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Okinawa Japan photography group featuring unique pictures of Okinawa
Okinawa houses are famous for having red tile roofs inspired by Chinese design. On these roofs or at the gate of many houses in Okinawa you can see the ever-present Okinawan shīsa or guardian lion-dogs, one with its mouth open to catch good fortune, the other with its mouth closed to keep good fortune in.
Traditionally homes in other parts of Japan are made with wood and have ventilation allowing free-flowing air to combat humidity in the humid summer season. On the other hand typical modern homes in Okinawa are made from concrete with barred windows as a means to protect the home and its inhabitants from flying debris during the regular typhoons that hit Okinawa. Roofs on these houses are also designed with strong winds in mind, with each tile cemented in place, opposed to simply being layered like many homes elsewhere in Japan.
However these days in Okinawa city’s many people reside in apartments. Another difference between many cities in Japan and Okinawa is that in Okinawa rental agencies or landlords will post “For Rent” signs on the apartment or house they’re renting. Of course you can still just go to a rental agency and ask them to show you the properties they have for rent or sale in the area you would like to live. Usually there is no fee for the agent to show you apartments or houses they have for sale or rent.
There are agencies in Okinawa that specialize in dealing with non Japanese customers and can provide service in English or sometimes Chinese and Korean. This type of agency typically charges a little higher monthly rental fee but will not charge key money (gift money to the landlord) and will only require 1 – 3 months security deposit. Some agencies will require you to have a Japanese guarantor for your lease but many in Okinawa will not. Usually if you leave the rental house / apartment clean and in good shape when you move out and follow the conditions of your lease such as no pets, you will get back 80 – 100% of your deposit.
If you can speak Japanese or know someone that can help you renting the way 99% of Japan rents is another option. Renting a house or apartment in Okinawa this way can give you more options as there are more houses listed at the Japanese rental agencies. Usually you will have to pay key money (gift money to the landlord) that can range from 1-3 months and a security deposit that also can be 1-3 months plus there is an agent fee of 0.5 – 1 month. Most if not all of this type of house / apartment rental agency in Okinawa will also require a Japanese guarantor for the lease. However there are guarantor agencies that for a small fee will sign the lease for you, allowing you to rent your new apartment or house in Okinawa.
The picturesque beauty and subtropical climate of the Ryukyu Islands is enough to attract many people from main land Japan who want winter homes or their own paradise to retire in. These days more and more folks from countries other than Japan are starting to discover one of the best kept secrets in Asia and that owning a home on one of the Okinawa Islands is not as hard as some used to think it might be.
There are more and more real-estate companies ready and willing to help non Japanese speaking house buyers get their little piece of paradise in Okinawa. Most of these companies will help with everything from the translation of important documents, finding the perfect place to hang your hat, to dealing with the red tape that comes with buying any major purchase in Japan.
Weather it is a piece of land that you want to build your dream home on or just that little cottage looking over the mountain Owning a home in Okinawa if no longer a distant dream.