Think every apartment in Japan’s capital is expensive? Think again.

As the country’s biggest center of educational and professional opportunities, as well as entertainment and cultural ones, Tokyo represents people’s Japan-related aspirations more than any other city in the nation. That means that at any given time, a lot of people, both from elsewhere in Japan and from abroad, are thinking about moving to the capital, but once you start chasing those Japanese big-city dreams, right away you’re going to run into the problem of Japanese big-city rent.

Fortunately, apartments in Tokyo aren’t as prohibitively expensive as many people assume they are. As a matter of fact, it’s arguably easier to find cheap apartments in Tokyo than in many major American cities. Sure, they’ll be smaller, but the monthly price to get your foot in the door on your Tokyo life can be surprisingly affordable, as shown in the just-released results of a study by Japanese real estate agency Suumo.

Suumo’s researchers set out to find the most affordable studio apartments within Tokyo’s 23 wards, with the additional criteria that they be within a 15-minute walk of the nearest train or subway station and have between 10 and 40 square meters (108 and 431 square feet) of floor space. They then calculated the average monthly rent for such apartments and sorted them by station, so let’s take a look at the top 11.

● 1: 59,000 yen (US$546) per month
Kasai Rinkai Koen Station (JR Keiyo Line)
● 2 (tie): 60,000 yen per month
Kanamachi Station (JR Joban Line)
Keisei Kanamachi (Keisei Kanamachi Line)
● 4 (tie): 62,000 yen per month
Kita Ayase Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line)
Shinozaki Station (Toei Subway Shinjuku Line)
● 6 (tie): 63,000 yen (US$583) per month
Funabori Station (Toei Subway Shinjuku Line)
Horikiri Shobuen Station (Keisei Main Line)
Ichinoe Station (Toei Subway Shinjuku Line)
Keisei Tateishi Station (Keisei Oshiage Line)
Shibamata Station (Keisei Kanamachi Line)
Takenotsuka Station (Tobu Isesaki Line/Tobu Skytree Line)

▼ Kasai Rinkai Koen Station

Now, obviously, these stations aren’t located in the middle of downtown, since most of the land there is reserved for commercial and office space, plus luxury high-rise condos. However, just about all of these neighborhoods are serviced by rail lines that can easily get you into and across the heart of Tokyo, with few, if any, transfers along the way. Kasai Rinkai Koen, for example, the cheapest of all options, is just 14 minutes by train from Tokyo Station, and if you’re headed to Akihabara, Tsukiji, Ginza, or Roppongi, those are all accessible with a single transfer along the way to the Hibiya subway line. Kanamachi Station’s Joban Line connects to cultured Ueno, Kita Ayase’s Chiyoda Line will carry you to Meiji-Jingumae (i.e. fashionable Harajuku), and Shinozaki’s Shinjuku Line obviously runs to Shinjuku, which boasts such attractions as the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, Tokyo’s largest shopping and drinking districts, and, of course, the spot from which where modern culture radiates out to the rest of Japan: SoraNews24 headquarters.

Admittedly, Suumo’s list doesn’t double as one for Tokyo’s most glamorous addresses, but they all provide manageable commutes to jobs, schools, or entertainment in the city center, and all at rent rates below even the figure used in the shockingly cheap Tokyo life model budget we talked about last month.

Source: Suumo via IT Media
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso, Wikipedia/掬茶
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he thinks Kasai Rinkai Park is an underrated spot to get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo.