People are drifting further and further away from each other in the age of the Internet. With the soaring housing costs in urban cities, not every one can afford a place for themselves. This is where the Japanese Share Houses step in. Just as its name suggests, a Share House offers rooms in an apartment at a cheaper price and the tenants share the kitchen, bathroom and living room.

The family-like environment encourages social interaction and appeals to many young adults who are on a tight budget. The charm of Share Houses not only comes from interacting with all kinds of people, but also from finding a group of like-minded companions. For example, a Share House designed for entrepreneurs allows residents to discuss their dreams and maybe even find an inspiring partner.

Japanese travel website, Let’s Go Japan, writes, many young people who have left their homes to study or work in Tokyo gather in Share Houses. They live and work hard alongside each other.

In recent years, many landlords have renovated their residences into Share Houses to support these aspiring young adults and the rooms are rented at a price lower than regular apartments.

The Japanese drama, The Reason I Can’t Find My Love, starring Japanese actress Karina, is set in a Share House. It portrays the lives of the people living together and often shows the ups and downs of working life. Of course, complicated relationships can’t be left out. This is what living in a Share House is like in reality.

Normally when you rent a place in Japan, your first payment includes the rent for the first month, the deposit, cash gift, the broker’s commission and other insurance fees. This adds up to almost the same amount as rent for five months. But if you rent a room in a Share House, not only can you forget about cash gift and deposit, but you’re also offered a more flexible contract.

Share Houses are slightly different from college dorms in the way they have a more family-like feeling. The houses can be categorized into two types. The first is a huge apartment that can hold dozens of people. This type of Share House is equipped with a wide variety of public spaces, such as movie theaters, hot springs and gyms. The other kind is more family-orientated. There are fewer residents but the people develop closer relationships.

Share House residents holding a Halloween party. Photo Credit: Classicompany TokyoStay

Share House residents holding a Halloween party. Photo Credit: Classicompany TokyoStay

China News reports, the Japanese society has high hopes for Share Houses and wishes to encourage social interaction through the houses. Real estate reports of Japan show Share Houses started springing up since 2000 and have been developing rapidly in the last 15 years. They are especially popular in Tokyo City, where rent is more expensive. Up to last year, Tokyo has over 2000 Share Houses.

Residents of Share Houses say they feel less lonely after moving into a Share House. A female tenant confesses, “I used to live in a single-person apartment and would come home to an empty place. Now it’s different. There’s always someone at home. We often cook and eat together. I’m in Tokyo all by myself, and my family often worries about my safety. Now it feels like I’m back in college and living in a dorm again. I have made so many friends.”

With Share Houses becoming more widespread, many themed Share Houses have popped up. Share House consultant, Kasai Nobuyuki, says, “Many tenants want to live with people who share similar interests. So in recent years there have been Share Houses with certain themes.” For example, there is a railway fan Share House in the Koto District in Tokyo. The residents are mostly people who like traveling by train and they even hold a monthly railroad trip.

There’s another Share House called, Parent-Child, which houses over twenty young single mothers. To lend the tenants a hand, the apartment provides rotating nannies that help take care of the children. This way the mothers have a big family that they can lean on and don’t have to fight the battle alone. Moreover, there are also public facilities that are promoting for senior citizens to live in Share Houses. They hope that it can solve the social issues of aging population and high housing costs.

Translated by Sarah Grasdijk
Edited by Olivia Yang