Benpro - Blog

FLOSS and Japan things

This mid-September I will go to Japan for one year with a Working Holliday Visa as I'm taking a sabbatical leave.

I have booked the first 18 days in a standard hostel in Tokyo. My plan is to live in Tokyo the first three to four-month finding a part job and taking Japanese class.

After that, I will go to Sapporo, because of the amazing Snow Festival in February. Then, I will explore the country from north to south by hitchhiking. I'm not sure how many months I will hitchhike. I will maybe make some stops on big cities (Osaka, Fukuoka, ...).

Back to the subject of this post.

Where to stay in Tokyo for ~70,000¥/month (mid term staying)?

  • Apartment? A hassle for strangers and way too expensive
  • AirBNB? Too expensive
  • Hotel? Too expensive
  • Hostel? Well 3 month in a hostel is kinda uncomfortable, budget matches though
  • Share-house (also called Guesthouse)? Yes, that's the way to go.

Except I really struggle to find a good share-house with a private room.

Here is a list of housing sites I found while exploring the web.

List of Share-houses

There are many websites/agencies, it seems infinite...

Sakura House One of the most know agencies for strangers. They are very slow to respond by mail. Many houses have only one shower... For 10+ rooms. That's a hassle. One thing I like is the rent you see is the true rent you will pay, no hidden fees.

Oakhouse Maybe the second one popular after Sakura House. They have a contract fee from 30,000¥ to 50,000¥ and you need to add maintenance fee to the total rent. They seem to have better-designed houses than Sakura.

DK House They are big buildings with many rooms (100+), many showers, many facilities and so on. All rooms are the same. They have 30,000¥ contract fee and you need to add the common fee to the total rent.

Fontana: Tokyo City Apartments This website is shady... Their houses too. Looks like there are no hidden fees though.

ComeOnUp Sharehouses They have hidden fees for hot water shared between tenants.

Bamboo House They have fees of 9,000¥ for common utilities.

Borderless House They have fees of 7,000¥ to 12,000¥ for common utilities.

BeGoodJapan They don't display the price on the website...

Fujimi House No hidden fees. The rent displayed is what you'll pay.

My choice

Edit: I have found a room with Sakura House for 66,000¥.

I opened a Pixelfed instance on, my account is benoit.

If you have an Activity Pub software (like Mastodon) you can follow me with @[email protected]. And a reminder that you can follow my blog posts with @[email protected] and my toots with @[email protected].

I love Activity Pub.

Quick install guide on a Debian Buster LXD container

Install these packages and follow the very basic official documentation.

# apt install php7.3-intl php7.3-gd php-imagick php-gmp php7.3-zip php7.3-soap composer php7.3-fpm nginx-full mariadb-server redis-server php7.3-bcmath php7.3-curl php7.3-simplexml php7.3-xml php7.3-mysql optipng pngquant jpegoptim gifsicle

Beware to run php artisan key:generate after composer install --no-ansi --no-interaction --no-progress --no-scripts --optimize-autoloader.

For the database you can do these steps.

mysql> GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON pixelfed.* TO [email protected] IDENTIFIED BY '<insertPassword>' WITH GRANT OPTION;
mysql> CREATE DATABASE pixelfed;

You'll need to add a systemd unit to start horizon job queue system.


Description=Pixelfed task queueing via Laravel Horizon

ExecStart=/usr/bin/php /home/pixelfed/artisan horizon


Finally, if you're behind a HTTPS proxy doing the TLS termination you'll need to adapt your nginx configuration.

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