While searching for apartments in Japan, you may be asked by your realtor which layout size you prefer, listing a few examples such as 1K or 1LDK, assuming that you understand all terms Japanese real estate agencies use. As foreigners, we may be unfamiliar with such terms but the explanation is much easier than you first thought.
The first number indicates the total number of rooms in the property. These rooms are generally considered as to be used as a bedroom, and don’t include rooms such as kitchens or bathrooms. For example, a 1DK will have one bedroom and a 2DK will have two bedrooms and so on and so forth.
The letters following the first number are initialisms for different areas in the home.
D for dining area.
K for kitchen.
L for living area.
And + loft is pretty self-explanatory in that the property has a loft.
Next, let’s take a closer look at each style.
1R (One Room)
A 1R apartment generally consists of a bathroom, kitchen and one room to be used as a combined bedroom and living space. Most commonly, 1R apartments have a small entrance, a bathroom or kitchen immediately after to the left and right, and an open room.
1R also tend to have a three unit bath, in which a bathtub, toilet and wash basin are all in the one room. Kitchens also tend to be quite small, with a sink and space for a single or sometimes two, stove burners.
Depending on the apartment, there may be a small closet, and a space for a washing machine either inside, or on the balcony.
1K (One Kitchen)
1K and 1R apartments tend to be very similar, with the general differentiating factor of a 1K apartment as wall that separates the kitchen from the living area.
But it is not uncommon to see 1K apartments listed with no separating walls and 1R apartments with separating walls as the two terms are used interchangeably.
1R+Loft apartments generally follow the same layout as 1R apartments with an added loft, usually positioned in the space above the kitchen and bathroom. A ladder to access the loft is usually positioned to the left or right of the entrance to the room, against the wall or in front of the built in closet.
1DK (one room, dining and kitchen)
1DK apartments generally contain one bedroom, a kitchen, bathroom and dining area.
The dining area is usually space slightly smaller than the bedroom attached to the kitchen but can also be a separated room depending on the apartment. The kitchen area may be slightly larger than a 1R and may have a three unit bath or a separated toilet and bath. 1DKs also tend to have closets or more storage space than 1R or 1Ks.
1LDK (one room, living area, dining area and kitchen)
1LDK apartments contain a bedroom, a living area, dining area, kitchen and bathroom.
1LDK apartments may have separated living and dining areas, or a single space that tends to be slightly larger than a dining space in a 1DK. 1LDKs are more likely to have separated toilet and bath areas as well as more storage space. There may also be a vanity unit in a 1LDK as well as an indoor space for a washing machine. The bedroom is separated from the rest of the apartment and usually has a built in closet.
Continuing onto 2DK, 3LDK and larger apartments, the same layout is usually followed, simply adding more bedrooms as indicated by the first number. Of course, each apartment may be different and stray from the generalized style of its layout so be sure to keep an open mind when perusing apartments and their layouts.