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Finding the perfect space for your place in Japan.

Updated: Jul 19, 2022

Finding Your Dream Location. Every week we receive emails from clients looking for advice on finding the perfect location. Their inquiries are, usually, too vague; Where is a good area to open?” I don’t know where to open but I don’t want a quiet area “I have no idea what my budget is but I would like a nice place on the bottom floor in a busy area!” These emails alarm me. As we explain to all our clients.. You have to know your numbers before you start your research.

Where to begin? Finding the ideal location for your shop is vital for your success. Notice that we say ideal location for your shop, not ideal location for you. We all wish for the first floor close to the station in the Shibuya, Shinjuku, Azabu-Juban area. However, your budget will decide where you can and cannot open. We recommend starting your research by further focusing in on your concept.

  • Who will your target market be?

  • Are you aiming for company workers or expats?

  • Do you want to run a casual, family-friendly coffee shop near a beautiful park?

  • Or are you hoping for a high customer turnover of in a short period of time? Pack in as many as you can for lunch before turning the tables for the evening crowd?

  • Do you want to be a big player in a quiet community or a small player in a busy area? To this last question, most people will answer small player in a busy area. This, of course, is quite a natural response, as many people come to the city to join the hustle, life and energy only Tokyo can offer. As true as this may have been in 2019, Covid-19 has taught us that, it is much easier to manage your overheads and pay the bills when operating as a big player in a quiet community. Rent is more reasonable, there is less staff to look after, and locals in your area while stay loyal when times are tough.

Cost of doing business. When you know what area you are looking for and who your target market is, then we can start looking at locations. In order to narrow our search down even further we need to know our rent budget. (How much you should allocate for rent is impossible for me to cover in a email) What we can budget for is this: every premises will ask for 6-10 month’s deposit, realtors fee of 1 month’s rent, management fee, plus a guarantee company’s fee of 1 month. Many places will also ask for key money. In the current Covid 19 climate we strongly advise not paying any key money. It is a renters market at the moment. It is certainly not inexpensive to get your foot into any door in Japan. This is why when we find our dream place we need to be 100% sure it fits our budget and our concept. Especially our budget. Otherwise it could turn our dream into a nightmare.

Beautiful bar but at what cost to your budget?

In the beginning it is impossible to know what questions to ask and what to look out for when viewing rental spaces. Most realtors will not inform you of potential obstacles that will frustrate your dream of opening a fully operational bar/ kitchen. At JHC we know what questions to ask. We teach clients how to save millions of yen by guiding them through the negotiating process. Don’t wait for “someday.” It won’t just happen. You have to make it happen and will it into existence. If not today, then when? We reply to all our emails within 48 hours. Get in touch today.


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