While I was in Japan, my sister and I rented an apartment from Sakura House. I'd read a few negative things about them and thought I should write up about my experiences because often people will bitch and moan about shit but forget to get credit and kudos to companies who do well.
I have to say, my whole experience with them - from signing the lease to getting our deposits back was positive and they were very easy to deal with.
The apartment we rented (for anyone who is planning to be in Tokyo for a short term visit) was in the Shimura Sanchome building. In terms of rental price, I thought it was okay. Of course, being on a monthly rental contract for a furnished place (with utilities) is more expensive than renting long term. Some people complain about that but it's pretty standard procedure anywhere I'd think. And definetely a much cheaper option than getting an apartment hotel.
We were able to reserve the apartment before we got to Tokyo just by paying a deposit so we had the peace of mind of knowing we had somewhere to live when we arrived.
The neighourhood - well one of my Japanese friends said it's not stylish, kinda in the way Japanese people say Fukushima had a slight problem. I guess it's real Japan, wanna-be yankees (that's Japanese for teenagers who think they are hard-arses) and drab housewives who look at you funny if you are OMG ZOINKS not wearing beige.
There's not a lot around. A new 7-11 opened about 3 minutes walk from our apartment while we were there and that was huge! The only place to get a coffee is local Macca or a couple of overpriced old style coffee shops. You won't want to go drinking in area because it's just a few boring old man bars.
On the plus side, there's a great little karaoke place near the station and a couple of big supermarkets and a Gusto family restaurant.
We did like our big telly
The apartment itself had all the basic necessities. Staying for 3 months was hard though. If it was only a month, you'd put up with just basics and if it's long term, you'd happily buy what you needed but having to fork out for a rice cooker (secondhand), shelves, internet cables etc was a bit expensive for just 3 months.
You can't leave anything behind in the apartment so it sucked knowing other people had probably moved out having to throw away stuff we needed.
We only had half a wall between our bedrooms so we needed to buy curtains and one of those expandable curtain rods for privacy. My sister had a futon and I think if we'd been staying longer, she'd have replaced it because it was very thin and uncomfortable.
We did get all our other cooking needs plus cleaning supplies provided.
After we moved in, we didn't have to deal with Sakura House much at all except to go in and pay our rent. They organise free events for tenants so we scored free baseball tickets and got to know some of the staff.
When my other sister came to stay, we had to let them know and pay extra - which was no big deal since we knew that upfront. They dropped off a futon set for her and picked it up when she left. No worries at all.
The apartment itself had a cleaner that took care of all communal areas. We had a shared laundry that was always clean but we did get our laundry powder stolen when we left it in there. Also I think people from other apartments came in and used it.
I'd read a lot about people having issues getting their deposits back when they left so we were a bit worried about that.
I moved out before my sister did and just had to drop off my key to the office and got my money straight back. My sister had to have an inspection to get her deposit money back. She said it was no big deal and they even came with garbage bags for any rubbish she'd not put out on the last rubbish day. They were much easier to deal with than any rental agent I've dealt with in Australia.
I'd definitely recommend Sakura House to anyone thinking of living in Japan for a short period (over a month but less than a year). They were pretty good to us and I think you do the right thing by them, they'll do the right thing by you.