- Finding a Residence
- Signing a Rental Agreement
- Signing up for Water, Electricity and Gas Utilities
- Telephones and international calls
- TV, Radio, and Newspapers
- Garbage and Recycling
- Community Associations
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 March 2020)
|Real Estate Offices||Language||Address||Telephone|
|Elitz||Karasuma Marutamachi||English||1F Pia Gosho, 426 Hikarido-cho, Marutamachi-dori Higashino-to-in Nishi-iru, Nakagyo-ku||075-221-8600
|Shijo Omiya||English||1F Miyazaki Bld., 1-10 Mibubojo-cho, Nakagyo-ku||075-822-1008
|Kyoto Jutaku Center Gakusei Jutaku||Kyoto Daigaku Seimon-Mae||English, Chinese||3-8 Yoshida-Ushinomiya-cho, Sakyo-ku||075-751-1555
|Flat Agency||Head Office||English, Chinese||9-1 Murasakino Nishigoshoden-cho, Kita-ku||075-411-0669
|Sakyo Office||English, Chinese||3-6 Yoshida Ushinomiya-cho, Sakyo-ku||075-762-0669
|Kitaoji Ekimae Office||English, Chinese||43-5 Koyama Kitakamifusa-cho, Kita-ku||075-493-0669
|Choei Global Desk||English, Chinese||9F Kyoto Karasuma Manjuji bldg., 369 No.60 Gokuishi-cho, Manjuji-dori Karasuma-dori Nishi-iru, 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||8F Sakura bldg., 356 Tominaga-cho 2-chome, Kawaramachi-dori Matsubara-agaru, Shimogyo-ku||075-341-0669
|Global Trust Networks||Osaka Office||English, Chinese, Korean||21F Osaka Ekimae Dai 4 bldg., 1-11-4 Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka||06-6348-0701|
＊If you are a student, the international student center or the student office at 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.
The main forms of public housing are Urban Renaissance (UR), City Housing (Shiei Jutaku), and Prefectural Housing (Fuei Jutaku). Generally, the rent is lower than that of private housing. In order to apply for public housing, you must have already registered your residence in Kyoto City.
|UR Rental Housing (UR Chintai Jyutaku)||・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
・To rent an apartment, your monthly income should be 4 times more than the rent.
|Urban Renaissance Agency, Kyoto Office
|City Housing||・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 City Housing Corporation（Kyoto-shi Jutaku Kyokyu Kosha）
|Prefectural Housing||・Applications are accepted 6 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 applicant’s income.
|Kyoto Prefectural Public Housing Corporation（Kyoto-fu Jutaku Kyokyu Kosha）
Signing a Rental Agreement
What is necessary to complete a rental agreement?
|① Find a guarantor（Hoshonin）||someone who will take responsibility on behalf of the renter if a problem arises, such as failure to pay rent.|
|② Deposit（Shiki-kin）||An amount equivalent to 1-3 months’ rent must be deposited. Part of the deposit will be refunded when the agreement is terminated.|
|③ Key Money（Rei-kin)||This is a non-refundable payment made as a kind of gesture of gratitude to the landlord. Generally, the amount is equivalent to 1-2 months’ rent.|
|④ Handling Charge（Tesuryo）||You have to pay the handling charge equivalent to half a month rent to the real estate agency.|
＊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 program for international students, called “Comprehensive Renter’s Insurance for Foreign Students Studying in Japan” (Ryugakusei Jutaku Sogo Hosho). It helps reduce a guarantor’s psychological and financial burden, so that it makes easier for international students to ask their acquaintances to become their guarantors.
(2) If you have difficulty finding a guarantor; (In the case of international students)There is a program in which institutions such as university may serve as a guarantor. To apply for the program, you must enroll in the above-mentioned insurance program and meet some other conditions. For further information, please inquire at the International Student Section at your university.
(3) If you have difficulty finding a guarantor (In the case of both international students and international residents)There are companies which provide guarantor services. For details, please ask a company in the list below.
|Name of the company||Language||Address||Phone Number|
|As Life||Japanese only||72 Imashinzaike-higashi-cho, Nakagyo-ku||075-823-6170|
|Global Trust Network Osaka Office||English, Chinese, Korean||21F Osaka Ekimae Dai4 bldg., 1-11-4 Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka||06-6348-0701|
Signing up for Water, Electricity and Gas Utilities
Check with your landlord first!Utilities (electricity, water, sewage, gas, etc.) may be handled by your landlord; therefore, it is better to ask about the utilities with your landlord first.
Pay by Direct DebitIt is convenient to pay utility bills by direct debit from your account at banks and post office banks. Please set up a direct debit at a bank or a post office bank where you have your own 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.
WaterTap water is safe for drinking.
How to using start water and sewage serviceContact the service offices or the customer service counter of Kyoto City Water Supply and Sewage Bureau.
Kyoto City Water Supply and Sewage Bureau ＊Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean
|Higashiyama Ward, Yamashina Ward, Daigo area of Fushimi Ward||East Service Office||075-592-3058|
|Kita Ward, Kamigyo Ward, Nakagyo Ward||North Service Office||075-772-7700|
|Ukyo Ward (excluding Keihoku area), Nishikyo Ward||West Service Office||075-841-9184|
|Keihoku area of Ukyo Ward||West Service Office Keihoku Branch Office||075-852-1820|
|Shimogyo Ward, Minami Ward, Fushimi Ward (excluding Daigo area)||South Service Office||075-605-2011|
|All of Kyoto City||Customer Service Counter||075-672-7770|
What is necessary to start using the service?－Your customer number* and address
Water charges are calculated based on the size of the supply pipe and the amount of water used. Payment is made once every 2 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 service office and provide them with the information on your card.
How to terminate water and sewage serviceContact the Service Office or the Customer Service Counter at the Kyoto City Water Supply and Sewage Bureau and give them your customer number and ask them to terminate service.
For further informationContact the nearest Kyoto City Water Supply and Sewage Bureau Service Office or Customer Service Counter.
How to start using electricity serviceContact the nearest sales office of:
Kansai Electric Power Corporation（English）TEL：0800-777-8031
Mon. - Fri. 9:00 - 18:00（closed on national holidays）
Compatibility of electric appliances: power frequency and voltageThere are two types of utility frequencies in Japan. Kyoto city uses 60 hertz /100 volts. Using electric incompatible appliances that do not match the current and voltage may cause damage to both the appliance and the circuits.
Please be careful that many of the appliances brought from abroad do not match the electrical system in Japan.
RatesYour 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 it happens, turn off some of the appliances and turn the breaker back on.
GasThere are two types of gas available; 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 ServiceCall Osaka Gas Co. Ltd. and give them:
① your name, ② customer number, ③ address, and ④ telephone number and ask a staff to come to your place. ＊You must be present when a staff from Osaka Gas comes to your residence to open the gas valve.
Osaka Gas（English）Keiji Living Office (Kyoto and Shiga Branch) TEL：0120-894-817
Gas appliancesKyoto City uses the type 13A standard. Make sure that your appliances are compatible with this type. If you plan to use old/used appliances, please ask a staff from the gas company to check them for you when the person comes to your residence to open the gas valve.
RatesGas bills must be paid every month. If you do not use the direct debit, a bill will be sent to you in about 1 week after the rates are notified to you.
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 Branch Office TEL：075-691-7161
- ・Iwatani Kinki TEL：0120-563-056
- ・Uehara Sei Shoji Kyoto Factory Head Office & Kyoto Branch Office TEL：075-212-6000
＊Pamphlets for gas users written in English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, Filipino and Vietnamese are available at Osaka Gas offices and at the kokoka Kyoto City International Community House.
Telephones and international calls
LandlineTelephone Installation (Application for usage)
|Location||nearest NTT office|
|Necessary Items||Your passport or residence card, contract form, contract fee (\880)|
BillingBilling for telephone service is done monthly; your bill includes the Line Service Charges (Kaisen Shiyo-ryo) (\2,200 a month) and charges for calls.
Telephone DirectorySubscribers to telephone service receive a telephone directory for free of charge.
- Hello Page: Telephone directory for general public, arranged in Japanese kana order
- Town Page: Telephone directory for businesses (firms, organizations and shops)
Mobile phonesThere are several mobile phone companies. To sign up for mobile phone service, you must take your ID, seal, bank book or a credit card with you when you visit a service provider. There are telephone and internet services using SIM cards. Please check the information on the internet or ask at your local electronics store. In Japan, using mobile phones is prohibited in public transportation and certain facilities such as buses, trains, and hospitals. Also, using a mobile phone whilst driving or riding a bicycle is prohibited by law.
International callsThere are various companies which provide international telephone services. Please contact the company directly to ask about how to subscribe, rates, etc.
How to make an international call from JapanInternational Access Code + 010 + Country Code + Area code without 0 + Telephone number
Major International Telephone Companies providing International Call Services
|Name of company||International Access Code||For inquiries|
|KDDI||001||0057（Free, available for 24 hours a day）|
|SoftBank||0061||0120-03-0061（Free, available on weekday between 9:00 to 17:00, excluding on Year-end and new year’s holiday）|
|NTT Communications||0033||0120-506-506（Free, available at 10:00 -19:00 excluding on Sundays, national holidays, Year-end and New Year’s holidays）|
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 subscription fee to NHK.
NHK Kyoto Broadcasting Station TEL：0120-151-515
|Type||For 2 months||For 6 months||For 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|
Overseas TV programs
|Sky Perfect TV||TEL：0800-813-0933|
Multilingual Radio Programs
FM COCOLO 76.5MHzFM 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 87.0MHzRadio 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
A place where you can read newspapers and magazines in the world
|Country or Region||Newspapers||Magazines|
|China||People’s Daily||Du Zhe, Zhi Yin|
|Hong Kong||Ming Pao News||Asia Weekly|
|Taiwan||United Daily News||TELDAP|
|South Korea||The Chosun Ilbo||Koreana, Woman Donga, 時事IN|
|Vietnam||Vietnam Sketch, BAO ANH VIETNAM|
|UK||The Guardian||The Economist|
|USA||New York Times||Christian Science Monitor|
|Japan||New York Times||The Japan News, International New York Times, The Japan Times|
Garbage and Recycling
Proper disposal for garbage and recyclablesGarbage 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 are designated in each area. Please ask your neighbors about the collection information for your neighborhood. Collection dates can also be found on the Kyoto City official website;
How to dispose of garbagePlace 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 and firmly tied up. If you do not use the designated garbage bag, your garbage will not be collected by the city. The designated bags are sold at retail shops, supermarkets and convenience stores.
|Each pack contain||1 pack of 45L||1 pack of 30L||1 pack of 20L||1 pack of 10L||1 pack of 5L|
|Burnable garbage bags（former label of “For Household Garbage）||10 bags||450 yen||300 yen||200 yen||100 yen||50 yen|
|Recyclable garbage bags（cans, bottles, etc.）||5 bags||110 yen||75 yen||50 yen||25 yen||－|
For further information callWaste Reduction Promotion Section TEL:075-213-4930
City Beautification Section TEL:075-213-4930
＊Garbage disposal handbooks in English, Chinese and Korean are also available at ward offices, beatification centers and the kokoka Kyoto City International Community House.
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; however, please purchase transparent or semi-transparent bags at supermarkets/convenience stores for disposing of garbage. For more information, please ask your landlord/management company.
・Illegal disposal of garbage is a punishable offense. Please be aware that disposing of garbage against the prescribed standards or at non-designated areas may be liable to fines or imprisonment.
|Garbage type||How to dispose|
kitchen refuse, papers that cannot be recycled; plastic materials excluding container wrappings; glasses etc.
|Collected 2 times a week
・Put your garbage bag at the designated collection point by 8:00 AM on the collection day, not the previous night. Use the garbage bags designated by the city for burnable garbage..
・Kitchen refuse 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 of 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 collecting your garbage, wrap sharp objects such as glass or razors with thick paper and place them in the middle of the garbage bag.
|Cans, glass bottles, PET bottles||Collected once a week.
・Put your garbage bag at the designated collection point for Recyclable Garbage by 8:00 AM on the 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. Do not crush plastic bottles.
・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 at your local ward office or ward branch office.
|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 the 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 with a note marked “metal items (kinzoku),” and place it at the recyclable garbage collection point.
・The maximum length of a small metal item, excluding its handle, should be shorter than 30cm in diameter. ・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.
Furniture, futons, etc.
|You must call and schedule a collection time for large items, please call the Kyoto City Large Trash Collection Center（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.
Kyoto City Large Trash Collection Center（Ohgata Gomi Uketsuke Center）
TEL：0120-100-530（toll free）／For mobile phones TEL：0570-000-247 (fee required)／TEL：075-330-6100
Open every day from 8:30 - 16:30 except year-end and new year holidays
After verifying the cost, collection day, and collection point, please purchase “Oversized Garbage Collection Fee Tickets（Stickers）（Ohgata gomi tesuuryo-ken）” 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：￥4,810 per animal（If the animal has no owner, then no fee is needed.）
Dead Animal Collection Center TEL：0120-100-921 (toll free)／For mobile phones TEL：0570-000-614（fee required）／TEL：075-330-6850（fee required）
Open：Mon. - Fri. 8:30 - 16:30 (Including National Holidays) Sat.& Sun. 8:30 - 11:30 / Closed on year-end and new year holidays
|What to recycle||Important Points about How to Recycle|
|Air conditioners, TV sets（including outdoor units）, refrigerators, freezers, 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 electronics retail stores or designated collection points. 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）||There are many collection points for recyclable paper
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 Ward Branch Offices have designated collection dates（twice a month）.
City Beautification Section TEL：075-213-4960
|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 Ward 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, so 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.
＊The items should be smaller than 30cm x 40cm x 40cm. 4 types of household electronics (TVs, air conditioners including outdoor units, refrigerators, freezers, washing and drying machines), computers, oil stoves/heaters are not collected.
|＊Please confirm the location, dates, and types of items that you can bring to different collection points at the following website;
Kyoto City Resources Collection Map
Flee MarketsClothes, daily goods, antiques and other goods are sold at low prices at the following markets.
|Toji Kobo-san Market||The 21st of every month||Toji Temple(Minami Ward)||075-691-3325|
|Kitano Tenjin-san Market||The 25th of every month||Kitano Tenmangu Shrine(Kamigyo Ward)||075-461-0005|
|Hyakumanben Handmade Goods Market||The 15th of every month||Chionji Temple(Sakyo Ward)||075-771-1631|
|Kame-no-ichi Flea Market||Second Sunday of every month
(schedule is subject to change)
|Matsuo Shrine(Nishikyo Ward)||075-871-5016|
|Omoshiro-ichi Flea Market||10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the 8th, 18th, and 28th of every month
(Closed on rainy days)
|Hokoku Shrine (Higashiyama Ward)||090-1912-2290|
|Thrift Sale||The 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month, 11:00-14:00
(Closed National Holidays, August)
|Kyoto YWCA(Kamigyo Ward)||075-431-0351|
|Okazaki Flea Market||Once or twice a month||Okazaki Park(Sakyo Ward)||075-647-3444|
|Yawata-san no Omoshiro-ichi||11:00 a.m. to sunset, open irregularly on Fridays
(Closed on rainy days)
|Gosho-hachiman Shrine(Nakagyo Ward)|
|Umekoji Park Tezukuri-ichi||First Saturday of every month
(Except January and May)
|Umekoji Park(Shimogyo Ward)||075-771-1631|
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.