As with any country, apartments in Japan vary in style, size and age. But, there are some things that almost all Japanese apartments will have! Whether you are living in a traditional Japanese-style apartment, or a more modern western style, some things stay the same! Some are good, and some are not so good, especially if you are moving here from the spacious and airy apartments of some other countries (UK, USA etc).
So far, I haven’t been in a house or apartment in Japan that does not have its own genkan (げんかん). A genkan is basically an entryway into the house or apartment. It is here that one must remove their shoes, as you should never wear shoes inside a home. Even workmen that will come to repair household objects will always remove their shoes every time they come in. The size of your genkan will vary from place to place. Apartments often have quite small genkans that are only large enough for removing shoes. But, houses can sometimes have very large genkan’s in which you are able to store bicycles as well!
One of the biggest issues many foreigners face when moving to Japan, is the size of the kitchens! Most apartments will have a maximum of 2 rings to cook on. That’s right – only 2! Many will actually have only 1! This is because most Japanese dishes don’t require quite as much cooking as western ones. Many Japanese will also own a separate rice cooker, so they don’t need to use a ring for their rice.
Another downside of Japanese apartments is the thin walls! In Japan, there are hardly any house parties, and you have to be super careful about TV volume because noise travels through the walls so easily! This doesn’t bother most Japanese people, as they are brought up to be very quiet and polite, but for many foreigners, it can take some time getting used to!
Traditional Japanese Houses, Everything You Need To Know And More!