• Easy Living in Kyoto - Starting a New Life - Accomodation

Easy Living in Kyoto

II Starting a New Life


3-1 Finding a Residence

You can search for accommodation such as an apartment house or a rent house in Kyoto on the Community Houses’ website, “HOUSE navi for foreigners” http://housenavi-jpm.com/index_en.php/ Kyoto International Community House (kokoka), Information
& Programming Section TEL:752-3511

*You can also find accommodation by consulting a private real estate agent. The introduction and viewing of a property is a free, no obligation service. If possible, have a Japanese person accompany you when you go.

accommodation english Kyoto

◆Real Estate with Foreign Language Service (as of August 2011)

Real Estate Offices







329 Imadegawa-cho, Karasuma-Imadegawa Agaru, Kamigyo-ku




37-1 Tatsumi-cho, Sai-in, Ukyou-ku, 2F




16-1 Tanaka Sekiden-cho, Sakyou-ku


Bukkyo Daigaku Mae


26-38 Murasaki Nodaifukuji-cho, Kita-ku


Kyoto Jutaku


Gakusei Jutaku

Kyoto Daigaku Seimon-Mae


3-8 Yoshida-Ushinomiya-cho, Sakyo-ku




Homes Sai-in, 4-2 Sai-in Tatsumi-cho, Ukyou-ku, 1F


Flat Agency

Head Office



9-1 Nishigoshoden-cho, Murasakino, Kita-ku


Kyoto Daigaku Mae Office


Chinese, Korean

1-97 Izumiden-cho, Yoshida, Sakyo-ku


Shimogamo Office



5-1 Shimogamo-takagi-cho,Sakyo-ku


Kyoto Sangyo Daigaku Mae Office


2-2 Ichoguchi-cho, kamigamo, Kita-ku


Ritsumeikan Kinugasa Office


66-5 Hachoyanagi-cho Hirano, Kita-ku


Doshisha Daigaku Mae Office


643-6 Shokokuji Monzencho, Karasuma Higashi-iru, Kamitachiuri-dori, Kamigyo-ku


Kyoto Ekimae Office


Ogushi Bldg, 2F, 220-3 Maoya-cho, Shimogyo-ku


Choei Global Desk

English, Chinese

692 Sanjo Sagaru Shimohachimonji-cho, Horikawa-dori, Choei Gojo Building, 9F, #15




11-1 Okazaki Tokusei-cho,Sakyo-ku


House Network International Division

English, Chinese

8-56 Tanaka Shimoyanagi-cho, Sakyo-ku




356 Kawaramachi-dori, Matsubara agaru 2-chome, Tominaga-cho, Shimogyou-ku, Sakura Building 8F


Az Life

Shijo Oomiya

English, Chinese

18 Oomiya-dori, Shijo Sagaru Shijo Oomiya-cho, #6 Shimogyou-ku


Shijo Karasuma

English, Chinese

474-4 Shijo-dori, Muromachi Nishiiruniwatoriboko-cho, Shimogyo-ku


*Students can consult the Foreign Student Center or Student Office at their respective universities. It is also possible to find accommodation through the university cooperative (Seikyo).

*There are also many local magazines and information guides with listings of available rental properties. If you find suitable accommodation, directly consult the real estate agency in charge.

*”Welcome Chintai (rental)” by Japan Property Management Association also provides a list of real estate agents with various foreign language services . (http://www.welcome.jpm.jp/)

◆Public Apartments

Public housing mainly consists of UR and City and Prefectural Apartments. The rent for these types of apartments is generally cheaper than private housing. To apply for these kinds of housing, you must be registered as a foreign resident.



Contact Information

Urban Renaissance Agency(UR Chintai)

Applications are available at the Kyoto Office of the Urban

Renaissance Agency

Both individuals and families are eligible to apply.

A monthly salary 4 times the amount of rent is required.

Accepts applications at any time

Online applications are also available.

Urban Renaissance Agency, Independent Administrative Corporation



City Apartments

Applications are available at City Hall, Ward Offices, Branch Ward

Offices at the beginning of the designated recruitment month.

Because there are so many

applicants, people will be selected through a public drawing.

Rent amount is based on income

Accepts applications four times a year (Apr. Jun. Sep. Dec.)

Kyoto-shi Jutaku Kyokyu Kosha



Prefectural Apartments

Applications are available at the Kyoto Prefectural Office.

Families only may apply (no individuals)

Because there are so many

applicants, people will be selected through a public drawing.

Rent amount is based on income

Accepts applications six times a year (Jun. Jul. Oct. Nov. Feb. Mar.)

Kyoto-fu, Jutaku Kyokyu Kosha 



※There is a booklet “Tips for looking for your accommodation in Kyoto” available at the Kyoto International Community House that provides information and practical advice on looking for and renting accommodation in Kyoto. The booklet is written in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean.

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3-2 Signing a Rental Agreement

◆Important facts to know when signing a rental agreement (money, people)

1.Guarantor (Hoshonin):
 A person who will take responsibility on behalf of the renter if any problems arise, for instance, failure to pay rent.

2.Deposit (Shiki-kin):
 Generally equivalent to one to three months rent. Part of the deposit is returned at the end of the contract.

3.Key money (Rei-kin):
 A non-refundable fee or ‘gift money’ paid to the landlord. Generally equivalent to two to three months rent.

4.Agent's fee (Tesuryo):
 A fee of about one month’s rent paid to the agent.

*Rental agreements are normally valid for one year. When renewing the rental agreement, a renewal fee (koshin-ryo) of about one to three months rent is required. The monthly rental fee may be increased at that time.

*Neither major remodeling nor addition is allowed without permission from the landlord (For instance, painting or hammering a nail in the wall).

*According to Japanese law, it is not permissible to sublet your rental property without the landlord’s permission.

◆Looking for a guarantor

1.Asking an acquaintance to be a guarantor (Students only)

There is an insurance policy called Comprehensive Renters Insurance for Foreign Students (Ryugakusei Jutaku Sogo Hosho). When a student signs up for this policy, it will ease psychological and financial burden on his/her guarantor and this makes it much easier for an acquaintance to accept the role of a guarantor.

☞The Foreign Student Center at a university

2.If you cannot find anybody willing to be your guarantor(Students only)

There is the scheme that the organization becomes the guarantor on behalf of the individual. Joining the “Comprehensive Lenders Insurance for Foreign Students” mentioned above would be required.

☞The Foreign Student Center at your university (member university)

3.When it is difficult to find a guarantor (students and non-students)

Instead of an acquaintance, you can use a guarantor company as your guarantor. For details, please consult with a guarantor company directly.

Guarantor Company




NPO Corp. Living Culture Exchange Center

English, Chinese, French, others

474-4 Shijo-dori Muromachinishiru Niwatoriboko-cho Shijo Building 4F, Shimogyou-ku


Japan Safety Stock Company

English, Chinese, Korean

2-1-1 Edobori, Edobori Building 13F, Nishi-ku, Osaka, Osaka


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3-3 Signing up for Water, Sewage, Electricity and Gas Utilities

◆Check with your landlord

Please check with the landlord as to what utility (electricity, water, sewage, gas, etc.) fees are included in your rent.

◆Paying your bill with a bank transfer

It is convenient to use the automatic bank transfer system at your bank or post office to pay for utilities. You can apply at the service window of any bank that offers savings accounts, Japan Post Bank (yūcho ginkō), or the Water Works Bureau. It is also possible to pay directly at your financial institution, post office or convenience store.


Tap water is treated and managed by the city and is safe for drinking.

◆How to begin the water and sewage services

Contact:Kyoto City Water Works Bureau (Kyoto-shi Joge-suidokyoku Eigyosho) Service Office or Customer service corner

http://www.city.kyoto.jp/suido/ (Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean)

Your area




Higashiyama Branch


Yamashina-ku, Fushimi-ku Daigo Branch

Yamashina Branch


Kita-ku, North of Ichijo-dori in Kamigyo-ku

Kita Branch


Nakagyo-ku, South of Ichijo-dori in Kamigyo-ku

Marutamachi Branch


Ukyo-ku (Excluding Keihoku Area)

Ukyo Branch



Nishikyo Branch



Sakyo Branch


Shimogyo-ku, Minami-ku

Kujo Branch


Fushimi-ku (excluding Daigo Branch Area)

Fushimi Branch


All areas in Kyoto (excl. areas with simple waterworks supply system)

Customer Service Corner


Kyoto City with simple waterworks & drinking water supply systems excl. Keihoku in Ukyo

Area Works Division


Keihoku in Ukyo

Area Works Division Keihoku Sub-branch


What to take:

water user number, address


The base rate depends on the pipe size and the amount of water used. Payment is made once every 2 months.

※There is a card “Terminating Water Service Card” placed at your front door. Please refer to this when contacting the waterworks.

◆How to terminate water/sewage service

Contact the Customer Service at the waterworks bureau and inform your water user number.

◆Inquiries about other water/sewage related matters

Contact the nearby branch or customer service corners.


◆How to begin electric service

Contact the sales office in your area and follow the instructions given.

Kansai Electric Power Corporation (Japanese and English) http://www.kepco.co.jp/

Kyoto Eigyosho

Fushimi Eigyosho

◆Use of electric appliances

There are 2 types of electrical frequencies (current) used in Japan, with 60 hertz and 100 volts used in Kyoto. Using appliances which do not match the above current and voltage may cause damage to both the appliances and the circuits. Please be careful about using electrical appliances brought from overseas which may not meet Japanese specifications.


Rates depend on the amount of electricity used every month. Procedures for calculating monthly rates are noted on the back of your bill.

*If you overload a circuit with too many appliances, the safety breaker switch will automatically cut off electricity. If this happens, shut off or remove some of the appliances, then turn the breaker switch on to its original position to restore the flow of electricity.


There are two types of gas used: natural gas (city gas) and LP (liquefied propane) gas. First check which type is used where you live.

(1)Natural Gas

◆How to begin/terminate the natural gas service

Call Osaka Gas Company.

State ①your name ②user number (shiyo bango) ③address ④telephone number.

◆A service representative will come to your house to open the gas valve. You must be present at the time.

Osaka Gas Company, Kyoto/ Shiga Main Officehttp://www.osakagas.co.jp/index.html( Japanese and English)

(Osaka Gas Kabushiki-gaisha Keiji Jigyo Honbu)

◆Gas appliances

The city gas used in Kyoto is type 13A. Make sure you use appliances which meet this standard. When using secondhand appliances, have the service representative to do safety check when he comes to open the valve.


Payment is made every month. If you don’t use the automatic payment system, a fee notice will be sent to you in the mail, followed by the bill one week later.

◆LP Gas

Call the LP Gas company to begin and terminate the LP gas service


The company number is shown on the tag attached to the meter.


Payment is made monthly.

Gas appliances using LP gas can be used anywhere in Japan, but they are not interchangeable with those that use natural gas.

Please have the service representative inspect the appliance, and use only those designed especially for use with LP gas.

Kyo Pro Kyoto Branch


Iwatani Kinki


Uehara Sei Shoji


*When a gas appliance does not match, you will need to have the appliance adjusted accordingly. (It costs about 10,000 yen)

*There is a pamphlet explaining about gas usage available from any Osaka Gas office or the Kyoto International Community House. It is written in English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese and Persian.

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3-4 Telephones and International Calls


◆Telephone Installation (Application for Use)




Nearest NTT Help Desk

Necessary Items Passport or Certificate of Foreign Resident Registration, Contract and Contract Fee (\ 840).

※It is no longer necessary to buy Telephone subscription right. However, a telephone line charge is billed monthly (basic fee + 250 yen).


NTT service is billed monthly. A line charge (\1,750 per month) and usage are included in the bill.

◆Telephone Directory

Subscribers to telephone service receive a complimentary telephone directory.

Hellopage Organized by 50 Japanese Syllables (General Residential Telephone Numbers)

Townpage Business Telephone Directory (Store and Company Telephone Numbers)

※Townpage is a convenient source of useful everyday information.

Mobile Phones

There are many mobile phone companies. You can sign up for new services by visiting the sales agent for a particular mobile phone service company. To get mobile phone service, you will need personal identification, a seal (hanko), and a bank book which shows your account number or a credit card.

In Japan, talking by mobile phones is prohibited on public transportation, such as on trains and buses, and in certain buildings, such as hospitals. In addition, please note that by law you should not use a mobile phone when driving a car or riding a bicycle.

International Calls

There are numerous companies which provide international telephone services. Contact these companies by telephone for information about subscribing, rates, etc.

How to make an international telephone call from Japan

(International Code)- 010 - (Country Code)- (Area code excluding 0)- (telephone number)

<Main International Telephone Companies>

International Telephone Co.

International Code




0057 (24-hour free call)

Softbank Telecom



(9:00 to 21:00 free call)

NTT Communications



(9:00 to 21:00 free call)

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3-5 TV, Radio and Newspapers

◆NHK (Reception Fees)

NHK is a public broadcast station. Different from other TV stations, NHK broadcasting is supported by television viewer funds. Everyone who has a TV set must pay NHK reception fees by law.


   NHK Kyoto Broadcasting Station TEL:841-4321


Every 2 months

Every 6 month



2,690 yen

7,650 yen

14,910 yen

Satellite (incl. terrestrial)

4,580 yen

13,090 yen

25,520 yen

*Payments can be made by bank transfer, credit card or at a post office or convenience store.

◆When you want to watch a foreign TV program


Sky Perfect TV
  TEL:045-339-0202/ 0570-039-888


*3 channels, i.e. BBC World (English), CCTV (Chinese), and KNTV (Korean) are all available at no charge at the Kyoto International Community House.

◆FM broadcasts in foreign language (FM CO.CO.LO.)

FM CO.CO.LO. 76.5MHz, which airs foreign language broadcasts, is available in the main Kansai cities (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, etc.). You can hear information about everyday life and sightseeing, news, entertainment such as music programs, as well as emergency broadcasts in times of disaster, available in 14 languages, focusing mainly on Asian languages.

Every Monday at 2:22 PM a program focusing on Kyoto, “Kyoto City Information” is broadcasted (English: Mon 4:15pm onward. Chinese: Tues/Thurs 4:15pm onward)

Kansai Intermedia
TEL:06-6615-7650 phone number will change in April

FM CO.CO.LO. Programming Schedule http://www.cocolo.co.jp

◆Daily foreign language newspapers, home delivery




Renmin Ribao (Chinese) Akioka Office

The Chosun Ilbo (Korean)


◆International newspapers and magazines are available for reading at the Kyoto International Community House Library/ Reference Room.

<Foreign Newspapers/Magazines at the International Community House>





People’s Daily, Beijing Youth Daily

Du Zhe, Zhi Yin

Hong Kong

Ming Pao News



United Daily News


The Chosun Ilbo

Weekly Joongang


The Hindu


Thai Rath


Lao Dong


Sun Herald


Аргументы и факты

United Kingdom

The Guardian

New African
The Middle East

United States

New York Times

Utne Reader
National Geographic


Daily Yomiuri, International Herald Tribune, The AsahiShinbun, Japan Times, Nikkei Weekly

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3-6 Garbage and Recycling

◆What to be aware of when throwing out garbage.

There are four types of garbage: primarily burnable garbage, cans/bottles/PET bottles, plastic containers and packages and small metal items. You must separate garbage accordingly and put them out for collection on the designated day. Day of garbage collection and garbage collection points vary by neighborhood. Ask a neighbor for information concerning garbage collection days and collection points.

Information about garbage collection is available on the home page of the Kyoto City Environmental Policy Bureau, Department for the Promotion of a Recycle-based Society.

Department for the Promotion of a Recycle-based Society


Garbage collection date/map


◆How to throw out garbage?

Place garbage in a specially-designated Kyoto City Household-Use Garbage Bag. Each bag should have no more garbage than can be lifted with one hand. Tightly cinch the bag. Be aware that garbage disposed in an incorrect bag will not be collected. Specially-designated bags are sold at retail stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, and other such venues.

Burnable garbage Bag

45 ℓSet of 10 ¥450 30 ℓSet of 10 ¥300

(previous display “Household-Use”)

20 ℓSet of 10 ¥200 10 ℓSet of 10 ¥100

5 ℓSet of 10 ¥50

Recycle-use Bag

45 ℓSet of 5 ¥110 30 ℓSet of 5 ¥75

20 ℓSet of 5 ¥50 10 ℓSet of 5 ¥25

◆Garbage Inquiries

City Beautification Promotion Section  TEL:213-4960

*The pamphlet “Kyoto Garbage Reduction Glossary” contains detailed information about separating and disposing of garbage, and is available in English, Chinese, and Korean language editions. It is distributed at no cost and is available at ward offices, branch offices, each Town Beautification Office and the Kyoto International Community House.

◆Further Instructions about garbage.

*It is not necessary to use specially-designated garbage bags in locations such as privately contracted buildings where garbage is collected by private businesses. Check with your superintendent.

*Illegal disposal of garbage is a punishable crime. Be aware that disposing of garbage in any but the prescribed manner is punishable with jail time or a fine.


Garbage Type

How to dispose

Burnable Garbage

kitchen garbage; paper; plastic, glass, etc. not

used for packaging or as containers

Collected twice a week.

*Place garbage at the designated collection point by 8:00 AM of the day it is scheduled to be picked up. However, you may not put the garbage out on the previous night. Please use garbage bags labeled「燃やすゴミ用指定ごみ袋」(Burnables Garbage Bag)

*Before throwing out kitchen garbage, drain it thoroughly.

*Throw out matches, fireworks, and cigarette butts only after they have been completely extinguished and dampened.

*Flush feces on disposable diapers in toilets before inserting them into a plastic bag and then into the designated trash bag.

*In order to prevent injuries to sanitation workers, wrap sharp objects such as glass and razor blades in thick paper before throwing away.


Empty cans, glass bottles and PET bottles.

Collected once a week.

*Place garbage at the designated collection point by 8:00 AM of the day it is scheduled to be picked up. However, you may not put the garbage out on the previous night.

*Confirm the collection point for recyclable garbage as it may be different from the point for burnable garbage. Use garbage bags labeled 「資源ごみ用指定ごみ袋」“Recyclable-Use Garbage Bag”

*Throw out glass bottles and PET bottles after emptying and rinsing them thoroughly.

*Remove the caps and labels from PET bottles to throw out with the plastic containers and packages.”

*Remove the cap of bottles. When the caps are metallic, throw out as “Burnable Garbage” and when they are plastic, as “Plastic Containers and Packages.”

*Do not place hypodermic needles, skewers, cigarette butts, or other foreign objects into cans, glass bottles, or PET bottles.

*Throw out cosmetics and medicine jars and bottles, glass cups, and PET bottles which contained liquids other than drinks and soy sauce as “Burnable Garbage.”

Beer bottles and large sake bottles (Isshoubin) can be reused. Wash them well and return to the store where you purchased them or bring them to your ward office / branch ward office’s nearby collection point.

Plastic Containers and Packages

Trays, plastic shopping bags/packages, bags,

wrappers, bottles,

cushioning, cups/packs, tubes, caps/lids

Collected once a month.

*Place at the designated collection point by 8:00 AM of the day it is scheduled to be picked up. However, you may not put the garbage out on the previous night.

*Throw out at the collection point for recyclable garbage. Use “Recyclable-Use Garbage Bag.”

*When they cannot be easily cleaned, and when they are plastic items other than containers/packages, throw out as “household garbage.”

*Throw out PET bottles for drinks, alcoholic drinks, soy sauce, vinegar, non-oil dressing, etc. as “cans, bottles, PET bottles”

*Things mentioned below are not plastic


 Measuring spoons for detergent, toys, eyeglass cases, toothbrushes, cleaners’ plastic bags, ball-point pens, CD cases. Throw them out as “Burnable Garbage.”

Small Metal Items

Pots, kettles, frying pans, cooking utensils

spray cans, gas


Collected once a month.

Place in a transparent bag, mark the bag metal (kinzoku), and place where recyclable garbage is collected.

*Throw out spray cans, gas cartridges, etc. only after their contents have been completely expelled, Do not puncture them and throw out as small metal items.

Large Items

Furniture, futons, etc.

By calling for an appointment, large items will be picked up for a fee. The fee will depend on the size of the item. First, measure the size of the item, and then call the Kyoto City Large Trash Collection Center to verify the price and make arrangements

Kyoto City Large Trash Collection Center TEL:0120-100-530(free-call)

※Mobile phone   0570-000-247(charge call)

Everyday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM *Open Holidays except for New Years Holiday (29th Dec. – 3 rd Jan.)

After verifying the price, collection day and collection point, purchase an “Oversize Trash Disposal Sticker” at a convenience store, etc. and affix it to the item you want to be picked up.

Picking up dead pets.

First place the body in a plastic bag and then place the bag in a cardboard box. Do not place collars or any non-burnable items in the box.

Fee: 4,600 Yen per animal *No charge for stray animals.

Kyoto City Dead Animal Collection Center TEL:0120-100-921(free-call)

※Mobile phone TEL:0570-000-614(Charge call)

Everyday 9:00 AM to5:00 PM *Open Holidays except for New Years Holiday (29th Dec. – 3 rd Jan.)


Item Type

Method and Notes About Recycling

Air Conditioners, TV,Refrigerators, Washing Machines,Flat screen TVs (Liquid crystal, plasma), Clothes dryers

By law, when you no longer need these appliances, you must return them to the place of purchase. A disposal fee will be charged.

Association for Electric Home Appliances   TEL:0120-319-640

Kyoto Prefecture Electric Business Association  TEL:461-0668(nearest electricity branch referrals)

Recycle Planning Division   TEL:213-4930

City Beautification Promotion Section    TEL:0222-3461

Newspapers, Magazines, Cardboard

Organizing by type, bind them tightly with string. Methods of collection vary by area or apartment of residence. Ask your neighbors, landlord or superintendent for details.

Paper Cartons

Wash, cut open and dry. There are collection points at your nearby ward branch office, supermarkets, etc.

Dry Cell Batteries

There are special collection boxes for recycling at the Kyoto City Beautification Office, wards offices, branch offices, health department/center, and city hall. It is possible to dispose of other batteries, such as nickel-cadmium and small watch batteries, by bringing them to collection boxes at electric appliance shops, watch shops, camera shops, etc.

Used Tempura Oil

Pour into a container such as a PET bottle and bring it to your ward branch office. Please take your container back home with you.


There are collection boxes at your ward branch office. After you have used all of the gas in the lighter, please turn them in here.

◆To obtain or hand over used goods for recycling:

It is possible to obtain or hand over used goods no longer needed. Contact the number below by telephone or facsimile, or go to their website.

Kyoto City Used and Recycled Items Information “Itsudemo Frima!!” TEL:241-0530


Flea Markets

Clothes, daily goods, antiques, and various other items can be purchased at a low price at the following markets.

◆Toji・Kobo-san Market (Toji Temple)

(Minami Ward) 21st of every month

◆Kitano・Tenjin-san Market (Kitanotenmangu)

(Kamigyo Ward) 25th of every month

◆Hyakumanben Handmade Goods Market (Chion’in)

(Sakyo Ward) 15th of every month

◆“Kameno-ichi” Flea Market (Matsuo-Taisha)

(Nishikyo Ward) Usually 2nd Sunday of every month

◆“Omoshiro-ichi” Flea Market (Houkoku-jinja Shrine)

(Higashiyama Ward) 8th, 18th and 28th of every month, 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM (Closed on rainy days)

◆Thrift Shop (Kyoto YWCA)

(Kamigyo Ward) 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month

◆Shiyakusho-mae Flea Market (Plus One Network)

Generally once a month

◆Yawata-san “Omoshiro-ichi” (Kyoto Goods “Mon” Market)

(Goshohachimangu, Nakagyo Ward) Every Friday, 11:00 AM to Afternoon (Closed on rainy days)

◆Ume-koji Park“Ichi-moku Handmade Goods Flea Market”

(Shimogyo Ward) 1st Thursday of every month (except January and May)

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3-7 Community Associations

In Japan, there are organizations in each district that are generally referred to as chonai-kai or jichi-kai. The chonai-kai or jichi-kai circulates kairanban (a file containing notices from public offices or the community attached to a clipboard, etc), and also organizes festivals and disaster prevention activities.

Membership fees collected from each resident cover expenses incurred in running these activities. Those who are residents of the community including foreigners can also become members of the community organization. Please listen to an organization committee member the next time he/she visits you to explain about joining such an organization.

II-4. Employment

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