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Living between Tokyo and Yokohama 2019/7/12 02:39

My girlfriend and I will be headed to Japan in September.
She will be on exchange at Waseda University till Februrary 2020

I am looking for a job and actually have several interviews lined up. I am staying in Japan for at least 2-3 years. One of the jobs I am looking at will be in Yokohama, specifically near Nihon Odori/Kannai Stations.

We've been in Japan many times and are familiar with how things work. I have also done an internship in Tokyo before. We've used sharehouses before (5 mths with Sakura House)

This is however, my first time looking in getting a long term rental house (I have been looking at Suumo and, but just looking, and haven't contacted them)

I was wondering if anyone has suggestions on a) getting a rental house in general (i know this is a very very general question, but advise away! b) this is the specific one: If I do get the Job in Yokohama - it is likely - then where would be a good place to stay? Kawasaki? Or is it cheaper to just stay in Tokyo anyway and brave the trip to Yokohama daily? Last I checked thats about 600-700 yen one way to work if coming from say shinjuku/mid Tokyo

We're kinda poor and in our early/mid 20s, so we're looking at as cheap as possible, 1K rooms at 15-20sqm.

Thank you


by Lester (guest)  

Re: Living between Tokyo and Yokohama 2019/7/12 12:01
Kawasaki has a reputation of industrial and gtoughh neighborhood, but I actually find it very convenient and like it a lot. It has everything you need shopping-wise in a compact (not so spread out like Tokyo and Yokohama) setting, including Costco, and Haneda airport is just across a river. And it is very close to both Tokyo and Yokohama. If your budget allows, explore area around Kawasaki Daishi Temple.

by edokko101 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Living between Tokyo and Yokohama 2019/7/12 12:33
Nothing wrong with Kawasaki - certainly not like it was in the 1970's (the photos are pretty stark). And Kawasaki City is actually quite large stretching west from the coast.
With looking at commuting to Waseda and Yokohama, you're both going to be commuting at least some distance and maybe a transfer. Look at somewhere that minimises it for both - Kamata maybe.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Living between Tokyo and Yokohama 2019/7/12 12:47

First of all, I'm sure you know that most parts of Kawasaki City is not industrial nor has a bad reputation. But then, I'm also sure you know that Greater Tokyo works on "railway lines" instead of distances. The other huge thing that you should keep in mind is that, while employers typically pay employee's transportation fees, schools do not pay for their students'. Hence here are what you should ask yourself.

1. Which of the 8 or so Waseda campuses will your girlfriend be attending?

2. What train lines have easy access to both that campus and your workplace? And don't think distance. Think not having to change trains often or fight crowd. For example, if you could secure a seat upon boarding a train, a couple of hours of riding it is not an issue. Or one transfer station can be freezing while others may have cozy waiting rooms.

3. What would that transportation cost your girlfriend? Will your employer pay for yours?

4. For the house/apartment, what can you sacrifice to find a cheaper place? Having to walk longer from your nearest station? Less sunlight from south and east? More heat from the west side? Being far from grocery stores? Being too close to night life? Having to climb uphill?

Hope it helps you get started.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Living between Tokyo and Yokohama 2019/7/12 15:38
Some companies do help you find an apartment. Either they have company apartments, which would be great because they are great value, or they have an agreement with a rental agency. The benefit of that is that it will be easier for you to rent a place because you donft get turned down for being a foreigner and you have the guaranator covered.

When I looked for a house in Tokyo a few years back in a few rental agency a bit more into the suburbs (somewhere along the Yokohama line) I got literally turned down immediately after entering the rental agency simply for being a foreigner. We finally decided to live in Tokyo (Shimokitazawa) and there it wasnft so tough. However even there the rental agency needed to negotiate with the owner if hefd agree to let his house to foreigners. He agreed and we had a very nice and big house in Higashikitazawa.

The other point about guarantator is that in Japan it is very expensive initially to rent a place. You can expect to pay something like 5 months of rent at once : deposit, 2 months of rent, agency fee, thank you money, guarantator insurance (if you do not have a guarantator).
So if your company is helping you with that , that could be a huge saving. I am not saying you should choose the company based on that, but it is a factor.

An other possible place where to look for an apartment is UR housing. This here is NOT their official page but it is in English and can give you a first impression:

The good thing about UR houses is that you donft need to pay agency fee, key money and donft need a guarantator. They also accept foreigners without problems and itfs on a first-comes first-serves basis.
Their apartments are of good quality and more like for families but you might be able to find something small as well.

I think this is their official page:

Obviously you could also see with Waseda if you could stay as a couple in a dormitory.

As PPs said, companies NORMALLY pay the commuting expenses. If unsure ask them in the interview. Universities donft but if your partner is registered as student shefd get a discount on her commuter pass.

Regarding staying in or outside of Tokyo. The commute leaving the city will be easier (less crowded) than going into the city. Then there are more and less crowded lines and more or less fast train lines. This obviously influences the rental price of your apartment as well.

Enjoy your life in Tokyo!

by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Living between Tokyo and Yokohama 2019/7/14 17:46
Thanks to each and everyone of you for your really elaborate answers. I've gotten a lot of thinking points out of them and have a better appreciation for the situation ahead.

Let me quickly address some of the issues/points you've all raised.

1) I'm not adverse to living in Kawasaki, and I find its cheaper suburban prices a draw. In any case its just a 30 minutes train ride to 2 amazing cities, so that's fine for me. Of course, I note it will then cost 400yen ride to either city if I'm planning to go. But I'm fine with it.

2) My girlfriend will be studying in the main Waseda campus in Shinjuku (Waseda Stn). Since I'm working in Yokohama(Nihon Odori Stn), there is indeed one line that is perfect for us : The Fukutoshin Line/Tokyu Toyoku Line.

Any comments on the busyness of this line? Or are there alternatives I'm not aware of? I kinda know that there is parallel corridor that extends from Tokyo Stn/Shinagawa/Kamata/Kawasaki Stn/Yokohama? But just by train transfers I'm thinking the Fukutoshin Line/Tokyu Toyoku Line is more suitable?

3) Which means that we'll probably be looking into staying somewhere between but on this line? So I'm seeing... Jiyugaoka(I've been there I know, but expensive)/Denenchofu/MusashiKosugi/Hiyoshi/Tsunashima? Any recommendations?

4) My starting pay is likely to be around 200,000yen (entry level) and on top of that they will give transport allowances but with upper limit. I haven't asked them what that limit is. I shall do so. Any guesses?

I've also looked into Tokyu, and so my girlfriend should be able to get a 10% discount on her rides, which if from the above mentioned towns will start from 300-400yen (ouch)... I don't know how much I'm covered, but if I'm covered more then I should probably stay closer to Tokyo so her fare is lower? Not sure if this is the pragmatic way of thinking.

Sorry for going into the nitty gritty, but that's how much we've thought into it and how close we are to getting there.

Thank you all once again for your replies and hope to hear more answers for these newer points.

by Lester (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Living between Tokyo and Yokohama 2019/7/14 20:10
According to this website, Myorenji and Hakuraku tend to be cheaper on Toyoko line.

Fukutoshin line is definitely more expensive as it's on Tokyo side.

Basically, how many people can live in the room (and who) is written in the contract. Landlords normally don't allow multiple people to live in a small 1R or 1K room.
by Chimes (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Living between Tokyo and Yokohama 2019/7/14 20:11
It might seem unfair, but I'm guessing that the rush-hour commute to and from Yokohama will be much less crowded and more pleasant than the commute to Waseda, simply because of where most people live and work, so I'd suggest looking around the north end of the Fukutoshin corridor, even around Nish-Waseda itself, rather than in the middle. Then take a test run and see just how crowded it would be at morning rush hour, and if you can get a seat. Forty-five minutes sitting down is much better than thirty minutes standing squeezed into a very crowded car, so keep that in mind.

There's also the balance of space vs. location - personally I'd much rather be in central Tokyo in a smaller space than in a larger place in the suburbs, but everyone has their own priorities. I have friends in Musashi Kosugi whom I visit sometimes, and there's not as much to do there other than go to the local shopping malls. And I have lived in Nishi-Waseda myself, and it's a lot more fun to be in at the end of the day. It has a lively student culture, and there are plenty of budget-friendly places to eat and hang out.
by Umami Dearest rate this post as useful

Re: Living between Tokyo and Yokohama 2019/7/15 11:12
will start from 300-400yen (ouch)
Nihon-Odori to Nishi-Waseda is 650 yen, but it is 33km. You do need to pay for distance traveled so there will be some kind of split in cost between the two of you. It is part of the cost of living in Tokyo and travelling long distances.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Living between Tokyo and Yokohama 2019/7/15 11:58
Nihon-Odori to Nishi-Waseda is relatively expensive because you need to use 3 train companies (Tokyo Metro, Tokyu, and Yokohama Kosoku Tetsudo) and they charge you separately. It's not because of the distance.
It's one of the ways to make your transportation cheaper to live near the transfer station (Yokohama or Shibuya) although apartments near these stations are generally expensive.
by Chimes (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Living between Tokyo and Yokohama 2019/7/15 13:21
Hi again,

So, your girlfriend is considering the 17 minute walk from Nishi-Waseda station. Like most lines, for Fukutoshin/Toyoko Line, the neighborhoods of stations that faster trains don't stop at tend to have cheaper housing.

Also keep in mind that, while you may be able to find cheap rarities in places like the expensive Denenchofu neighborhood, the groceries would still be expensive. I know a couple of people who made the mistake of renting a place in an expensive neighborhood and having to buy groceries near their work place and carry them all the way home on trains.

A nice option may be to live slightly closer to Yokohama than Jiyugaoka. This is because a great number of passengers heading toward central Tokyo change from a slow train to a fast train at Jiyugaoka (more so than at Musashikosugi). If your girlfriend wishes to sit rather than hurry, she will have a great chance of securing a seat there. For you, commuting toward Yokohama is relatively easier crowd-wise.

So, Shinmaruko and Tamagawa stations might be nice. They're close to the increasingly convenient Musashikosugi, and I love the Tamagawa train Line and Todoroki Ryokuchi that you may enjoy on weekends.

Note that if you ever need to transfer at Yokohama station from Toyoko Line to either JR or Keikyu, use the northern exits. They're speedy and crowd-free. It's also a great way to walk through Porta to Yokohama Sogo Department Store.

The reason Hakuraku has cheaper housing is because it's the nearest station to a university (Kanagawa Univ.). I've never studying housing near Hiyoshi, but you might find cheap places there as well because it's near a university too (Keio).

I've been using this line on and off for most of my life, if that helps. Needless to say, the line extentions have made things convenient for local tourists, but not necessarily for us residents, because we now often need to pay to two or more railway companies just for a short ride, while an accident in Chichibu may cause a huge delay all the way in Yokohama.

Another option, among many, is to live near the Keikyu Line, because there are some direct trains going from, say, Yokohama Station to Nihonbashi where your girlfriend can transfer to a Tozai Line to Waseda Station which is closer to her campus. I love the Keikyu Line, too, for their neighborhoods with old-town feels and the fact that the line goes all the way to the beaches as well as Kawasaki Station which I find the malls connected to it very convenient and cozy nowadays.

Enjoy your new life in Greater Tokyo!
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Living between Tokyo and Yokohama 2019/7/16 09:27
@Chimes - I was making the point that the distance is non-trivial and the OP should not expect travelling long distances every day to be cheap.
Certainly different companies offer cheaper or more expensive yen/km than the generic JR fares for different routes. The fact that different companies are involved does not necessarily jack up the price. The 640 yen I'll pay this afternoon to a meeting is not high because of multiple companies - only JR, no transfers, but due to the 37km to get there.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Priorities... 2019/7/18 13:49
You know, with an income of 200,000 (gross? net?) for 2, you shouldn't even be thinking of renting in trendy areas like Jiyuugaoka. Forget the luxury and convenience of a nice location and focus on getting a decent and livable space for both, even if it means getting out of the metropolis and having longer commutes like most japanese do. 1K of 20 sqm for two people is going to be fun and interesting in the beginning, and then it will turn into a nightmare (even if you think like "me and my gf get along super well and will never have issues")
by cain (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Living between Tokyo and Yokohama 2019/7/19 16:20
Thanks to everyone who has answered.

I've picked up many tips and will try to use them wisely. I think I've gotten what I needed and won't be extending the thread with more questions!

Its only 2 more months till I begin a new chapter in Japan! I look forward to having great years ahead in Japan, and I wish the same for everyone!


by Lester (guest) rate this post as useful

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