📝A Quick Guide to Housing for Hiroshima University in Saijo
Perhaps the most daunting thing about moving to a new place, especially a new country, is finding a comfortable and affordable place to live. For Hiroshima University, Higashi-Hiroshima campus, there are multiple places that are available to new students and families that are cheap, comfortable and convenient – though rarely will you get all three together. This article will list the variety of accommodations available, as well as anecdotal evidence to hopefully provide a full picture.
1: Ikenoue Dormitory
This is the main dormitory for Higashi-Hiroshima campus. The pros of it are that it is close to the university, a grocery store and a few restaurants, and that it is (supposed to be) cheap. That’s about it. Now, there are multiple buildings that exist within Ikenoue, each following a range of prices depending on what facilities are available to you.
Rather than list to you what these are, it is instead suggested that you follow this link to see the types of rooms with their varying facilities. I will share with you some direct quotes from people I know who have lived in Ikenoue:
“There is no social life at all. No support.”
“I would rather eat off the floor than use the kitchens.”
“My room is full of centipedes. I think they’re breeding.”
“There are no staff available to help me in English.”
“I got Athlete’s Foot (a skin disease) from the shower room.”
“There was mould all over my room. After asking the only available staff member who only spoke Japanese for help, I was told to buy some cleaning products and fix it myself, even though it was there when I moved in.”
These are just a few of the complaints I have heard from people. For the price, which starts at 4700yen a month, this might be acceptable to you. If you are looking for a community, to meet people and to have social events – I would suggest not going to Ikenoue.
2: International House Dormitory
This dorm is not available long term, nor is it available to all incoming students. It is predominately for incoming researchers and their families. The rooms include bathroom and kitchen facilities. It is close to the university and within a reasonable distance to a grocery store. It also has a nice community atmosphere, with shared common room facilities as well as events to promote community spirit. They even have Japanese language classes run by students from Hiroshima University. The staff also have proficiency in Japanese, English and Chinese.
If this place is an option for you, this is a strong recommendation. My own anecdotal statement is that I greatly enjoyed the time I spent here. It was clean, convenient and I made a lot of friends. It was less stressful than moving into an apartment and a good starting place to live. However, the rooms are old and there are a lot of insects. I suggest finding a friend who is happy to scare away the bugs to let you into the building during summer if you are afraid.
3: Apartments through Hiroshima University
There are a few ways you can do this. This link shows the types of apartments that are available for lease through the university:
You can register and login via this webpage. I have no experience with this, nor do I know anyone else who has. But it seems efficient and an effective way to look at what is available.
There is also the option of going through the co-op at the university. There is a co-op housing office that you can go to and they will show you properties that are available. This can be useful if you need help having an apartment for when you arrive in Japan. However, I would suggest avoiding this option if you can. They charge monthly fees 8000yen for a 20000yen apartment per month, which could only increase as rent increases. The pro to this option is that they can walk you through the rental process and teach you about all the hidden fees involved in renting an apartment in Japan.
4: Affiliated Dormitories
A new option that some people may not have heard about is that there are companies that build student dormitories. These places are advertised as being about building a community with other students. They appear to have multilingual services available. They also provide meal plans which can be very helpful if you are not used to cooking for yourself or are unfamiliar with ingredients and Japanese cooking items.
The first two properties are close to the university. The third is close to Saijo station. However, the monthly rent is extremely high comparatively to other options, starting at around 44000yen, not including meal options. There are also high move in fees. If money is not an issue, I would suggest looking into this option for when you first arrive in Japan.
5: Unaffiliated Dormitories
There are two places in Saijo that offer dormitory style accommodation that are unaffiliated with Hiroshima University.
This link is for Sunsquare. Sunsquare is near Saijo Station rather than the university. It is meant both for singles and for families. It is near shops as well as facilities for international residents, including free legal support and language classes. The rent is about as cheap as an apartment. There is less of a focus on a community and ongoing recreational events and more on setting you up to leave easily and comfortably in Saijo.
Hiroshima International Plaza or HIP is conveniently located near a grocery store and has many facilities on site, including a gym, tennis courts and a big library. They really emphasis a community spirit and international community. You must apply and be interviewed to be accepted, and they often only pick a few people of each nationality to live here. I have heard that it is easy to make friends here and the staff are very friendly. There is also a free shuttle bus multiple times a day to and from Hiroshima University. I have toured the facilities and they are very clean and nice, however I found the rooms to be rather hotel like and not possessing a very personal quality.
6: Finding your own apartment
This may seem quite daunting and this is not recommended for when you first arrive in Saijo. However, if you have some Japanese language skill this can be a very convenient option. There are many ways you can find an apartment by yourself in Saijo. Near the university there are numerous real estate agencies advertising for students. Also, independent landlords will advertise at their building that they have vacancies and you can contact them directly to bypass fees. You must however organise paying your own bills, utilities, internet etc. If you are not confident in Japanese this can be quite a challenge, but there is always the trusty friend that can help.
Anecdotal time. I went through a landlord directly. My apartment monthly rent is 20000yen. All it cost me to move in was a one-month deposit. My landlord helped me move from International House to my apartment with his truck. He helped me change all my utilities into my name. He did not speak any English but we were able to communicate well enough. Almost all landlords and real estate agencies deal with students and therefore are familiar with the sort of help you will need. There was no cleaning fee but my apartment was incredibly dirty upon me moving in and took me a few days to clean it.
Comparatively to a co-op apartment: Two-month deposit. Cleaning fee. Key money. This can total more than 100000yen just for moving in.
I hope you find this guide helpful! When you come to Saijo please make use of all and any facilities you find to help you with your living. This can come from other students and also from the staff that work in the international offices.