It’s no secret that Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in. What most people don’t know is that some people will endure living in a coffin-like apartment just to be able to make ends meet. But are they getting what they pay for or are they being taken for a ride?
We’re not kidding when we say that the apartments in these “extremely cramped share houses” (geki-sema share house) are like coffins. Yes, there are communal toilets and baths for the residents, but they sleep in tiny rooms that look more like lockers, and they’re stacked on top of each other. When using tatami mats to measure small rooms in a normal house, they usually come out to 4.5-6 mats (1.6 square meters/17 square feet per mat). Coffin apartments come out to be around 1.55 mats, measuring 2.44 meters (8 feet) across. You barely have enough room to place some pillows or put your meager belongings there, let alone stretch your feet properly. But what’s even crazier is that they are rented out at $600-$1000 a month. CNN says that that’s still relatively cheap, considering the night rate in Tokyo is $50 per night. But if you ask some Tokyo residents, if you look really hard, you can find a two bedroom apartment for $600. Some online commenters said that the owners of these shared apartments are cruel in tricking naive people into living in these “coffins”.
Japan, and Tokyo in particular, have been battling overpopulation in the cities for some time now. And these “coffin apartments” seem like the perfect solution, space and budget wise for people who are trying to save money and who spend most of their time outside the apartment anyways. But at these prices, are they really saving money, or condemning their sleeping hours to claustrophobic nightmares?