, エレベーターや、集団ポストシステム、安全に管理されている入り口がある集団住宅です。一方で、アパートは通常、そのどちらもがなく、またコンクリートではなく、木材で作ってあり安い物件です。そして3階よりも高くなることはありません。