Home buying in Japan: Why that second bathroom may cost you

One of the most requested things we receive from buyers looking for two or three bedroom apartments or homes is for two full bathrooms. While this might be standard in many overseas markets, in Japan it is incredibly rare to find such a property. There are at most 2 or 3 condo-type buildings in Tokyo where 2 bathrooms are standard in all apartments, and these apartments are priced at the higher end of the market. In fact, 99.9% of current apartment listings in Tokyo’s 23 wards have just one bathroom.

Adding a second bathroom to a home or apartment can be very difficult, costly and, in some cases, impossible due to plumbing constraints.

With a few exceptions, you may be limited to either the very large and older vintage apartments built for expats in the 1970s and 1980s (the ‘Homat’ or ‘Domus’ series of apartments are good examples), or penthouse apartments atop newer buildings. The same goes for houses. There are some exceptions to the rule, but a Japanese home will typically only have one bathroom for the whole family to share.

Of the 23,000 apartment sale listings across Tokyo’s 23 wards on listing portal site AtHome, only 150 (0.6%) have two or more toilets. Only 25 of the 23,000 apartment listings have two bathrooms. That is 0.1% of the total.

How can you find a two-bathroom home or apartment?

Let your agent know from the beginning.

We currently have 19 two-bathroom listings on our website, along with a small handful of private, off-market listings that are not publicly listed on our site. Prices range from 279 million ~ 1 billion Yen+. We have listed our public listings for two-bathroom properties here:

The major Japanese real estate listing portals do not have a search option for two-bathroom properties since demand and supply for a second bathroom is so low. At most you may find a search option for 2 toilets.

What can you do as a buyer?

Decide how important it is to have two bathrooms. If it is essential, then understand that you will limit your selection of options dramatically. In some cases you may not have any options at all.

Be prepared to spend more. A second bathroom is usually only found in high-end or extremely large apartments. As such, the price may be higher than standard housing.

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