Household Electronic Appliances in Japan - For Long-term Residents

Poste date: Tuesday, October 31, 2023

When a foreigner moves long-term to Japan such as for starting a new life as an expat, you will need to use household appliances in the rental apartment. If you bring appliances from your home country, you will face a lot of cumbersome matters. Here we show below the guidance on the voltage and electric frequency in Japan as well as how to purchase and lease appliances.

About the voltage in Japan

Japan uses a 100 volt current while 100-240 volt currents are used outside of Japan.

If you wish to use an appliance from a European or other country operating on higher volt currents, you will need a step-up transformer for use on Japan’s 100 volt current. These are available at general electronic stores in Japan, but are often quite expensive and cost between 5,000 - 50,000 Yen per unit. When the shape of the plug is different, an appropriate plug adapter is also necessary.

Another issue is that a 50-cycle current is used in Eastern Japan and a 60-cycle current is used in Western Japan, and the difference of the cycle makes appliances reduce their performance or can even make the appliance unusable in the other part of Japan. However, this is no longer a major issue because many products can be used with both voltages.

Image : From Tokyo Denryoku Website

Labeled description:

  • 50Hz available in Eastern Japan
  • 60Hz available in Western Japan
  • 50/60Hz available everywhere in Japan

Bringing an appliance from your home country is not recommended when considering the cost of transportation and the transformer plus the deterioration of performance. We recommend the following options for a foreigner who will stay and live in Japan on a long-term basis.

Buying and leasing appliances in Japan

1. To purchase Household Appliances in Japan

Japanese appliances have high quality and performance, but are generally smaller in size than European and American ones.

Example) Microwave oven: It usually comes with an oven function but is of the size which a Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey do not fit.

While Japanese appliances designed to be sold overseas usually come with English-written user manuals, standard Japanese appliances don’t include the manuals in English. So make sure you check how to use it or try to obtain English manuals from the manufacturer when you buy appliances with complicated functions. There are also some European and American appliances which you can buy in Japan.

You can also frequently find used appliances for sale cheaply in the classified ads listed by foreigners who will leave Japan. These are called “SAYONARA Sales” and can be found on bulletin boards or on classifieds on the Internet for the foreign community.

SAYONARA SALE (Facebook Group)


You can also order online electrical appliances.

2. To lease Household Appliances in Japan

Another way is to rent appliances from a furniture leasing company for the period of your stay and life in Japan. There are English-speaking leasing companies which provide services for foreign customers and lease furniture and appliances suited for a European and American lifestyle. Tokyo Lease Corporation carries a wide variety of appliances and also provides English-speaking services from explaining their functions and how to use to installing them at your home. Tokyo Lease carries not only basic appliances such as TVs, DVD players, and vacuum cleaners, but also other electronic goods such as massage chairs and electronic pianos.

3. To live in a Rental Apartment including appliances

Many expat oriented apartments include the following appliances:

Refrigerator, Washing machine, Dryer, Oven, Dishwasher

These appliances are generally larger size (Western sized) and are ones that are familiar to foreigners.

For example the oven is large enough for cooking a turkey or a large size pizza.

The equipment listed in the residence property information is usually included in the rent for the property.

However, TV, DVD player, vacuum cleaner, and an iron are usually not included so you have to lease or buy them.

4. To live in a Serviced Apartment including furniture and appliances

There are Serviced / Monthly Apartments which includes furniture, appliances, cooking utensils, table ware, linens, all the utilities and cleaning service, but the rent becomes considerably more expensive.

We recommend long-term-stay expats for leasing furniture and appliances for the period of their stay in Japan.

When you discard large appliances such as Refrigerator, Washing machine, Dryer, and TV, it is not free, and each item has a price designated by the government under the “Home Appliance Recycling Law”.

Garbage Collection in Tokyo

  • Taxes in Japan: Filing Japanese Income Tax in Japan

    Worried about filing your income taxes while in Japan? This easy to follow guide for Tokyo expats will give you and understanding of what preparing your Japanese tax return in
  • Age Restrictions in Japan: Drinking, Smoking, Voting & More

    Age matters a lot in Japan. From the earliest school years until a person finds a job and even into retirement, a Japanese person’s age is connected strongly with their status in society. If you are moving to or visiting Japan, you will need to know its age restrictions for driving, marriage, drinking, and more.
  • Japanese Addresses: How to Read, Write, Say & Understand Them

    The Japanese address format can be quite confusing for many foreigners living in Japan. In this article, you will learn how to read, write, say, and understand Japanese addresses. You will also learn how to place an online order using a Japanese address.
  • Money in Japan: Banknotes and Coins

    Want to know more about Japanese currency? Curious about what the images mean? Here is an easy to follow guide explaining Japanese banknotes and coins along with where you can and can't use them during your daily life in Japan.
  • Opening a Bank Account in Japan for Foreigners

    Opening a Japanese bank account in English for foreigners is easier than you might think. From gathering documents to choosing a bank, our guide will answer all your questions.
  • Japan Consumption Tax Hike 2019: How it Will Affect You

    Starting on October 1, 2019, Japan’s consumption tax will be raised to 10%. Here's a quick explanation why the country is increasing the tax and how it will affect your daily life in Japan.