Because Tottori University International House (probably that of other universities too) only caters international students for a maximum of one year, I moved out to rent an apartment last month.
Hey, I tell you what, the whole process was quite tedious, especially if you have a problem communicating in Japanese.
For me, although I am not proficient in Japanese, somehow I managed to settle it all by myself. If not, my advice is to bring a friend as a translator.
First, I went to a real estate company to survey about the apartments. Having chosen 1 to 2 of desirable apartments from a catalog, I was brought by an agent to check up those units.
For a rental of 28000 yen worth of a unit, I paid 144240 yen for the first month which consisted of a deposit, key money, one-month rental, a management fee, and a processing fee. Of course, this rate goes even higher (up to 2-3 times) in big cities like Tokyo or Osaka.
No yet, more to come.
Next, is about the logistic issue.
If you do not drive a car, it is either you get a friend who does so, or pay for a delivery service. For instance, to deliver a washing machine within the same area costs 4320 yen.
Takkyuubin (宅急便) is a popular delivery company in Japan.
Amazon, an online shopping company has recently become a good friend of mine since I do not own a car in Japan. Although some items may have a certain transport fee imposed, I really find it convenient to purchase anything at my fingertips. Besides, you may arrange for a delivery for items bought in shopping malls like Aeon. Take note that it took 10 days to have my wardrobe delivered for free.
Furthermore, you are to do the following:
1. Apartment guarantor application (from university with a fee of 8000 yen for a 2-year term)
2. Update the address of resident and insurance cards as well as bank account at city hall and bank respectively.
Well, already one month since I settled down here, yet I have not met nor talked to my neighbours. I rang the doorbell once in a hope of greeting them, but no one opened the door. Perhaps the time has not come yet.
This is my little space of privacy for the next 4 years in Japan!