Moving into your first apartment in Japan can be an exciting time OR an overwhelming event if you’re not adequately prepared! If you are moving into a new apartment, there are many things you will need that you actually might not think of until after you move in. In my case, I moved out of my marital home under “extreme circumstances,” so I only had the bare minimum and ended up buying nearly everything.
After reflecting on my ordeal, I decided to create a checklist of practical products for your first apartment in Japan. So, whether you’re starting over like me or are a first-timer in Japan, I hope you’ll find this checklist useful!
All items link to Amazon Japan, but don’t worry if you don’t have a credit card or debit card yet! Simply create a new account over on Amazon Japan, then head to a convenience store in order to purchase an Amazon Japan gift card that you can add to your Amazon Japan account.
At the end of this post is a list of my favorite places to shop for home essentials and interior goods.
Practical Products For Your First Apartment in Japan
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In a Japanese apartment, bedrooms often feature futons or compact beds, maximizing space for other activities. Consider multifunctional furniture to adapt to the limited room sizes and embrace minimalist design for a tranquil sleeping environment.
Japanese kitchens emphasize efficiency, with many apartments having compact layouts. Invest in versatile cookware and storage solutions to make the most of your kitchen space.
Familiarize yourself with local garbage disposal regulations, which often involve dividing waste into categories like burnable, non-burnable, and recyclables.
Take note of specific collection days for each category, and consider investing in compact trash bins to manage limited space effectively.
You can save a ton of yen if you purchase a shin seikatsu ouen setto (新生活家電セット), which is a set of brand new kitchen appliances.
The 7 piece set pictured above is from Yamazen and includes a washing machine, kitchen storage rack and a vacuum cleaner. Iris Ohyama, another leading Japanese brand, has an equally stylish version!
Japanese bathrooms often incorporate high-tech features, like heated toilet seats and multifunctional shower systems. Optimize your bathroom storage and embrace the ritual of bathing, intergrating traditional Japanese bath products for a relaxing experience.
Compact washing machines are common in Japanese apartments, and most washing machines use cold water to conserve energy. Hanging your laundry to dry is not only environmentally friendly but also a common practice for energy conservation. Utilize space-saving drying racks to dry laundry indoors during the rainy season.
Japanese living rooms prioritize open spaces and flexible seating arrangements. Incorporate tatami mats or floor cushions for a touch of traditional comfort, and keep the decor simple to create a spacious atmosphere.
*Sail the high seas if y’all want to but I don’t want to read about it on r/japanlife when you get caught. Just saying.
Japanese cleaning products emphasize efficiency and functionality. Make use of specialized cleaning tools and products to effortlessly maintain a tidy living space. Be sure to watch out for a product label that says: まぜるな (mazeru na). It means, “DO NOT MIX THIS PRODUCT WITH ANYTHING ELSE!”
Make use of extension cords, power strips, and charging stations to maximize outlets and minimize clutter. Lastly, prepare for natural disasters with an emergency bag! Read this post on how to get started: Preparing An Emergency Kit In Japan
First Apartment Shopping Tips – Where To Shop
Where To Shop
Home Essentials: Daiso, Can-Do, Seria
Japan is known for its 100 yen shops, especially Daiso, which offer an incredible range of items for the home, starting at just 100 yen.
Daiso has items priced from 100 yen up and above. It’s the first place I go when I need basic cleaning products, replacement utensils, or ingredients for a weekend baking session.
However, when I need fancy wrapping paper or stationery, or other craft items like yarn, Seria is my top choice. Can-Do, as I have recently discovered, has an impressive kitchen lineup (better than Daiso, in my opinion).
Interior Design: Muji, Ikea, Threepy, Three Coins, Loft & Francfranc
If your style is simple and minimalist, you’ll like Muji and Ikea. I personally prefer Muji for essentials like storage boxes, shelves, as well as towels, toiletries and cosmetics, as well as clothing, too! Muji also has a fantastic selection of drinks, prepackaged and processed foods, and snacks.
But, if you have a car or live within a suitable distance, you’ll probably be able to get everything you need for your Japanese apartment in one trip to Ikea!
If your style is feminine chic meets bougie on a budget, then you’ll like Three Coins, Threeppy, Loft, and Francfranc.
Three Coins, as its name suggests, sells items for 3 coins, AKA 300 yen. Its interior goods come in muted colors and classic minimalist design. Think of Three Coins as a stylish, yet affordable alternative to MUJI as it also sells cosmetics and accessories like gloves and handbags.
Daiso’s sister brand, Threeppy is similar to Three Coins, and has a selection of cute interior items, often in pastel colors and featuring licensed animated characters.
For what it’s worth, Loft has a solid selection of domestic and imported cosmetics, so beauty aficionados should definitely check it out when they shop for their Japanese apartment.
For tips on how to make your Japanese apartment dog and/or kid friendly, check out this post: 10 Tips To Make Your Japanese Apartment Kid and Dog-Friendly
New in Japan and don’t know where to shop for clothing? May I suggest: