Where neighbours become good friends…

It can be hard for singles to find a place to rent in central Tokyo that won’t blow the budget. Thankfully, though, there are more and more social apartments popping up around the city, filled with all sorts of surprising perks that make living in busy areas affordable, and a lot of fun as well.

Over at Kamikitazawa in Setagaya Ward, which is just 15 minutes by train from Shinjuku Station, a new social apartment has just opened its doors to renters, and when we popped by to take a look at what they have to offer, we were tempted to pack up and move right in ourselves!

▼ “Neighbours Kamikitazawa” is a very cool place to live.

Located a few minutes walk from Kamikitazawa Station on the Keio line, Neighbors Kamikitazawa sits in a quiet, safe residential area, surrounded by supermarkets, hospitals, drug stores, and convenience stores, providing ease of mind to residents.

▼ Banks and supermarkets are only a short walk away.

Completed just recently, at the end of September, this social apartment offers private rooms with shared common spaces, and from the entrance with its outdoor seating, you might even mistake the building for a cafe.

▼ A very stylish way to enter your apartment block.

While there’s no staffed cafe on the premises, there are communal dining spaces on the ground floor that help to give it a distinct cafe feel.

This design aims to encourage interaction between residents, to enrich their time at the complex and help them add a touch of spice to their lives.

▼ Residents here can spice up their everyday lives, both figuratively and literally.

The steel-framed three-storey building has 49 units to rent, but it’s the common areas that really stand out to prospective residents.

▼ The interiors have a wonderfully warm, homely feel.

One of the shared areas is a multifunctional kitchen that “expands the circle of interaction” through careful attention to food prep. And yes, all these spices can be used by residents to help them add flavour to their meals.

The kitchen has several sinks and stovetops so multiple residents can use them at once, and all the washing up liquid, dish sponges and cooking utensils are provided free of charge.

One of the biggest drawcards to living here is the lineup of state-of-the-art home appliances and cooking utensils, which people living on a budget usually can’t afford to use. Vitamix, De’Longhi, and KitchenAid are just some of the expensive brands lining the shelves of the kitchen area.

Another shared common room, which lies off the kitchen and dining area, is decked out in wooden ceilings, tiled floors, large sliding glass doors, sofa seating, and a huge screen.

▼ Perfect for gaming or movie nights!

Outside the common lounge room is a bright and sunny courtyard with outdoor seating.

This is a perfect spot for a coffee, a meal, or a whole day of working from home, as the patio area is equipped with WiFi and outdoor power outlets.

▼ The potted plants allow you to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature, despite being in an urban environment.

The garden isn’t just designed to look pretty, as it contains edible plants and herbs like Roman Chamomile, which can be used in cooking or for making herbal tea.

Just when we thought the work-from-home setup here couldn’t get any better, we were introduced to the Working Lounge space, which comes with bench seating, power outlets, and a super cosy couch.

There are also three “Work Booths” that can be used for online meetings. These are said to be soundproof so that when the door is locked, your conversation can’t be heard by anyone outside.

▼ A gorgeous private booth for a work meeting!

After inspecting the common areas, we checked out the actual apartments, which were spread out over the three floors of the building. According to Global Agents, the company that runs the complex, about 70 percent of the rooms were already snapped up by renters before the building was even completed.

With brand new interiors, it’s easy to see why these apartments are so popular. Each room is 11.38 square meters (122.5 square feet) in size, and comes complete with a closet, air conditioner, and Wi-Fi.

There’s also an elevator on the premises, which makes it easy to move furniture and heavy items in and out of the apartments.

The owners have set up a model room for prospective residents to view, giving them a sense of the apartment’s potential as a cosy, multifunctional living space. Even with a bed, a desk, and shelving, the room doesn’t feel cramped at all.

There are no individual toilets or bathrooms in the apartments as residents can use the shared facilities, which are separated into men’s and women’s areas on the first floor.

Residents also share the laundry room, which is decked out with expensive front-loading washing machines.

The communal living areas help to keep costs low for renters, with apartments priced from 70,000 yen (US$630) per month. Currently, there are vacant apartments on the second floor for 73,000 yen and on the third floor for 75,000 yen.

Contracts available include “short term” monthly rentals and one-year or two year rentals, and each resident is expected to pay an extra 8,000 yen a month in building management fees, (commonly paid by renters in Japan), and a fixed fee of 11,000 yen a month to cover water and energy bills. That brings the starting total cost of renting an apartment here to 89,000 yen a month, which is a fantastic deal for what you get, and all so close to the city centre as well.

In terms of ease of living, Neighbors Kamikitazawa may just eclipse Films Wako, another social apartment run by the same management company, which is located further out from the city centre, in Tokyo’s neighbouring Saitama Prefecture.

That social apartment does come with its own mini movie cinema, though, which goes a long way towards making up for the longer commute to Tokyo.

Related: Neighbors Kamikitazawa
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