Guide to Living in Tochigi

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Daily life

kSEIKATSUIPPANl

Renting an ApartmentkKASHIYAEAPATO NO KARIKATAl

When renting a private house or apartment, it is common to rent through a specialized real estate agent. Before signing a lease, it is highly recommended that you visit your potential choice in order to verify the conditions, the location, the functionality of utilities, etc. Once you have decided to rent a house or apartment, please read the entire lease carefully. Some leases forbid pets or require 3 months notification before moving. When you close the deal, the following documents will most likely be necessary:

Some useful information before you rentkKASHIYAEAPATO NO GAIYOl

Rent Rent is paid on a monthly basis.@ If you start renting in the middle of the month, ask your owner how to pay for the first month. 
Maintenance charges A maintenance fee might be charged for lighting common areas, cleaning, etc. This fee may be included in the monthly rent.
Housing size and layout Floor space for housing is indicated in meters squared and represents the total floor space, including both living space and toilet, bath and kitchen space. The size of rooms may also be listed by number of tatami mats, for example, as 6 ô (6 tatami mats).@ One tatami mat equals approximately 1.6 meters squared.
Utilities In almost all houses and apartments, electricity, gas and water have been installed. As soon as you move into a new home, you must inform the utilities companies of your new address.
Access to public transportation The distance from public transportation is one of the most common ways to explain where a house or apartment is located. For example, 15 minutes by foot from Utsunomiya JR station. 

The cost of finalizing a rental leasekKEIYAKU NI HITSUYO NA KEIHIl

Rent In Japan, when you rent an apartment or house, you usually have to pay two months rent up front, as rent is always paid a month in advance. Automatic bank transfer is usually the preferred method for paying rent.
Refundable deposit (Shikikin) A refundable deposit is kept by the landlord during the term of residence as collateral against failure on the part of the tenant to make rent payments to the landlord, or for any other damages cause by the tenant. This deposit is usually one to three months' rent.
Nonrefundable deposit (Reikin) When you finalize a rental lease, it is customary to pay a nonrefundable gThankfulnessh deposit to your new landlord. The fee usually equals 1 to 2 months rent. 
Real estate agentfs commission By law, the real estate agentfs commission should not exceed one monthfs rent.

In total, the cost of finalizing a rental lease amounts to between five and seven months' rent. You should keep this in mind when looking for an apartment.

Public HousingkKOEI JUTAKUl

The Prefectural and local governments do offer public housing to those who have difficulties with their housing situation. For more details on public housing offered by local governments, please contact your respective one.

Prefectural Housing (Kenei Jutaku)

i‚PjTenant Requirements for a Basic Household (All conditions below must be met in order to apply.)

i‚QjItems Required for Application:

i‚Rj Application:

i‚Sj Leasing Terms for Apartments:

For detailed information regarding prefectural housing, period of application, rent, et cetera, please consult your nearest Prefectural Housing Supply Corporation Branch Office.

UtilitieskDENKIEGASUESUIDOl

ElectricitykDENKIl

When you first move to a new house, you will probably need to turn on the short circuit breakers - (u“üvmeans gonh in Kanji). Either near the short circuit breakers or in the mailbox, there will be an application form for new customers. Please fill in the form and send it to Tokyo Denryoku (Tokyo Power Company). If, by chance, after setting the breaker switch there is still no electricity, please contact Tokyo Denryoku. They will send an electrician over immediately.
Most utility bills can be paid at banks, post offices and some convenience stores. If you prefer to pay automatically via an account transfer, please bring your account book, your utility receipt (from Tokyo Denryoku) and your personal seal (hanko) directly to the bank/post office.
Also, when you move out of your apartment or house, please remember to contact Tokyo Denryoku to cancel your service. If you know the exact date you will be moving out, contact them ahead of time.
For more detailed information, please contact Tokyo Denryoku.

Contact Information: Tochigi Customer Service Center
Tel.# 0120-995-111

Links:
Tokyo Denryoku Homepage (Japanese)
Tokyo Electric Power Company Homepage (English)

GaskGASUl

Before moving to a new house, please contact your cityfs gas company or a propane gas sales office. Different types of gas are used throughout Japan, so make sure that your appliances function with the particular type of gas you will be using. Using unmatched appliances can cause fatal accidents, so please be careful.
Most utility bills can be paid at banks and post offices. Depending on your gas company, you may also be able to pay at convenience stores. If you prefer to pay automatically through your post office or bank, please bring in the necessary documents and your personal seal (hanko).
Furthermore, when you move out of your apartment or house, please contact your gas company in advance to cancel your service.

WaterkSUIDOl

In order to set up your water service when moving into a new apartment you must apply through your local governments' Waterworks Division (Suido Tanto-ka).
Japanese tap-water is usually very clean and safe to drink.
Most utility bills can be paid at banks, post offices and some convenience stores.@ If you prefer to pay automatically through your post office or bank, please bring in the necessary documents and your personal seal (hanko).

TelephonekDENWAl

TelephonekDENWAl

When you install a telephone line in your residence for the first time, or change the name of the account, call the nearest telephone company(NTT or other). For the initial application for a telephone line you are required to present personal identification, such as your Resident Card. Since the requirements and fee plans vary from company to company, please contact the telephone company for details. You can pay the monthly bills at banks, post offices and convenience stores. Please be sure to take the telephone bill with you at the time of payment. You can also arrange for your bank or post office to deduct your payments automatically from your account. Please bring the necessary documents, your bank passbook and personal seal.

*NTT has a multilingual information service. If you dial 0120-364-463(toll free), you will first hear the English announcement, followed by Portuguese,Spanish and Hangeul,Follow the instructions and select your language.

International CallskKOKUSAI DENWAl

Companies offering international telephone services include KDDI, Cable and Wireless IDC (C&WIDC), Japan Telecom (JT), NTT Communications (NTT Com) and Fusion Communications,Inc., among others. Areas served and rates may differ depending on the company, but many offer holiday and late-night discounts.

Cell PhoneskKEITAI DENWAl

Normally when you buy a cell phone, you can register at the same shop and start using it immediately.
You will need to present your Resident Card and/or passport when you register.

Pre-paid Telephone CardskPURIPEIDO KADOl

Many different kinds of pre-paid telephone cards are sold at convenience stores, including cards for international calls only, domestic calls only, or both. Many pre-paid telephone cards have an explanation in English or another language, so please make sure you that you buy the kind of pre-paid telephone card you want.

GarbagekGOMIl

Garbage Separation and CollectionkGOMI NO BUNBETSU TO SHUSHUl

Household garbage is collected by the local government, and each town has its own rules.@ However, the following rules must be respected by everyone.

  1. Separate garbage into four types: burnable garbage, nonburnable garbage, glass and recyclable (cans and PET bottles, cloth, newspaper, carbon paper, styrofoam) garbage.
  2. Use the approprivate garbage bags for each of the four types of garbage.
  3. Put garbage bags at the designated pickup point on the designated date.
  4. Certain items, such as tires, batteries and refrigerators, etc. may not be collected. For the correct disposal method of such items, please inquire with the stores where you purchased them, or your local government.

For further information, please ask your local government.

Vehicle Disposal [JIDOSHA NO HAISHA]

If you wish to dispose of a vehicle in Japan, you must do so by dealing with a licensed disposal service or company, as stipulated by Japanfs Vehicle Recycling Law. (A list of qualified places can be found at: http://www.jars.gr.jp/Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association(Japanese)). In this case, a fee will be incurred.
Also, please be aware that if you wish to salvage parts from your vehicle before disposing of it you may need to obtain formal dismantling permission, as stated in the Vehicle Recycling Law.

Illegal DumpingkFUHO TOKIl

Illegal dumping is bad for the environment and is prohibited. You will be severely punished if you engage in such activities.

Post OfficekYUBIN KYOKUl

Japanese post offices conduct not only postal-related activities but also provide banking and insurance services, such as transferring money, paying utility bills, etc.@ Working hours vary according to the post office, but generally they are open weekdays from 9:00 until 17:00 for postal services and from 9:00 until 16:00 for banking and insurance services. You can also find small stores with a § sign, which indicates that they sell stamps and other postal-related items.
If you want to open a postal bank account, you need to bring your Resident Card and your name-seal.@ For further information, please ask at your local post office.

Domestic Postal RateskKOKUNAI TSUJO YUBIN BUTSU NO RYOKIN l

Classification Weight Rates
Letters Standard-sized items @(1) Up to 25‚‡ @80 Yen
Up to 50‚‡ @90 Yen
Nonstandard-sized items Up to 50‚‡ 120 Yen
Above 50g and up to 4Kg 140 Yen to 1,150 Yen
Mini-letters(letter-cards) @ @60 Yen
Postcards Postcards @ @50 Yen
Pre-paid reply postcards @ 100 Yen
(1)Rectangular items 14 to 23.5 cm in length, 9 to 12 cm in width, and up to 1 cm in thickness. 

Airmail RateskKOKUSAI TSUJO YUBIN BUTSU NO RYOKINl

  Zone 1
Asia, United States Territories (Wake Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Midway, etc.), Palau, etc.
Zone ‚Q
Oceania, Middle and Near East, North America, Central America, West Indies, Europe
Zone ‚R
South America, Africa
Letters Standard-sized items Up to 25g @90 Yen 110 Yen 130 Yen
Up to 50‚‡ 160 Yen 190 Yen 230 Yen
Nonstandard-sized items Up to 50‚‡ 220 Yen 260 Yen 300 Yen
50g to 2kg 330 Yen`2,150 Yen 400 Yen`3,410 Yen 480 Yen`4,990 Yen
Postcards Uniform rate of 70 Yen to anywhere in the world
Aerogrammes Uniform rate of 90 Yen to anywhere in the world
Greeting cards (up to 25g) 90 Yen 110 Yen 130 Yen
Small packages Up to 50g 120 Yen 150 Yen 170 Yen
For each 50g above 50g and up to 1Kg 70 Yen 90 Yen 120 Yen
For each 250g above 1kg 175 Yen 225 Yen 300 Yen

BankskGINKOl

All financial transactions, including paying utility bills, can be done by banks. Most banks are able to transfer money overseas. For further information, please contact your bank.
When you open a bank account, please bring your Resident Card or passport and your name-seal.@ It might be useful to order an ATM card or credit card.
Bank working hours are normally weekdays from 9:00 to 15:00. ATM machine hours differ depending upon the bank and the card.

Dogs as PetskINU NO KAIKATAl

If you intend to keep a dog as a pet, you must register him/her at your local town/city hall. (This need only be done once during the animalfs life.) Furthermore, the dog must also get a rabies vaccination every year.
For more information, please contact your local city/town hall.

If you need advice to breed animals, or you find stray dogs/cats, please consult the Tochigi Prefectural Animal Protection Guidance Center (or the Utsunomiya Health center for the Utsunomiya citizen)