When is the best time to move to Japan? Comparison of seasonal trends


When you are moving to Japan for business or study, the first thing you need to think about is, what to do with accommodation. Cost of living in Japan is not cheap compared to other countries. Rental properties may be rather cheaper in provincial cities, however, renting a room in the central Tokyo often costs a fortune. Many people think of finding as cheap rental property as possible to save their living costs, but clinging to the rent price too much and neglecting other conditions can be tricky. You may end up living in an uncomfortable shabby room. So, how can we find a rental property that is pleasant enough, also with reasonable rent price?


When is the least costly season to move house? Do rent prices fluctuate by seasons?

As you know, schools, companies and public authorities generally start their new years from April in Japan, therefore there is a peak season for house-moving because thousands of people within the same period to go to a new school, or new work place. During this peak season for house-moving, the costs for moving would be up to twice higher than those in off-peak seasons. On the contrary, the moving costs drop once a peak season finishes. This is just because moving companies charge more during peak season. The rates of rental properties do not change by seasons, as such price fluctuations may cause trouble between a property owner and tenant. 

There may be a chance to negotiate with the owner over the rent after peak season, as properties that are vacant after peak season are likely to remain uncontracted for a while. But do not expect a significant price cut, the difference in the rent would be a few thousand yen at best. After all, the best way to find a nice room at reasonable price is to research properties when many properties are advertised. Therefore, knowing types properties that tend to appear in market in each season is very important.


January to March

The highest number of all types of properties including properties for singles or families come out in market toward April, the start of new year. New advertisements of properties are constantly added from January, and rooms with good conditions would be taken straight away during February and March, as the time gets closer to April.


  • Plenty of properties, including properties for single persons.
  • The highest number of new-built properties of the year.
  • Even though you could not get the room you liked, there will a similar property.


  • There hardly is a chance to negotiate over a rent as the demand is very high during this season.
  • During this season, it would take only a week from initial inspection to contract. Quick decision is crucial to rent a good property.
  • You may have to enter a contract and start paying rent earlier than the day you want to move in to keep the property. 
  • You may not be able to inspect inside the room while previous tenant is still living in the property.


April to June

Peak season finishes and the property market settles down. There are not many properties with good conditions, but this is a good season to look around many rooms and take time for inspection before entering into a tenancy contract. 


  • The number of rental properties is not so high, but there may be a chance to negotiate over a rent.
  • There is plenty of time to research during the Golden Week holiday. There are real estate agents that open during the holiday.
  • There are not many properties for families and couples.


  • The number of rental properties drops to the lowest level of a year.
  • The number of rental properties for singles is especially low.


July to September

Job relocations within companies often occur during this season (especially in July and September). The demands for properties increase, though not as much as in a peak season. 


  • Rental properties are steadily listed. This is a good season to spend time to inspect rental properties.
  • Owners normally wish to lend rooms that have been listed until this time of a year as soon as possible. There may be a chance to negotiate over monthly rent.


  • Visiting many properties for inspection during this season can be very stressful as Japanese summer is hot and humid.


October to December

There are many rental houses and units for families who do last-minute search for rental properties. On the other hand, the number of rental properties for singles are not so many in October, but increases towards December for those who have early college admission by entrance examination by commendation. Also, the number of new-build properties increases in this season.


  • The number of rental properties increases more in later half of this season, offering more options to choose from.
  • Real estate agents also have more time than peak season to assist their customers.
  • The number of new-build properties start increasing.


  • The number of advertisements is not so high in the first half of this season, thus there are not many rooms to choose from.


Find the best room for you!

When you rent a room, the monthly rent is preferred to be as low as possible. Unfortunately, rates of rental properties do not really change throughout a year, therefore there is no particular month that property owners would offer discounted rates. If there is any chance for tenants to negotiate over rate with their landlords, it could be from April while left-over properties are still advertised. The most important thing when looking for a rental property is to preview as many rooms or houses as possible, and choose one that best suits your requirements. In order to do so, knowing the market movement of the season you intend to move house. The best season when you want to: 

  • Preview many rental properties: January to March
  • Find a rental property with a reasonable rent: April to June, July to September
  • Find a rental property for family: July to September
  • Find a new-built rental property promptly: October to December

Once you enter into a tenancy contract, it is not easy to change your home just because you have some minor troubles. So, it is important to choose a room with careful eye when you move to a new place.





あきらことほ Kotoho Akira

Living outside Japan for a good many years, I often rediscover nice little things about this country every time I return here. I would be more than happy if this column may help you find your "nice little things about Japan"!

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