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1R/2DK/3LDK – What Does That Even Mean?

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.

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How to Rent an Apartment in Japan through Tokyo Apartment

As if packing up your entire life, moving to an unfamiliar area and learning a new language isn’t hard enough, being a foreign national in Japan makes moving more of a headache than it needs to be.

A large majority of Japanese real estates will not have English speaking staff and aren’t equipped to deal with many of the issues that foreigners face while trying to lease a property.  Besides an obvious language barrier, foreigners face discrimination from property owners, rejection from guarantor companies and may fail to meet visa requirements to name a few obstacles foreigners face while trying to move. So successfully finding long term housing in Japan as a foreign national has become a big problem.

But at Tokyo Apartment, we want to overcome this problem.

Tokyo Apartment is a Japanese real estate agency specializing in providing housing and support to foreign nationals in Japan. Born from Dainichi Co. Ltd., a Japanese property management company with over 80 years’ experience, we strive to provide the best housing service possible for all our customers.

And unlike other Japanese real estate agencies, Tokyo Apartment is ran largely by foreigners. All team members understand the difficulties foreigners face while attempting to rent an apartment, and how to overcome them, as we did ourselves!

We take the hassle and headache out of finding an apartment, providing a variety of housing options, all available to foreign nationals, and all presented in English! Finding an apartment through Tokyo Apartment is so simple, it can be done in five easy steps.


1) Send an inquiry through our website or social media channels one month before your preferred move in date

To get a good idea of your situation, we will ask for your details as well as any preferences you have concerning your future home. We will ask for information including your nationality, visa status, occupation, and number of occupants as well as what area you are looking to move to and what your ideal budget is.


2) We will search for properties on your behalf

At regular Japanese real estates, you may be asked to sit and wait for a few good hours while your agent searches and makes inquires on property availability in their office. Then you will need to commit more time to view the number of properties you liked then and there. This can potentially be a huge waste of time and effort should the agent be unable to provide any properties that you like or that allow foreigners.

However at Tokyo Apartment, we search and inquire for properties on your behalf after we receive your inquiry. Then, we will digitally send though the details of the homes on property sheets, all in English. These property sheets will include information such as location, structural details, facilities, photographs as well as sample computations of the monthly rent and initial fees. This way, you can peruse the properties and consider your decision from the comfort of your own home without worrying about pushy and overbearing agents.


3) View the property

So you looked through the properties available and found one (or more!) that you like. Great! Now it’s time to view the home. A time will be arranged at your convenience and multiple properties can be viewed in succession. A member of our team will greet you at a pre-agreed location (usually the nearest train station) before setting out to view the property. The agent will then introduce the property to you, supplying information on the property and surrounding area and answering any questions you may have.


4) Apply for the property

So now you have decided that this property is the one for you and now you want to apply for it. This can be done immediately after viewing the property or after taking some time to think about your decision (although this part can be time sensitive as it is not uncommon for a property to become unavailable should you wait too long to apply). Filling out the application form can be done at the property or at Tokyo Apartment’s office.

In the case that the application form is not in English, your agent will help you to fill it out correctly and translate. Along with the application form, varies proof of identification are also needed including your residence card, passport, student ID and certificate of enrollment (if you are a student) or official payslips and employment contract (if you are a working professional). As Tokyo Apartment is partnered with a trusted English speaking guarantor company, a personal guarantor is not needed, instead, they will ask for the details of two emergency contacts.


5) Sign the contract and receive the keys to your new home!

Congratulations! You’ve been approved for your apartment and you are now ready to sign your contract and receive your keys! The contract signing will take place at the Tokyo Apartment office with your agent and a licensed realtor present. As the contract will be in Japanese, the whole contract will be explained section by section and any questions you have will be answered by your agent. Then after signing the paperwork, you will finally be presented with your keys.

Any furnishings or Wifi prearranged through Tokyo Apartment will be ready by the time you move in or setup at a time most convenient for you. All utilities will also be organized by Tokyo Apartment and if you have any future questions or concerns during your time in your apartment, your agent will be ready and able to assist you.