There are times when on-campus housing is full and you may need to consider off-campus options.
Living off-campus can have a number of benefits:
While all campuses have administrative staff who will assist foreign employees to find off-campus accommodation, the Wako campus now has a dedicated staff person in ICO Room to assist with off-campus housing. This person will assist with rental contract negotations and provide referrals to furniture leasing companies. (Housing assistance is only available to RIKEN employees. Students and interns should seek assistance from their universities or companies.)
Protecting your Deposit
When you move in to an off-campus apartment, you should make a list of any things that are damaged in any way so that you do not end up paying for their repair (through a deduction from your deposit) when you move out. Taking photos may also be a good idea.
Most apartments are completely unfurnished, so you will probably need to lease or buy furniture, electrical items, and curtains. Second-hand shops (called "recycle shops") sell furniture, electrical goods, lights, and curtains. Alternatively, try the "sayonara sales" and other classified advertisements in Metropolis magazine and on the various mailing lists and online forums. People sometimes also sell or give away items through ICO Room.
The tenant is responsible for all utilities. See the Costs section for estimates of how much you will end up paying. Both rent and utility bills can be paid automatically from your bank account, at no extra cost. You can set this up either at the bank or by filling in forms and sending them to the utility companies. Utility bills can alternatively be paid in cash, at convenience stores, banks, and other locations.
When you move in, someone will probably need to enter the apartment to switch on the gas. In some areas the gas supplied is propane, and in other areas it is "city gas", so you need to make sure that your appliances are designed for the right type of gas.