Unmarried couples living together have become largely accepted in Japanese society, but there are still some unique practical obstacles to the living arrangement. For starters, there are a ton of move-in costs when leasing a new apartment in Japan. Aside from security deposits and pre-payment of last and first month’s rent, a housing agency fee equal to one month’s rent is pretty standard, as is the charge known as reikin/”key money,” essentially a gratuity to the landlord that’s often as much as another two months’ rent.
Then there’s the fact that many Japanese apartments don’t come with air conditioning units, cooking stoves/ovens, or even interior lighting, so those are all things you’ll have to pay for. Oh, and if you live in a Japanese suburb or urban area, odds are you don’t have a car, which means you and your partner are going to have to hire a moving company to transport anything you don’t want to carry in your hands on the train to your new apartment.
Now, if you’ve found someone you want to share the rest of your life with, all of those costs start to sound like investments that are well worth it. But if you’re not 100 percent sure your love is going to last forever, there is a huge financial risk, especially since if it turns out you don’t like living together, moving back into apartments of your own means you each get to go through all those costs again. Add it all up, and it’s natural for Japanese couples to feel extra-apprehensive about moving in together, but that’s something Otameshi Dosei wants to help with.
▼ One of Otameshi Dosei’s furnished apartments
Otameshi Dosei translates to “Trial Cohabitation,” and it’s a way for couples in Japan to try out living together to see how compatible their personalities are, and whether they’re ready for that step in their relationship. Offering short-term rentals of furnished apartments, with the cost of utilities and Wi-Fi bundled into the fixed price, Otameshi Dosei has just launched a new program that lets couples rent an apartment together for as little as one week, with prices starting at an amazingly low 15,000 yen. Configurations range from cozy studio apartments to more spacious four-bedroom layouts.
With no need to pay agency fees, reikin, or even to buy any furniture, couples can focus on whether their at-home lifestyles mesh and whether they really like spending so much time together, without having to spend hundreds of thousands of yen to get the answer. There’s also no need for a guarantor/lease co-signer, and Otameshi Dosei happily informs potential renters that its services are open to couples of any gender/nationality.
Otameshi Dosei offers apartments in Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo (Hokkaido), and Naha (Okinawa), and requests for a current listing of one-week rentals can be made through its website here.
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