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Do most Japanese rent?


Japan has one of the highest population densities in the world, and with limited space, housing options are often limited. One of the questions that arise when considering living in Japan is whether most Japanese rent or own their homes. In this article, we will be exploring this topic in detail.

Historical Perspective on Housing in Japan

Before World War II, owning a home was not common in Japan. Most people rented their homes, and it was considered a sign of wealth to own a property. However, after the war, the government implemented policies that encouraged homeownership, leading to increased ownership rates.

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Rise of Renting Culture in Japan

In recent years, there has been a shift towards renting in Japan. This is due to several factors such as high property prices, limited space, and an increase in single-person households. As a result, renting has become more popular among young people and those living in urban areas.

The Cost of Renting vs. Owning in Japan

While renting may seem like the cheaper option upfront, it’s important to consider the long-term costs. In Japan, rental prices can be high, and there are additional costs such as key money and agency fees. On the other hand, owning a home comes with additional costs such as property taxes and maintenance fees.

Types of Rental Properties in Japan

In Japan, there are several types of rental properties available such as apartments, mansions (high-end apartments), share houses, and guesthouses. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on your lifestyle and budget.

Rental Market Trends in Japan

The rental market in Japan is constantly changing, and it’s important to keep up with the latest trends. For example, there has been an increase in short-term rentals due to the rise of tourism in Japan. Additionally, there has been an uptick in luxury rental properties catering to high-income earners.

Cultural Attitudes Towards Homeownership and Renting

In Japan, owning a home is still seen as a symbol of stability and success. However, there has been a shift in attitudes towards renting due to changing lifestyles and economic factors. Many young people prefer the flexibility that comes with renting rather than being tied down to a mortgage.

Government Policies Affecting Housing in Japan

The Japanese government has implemented several policies aimed at increasing homeownership rates. For example, they offer subsidies to first-time homebuyers and provide tax incentives for homeownership. However, these policies have not been effective in increasing ownership rates significantly.

Challenges Faced by Renters in Japan

Renting in Japan comes with its unique challenges such as language barriers, discrimination against foreigners or non-Japanese speakers, and strict rules regarding pets and noise levels. It’s important to be aware of these challenges before deciding to rent in Japan.

The Future of Homeownership and Renting in Japan

The future of housing in Japan is uncertain, especially given the aging population and shrinking workforce. There are concerns about the sustainability of the current housing market and whether homeownership rates will continue to decline.


In conclusion, while owning a home is still seen as a sign of success in Japan, many young people are choosing to rent due to economic factors and changing lifestyles. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons before deciding whether to rent or own your home in Japan.


What is Japan’s average rent?

The cost of renting in Japan differs depending on the city, but the average national rent is around 50 to 70,000 JPY (470-650 USD). Tokyo is the city with the highest rental prices.

Do most people rent in Japan?

In 2022, the share of households renting dwellings and land in Japan stood at around 22.2 percent, remaining at the same level as in previous years.Feb 15, 2023

Do people rent or buy in Japan?

In Japan, the majority (60%) of people own their own homes while the remaining 40% rent. This means that most Japanese people are homeowners. In urban areas, it is more common for people to rent apartments, while in rural areas, it is common for people to inherit homes from their parents and become homeowners.

Do most Japanese live in apartments?

In Japan, single-family homes are commonly found in the outskirts and rural areas, while apartments are the primary housing option in central city locations. These apartments are often compact, with sizes not exceeding 60m2 or smaller.

Is it cheaper to live in Japan or America?

In the US, the average price per square foot to buy a residence in the city center is around $335, whereas in Japan a comparable figure is $760. This is an approximate 57% increase. However, on the whole, house prices are generally lower in Japan than the US, especially since the Covid pandemic.Nov 2, 2022

Why is it so hard to rent an apartment in Japan?

It is highly uncommon to rent an apartment directly from the owner, as leasing is usually handled by local agents who often do not speak English. In fact, most people and real estate agents in Japan will not work with clients who cannot speak Japanese due to practical reasons.

Impact of COVID-19 on Housing in Japan

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the housing market in Japan. With more people working from home, there has been an increased demand for larger living spaces and homes with dedicated office areas. Additionally, the pandemic has caused a decline in tourism, leading to a decrease in short-term rentals and an increase in long-term rentals.

Renting vs. Owning for Foreigners in Japan

For foreigners living in Japan, the decision to rent or own can be particularly challenging. Many landlords require a Japanese guarantor or proof of long-term residency before renting to foreigners, making it difficult for some to find suitable housing. Additionally, purchasing a home in Japan can be difficult for non-Japanese citizens due to restrictions on foreign ownership of land.

Solutions to Improve Housing Affordability in Japan

To address the issue of housing affordability in Japan, there have been calls for increased government intervention. Some proposed solutions include increasing subsidies and tax incentives for homeownership, implementing rent control measures, and increasing the supply of affordable housing units.

The Role of Technology in Japanese Housing Market

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the Japanese housing market. Online real estate platforms and virtual tours have made it easier for people to search for properties remotely. Additionally, there has been an increase in “smart homes” equipped with advanced technology such as voice-activated assistants and automated climate control systems.

Cultural Shifts towards Minimalism and Sustainability

There has been a cultural shift towards minimalism and sustainability in Japan, particularly among younger generations. This has led to an increase in demand for smaller living spaces and eco-friendly homes. Some developers have responded by creating compact and sustainable housing options such as tiny homes and energy-efficient apartments.


The housing market in Japan is complex and constantly evolving. Whether renting or owning is the right choice depends on individual circumstances and personal preferences. However, it’s important to consider the long-term costs and challenges associated with each option before making a decision.

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