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Common Symbols When Renting a House in Japan

While in Japan, you'll likely need to rent a house or apartment, and there are some important terms and information you should be aware of. We have gathered the terminology regarding real estate for selecting an appropriate apartment for your needs in Japan as below. We will explain the meanings of some common symbols when renting a house in Japan, such as 1R, 1DK, 2DK, 2LDK, 3LDK, and so forth.

In this context, the numerical digit (1, 2, 3, etc.) represents the number of bedrooms, while the letters following it indicate the designated functions of common rooms:

- L: Living room, which serves as the primary living area.

- D: Dining room, where meals are enjoyed.

- K: Kitchen, the designated cooking area.

For instance:

- 2DK: Equates to 2 bedrooms and 1 combined dining and kitchen room (DK).

- 3LDK: Comprises 3 bedrooms and 1 multipurpose room, typically functioning as a living room, dining area, and kitchen (LDK).

Furthermore, there are some terms frequently encountered on rental apartment listings:

- Tatami (畳): Refers to a room with a traditional mat floor.

- Flooring (フローリング): Denotes a room with wooden flooring.

- Japanese-style room (和室): Signifies a room featuring a tatami floor.

- European-style room (洋室): Indicates a room with Western-style wooden flooring.

- Kakubeya (角部屋): Indicates a room situated at the corner of a building.


Here's an example of a 1R single apartment layout. The term "UB" refers to a "bathroom unit" where the tub, shower, and sink, are all in the same compact, waterproof space. Additionally, there's no built-in closet space, so tenants may need to use a clothes rack in the room.


Here's the layout of a 1K style apartment. In this layout, the kitchen area is separate from the bedroom, which creates a more open and spacious atmosphere compared to a 1R apartment. However, there isn't additional space around the kitchen, and there's no specific dining area. Closet availability can differ, so it's crucial to find a unit that suits your storage and closet needs.


In this 2LDK apartment, the rooms have Western-style hard floors. However, during your apartment search, you might encounter units with tatami floors. Although the layout doesn't indicate a specific space for a refrigerator, it's extremely uncommon for a spacious apartment like this not to have room for a refrigerator.

We hope that the information provided above has addressed some of your inquiries regarding understanding the layout of a Japanese-style apartment.


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