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Japan and the following contries have signed International Social Security Agreement. Some of the agreements are implemented and others are on the way.

Sosial Insurance Agancy

Germany, United Kingdom, Korea, United States, Belgium, France, Canada, Australia, Netherlands have signed the international social security agreement and implemented.
Czech Republic, Spain, Italy have signed and under preparation for implementation.
Ireland is under negociation and Hungary, Switzerland, Sweden are under preparation for negotiation.

See more details at agency site


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Just a few words to tell a small part of the experience i had on sunday.

I went to a meeting with my bank to fill up the papers. Being the main of the loan i discovered that i had to fill out all papers in kanjis and kanas, even my name had to be written in kanas. They didn't want to accept anything written in romanjis..

Just to tell i know that you will be confronted to this at some point.

Living in Kansai Started!

My husband and I opened this site for English speaking people to provide info on housing and living information in Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures.

If you are looking for city info or a place to live, please visit our Living in Kansai site. I'm a real estate agent and try to help you to get the most suitable apartment for you.

We are always welcome your advice and comments on our new site. Currently we introduce Hirakata City and going to introduce one city or one ward little by little. We pick up city or ward among Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures. If you have a request, please send e-mail to or jsut leave a comment on this blog. We will do our best to reflect your advice on our site.

Thank you for your help in advance.

Kyoto International House

If you plan to study in Kyoto as an exchange student, you can apply to Kyoto International House.Independent Administrative Institution Japan Student Services Organization


Independent Administrative Institution Japan Student Services Organization


68 single rooms and 12 married couple rooms


Entry fee is from 15,000 yen and Monthly rent is from 23,000 yen


Every room is provided with furnishings such as a wardrobe, a bed, and an air-conditioner


  1. Students with a “College student” visa who can commute from Kyoto International House to their own graduate school, university, junior college, college of technology (years 4 and 5), and special training college
  2. Students who are excellent and eager in studying
  3. Students who are interested in international exchange and able to live in cooperation with other occupants
  4. Students who have the recommendation from the school secretary


Apply to us in from January to March and from August to September.

You must send the following documents before the interview.

  1. Application form with your photograph. *When filling in the form, please ask for advice to your school.
  2. School grade certificate
  3. Spouse certificate (photocopy) *only for married couple
  4. Student certificate and Alien registration certificate (photocopy)
  5. An 80 yen stamp *for notification of the result
  6. Application form is avairable on their web site


If you want more information, please call the phone-number below.

Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) Kyoto International House

28 Misasagi-iketsutsumi-cho, Yamashina-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 607 - 8433

TEL +81-75-591-4681 (Yoshida)

Foreign Students Housing Guaranty System

If you plan to find an apartment by youself, Foreign Students Housing Guaranty System provided by The Consortium of Universities in Kyoto would be great help for you.

The Consortium of Universities in Kyoto

In Kansai area, the following 4 organizations provide 新婚世帯向け家賃補助制度: A rent assistance system for newly-married households. Application qualifications depend on each organization. Generally

  1. You reported your marriage to your town office(amoung the following 4 cities) or planning to report your mariage within that fiscal year.
  2. Under 40 years old
  3. You have registered as residents(among the following 4 cities).
  4. Income of the households(depends on each organization)

If the rent is over 50,000 yens, the difference between your rent and 50,000 yen will be given, up to 20,000 yens or 15,000 yens. For example, if your rent is 70,000 yen, you will get 15,000 or 20,000 yen. The amount will depend on each organization. They will provide money for 3 to 6 years. Some of them increase the amount after a certain period of time.

Osaka Municipal Housing Corporation asks for documents every 4 months. You need to get your landlord's 印鑑(いんかん), seal or stamp, on your document. And yearly, you need to get "住宅手当支給証明書"A housing allowance provision certificate, 源泉徴収票(certificate of income and withholding tax) and other relevant documents.

Osaka Municipal Housing Corporation provides money for 6 years. So even it is troublesome to prepare all the required documents, it will pay off.

Sorry but all the following organizations DO NOT have any web page written in English. You might need somebody who speaks Japanese to deal with the process.

City Organization TEL
Osaka 大阪市住宅供給公社(Osaka Municipal Housing Corporation) 06-6355-0355
Kyoto 京都市住宅供給公社(Kyoto Municipal Housing Corporation) 075-257-4707
Kobe 神戸市住宅供給公社(Kobe Municipal Housing Corporation) 078-332-1538
Sakai City 堺市住宅供給公社(Sakai Municipal Housing Corporation) 072-226-5661

From Christmas eve the Osaka Subway will open a new line called Imazatosuji. It will integrate the current network as shown on the map of this page.

You can also consult some indicative prices for travels on this line at this page, showing 2 big stations of the network and some stations of the line.

From Dec 2006 to Jan 2007 will be a special reduction period of train fares by using PiTaPa. If you use less than 9,190 yen per month, it is cheaper than using commuting pass.

Reduction fare table

  • PiTaPa valid area
  • PiTaPa looks like this

  • Here is a name table in Kanji, Hiragana and Roman letters.

    I11 井高野 いたかの Itakano
    I12 瑞光四丁目 ずいこうよんちょうめ Zuiko 4−chome
    I13 だいどう豊里 だいどうとよさと Daido−Toyosato
    I14 太子橋今市 たいしばしいまいち Taishibashi−Imaichi
    I15 清水 しみず Shimizu
    I16 新森古市 しんもりふるいち Shimmori−Furuichi
    I17 関目生育 せきめせいいく Sekime−Seiiku
    I18 蒲生四丁目 がもうよんちょうめ Gamo 4−chome
    I19 鴫野 しぎの Shigino
    I20 緑橋 みどりばし Midoribashi
    I21 今里 いまざと Imazato
When you settle in Japan, one of the first things you might need is electricity.
In Kansai region The KANSAI Electric Power Co. Inc. provide electricity to households. Thus if you have any problem or questions about using electricity in Jaoan, electricity charge, to connect electricity and so on, visit their website and get info.
They provide PDF files in Japanese and English.

URL: A Guide To Electricity(by The Kansai Electric Power Co. Inc.)

Offices: Japanese Only)
The following 3 public wireless LAN services in Japan is famous. If you are looking for wireless internet access, visit their website and compare it's fee and service area.1st and 3rd services have English web site.Service Name: HOTSPOT
Company: NTT Communications
Monthly fixed fee: ¥1,680
Access speed: 2Mbps
Service Area: Airports, major hotels cafes and more places.
You can get the list of service area from their website.
No subscription with an ISP is needed.

Service Name: Flets Spot
Company: NTT West
Access speed: 54Mbps
Subscription with an ISP is needed.

ODN Support Center
E-mail :
FAX : 0088-228-850
¥157.5 / 20min
Maximum charge of 2,100 yen per month *1
* This is restricted to those using "ADSL" COURSE, "FLET'S ADSL" COURSE, "B-FLET'S" COURSE, "TEPCO HIKARI" COURSE, "ACCESS commuf@" COURSE, "MARUGOTO" COURSE, "FLET'S ISDN" COURSE,"MAIL" COURSE, or "MAIL to Yahoo! BB" COURSE.Service Area: McDonalds, some JR stations and some other places.
The information Plaza provides foreign residents with a wide range of useful information, assistance and facilitates referrals to other counseling agencies. Enquiries are free and condidential.

Mon - Fri: English, Chinese, Korean
Mon: Thai
Tue: Portuguese
Wed: Indonesian
Fri: Spanish
Office hours: 9:00 - 17:00
Tel: 06-6773-6533
Address: 8-2-6 Uehommachi, Tennoji-ku, Osaka 543-0001
At i-house you can read foreign magazines as follows.
Asia Pacific perspectives, The Economist
Flanders, India Perspectives, INDIA TODAY
JapanZine, Kansai Scene, KANSAI TIME OUT
Maclean's, Newsweek, Passages(Passagen)

[Spanish / Portuguese]
Caretas, veja, Made in Japan
[German / French]

月刊留学生, 週刊韓国, 日本語ジャーナル(韓国語版)

季刊留学生, 新華文摘, 中国観察
Before you sign the contract, carefully confirm how the following items are specified, especially the shiki-kin (refundable deposit) and rei-kin (Key money), which are a Japanese practice that you may not be familiar with.
You might pay some money to real estate agency to make a temporary booking of the accommodation you like before making a formal contract.
This money is to be used for deposit in later procedures.

1.Guarantor (hosho-nin)
In most cases a guarantor must be appointed and it is best to appoint a Japanese as guarantor.

2.Initial Deposit (tetsuke-kin)
Tetsukekin is the money to be paid as the proof of completion of a contract. It will be part of Guarantee Money.

3.Key Money/Gift Money (rei-kin)
This money is paid to the landlord as a token of gratitude and is not refunded when you move out.

4.Refundable Deposit (shiki-kin)
This is money left with the landlord as security for your rental payments. As a rule, it is paid back to you when you move out. However, if you do not pay the rent or if you damage the property, this money will be appropriated to cover the amount of the repair cost owed. The remainder will be returned to you. It is common practice in the Kansai area to put the Key Money (reikin) and Refundable in the Kansai area to put the Key Money (reikin) and Refundable Deposit (shikikin) together and refer to it as Guarantee Money (hoshokin). It is also a common practice that when the tenant moves out, part of deposit is deducted as the repair fee of any damage in the house caused by the tenant, which is called "Shikibiki (or Kaiyaku-biki)."

5.Realtor's Fee (chukai-ryo)
This is the commission paid to the real estate agent. In principle, the tenant and landload pay respectively one half of the sum of money equivalent to one-month's rent.
However, at time of contract, if both parties to the agreement are of the same mind; the proportion paid by each party may be changed.

6.Period of Lease (keiyaku-kikan)
A normal lease period is two years. The rent may be raised upon renewal of the contract. In addition to the above payments, you may be required to bear expenses needed to restore the accommodation to its original state when you move out.

7.Rental Fee (yachin)
You must pay the monthly in advance by the last day of the previous month.

8.Maintenance Fees (kanri-hi)
These are included to cover the maintenance of communal facilities at condominiums. They are sometimes included in the rent.
Terminating the Contract
When you wish to terminate the lease, you must give advance notice (normally one to two months) to the landlord in accordance with the provisions of the contract. If you move out without giving notice, or if you give notice just before moving, you might be charged extra rent.