1R, 3LDK, 2DK : Apartment Floor Plan in Japan

Starting the quest to find your perfect apartment in Japan may seem intimidating as you encounter codes like 1R, 1DK, and more. Despite the initial complexity, these codes are crafted to simplify your search for properties. Join us as we unravel the meanings behind these codes, guiding you through the diverse world of Japanese apartment floor plans.


Let’s talk about the history first. before the existence of DK, LDK and every other term that you will find later in this article, there were easy way to best describe what kind of floor plan are they getting. Apartment used to only be one room with separated kitchen. This is not until 1951 where the Japanese Architect, Jozo Nishiyama coined the idea to separate a place to eat and the place to sleep. During 1951, they call this type of apartment as 51C. This idea was received greatly by the japanese society and started to become the norm of a typical apartment in Japan. The person who advocated the idea of `separation of food and sleep' in Japan was Japanese architect Jōzo Nishiyama. He conducted a detailed investigation into the living conditions of people at the time and found that people intentionally and customarily separated eating and sleeping areas in their homes.

Following the 51C boom, the mansion trend swept through Tokyo, especially during the 1963 Olympics. Initially known as luxurious residences, mansions shifted to mainstream popularity by the 1970s. The 51C floor plan, with only one bedroom, left families yearning for more privacy. The solution? Enter the era of LDKs. In the 1970s, the 3LDK became the go-to floor plan for a more recent apartments. Fast forward, and now we identify our future apartments through these simple codes, reflecting the evolution from the 51C era.


Let’s take 1SLDK for an example :  

  1. The initial numerical value in the code denotes the quantity of bedrooms within the house.
  2. 'S' represents a service room, which can be repurposed for various uses such as storage, a small home office, or even transformed into an additional bedroom if deemed suitable for your needs.
  3. The 'L'  means a dedicated living room, indicating a separate space for relaxation and entertainment, connected to your dining and kitchen area.
  4. When 'D' signifies the dining area, emphasizing a separate room dedicated for dining areas that is connected to the kitchen
  5. The inclusion of 'K' indicates the presence of a kitchen. It can be separated or connected to your bedroom depending on your floor plan.

Type of Layouts :

1R - One Room/Studio

Let’s start with 1R, the simplest floor plan. It’s essentially just a room – no fancy partitions between your bed, kitchen entrance. You open the door, there's your room. Typically 1R size is 13 to 20m². If you are wondering about the toilets and bathrooms — they're usually included. Although, there are cases where 1R rooms does not separate their toilet and bathroom. Lastly, it also comes with a kitchen where again it is in the same area as your bedroom.

Now, 1R might sound snug, but think of it this way – less surface to clean, easy to reach and put your items, and does not causes stress trying to match your furniture themes. Life will be more efficient and clutter-free. The best part, it's the budget-friendliest option. From rent to moving in, and of course, utility bills – 1R is a pocket-friendly choice.

Although, you still need to compromise somehow. Cooking enthusiasts, this is not the ideal place for you. The aroma of your culinary masterpieces might become your roommates. Imagine your bedroom smelling like your last meal – it wouldn’t be ideal, right? Also, furniture choices become a game of priority. You wouldn’t be able to have many furnitures, maybe only a tv, small chair and table next to your bed. If you enjoy hosting friends, you better ignore this option; there's barely space.

Still, 1R is a match made in heaven for frequent travelers. If you travel heavy, barely even home, 1R might be the answer. This option allows you to save more money. You don’t need to clean a lot nor overthink about the furniture. You can live minimally with 1R. Also, if cooking isn't your thing, you will have less problem to deal. Consider 1R if you're all about keeping it simple, saving cash, and making the most of your space – it might just be your cozy, clutter-free haven.

1R Apartment Floor plan Japan
1R Floor Plan

1K - One Room & Kitchen

In the 1K setup, your kitchen gets its own space. Typically 1K area is around 20 to 30m². It's a hit among people who lives alone, and while it may cost a bit more than 1R, it's still considered a budget-friendly choice.

1K shares some perks with the 1R – it's still relatively small, making life more efficient for cleaning, furniture placement, and reaching your items. What makes 1K special is the fact that you can cook up a storm, and your room won't end up smelling like your last meal. The partition between your kitchen and bedroom makes a world of difference. You can organize your home appliances in one dedicated area, making your room more organized. If you're the type who loves spending time in the kitchen, 1K should definitely be your starting point.

However, 1K comes with its drawbacks. Despite the room being bigger, that partition between your kitchen and bedroom might make things feel tighter. Plus, there's the extra cost – around ¥10,000 more than 1R, making it not the most budget-friendly option. There’s also potential temperature variations in the kitchen area; the AC, usually located in your bedroom, might make reaching the kitchen a bit of a stretch.

Now, let's explore the various 1K layout styles. The most common one has the kitchen right at the entrance – perfect for those who cooks daily. Imagine walking into your apartment, and the first thing you see is your kitchen, waiting for your new groceries. Another layout has the kitchen separated from the entrance by an extra door, adding a layer of privacy – a nice touch if you prefer keeping things a bit more discreet.

There's another option — the 1K with a loft. This one allows you to feel like you've got even more space to play with. Picture this: turning the loft into your bedroom, an effective move for storage and space-saving. Yet, it comes with its own set of challenges – during the summer, that loft might turn into a hotspot, trapping hot air. And if you're injured or in a hurry, jumping from your bed or getting to your "bad" (bed, we assume!) might require some extra effort.

1K Floor Plan

1DK - One Room, Dining & Kitchen.

Let's shift gears to 1DK apartments. This upgrade means your layout now includes a dining area, injecting a whole new dimension into your living space. Typically ranging from 28 to 40m², the 1DK provides a dining area that are seamlessly connected with the kitchen, separated from your bedroom. You can expect a dining table and chairs creating a cozy corner, usually spanning 7.3 to 13m². This layout is a dream for those flying solo, providing a perfect blend of cooking, dining, and relaxation rooms.

The 1DK magic lies in the sense of space it brings to your apartment. You get another room to enjoy your meals, maybe even set up a workstation with your computer. Plus, there's more room for friends to hang out, and you won't have to worry about cooking smells invading your bedroom, a common woe in the 1K scenario. Unlike 1K, 1DK liberates your bedroom area, offering the perfect canvas for additional furniture. If you're on the hunt for extra space for your belongings and a designated dining spot for both you and your pals, 1DK is the way to go.

However, 1DK comes with a heftier price tag compared to 1K and 1R. It might pose a challenge for those who are on a budget. Having more space also translates to a less efficient life, with more cleaning, more areas to reach for your stuff, and more time spent doing so. For those who are frequently out and about, 1DK might be a bit too much to handle. Brace yourself for higher utility bills too, as more space means more electricity consumption.

Now, let's explore the various 1DK layout styles. One popular style has the dining and kitchen areas right after the entrance, with your bedroom following suit. It's an efficient layout, making life smoother after grocery shopping and preparing for work post-breakfast. The only catch – the instant door to your room after the dining area might make the apartment feel a tad smaller.

On the flip side, there's a layout where the dining and kitchen areas are located further from your bedroom. Perfect for those craving more space and desiring a fully separated dining area. While not the most efficient, it does give the illusion of a larger room, requiring a bit more movement to reach your dining area.

1DK Apartment Floor Plan
1DK Floor Plan

1LDK - One Room Living, Dining & Kitchen

Here, the dining and kitchen spaces take center stage, stepping up their game with the additional living room. This is the layout dreams are made of – a place to eat, a space to spend your leisure time, and a place for you to sleep. The 1LDK size ranges from 30 to 50m², with the living, dining, and kitchen areas occupying at least around 12.4m².

Why opt for 1LDK, you ask? Well, it’s the layout design that provides all of your needs. Imagine having one sprawling space dedicated to your entertainment – it's a game-changer for your well-being and productivity. Separating your areas for leisure, work, and relaxation sets the tone for a more focused mind, boosting productivity during work hours and infusing positive energy after your leisure time. With more space, you won't be bothered by storage issues, especially when there's a dedicated storage room in the mix. And if you're the host, the 1LDK ensures you have a common area where friends can gather, eat, and make memories.

Of course, luxury comes at a price – a higher one compared to its counterparts. Moving in and handling monthly expenses might require a bit more financial. Heating and cooling your spacious house will also come at a cost, and filling up the expansive layout with furniture demands time and effort. Efficiency might take a back seat here — there are multiple areas to clean, and moving from one spot to another to fetch your items could be a mini expedition.

Now, let's explore the diverse 1LDK layout styles. The "Single Person Type" is the compact option, usually around 35m². Your living, dining, and kitchen areas are right after the entrance, next to your bedroom. It's the efficient go-to layout for those flying solo but needing a living space.

Then there's the "Middle Corridor Type," the classic choice where all your rooms are separated by a small corridor. While not the most efficient, it adds a touch of privacy to your bedroom. Couples particularly love this one, ensuring enough freedom without disturbances from the TV, games, or music leaking into the bedroom during precious sleep hours.

Lastly, the "Family Type" focuses on everyday tasks for couples. The entrance is close to the living, dining, and kitchen areas, as well as your bedroom. It's all about efficiency, catering to those who want to drop off groceries after work and dive straight into a shower. Common among single families aiming for efficiency with a touch of separation.

1SLDK Apartment Layout
1LDK Floor Plan

1SLDK – One Room, One Service Room, Living Dining & Kitchen

In this layout, you get an extra room, the "S" denoting a service room. This room doesn't have a specific purpose — it's a blank canvas for you to transform as you wish. A bit smaller than the usual bedroom, it's perfect for storing your excess luggage or turning it into a mini home office, entertainment center, or study room. It doesn’t categorized as a normal room because it doesn’t meet the building standard act where the ventilation and light is not enough to call it a proper room.

For couples carting around a lot of items or aiming to create a small home office, 1SLDK could be the jackpot. The dedicated storage space frees up your living and bedroom areas, making it an efficient choice for those with a penchant for a bit of extra room. It's also handy for crafting a small home office, a secluded space where you can immerse yourself in work without distractions. Ideal for those with loads of items, 1SLDK provides more space for organization, making it a haven for remote workers.

However, it has its potential drawbacks – lighting and ventilation issues as it's not explicitly designed as another bedroom. Service rooms also lack space for air conditioners or TVs, making them less comfy for frequent use. Plus, if you prefer a more expansive free space, this room might cramp your style, making less room for your living area. Not as common as other layouts, 1SLDK offers fewer options. Also, you have another room to take care of making it less efficient for those who has tight schedule.

1SLDK Apartment Floor Plan
1SLDK Floor Plan

2K - Two Rooms & Kitchen

The unique charm of 2K lies in having two separate rooms, each a canvas waiting for your creative strokes. The catch? The second room isn't tethered to your kitchen, hence the absence of the coveted LDK title. There are no hard and fast rules about what the second room should be; it can transform into a living room, a workspace, or even an extra bedroom. Typically spanning 28 to 30m², this layout is a top pick for those seeking shared accommodation.

Now, let's delve into the perks of 2K living. Expect spaciousness meets affordability. It's the sweet spot, especially for roommates. You both get personal space and a roomier atmosphere without breaking the bank. Furthermore, you can keep your room odor-free by separating it from the kitchen. Ideal for shared apartments or anyone needing an additional space for work, the second room can seamlessly morph into a studio or a dedicated office, distanced from the aromatic hub of culinary delights.

Yet, navigating the world of 2K demands a bit of insight. There's a variety of layouts to consider. The "straight type" requires a journey through one room to reach the other, limiting the possibility of converting it into an additional bedroom. It's less efficient for movement, particularly when transitioning from one space to another. Perfect for those who lives alone, this type shines when the second room transforms into a fully-fledged workspace or studio.

Another option, there's the "V" shaped layout, where the two rooms part ways right after the entrance. This floor plan shines in shared living scenarios. It offers privacy for both you and your roomate. If you're not a frequent cook, can tolerate the lingering scent of food in your room, and prioritize savings while enjoying cohabitation with a friend, then this layout is the one you should start looking with.

2K Apartment Floor Plan
2K Floor Plan

2DK - Two Rooms, Dining & Kitchen

2DK offers you a little more room compare to 2K. You’ll have two rooms, and a designated dining area — completely separated from the rooms. Typically the dining kitchen is around 9.9m² making it as decent space for your cooking and dining activities.

The beauty of 2DK lies in its versatility, catering well to both families and friends sharing a space. With a dedicated dining area, you have a communal space to spend quality time with roommates. It also suits families aiming to transform the second room into a family room or a living space distinct from the dining area.

One common drawback is that many 2DK buildings tend to be on the older side. In today's market, 2LDKs outnumber 2DKs, making the options a bit more challenging to come by. Families with one child might find it a bit tight, as there will be no room for the living room. Rent prices aren't significantly cheaper unless you opt for an older building.

Let’s see the diverse floor plans to consider within the realm of 2DK. One layout connects the two rooms directly to the dining and kitchen area. Efficiency is the priority for this layout. Japanese-style rooms connected by sliding doors make transitioning from one room to another easy. Keep the slider open, and suddenly, the entire space feels more expansive. This layout works wonders for couples embracing a compact lifestyle.

Alternatively, there are 2DK floor plans where each room is separated by a hallway. This layout is tailor-made for those living with friends, providing privacy for each tenant while maintaining a shared dining and kitchen area.

2DK Apartment Layout Japan
2DK Floor Plan

nLDK - n amount of rooms, Living Dining and Kitchen

Welcome to the epitome of modern living – the 2LDKs and more — where the boundaries between the living, dining, and kitchen areas dissolve, creating an expansive common space. The number of room can go up to four or five, and in some cases more. This type is the most ideal option for larger families. If you're moving with your whole family, LDKs is the option you have to go with.

The perks of this floor plan are truly noteworthy. You can offer ample privacy to each family member, thanks to the well-distributed bedrooms, while still enjoying a spacious common area to enjoy your family time. However, it's will not come cheaply, especially if you're eyeing a spot in the bustling heart of the city. If your budget stretches comfortably beyond ¥300,000, you've just hit the jackpot. LDKs offer not just a home but an experience – a grand stage for your family's unique journey.

2LDK Apartment Layout
2LDK Floor Plan

Choosing Layout

Choosing the perfect floor plan depends on what you need. You have to note that some layout might have the same overall room size. It could only mean that it has separation for the area, or even simply just a door in between.

Students: Keep it simple with 1K or 1R – compact, easy to maintain, and easier to clean. Ideal for those focused minds looking for minimalist living.

Single Employees: If you're a solo thriving in the professional realm, consider the versatility of 1DK, 1K, or 1LDK. These layouts offer the space you need, whether for a dedicated workspace or just to spread out and make it your own.

Couples: If you are a couple you should go with 1LDK, 2DK, 1SLDK. A living room becomes your haven for relaxation and leisure, while a service room adds that extra touch – a storage sanctuary or perhaps a home office for the remote work enthusiasts. It also provides space for each other to do their own activities.

Families: When you have a family, 2LDK and beyond is the way to go. Accommodate the needs of your growing family members with separate rooms for the little ones and a communal space where you can have a proper family dinners, and movie nights to spend with the whole family.