These Are What the Apartment Codes in Japan Mean

Apartment-hunting need not be difficult.

In Japan, apartment-hunting can be a nightmare, especially when it’s your first time doing it. With so many real estate agencies pushing for their apartment listings, it can be difficult knowing which one to choose and figuring out what they mean. 

Do you know what “K” means? What about “1K” or “2K”?

To help you decipher what these codes mean, we created the list below for your reference.

1~ numbers
stand for “rooms”.
R stands for “Room”, but is generally used for 1R, which means everything, including the kitchen, is in the same room.
L stands for “Living Room/Area”
D stands for “Dining Room/Area”
K stands for “Kitchen Room/Area”
S stands for “Service Room,” which is a room that’s not large enough to be a room, as specified by Building Laws in Japan. This is mostly used as a storage space or pantry.

Knowing these codes, you can simply just mix and match the letters. For example, a three-bedroom house with a dining room and kitchen, but no living room, is considered a 3DK. If you add a living room, it becomes 3LDK, subtract a room and it will become 2DK. The only exception to this rule is 1R. 

As for sizes, apartments in Japan,
especially in big cities, are generally smaller and more compact, with lower ceilings.

This is what a standard 1K apartment, made for a person living alone, looks like. Can you guess which rooms are which? The answer can be found below!

Since most apartments in Japan have a binding two-year contract, make sure to know exactly what you need—that means doing away with the ones you can live without. 

 (7 June 2019)

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