Wheelchair accessible apartments in Tokyo

  • Wheelchair accessible apartments in Tokyo

    Posted by joalpete on June 28, 2023 at 10:39 pm

    Does anyone know of any resources for finding a wheelchair accessible apartment in Tokyo? I will be living in Tokyo for 5 months this fall. I noticed that some websites use the term “barrier-free”; however, those searches include properties with a step in the genkan and a very small bathroom (i.e., the room that houses the toilet). Basically, I need to be able to maneuver a manual wheelchair around all parts of the apartment. If anyone has any resources they can point me to, I would be very grateful!!!

    joalpete replied 10 months, 3 weeks ago 3 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • Don

    Member
    June 29, 2023 at 1:47 am

    It’s central Yokohama, not Tokyo, but we stayed at a monthly rental apartment in a so-called accessible room, the Apartment Bay (bayyokohama.jp) with a wheelchair recently. There are no barriers anywhere in the rooms or building, the bathroom is the usual Japanese wet room type and has grab rails. With my particular disability the main problem was there were no chairs I could use. I was advised to visit a second hand shop if I wanted a high-back chair with arms! It’s only i year old, above the Westin Hotel, well appointed (eg washing machine, oven, kitchen stuff). The reception staff speak good English and any length of stay above one month is possible. Situated in the high-rise Minatomurai district, it is surrounded by several department stores and shopping malls which provide all the step-free shops and restaurants you could possible need.. Yokohama JR/Keikyu station is about 15 mins walk away. The area is flat with wide level pavements, traffic light controlled crossings and easy wheelchair access to the seafront all the way to Chinatown.via Yamashita Park. .It is fairly expensive however.

    • joalpete

      Member
      July 31, 2023 at 7:58 am

      Thank you very much for your reply! Unfortunately, I need to be in Tokyo for work, but I really appreciate your response. Fifteen years ago I lived in Yokohama for a year and couldn’t find any accessible housing, so I had to stay at a hotel for the duration. I’m glad that you had more success!

  • schroth-sensei

    Member
    June 29, 2023 at 4:34 am

    Hello Joal,

    Do you have a work or school visa to stay beyond a 90-day holiday? If so, I would first recommend asking your future employer or school if they have any resources for finding an Apartment that would work with you. They may be able to get you in contact with a realtor.

    Otherwise, if you are looking online and don’t want to pay hotel prices, your options may be limited due to the 5-month time period. I very recently looked into a 90-day stay for myself and found that many realtors I contacted only deal with a minimum 1-year contract (while very nice and responsive, Best-Estate was this way). For this reason I recommend emailing any company before searching too deep in their available listed apartments (even if they say “short-term” on the site this could mean 1-year). I also recommend searching as soon as you can if you’re planning this fall, it took me quite a bit of time to find a place.

    Now, the company I ultimately am working with is Oak House, they aren’t specifically an accessible rental company but maybe you’ll get lucky and they’ll know of something that may work. Just to be clear: I don’t work for them, I haven’t stayed in the apartment yet (that’ll be August for me), so make sure you’re comfortable with the company before you agree to anything. However, I can attest to their customer service being very good, answering all my questions, and making it easy to sign up and pay. First thing I did here was immediately emailed them and got a response the next day (which has been typical, or sooner, for all messages) with an apartment option that was very accessible. I was honestly surprised and didn’t wait too long to submit my application. They seems to cater to foreigners as communication in English-only wasn’t a problem throughout the process. They also don’t require a Guarantor/Guarantee company or Guarantee fee, just a simple contract fee. All of which was very nice to see. I believe the complex I’ll be at is currently full (maybe it won’t be when you go), but you may want to inquire about what/when you’re looking for and maybe they have other accessible options, at the very least this may be a good place to start your search.

    I hope this helps.

    -Justin

    • joalpete

      Member
      July 31, 2023 at 8:04 am

      Hello Schroth-sensei! Thank you very much for your response, and for pointing me in the direction of Oak House. I reached out to them and they did have a property that seemed accessible, but it would have meant a 2-hour commute every day for me.

      
Thank you also for your suggestion to reach out to my future company. They were able to locate an apartment complex that had rooms that, while not wheelchair accessible (e.g., they all had a step in the genkan), looked like I might be able to use them with some adaptation.

      However, I just found out that any apartment complex in Japan can discriminate against anyone using a wheelchair in their complex (the given reason is damage to the floors). In addition, it appears that each room in this particular apartment complex is individually owned, so each individual owner can also discriminate against a wheelchair user. I will not know if I will be discriminated against by either or both of these parties until I submit my application. I must wait until closer to my arrival time to apply for available units, so this puts me in a difficult spot indeed!

      If you have any other suggestions or ideas or have experienced this, I would love to hear from you!

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