There are a number of property agents around here and you can definitely search through their websites on the kind of apartments you are looking for and book a viewing with them. Even if you aren’t satisfied with those that you viewed, you can tell them in person your budget and what kind of apartment you want. They’ll probably manage to find something better than what you can locate on their site by yourself.
Most apartments now do not require deposit and key money which would save you lots of cash. Some do not even require guarantors but I’m not so sure about those. I paid around ￥160,000 before I moved in and of course that included the rent, insurance, cleaning and sterilization of the apartment.
For people unfamiliar with the terms in Japan, apartments usually come with a number followed by some letters. For example, 1LDK. The number refers to the number of bedrooms. L = living room, D = dining room, K = kitchen. So, the above would mean 1 bedroom, 1 living room, 1 dining room and 1 kitchen. The smallest apartment you can get is 1R which means 1 bedroom and the next is 1K which means 1 bedroom and 1 kitchen. Most expats live in a 1K which really is enough for a single person.
Size of rooms are usually measured by the number of tatami mats. The average bedroom size is around 6 tatami mats. Tatami mat sizes may vary but they average around 1.66m2 per mat.
Some apartments may come with furnitures while others may have none. If you find it impossible to purchase your own furnitures, you may be able to request to loan furnitures from the property agents. I don’t know about the others but minimini charges an additional ￥6,000 per month for furniture rental and for them to move the furniture to your apartment would take another 2 weeks on top of the 1 week from date of application. Furniture includes a study desk, 2 book shelves, a study chair, a comfy chair (I don’t know how else to call it), a TV, a tall lamp, a microwave oven, a refrigerator, a washing machine, a bed, 2 cushions, a coffee table, a floor mat, a storage box under the bed and a vacuum cleaner. The bed only has got one base futon so you may want to get your own futons on top of that.
They also give you a pot, a set of utensils, 2 plates, 1 bowl, a mug, a glass, 2 rolls of toilet paper, a tissue box, 1 small towel and 2 sets of clothes pegs free of charge. This means that you can take them with you if you move out.
For a decent room, the average rental fee is around ￥60,000. Anything below that is considered cheap.