Oakhouse: my review after living in 3 different share houses for 2 years
Michaël da Silva Paternoster
Oakhouse: my review after living in 3 different share houses for 2 years
Oakhouse: my review after living in 3 different share houses for 2 yearshttps://nipponrama.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/oakhouse-residence.jpg1080720Michaël da Silva PaternosterMichaël da Silva Paternosterhttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/0ece82c9698e1598033a79bbb151c5e1?s=96&d=blank&r=g
You looked for accommodation in Japan, and you came across the Oakhouse site? Naturally, you wonder if you can trust this company. Indeed, how do you know if the accommodations managed by Oakhouse are good, while you aren’t yet in Japan to visit them? If this is your case, I understand your situation since I also asked this question before moving to Tokyo.
After spending two years in three share houses run by Oakhouse, I think I can tell the pros and cons of the services offered by this company. I wrote this blog post to help you make your choice.
I will not make you wait any longer. I have a great memory of my two years in Oakhouse share houses.
An easy relocation to Japan
This agency has helped me to move to a country where it’s difficult for foreigners to become tenants. Online registration is fast. The staff is responsive. Oakhouse answers questions in English and a few other languages in just a few hours. It was very reassuring since when I started to talk to them, I was still in France. I was still not sure what to expect, although I had good feedback.
The day I arrived in Japan, a welcoming committee was at the train station to take me to the share house. They introduced me to the different rooms and the residence rules. I quickly saw that this lodging was clean and well maintained. But that didn’t stop there, since the Oakhouse staff also gave me useful addresses in the neighborhood, such as the post office or the nearest convenience stores.
Here I am in the reading room of an Oakhouse residence a few days after arriving in Japan. Photo by Bastien Mosur for Nipponrama.
Why I love Oakhouse
I met people with whom I stayed in contact with in the three share houses in which I lived. Some of these residents became my first friends in Japan. I’ve not had unbearable roommates.
In addition to my private rooms, the common areas are places in which I spent a lot of time alone or with other residents. We regularly organized small parties where we cooked together, and we talked a lot around several beer cans.
In short, I recommend to people who settle in Japan to choose Oakhouse if they come alone or with friends. It’s the most affordable and safest solution in Tokyo and other big cities in Japan, such as Osaka and Kyoto.
When you shouldn’t take a share house
I’ll qualify my statement by warning families and couples. If you want to share a room with privacy, share houses aren’t the best option for you. You’ll rather choose an apartment, often more expensive, but especially much more challenging to find when you are a foreigner.
Fortunately, there are more and more real estate agencies helping foreigners find apartments. Oakhouse also offers apartments in Tokyo and Kyoto. These aren’t the cheapest accommodations you can get in these cities, but they have at least the advantage of being already furnished.
¥5000 off on Oakhouse housing
I was able to negotiate a discount for all Nipponrama readers with Oakhouse. Simply pre-register on the Oakhouse website using the link below. It doesn’t commit you to anything. It doesn’t expire, and it’s 100% free. So you can do it right now if you know you’ll need a room in the future.
I invite you to read the article in which I describe what is a share house to familiarize you with this atypical housing type. I explain why share houses are the housing that I recommend to all people who come to settle in Japan alone.
Before I discuss the advantages and disadvantages of staying in Oakhouse-run residences, I’ll show you some photos and describe the share houses I’ve lived in for two years. This will allow you to have a better idea of the variety of housing offered by this agency.
I arrived in Japan with a working holiday visa. I immediately talked to Oakhouse that suggested accommodation in Tachikawa, a city in the western suburbs of Tokyo. At first, I wasn’t sure if it was a convenient place to live, but the bilingual staff quickly reassured me.
It turns out they were right since Tachikawa is a very lively municipality located on the Chuo Line. This train line allowed me to reach Shinjuku in just 25 minutes. It was a remarkable thing compared to other residences located in misplaced neighborhoods in Tokyo.
Gran Tachikawa is an atypical residence. It isn’t made of several rooms centered around a common area. Indeed, it’s more like several four-bedroom apartments. So you share a kitchen, a dining room, the toilet, and a bathroom with three other residents. This layout preserves your privacy.
In addition to these apartments, the two buildings that make up this share house have a large common area for all residents. This shared space contains a kitchen, a dining room, and a living room. You’ll also find a theatre room to see movies and series in perfect conditions.
Gran Gakugei Daigaku
After spending two months in the suburbs, in Tachikawa, I decided to move to the Meguro ward, just south of Shibuya. Indeed, a new residence named Gran Gakugei Daigaku had just opened. So I was lucky to be the first resident of this share house of forty bedrooms.
So I had a huge space just for me for several days. It was great because this residence offers lots of fantastic common areas: a library, a projection room, a vast living room, or a private sento.
I stayed for eight months in this share house. I met a lot of friendly people there. The overall atmosphere was excellent when I didn’t go out with my friends, I spent time with my housemates. The living room was always a lively living space. We often had meals together. All occasions were good to spend time together: Halloween, Christmas or New Year’s Eve.
The main disadvantage of this residence is that it’s far from any station. Indeed, it’s in the middle of a residential area, about fifteen minutes from four different stations, positioned on two different railways. But it’s not a problem if you have a bike. Also, it was very nice to live in a peaceful area of Tokyo.
Oak Terrace Sangenjaya
Although the atmosphere was amazing in Gran Gakugei Daigaku, I decided to move again. My choice was another brand new residence, Oak Terrace Sangenjaya, because it’s close to Shimokitazawa, my favorite district of Tokyo, and it significantly reduced my commute time to my workplace.
I spent more than a year in this share house halfway between Sangenjaya and Shimokitazawa. This Oakhouse residence is much more like a sizeable Western roommate. You’ll find a dozen rooms that share a lounge, several bathrooms, and toilets.
At Oak Terrace Sangenjaya, I met several friends with whom I’ll still drink a few beers some nights, even if I don’t live there anymore.
I had a great time in these three homes. Today I have a calmer daily life, in my own apartment, but I don’t regret my two years spent in share houses managed by Oakhouse. This allowed me to make my first friends in Japan while having affordable rent.
The benefits of living in an Oakhouse residence.
Still not convinced? I made a list of the benefits that I found when staying in an Oakhouse share house.
Share houses everywhere in Tokyo and its region
Oakhouse has more than 200 residences in the Tokyo area. You’ll find for sure a free room close to where you work, study or party. Recently, the company decided to invest in Kansai. Therefore, it’s likely that there will be more and more Oakhouse housing in Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe in the future.
A wide choice of housing types
As you can see by reading the descriptions of the three share houses where I lived in, there is a lot of variety in the types of housing run by Oakhouse. You will necessarily find a home that suits your needs. For example, Oakhouse primarily provides Western-style rooms, but there are some residences in which you’ll also find traditional Japanese rooms with tatami mats.
Rents are reasonable when considering the size of common areas. Do not neglect them in your choice of accommodation. When I lived in share houses, I spent half of my time in the lounges, alone or with my housemates. This is a real advantage over classic studios which are very small in Japan.
The apartments are very difficult to access for foreigners who come to settle in Japan. Indeed, most homeowners don’t want foreign renters because they think that defaults are more likely with non-Japanese residents. Oakhouse doesn’t care about these pictures. If you have a valid visa, they’ll accept your request.
No deposit or gift to the owners
Beyond the difficulty of access to the rental park for foreigners, owners and real estate agencies charge many fees to new tenants. So it isn’t unusual to pay 3 or 4 additional monthly installments as soon as you move in. With Oakhouse, you pay only 30,000 yen for registration fees for single rooms and 10,000 yen for dormitories. Then you only have to pay your rent every month. Besides, you can save on start-up costs by registering with the link I shared earlier.
Oakhouse share houses are well maintained
In addition to regularly opening new residences, Oakhouse maintains the oldest share houses. This isn’t the case for some of its competitors. I was able to visit homes run by other companies that were scary. The walls were thin as paper, the bathrooms were not partitioned. Fortunately, Oakhouse is committed to providing quality housing. They are often listening to residents who give them improvement ideas.
Meet Japanese and foreigners
Unlike other share house agencies, Oakhouse accepts both Japanese and foreign residents. Most residences reflect this cultural diversity. By living in a share house managed by Oakhouse you’re guaranteed to meet new people quite often. Your housemates will be Japanese, French, American, Korean, Chinese … It’s a perfect international environment to make your first friends in Japan!
Oakhouse is one of the only agencies that provide customer service in English, French, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. You’ll be able to ask your questions and solve your problems with the staff using one of these languages. Besides, most share house managers speak English. This can be useful if you don’t master Japanese.
Very short notice
Oakhouse only requires one month’s notice for conventional rooms and two weeks for dorm beds. It’s much shorter than for traditional apartments. Indeed, it’s quite common to have a one-year commitment when you rent an apartment in Japan. Here, it’s not the case, since you can leave when you want. This is a significant advantage for working holiday visa holders and long-term tourists.
Women-only housing available
Some share houses are only open to women. This can be a plus if you don’t feel comfortable sharing a living space with men. Unfortunately, the same thing doesn’t exist for boys.
The problems I encountered in Oakhouse share houses.
I don’t want you to think that I believe Oakhouse share houses are small paradises. So I noted several negative points that will help you see if this accommodation type can suit you or not. This is more of a criticism of share houses in general than faults from Oakhouse.
Your relationship with the manager
A share house manager has a central role in the daily life of a residence. You’ll just need to have one dispute with the manager It’s enough that you have a dispute with the manager so that your requests are not treated in the same way anymore. It’s a real human relationship, so make sure to always be friendly with your manager. Otherwise, you will pay it one day or another.
Share house rules
Share house rules can be binding. This is what often stirs the relationship with the manager who needs to ensure they are respected. The rules changes depending on the residence. For example, some buildings are forbidden to smokers, while other share houses don’t accept guests. Therefore, I advise you to read the descriptive page of a residence before considering signing a rental contract with Oakhouse.
The lack of privacy
This wasn’t a problem for me, since I always chose single rooms and shared the toilet and the bathroom with a few housemates. If you’re modest, I advise you to absolutely avoid dormitories or shared rooms. It’s often more comfortable to pay a bit more for sleeping in a private room.
Here is another point on which you can’t have any control : your roommates and their garbage. During my two years in Oakhouse share houses I was pretty lucky because I only had to deal with one cleanliness issue. One night, a new roommate had drunk too much and had completely destroyed one of the toilets available. Fortunately, Oakhouse intervened quickly enough to resolve this concern since this roommate didn’t want to admit that he was responsible.
What are you waiting for?
Are you interested in taking a room at Oakhouse? Get 5,000 yen off by clicking on the link below.
This article contains affiliate links. Nipponrama receives a small commission when you order a product on these sites, without changing the price of the service. Photos by Bastien Mosur and Oakhouse.
Michaël da Silva Paternoster
I’m a French guy living in Tokyo, where I work as a digital marketing manager and consultant for several years now. I’ve decided to share my travel recommendations and various tips to help people settle in Japan.