What Are The Different Kinds of Apartments in Japan?

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Average apartments or flats are small, especially in busy cities like Tokyo. Areas usually contain a mix of new and old housing, in terms of style and building age.

Types of Buildings

Apartments in Japan are categorized as apartments (apato), mansions, and kashiya.

Apartments (apato) are constructed with a wood or steel frame. They can go up to two stories tall. 

Mansions (manshon) are more costly buildings with at least three stories or more, and are built with steel or concrete frames. 

Kashiya. They are homes with a lease or loan.

Types of Rooms:

Apartment buildings in Japan often used abbreviations to separate the layout type. “D” stands for dining room, “K” stands for kitchen, “L” stands for living room, and “S” stands for storage. Numbers put before the letter abbreviations are used to indicate the number of bedrooms.

Apartment Type Characteristics
1R Apartment containing just 1 room, like a studio, with nothing separating the kitchen from the room
1K Apartments containing a common bedroom and kitchen area, plus a common bath and toilet area.
1DK Apartments containing a separate bedroom and kitchen, with a common bath and toilet area.
1LDK Large apartments with a bedroom, living room, dining room, and kitchen all separate from each other.
1SLDK Apartments similar to 1LDK with the added addition of an individual walk-in closet for storage.

Flooring Types:

There are three main types of flooring in Japan. Homeowners can choose between tatami, hardwood flooring, and carpet.

Tatami are traditional Japanese flooring that are thickly woven together from rice straw. They provide a nice cushion that remains cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Hardwood flooring are slightly pricier, but provide a modern and timeless look for the house. This type of flooring is less forgiving to scratches or dents.

Fully carpeted houses are harder to find, as the humid weather in Japan can cause some troubles with this type of flooring. The humidity allows ticks and bugs to breed in the carpets, and carpets are the hardest to clean out of all the flooring options.

Room Measurement:

Jo is the size of one tatami mat and is normally 1.62 square meters. The room sizes in Japan are denominated by jo and can be abbreviated to just "J".

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