So, you have found a nice apartment in Kashiwa? Make sure you don't forget the little details that need to be taken care of!
Electricity may be the most essential modern invention. Where I'm from, most people use gas or oil for heating. All the places I know about in Japan are heated through air conditioners which run on electricity. Knowing the basics about electricity in Japan is important. The voltage, as well as the plugs, may be different from your country.
- Tokyo From The Inside: Electricity (AC) in Japan
Covering the basics of electricity and the voltage in Japan as well as different plug types.
If you want to have electricity by the time you move in, I would recommend calling your future electricity provider beforehand. If you found your apartment through a real estate agency, they should give you all the contact information for the different utility providers. The biggest electricity provider is TEPCO(Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings). They offer online registration and cancellation. However, it took me only five minutes to register over the phone.
- Selectra.jp: How to Start Electric Utilities in Japan
Selectra offers information about all the utilities you will need for your new life in Japan.
- TEPCO's English Page
This part of their website is for registration, cancellation, payments, and rates.
You can pay by credit card, at the convenience store, or through automatic account transfer. Find them over on TEPCO's English Page.
Paying by credit card should be pretty self-explanatory. Since everything is done automatically you do not have to go and pay on a monthly basis. However, it can take up to two month to set up these payments.
Paying at the convenience store is probably the easiest way because you don't have to set up anything! You receive a bill every month in your physical mailbox. You pick it up, go the nearest convenience store and pay. That's it. However, the bills have a payment due date. Try to pay on time.
The last method is account transfer payment. You have to register your Japanese bank account with your electricity provider, but they will automatically receive the electricity payments every month from your account.
- TEPCO's English Page: Bills
Find all the information about how to pay at the convenience store, including an example of an actual bill.
Cancelling your electricity or changing your address is very easy. You just need to call the service number for your region and tell to cancel your contract or register a new address.
- TEPCO's English Page: Customer Communication
Quickly find the right service number for your region.
You will need gas mostly for hot water and cooking. Gas is supplied through private gas companies. Different gas companies might have different rules and regulations. The best practice in my experience is to call your gas company a few days in advance. You will have to make an appointment for the day you move in. An employee of the gas company will stop by, check your gas counter and activate the gas lines. You have to be present during this time. In some cases, the activation of your gas lines can cost up to 10,000 yen (~100USD). With some companies, it might be for free. Your local gas provider will give you all the details over the phone.
- Selectra: Difference Between City Gas and LPG
Many places outside of big cities run on LP gas. Your gas company will regularly exchange gas cylinders set up outside of your building. Sadly, because of transportation, this is a bit more expensive than receiving city gas.
- Keiyo Gas Company
My current gas supplier. Sadly, they have limited information on their English website. However, they offer English phone support. Feel free give them a call. Find their service hotline in our gas registration section.
- Keiwa Gas
The gas supplier in my old apartment. As far as I can tell, they only have a Japanese website. If you need to sign up with Keiwa Gas, find their service hotline in our gas registration section.
Service numbers for registration and cancellation of your gas supply. Call the correct number for your gas supplier and tell them you want to register.
- Keiyo Gas Company: Registration and Cancellation via Phone
Opening the page through our link carries you to the correct phone number for registration and cancellation. They have an online registration form, but it is in Japanese only and you have to create a user account first. It's probably easier to give them a call.
- Keiwa Gas: Registration and Cancellation via Phone
Japanese only website. Open the link and look for フリーダイヤル! to find their toll-free hotline number.
You can pay gas in three different ways: via credit card, account transfer, or at the convenience store.
I always have them send me a physical bill to keep track of my monthly consumption. My current gas supplier is very strict with their payment schedules. If payment is overdue by even one day, I can no longer pay at the convenience store and have to manually transfer the money through my bank.
- Realestatejapan: Understanding Your Gas Bill in Japan
This article shows an example of a gas bill. The bill in the article might differ from yours in some ways, but it should be similar.
Water supply is regulated by the city. It's relatively easy to manage, since registration, change, and cancellation are done using the same contact number. However, English language support could be limited.
Activate your water by calling the Kashiwa City Water Department three days before moving. The city does not have an online registration form, but if you want to go the extra mile, you have the option of registering by mail.
- Kashiwa City Official Homepage
The website has a translation function, but since it's an automatic translation, I take no responsibility for the accuracy of the information. The telephone number should be pretty easy to spot on the Japanese website. It says 柏市水道料金センター. Calling that number will connect you to an automated phone line. If you wait until the end of the message you will be connected to a flesh-and-blood operator. However, there is no English support available. Please ask a Japanese-speaking friend to help you out.
The city of Kashiwa offers two payment methods: bank account transfer and paying at the convenience store. Again, I would prefer paying at the convenience store, but it is obviously up to you. One thing to notice is that you will get two notices from the water department. First, you will receive a 支払いお知らせ(Payment Notice). This one will tell you how much you will have to pay for the specific period. Some weeks after that you will receive the actual bill to use at any convenience store near you.
Call the same number again to cancel you water or register a new address, should you plan to move within the city.
Information for setting up a high-speed internet connection at home.
- Plaza Homes: Internet in Japan
This article covers the basics of internet in Japan, but is focused on Tokyo. Reading this article may be a good first step.
- Realestatejapan: Setting up Internet at Home in Japan
This article has some misspellings, but the overall information is solid. It includes links to different companies and ISP (Internet Service Provider) that offer English support.
- Tokyo Cheapo: Guide to Choosing an Internet Service Provider in Tokyo
This article is also focused on Tokyo, but looks more deeply at the financial side.
ISP in Kashiwa
When I set up my internet connection, I went to a big electronics appliance store and registered for everything in person. They explained every detail about the contract, the available ISP and the timeline. It took around 2-3 weeks until I was able to finally use the internet at my place, so you should move quickly if you want it set up before moving in.
- kakaku.com: ISP in Kashiwa
Not an article, but a collection of the different ISP in Kashiwa. The website is in Japanese, but should be easy enough to understand. The first collection of links are the different ISP, the second collection are the cable companies. Maybe this can be a starting point to research individual ISP.
I hope this article helped a little bit in tackling the fear of moving into a new apartment. If you need any additional information, give us a quick call or stop by personally. I hope you have a good time in Kashiwa and can make this city your new home.
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