Renting an apartment in Japan is a process! First, it makes things much simpler if you know someone and that person will be your co-signer or sign the lease for you. Of course, the likely-hood of people knowing someone in Japan is very slim so I got very lucky in that my boyfriend was willing to sign the lease for me. I just have to pay him every month for the rent. Otherwise, I would have had to wait until my Gaijin card was ready (which it won't be until Sept. 24-30). Once I had a Gaijin card I had to show proof that I had a job and an income from that job to pay for the rent and utilities. I also would have needed a reference to show that I would be a good tenant and not cause the rental agency any problems.
It would have been a long process that would have required me to not have a permanent place to live (which you need one to get your Gaijin card, bank account and job). Everything was a back and forth kind of thing that can make you go insane if you don't have something set up before you leave for Japan. If you don't know anybody I highly recommend that you find a job that will help you with your visa, apartment location and going to register for your Gaijin card. If you do it the way I did I really hope you know someone very trustworthy to help you out.
Well, I am finally in my apartment and am staring at my boxes since I don't have a pair of scissors (I think it is in one of my boxes, college education thinking right there) I will be using keys to break open the tape. Considering that I had 7 big boxes, they all fit in my apartment and I still have plenty of room. The rent is about $500/month and the apartment was built 3 years ago. It even has the brand new smell to the apartment!
Well, I am off to attack my boxes and take pictures of all the damages. I should have pictures of my apartment up soon!