Friends in high places— Tokyo


Shared living often means shared cost and lower quality. But in Tokyo, The Share, an innovative scheme offering modest personal spaces linked to sprawling, well-designed communal areas, is attracting a new breed of housemate who is happy to share a little piece of a good thing.

Harajuku, ReBITA, Sora X Niwa FM, N.O.S. productor co

Tsubasa Nishimura is looking a little bleary-eyed after chatting to a new acquaintance in his apartment block until 05.00. “That happens here,” he says. “You come up to the kitchen and there’s always someone to talk to.” Nishimura lives in The Share, a Tokyo development with a difference. It’s part of a movement away from lonely suburban shoeboxes to shared living quarters in the centre of the city. It’s a simple formula offering tenants compact bedrooms with shared laundry and bathroom facilities and a large 24-hour kitchen and lounge area, all…

Shared Living

With young Japanese people marrying later and moving away from family homes, there are more single people looking for city accommodation than ever. “People didn’t get the shared living idea at the beginning,” says Satoko Inoue. “But now there are more projects like this.” Web producer Yuichi Hagiwara, 33, found his way to The Share via Twitter. “I tweeted that I was interested in moving into a shared house,” he says. “Several people recommended this place.” Hagiwara rents one of the smallest rooms for ¥85,000 (€776) a month plus another ¥15,000 (€137) for amenities. “I didn’t know anyone in the building before I moved in,” he says, “but it’s so easy to meet people here. My friends have come to visit and they’ve made friends too. You never know what’s going to happen.”


The Share is home to a radio station, Sora X Niwa FM, that broadcasts across Harajuku and Jingumae and via the internet. “Our feeling is that people are tired of spending so much time at home on the internet and on their phones,” says Kana Naoi from n.o.s. productor co, which runs the station. “We want them to get out and about.” The station broadcasts neighbourhood news and interviews with guests from the worlds of sport and entertainment. “Harajuku is a unique location,” says Naoi. “There are many different businesses here and we know that people want to connect but they don’t always know how to do it on their own.”


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