Gaijin houses & accommodation in Japan

Q: Konnichiwa Richard! Let me start off by saying that I absolutely love your GenkiJapan site and I subscribe to the GenkiTube where I impatiently wait for you to add all your cool videos!

I’m thinking about coming to Japan to stay from anywhere between a month to three months. Mainly to test out the waters and see, after my lifelong dream of living there, if I’m cut out for such an amazing society.

I’m married and with two children under the age of 5, and obviously would like for my family to be with me as my husband shares the same passion for Nippon, but I’m not sure where to stay at in terms of accommodations.

Hotels seem like it would be really expensive for such an extended stay, but after looking at Gaijin houses and reviews I’m a little worried. Mixed reviews and some of them won’t allow children make me wonder how I’m going to make this possible. I currently do not have a visa, but I do plan on getting one. Do you have any advice on where to stay for a family looking for a mid-term visit? Arigatoh for any advice you can give, and for your wonderful genki personality in your videos!! – Cassandra

A: Glad you’re liking the materials!  And congratulations on deciding to come to Japan.

Yes certainly travelling with kids in hotels would probably be out of the question.  Unlike many countries Japanese hotels almost always charge by the person, rather than by the room, so for families it can get really expensive.

With regards Gaijin Houses (usually guest houses where mostly foreigners stay) then I guess that depends on your lifestyle.  If  you want the kids exposed to traveler types  from all over the world then it could be a great experience for them.  If on the other hand you believe there are certain things that kids shouldn’t see, then it could turn out to be your image of a total nightmare!

My advice would be to try and get a job that has accommodation as part of the deal.  Many of my friends with kids have done it this way.  As long as you are OK with the small size of Japanese apartments then it should be fine.  Just keep your eyes out for various different jobs in Japan and ask what accommodation they recommend. Very often they’ll have apartments that they regularly use!

Good luck and be genki,

Richard

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