Accommodation

Finding a Residence

“HOUSE NAVI for foreigners”

The website “HOUSE NAVI for foreigners” provides information on apartments and single houses for rent.

* Private real estate agents also provide information about housing. It may be helpful to take a Japanese friend with you if possible. There is no consultation fee necessary.



Real Estate with Foreign Languages Service

(as of January 2018)

  
Real Estate Offices Language Address Telephone
Elitz Demachiyanagi English Grand Cosmos Demachiyanagi 1F, 16-1Tanaka Sekiden-cho, Sakyou-ku 075-703-1300
Kyoto Jutaku Center Gakusei Jutaku Kyoto Daigaku Seimon-Mae English, Chinese 3-8 Yoshida-Ushinomiya-cho, Sakyo-ku 075-751-1555
0037-625-08756
Flat Agency Head Office English, Chinese 9-1 Murasakino Nishigoshoden-cho, Kita-ku 075-411-0669
0120-75-0669
Flat Agency Shimogamo Office English, Chinese, Korean 5-1 Shimogamo Takagi-cho, Sakyo-ku 075-721-0669
0120-80-0669
Flat Agency Kyoto Sangyo Daigaku Mae Office English 2-2 Kamigamo Ichoguchi-cho, Kita-ku 075-702-0669
0120-29-0669
Flat Agency Kitaoji Ekimae Office English, Chinese 43-5 Koyama Kitakamifusa-cho, Kita-ku 075-493-0669
0120-44-0669
Flat Agency Doshisha Daigaku Mae Office English, Chinese 643-6 Shokokuji Monzen-cho, Kamidachiuri-dori east of Karasuma-dori, Kamigyo-ku 0120-13-0669
Flat Agency Monthly Office English, Chinese Nihon-Seimei Yasaka bldg.7F, 843-2 Higashi-shiiokoji-cho, Shimogyo-ku 075-341-0669
0120-85-0669
Choei Global Desk English, Chinese Koto-Karasuma-Manjuji bldg.9F No.60 ,369 Gokuishi-cho, Manjuji-dori West of Karasuma-dori, Shimogyo-ku 075-343-1558
House Network International Section English, Chinese 8-56 Tanaka Shimo Yanagi-cho, Sakyo-ku 075-708-1108
Sakura English, Chinese Sakura bldg.8F, 356, 2-chome Tominaga-cho, Kawaramachi-dori noth of Matsubara, Shimogyo-ku 075-341-0669
0120-85-0669
Global Trust Network Osaka Office English, Chinese, Korean Osaka Ekimae Dai4 Building 21F, 1-11-4 Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka 06-6348-0701
KOWA CO.,LTD. English Kowa Central bldg.2F, 436 Furunishi-cho, Nakagyo-ku 075-222-0880
0120-947-541

* If you are a student, the international student center or the student office of your university and the University Coop (Seikyo) will also be able to help you find housing.
* There are several local magazines which deal with housing information and rental properties. If you find any listings you are interested in, please contact the listed agency directly.



Public housing

The main forms of public housing are Urban Renaissance (UR), City (Shiei Jutaku), and Prefectural apartments (Fuei Jutaku). Generally speaking, the rent is lower than for private housing options. In order to apply for public housing, you must have already completed your registration as a foreign resident.


Name Description Contact office
Urban Renaissance Agency (UR Chintai) apartments ・Applications (including online) are accepted all year
・Obtain the application form at the Kyoto office of the Urban Renaissance Agency.
・Both individuals and families are eligible.
・A monthly salary of 4 times the amount of rent is required
Kyoto Office of the
Urban Renaissance Agency

Tel:075-255-0499
City apartments ・Applications are accepted four times a year. (April, June, Sept, and Dec)
・Obtain the application form at the city hall, ward offices and ward branch offices, at the beginning of the application period.
・Due to the large number of applicants, a public lottery is used to select eligible applicants.
・Rent is calculated on the basis of the income of the applicant.
Kyoto-shi Jutaku Kyokyu Kosha
Tel:075-223-2142
Prefectural Apartments ・Applications are accepted six times a year. (Jun, Jul, Oct, Nov, Feb, and Mar)
・Obtain the application form at the Kyoto Prefectural Office.
・Only families can apply, individual applicants are not eligible.
・Due to the large number of applicants, a public lottery is used to select eligible applicants.
・Rent is calculated on the basis of the income.
Kyoto-fu Jutaku Kyokyu Kosha
Tel:075-431-4157

Signing a Rental Agreement

What is necessary to complete a rental agreement?

Find a guarantor
(Hoshonin)
someone who will take responsibility on behalf of the renter if a problem arises, such as failure to pay rent.
Deposit
(Shiki-kin)
An amount equivalent to one to three months rent must be deposited. Part of the deposit is refunded when the agreement is terminated.
Gratitude money
(Rei-kin)
This is a non-refundable amount which is a kind of gesture of gratitude to the landlord. Generally, this amount is equivalent to two to three months rent.
Handling charge
(Tesuryo)
You have to pay the handling charge equivalent to one month rent to the real estate agent.

* Rental agreements are normally valid for one year. When renewing your agreement, a renewal fee (Koshin-ryo) equivalent to one to three months rent, may be required. The amount of your rent may be raised at that time.

* Making improvements or any remodeling of the property, including painting and hammering nails into the walls, is not allowed without the express permission of the landlord.

* Subletting your rental property without the permission of your landlord is prohibited according to Japanese law.



How to find a guarantor

(1) Asking an acquaintance to be a guarantor (in the case of international students)

There is an insurance policy for international students, called “Comprehensive Housing Insurance Policy for International Students” (Ryugakusei Jutaku Sogo Hosho).
This might make it easier for an acquaintance to become your guarantor, because it might ease the psychological and financial burden on the guarantor.


(2) If you have difficulty finding a guarantor; (in the case of international students)

There is a program in which your university may serve as a guarantor. To apply for this program, you must enroll in the above-mentioned insurance policy and meet some other conditions. For further information, please inquire at the International Student Section of your university.


(3) If you have difficulty finding a guarantor (in case of both international students and foreign residents)

There are companies which provide guarantor services.

Name of the company Language Address Phone Number
Seikatsu Bunka Koryu Center Japanese only c/o As Life Co., 4th Fl. Shijo Bldg. 474-4 Niwatoriboko-cho, Shijo-Muromachi-nishiiru, Shimogyo-ku 075-254-7299
Global Trust Network Osaka Office English, Chinese, Korean Osaka Ekimae Dai4 Building 21F, 1-11-4 Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka 06-6348-0701

Signing up for Water, Electricity and Gas Utilities

◆ Check with your landlord

Check with your landlord if any utilities (electricity, water, sewage, gas, etc.) are included in your rent.


◆ Pay using automatic transfer of funds

It is convenient to use the automatic fund transfer system of banks and post offices to pay your utility bills. Application for this type of payment system can be submitted at the bank or the post office you have your account. The customer service counter of the Kyoto City Water Supply and Sewage Bureau also accepts applications. You can also pay your bills at banks, post offices and convenience stores.



Water

Tap water is safe for drinking.


◆ How to start water and sewage service

Contact the service offices or the customer service corner of Kyoto City Water Supply and Sewage Bureau (Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean)


Area Service Office Tel
Higashiyama Ward, Yamashina Ward, Daigo area of Fushimi Ward Tobu Office 075-592-3058
Kita Ward, Kamigyo Ward, Nakagyo Ward Hokubu Office 075-462-3251
Ukyo Ward (excluding Keihoku area), Nishikyo Ward Seibu Office 075-841-9184
Keihoku area of Ukyo Ward Keihoku Branch Office 075-852-1820
Sakyo Ward Sakyo Office 075-722-7700
Shimogyo Ward, Minami Ward, Fushimi Ward (excluding Daigo area) Nanbu Office 075-605-2011
All of Kyoto City Customer Service Corner 075-672-7770


◆ What is necessary to start service?

Your customer number* and address

Water consumption charges are calculated based on the size of the supply pipe and the amount of water used. Payment is made once every two months.※ At the entrance to your new residence there is usually a card that says “Water service has stopped” (heisen chuu no fuda). Call the water supply office and provide them with the information on your card.




◆ How to terminate water and sewage service

Contact the Customer Service at the Kyoto City Water Supply and Sewage Bureau; give them your customer number and ask them to terminate service.


◆ For further information

Contact the nearest Kyoto City Water Supply and Sewage Bureau Service Office or Customer Service Corner.




Electricity

◆ How to start electricity service
Contact the nearest sales office of:

Kansai Electric Power Corporation
* Kyoto Sales Office Tel:0800-777-8031
* Fushimi Sales Office Tel:0800-777-8033


◆ Compatibility of electric appliances: power frequency and voltage
There are two types of utility frequencies in Japan. Kyoto city uses 60 hertz /100 volts. Using electric appliances that do not match this current and voltage may cause damage to both the appliance and the circuits.
Please be careful as many of the appliances brought from overseas do not match the electrical system in Japan.


◆ Rates
Your rate is calculated according to the amount of electricity used per month. Please refer to the calculation formula on the back of your bill
※ If many appliances are used at the same time, it could overload the circuit causing your breaker to switch off the electricity. If this happens, turn off some of the appliances and turn the breaker back on.



Gas

There are two types of gas, natural gas (city gas) and LP (Liquefied Propane) gas. Please check which type is used at your residence.

(1) City Gas

◆ How to Start and Terminate City Gas Service

Call Osaka Gas Co. Ltd. and give them:
① your name, ② customer number, ③ address, and ④ telephone number. A service representative from Osaka Gas will come to your residence to open the gas valve.
※ You must be present at that time.

Osaka Gas(Japanese and English)


* Keiji Living Office (Kyoto and Shiga Branch) Tel:0120-894-817

◆ Gas appliances
Kyoto City uses the type 13A standard. Make sure that your appliances are compatible with this type. If you any purchase secondhand appliances, please ask a representative from the gas company to come to your home to inspect and hook up the appliance.


◆ Rates
Gas bills must be paid every month. If you don’t use the automatic bank transfer system, a fee notification will be sent to you followed by your gas bill one week later.


◆ LP Gas
Call the LP Gas Company to start or terminate the LP Gas service.
The phone number of the company is written on the tag attached to the meter.
LP gas bill must also be paid every month.

※ Appliances for LP Gas are the same throughout Japan. However, appliances designed for the city gas cannot be used interchangeably with appliances designed for LP Gas. Please have an LP Gas representative check your appliances confirm they are safe for LP gas usage.
 ・Kyowa Pro Kyoto Office  Tel:075-691-7161
 ・Iwatani Kinki  Tel:0120-563-056
 ・Uehara Sei Shoji Kyoto Factory  Tel:075-611-3293

※ To convert appliances made for the city gas into ones for LP gas, some parts have to be replaced. It may cost more than 10,000 yen.
※ Pamphlets for gas users written in English Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese and Persian are available at Osaka Gas offices and at the Kyoto City International Community House.

Telephones and international calls

Landline

◆ Telephone Installation (Application for usage)
Contact:NTT TEL 116
Location: nearest NTT office
Necessary Items: Your passport or resident card, contract form, contract fee (864 yen)


◆ Billing


Billing for telephone service is done monthly; your bill includes the basic subscription fee (1,836 yen a month) and charges for calls.

◆ Telephone Directory

Subscribers to telephone service receive a telephone directory free of charge.
Hellopage: Telephone directory for general public, arranged in Japanese kana order
Townpage: Telephone directory for businesses (firms, organizations and shops)
※ Town Page also contains useful information about daily life.

  

  

Mobile phones

There are several mobile phone companies. To sign up for mobile phone service, you must take your ID, seal, bank book, and potentially a credit card with you when you visit a service provider.  
In Japan, the use of mobile phones is prohibited in public transportation and certain facilities such as buses, trains, and hospitals. Using a mobile phone is prohibited by law while operating a vehicle or riding a bicycle.



  

International calls

There are various companies which provide international telephone services. Please contact the company directly hear about how to subscribe, rates, etc.

◆ How to make an international call from Japan
Dial the international phone number + 010 + Country Code + Area code without 0 + Telephone number


<Major International Telephone Companies>

Name of company International Code For inquiries
KDDI 001 0057 (Free for 24 hours)
Softbank Telecom 0061 0120-03-0061 (Free between 9:00 to 17:00,
excludes new year’s holiday period)
NTT Communications 0033 0120-506-506 (Free between 10:00 to 19:00,
excludes Sunday, national holidays, and new year’s holiday period)

TV, Radio, and Newspapers

NHK (subscription fees)

Since NHK is a public broadcasting station, it is financed by the subscription fees. This is quite different from the other commercial broadcasting companies. According to Japanese law, people who own a TV set must pay a yearly subscription fee to NHK. Contact office: NHK Kyoto Broadcasting Station TEL:0120-151-515


2 months 6 months 12 months
Terrestrial digital 2,520 yen 7,190 yen 13,990 yen
Terrestrial digital and satellite 4,460 yen 12,730 yen 24,770 yen
    

* Payment methods include automatic transfer, credit card, payment at convenient stores and post offices.

  

Overseas TV programs

J:COM TV Tel:0120-999-000
Sky Perfect TV Tel:0800-813-0933
WOWOW Tel:0120-580-807


Multilingual Radio Programs

◆ FM COCOLO 76.5MHz
FM COCOLO 76.5MHz is a multilingual radio station centered around Asian languages that provides information on daily living, sightseeing, news, music, etc. They also broadcast emergency news in the event of a disaster.
FM COCOLO program guide


◆ Radio Mix Kyoto 87.0MHz
Radio Mix Kyoto 87.0MHz is a radio station that covers local news to overseas subjects. Listeners can tune in on their computers or smart phones. The station also broadcasts emergency news, and popular programs, such as Kyoto medical and welfare news, Kyoto Shinbun news, and Glocal Kyoto.
RADIO MIX KYOTO



Subscribing to foreign language newspapers

JAPAN TIMES
International New York Times
 Tel:075-751-5700
JAPAN NEWS  Tel:075-761-0502
Renmin Ribao (Chinese)  Akioka Office
 Tel:042-394-9738
The Chosun Ilbo (Korean)  KN Japan
 Tel:03-6240-9788
OCS (OVERSEAS COURIER SERVICE)  Tel:03-5534-7969


A place where you can read newspapers and magazines in the world

kokoka Kyoto International Community House library

<The following international newspapers and magazines are available for reading at the kokoka Kyoto International Community House library>

Country or Region Newspapers Magazines
China People’s Daily, Beijing Youth Daily Du Zhe, Zhi Yin
Hong Kong Ming Pao News Asia Weekly
Taiwan United Daily News 典藏
Korea The Chosun Ilbo Koreana, Woman Donga
Vietnam ベトナムスケッチ
India The Hindu
Thailand Thai Rath
Australia Sun Herald
UK The Guardian New African
USA New York Times National Geographic, Road&Track, Utne Magazine、Harper's, Christian Science Monitor
Others Time, Beaux Arts, Vogue
Japan Japan News, International New York Times, Japan Times, Asahi Weekly

Garbage and Recycling

Proper disposal for garbage and recyclables

Garbage is divided into four types: burnable garbage; cans, glass bottles and PET bottles; plastic containers and wrappings; and small size metal items and spray cans. Each type of garbage is collected on a different day.
Days and points of collection differ from area to area. Please ask your neighbors about the collection information for your neighborhood.
Collection dates can also be found on the following website.
Section of trash Fixed point collection
* Collection date/map: visit here.



How to dispose garbage

Place household garbage in the plastic bags designated by the city for the specified category. Each bag should be able to be lifted easily with one hand. If you don’t use the correct type of designated garbage bag, your garbage will not be collected by the city. Designated bags are sold at retail shops, supermarkets and convenience stores.

       
45L 30L 20L 10L 5L
Burnable garbage bags 10 bags 450 yen 300 yen200 yen100 yen 50 yen
Recyclable garbage bags
(cans, bottles, etc.)
(Plastic containers and wrappings)
5 bags 110 yen 75 yen50 yen25 yen


For further information call

* Waste Reduction Promotion Section Tel:075-213-4930
* City Beautification Promotion Section Tel:075-213-4930
※ Garbage disposal handbooks in English, Chinese and Korean are also available at ward offices, beatification centers and the Kyoto City International Community House kokoka.



Notes

* If you live in an apartment or condominium where the garbage is collected by a private company, you do not have to use Kyoto City designated bags; transparent bags can be used instead. For more information please ask your management company.
* Illegal disposal of garbage is a punishable offense. Please be aware that disposing garbage outside of the prescribed standards may result in a fine or jail time.


◆Garbage

Garbage type How to dispose
Burnable garbage
(kitchen garbage; paper that cannot be recycled; plastic, glass, etc. containers and wrappings that cannot be recycled
Collected twice a week.
*Put your garbage bag at the designated collection point by 8:00 AM on collection day, not the previous night. Use the garbage bags designated by the city.
*Kitchen garbage should be fully drained.
*Matches, cigarette butts, lighters and fireworks should be extinguished and dampened. Lighter fluid should be emptied from lighters before disposal.
*When disposing paper/disposable diapers, first discard the feces in the toilet, then put the diaper in a separate plastic bag and then in the garbage bag
In order to prevent injuries to persons handling your garbage, wrap sharp objects such as glass or razors with thick paper and place in the middle of the garbage bag before disposal.
Cans, glass bottles, PET bottles Collected once a week.
*Put your garbage bag at the designated collection point by 8:00 AM on collection day. Do not put your garbage out the previous night.
*In some communities, collection points for recyclable garbage and burnable garbage are different. Use bags designated by the city for recyclable garbage.
*Empty the contents of bottles and wash them.
*Caps and labels on PET bottles should be removed. They are classified as “Plastic containers and wrappings”.
*Caps from glass bottles should be removed. Plastic caps are classified as “Plastic containers and wrappings” and metal lids are classified as burnable garbage.
*Do not place any objects in cans and bottles, such as hypodermic needles, skewers, cigarette butts.
*Bottles for cosmetics and drugs, glasses, and PET bottles other than the ones used for beverages and soy sauce are classified as burnable garbage.
*Beer and Sake bottles are reusable. Please return them to the shop you bought them from, or bring them to the nearest collection point.
Plastic containers and wrappings
Trays, bags, wrappings, cling wrap, bottles, cushioning, cups, tubes, lids, caps etc.
Collected once a week.
*Put your garbage bag at the designated collection point for recyclable garbage by 8:00 AM on collection day. Do not put your garbage out the previous night.
Use bags designated by the city for recyclable garbage
*If containers and wrappings are tainted heavily and cannot be cleaned easily, discard them as burnable garbage.
*PET bottles for beverages, liquors, soy-source, vinegar, non-oil dressings are classified as “Cans, glass bottles, and PET bottles”.      
The following items are not classified as “Plastic containers and wrappings” but as “Burnable garbage”:      
 Laundry detergents spoons, toys, spectacle cases, tooth brushes, laundry bags, ball-point pens, CD/Video cases.
Small size metal items, spray cans
Pans, kettles, frying pans, kitchen utensils, spray cans, gas cartridges etc.
Collected once a month
*Put all items in a transparent plastic bag marked “Small sized metal items, spray cans”, and place it at the recyclable garbage collection point.
*Spray cans and gas cartridges should only be disposed of after their contents have been completely expelled. Please place these items in a separate bag. Do not puncture and place with other Small sized metal items.
Oversized Refuse
Furniture, futons, etc.
You must call and schedule a collection time for large items, please call the Ohgata Gomi Uketsuke Center. Handling charges differ according to the type and size of an item. Measure the size of the article before calling, then speak with a representative.      
*Ohgata Gomi Uketsuke Center Tel:0120-100-530 (toll free)      
※For mobile phones Tel:0570-000-247 (fee required)      
Open every day from 8:30 to 16:30 except year-end and new year holidays      
After verifying the cost, collection day, and collection point, please purchase “Oversized Trash Disposal Stickers” at any convenient store and affix them to your items for disposal.
Pick up for deceased dogs, cats and other pets Place the deceased pet in a plastic bag and then into a cardboard box. Do not place any other objects, such a collar or any other non-burnable items in the box.
Fee:4,730 yen per animal (If the animal has no owner, then no fee is needed.)
Dead Animal Collection Center Tel:0120-100-921 (toll free)
※from cell phone, Tel:0570-000-614 (fee)
Open Mon-Fri 8:30 to 16:30 (Including National Holidays) Sat&Sun 8:30 to 11:30 / Closed on year-end and new year holidays
    

◆ Recycling

 
Items Important Points about How to Recycle
Air conditioners, TV sets (including liquid crystal and plasma),refrigerators, washing machines, laundry driers The law stipulates that when you no longer need the items described on the left column, then they must be returned to point of purchase. Handing charges apply.   
* Kaden Recycle-ken Center Tel:0120-319-640
* Waste Reduction Promotion Section Tel:075-213-4930
* City Beautification Section Tel:075-213-4960
Newspapers, cardboard, miscellaneous recyclable paper (magazines, flyers, and other recyclable paper types) ① Community Collection (area organization collection point)
② Recyclable Paper Collectors
③ Miscellaneous paper can be placed out on the collection day for “small metal items, spray cans.”
Depending on your location the disposal procedures for your area may be different, please check with your management company or a neighbor. You can also bring recyclable paper to City Beautification Offices, Kamigyo Recycling Station, Ward Offices and Ward Branch Offices. Ward Offices and Branch Offices have designated collection dates (twice a month). Please call 213-4960 City Beautification Section for dates.
Used tempura oil Pour used tempura oil into a PET bottle or other container and take it to the one of City Beautification Offices, Kamigyo Recycling Station, a Ward Office or a Ward Branch Office. Please make sure to take the container home with you and if you can, recycle the container.
Reusable bottles (Beer, Sake bottle) Reusable bottles are collected at City Beautification Offices, Kamigyo Recycling Station, Ward Offices and Branch Offices, and some liquor shops.
Florescent bulbs Strait tube type (20W/40W) and circular type are collected at City Beautification Offices, Kamigyo Recycling Station, Ward Offices and Ward Branch Offices, and electrical appliance shops, which are part of a cooperative program (look for a special sticker marking the store’s cooperation,
also collection is only available with a purchase of a new bulb).
Dry cell batteries (button batteries, rechargeable batteries) Collection boxes for dry batteries are installed at the Ward Beautification Offices, Kamigyo Recycling Station, Ward Offices, and Ward Branch Offices.
Paper Cartons Rinse their inner side with water, cut open and dry. Collection is available at Ward Beautification Offices, Kamigyo Recycling Station, Ward Offices, Ward Branch Offices.
Used Small Household Electronics Small battery powered house hold electronics or accessories. * There are exceptions.
Within Kyoto City Ward Offices, City Hall, participating stores and subway stations have collection boxes.      
There is a cooperation program with participating stores, please look for the mark. If you buy a new product at a participating store, then the store will recycle your equivalent item at the time of purchase.
* items should be 30cm x 40cm x 40cm. Note that the following items can not be collected.
・4 types of household electronics (TVs, refrigerators, air conditioners, washing and drying machines)
・computers
・oil stoves/heaters
※ Please confirm the location, dates, and types of items that you can bring to different collection points at the following website for
Kyoto City Resources Collection Map      
For inquires contact: City Beautification Section Tel:075-213-4960


Flee Markets

Clothes, daily goods, antiques and other goods are sold at low prices at the following markets.

Toji Kobo-san Market (Toji Temple) The 21st of every month (Minami Ward) Tel:075-691-3325
Kitano Tenjin-san Market (Kitano Tenmangu Shrine) The 25th of every month (Kamigyo Ward) Tel:075-461-0005
Hyakumanben Handmade Goods Market (Chionji Temple) The 15th of every month (Sakyo Ward) Tel:075-771-1631
Kame-no-ichi Flea Market (Matsuo Shrine) Second Sunday of every month
(schedule is subject to change)
(Nishikyo Ward) Tel:075-871-5016
Omoshiro-ichi Flea Market (Hokoku Shrine) 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the 8th, 18th, and 28th of every month
(Closed on rainy days)
(Higashiyama Ward) Tel:090-1912-2290
Thrift Sale (Kyoto YWCA) The 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month, 11:00-14:00
(Closed National Holidays, August)
(Kamigyo Ward) Tel:075-431-0351
Okazaki Flea Market (Okazaki Park) Once or twice a month (Sakyo Ward) Tel:075-647-3444
Yawata-san no Omoshiro-ichi(Gosho-hachiman Shrine) 11:00 a.m. to sunset every Friday
(Closed on rainy days)
(Nakagyo Ward)
Umekoji Park Tezukuri-ichi First Saturday of every month
(Except January and May)
(Shimogyo Ward) Tel:075-771-1631
    

Community Associations

Across Japan, as a general rule, each local area has its own chonaikai “neighborhood association” and jichikai “neighborhood council.” They are resident or citizen based organizations. These associations organize festivals, disaster prevention drills and other activities. They also pass from home to home a circular notice called kairanban, which contains information about the city and local communities.
Although it is not compulsory, to join each family in the community will pay a membership fee which is used for such activities.
The City of Kyoto also supports such activities of communities by establishing the Kyoto City Ordinance on Community Promotion. You can ask for information about chonaikai and jichikai, when one of their members visits you.