How A $1100 Per Month NYC Apartment With No Bathroom Or Stove Compares To A Well-Equipped 'Micro-Apartment' In Tokyo

When you compare a micro-apartment in NYC to a micro-apartment in Tokyo, the results aren't even close.

Micro apartments in NYC and Tokyo TikTok

Two videos on TikTok recently went viral and showed the crazy differences between two different micro apartments — one in the East Village neighborhood of New York City and the other one in Tokyo, Japan’s largest metropolitan city.

Comparing the price and the amenities, many people were shocked to see just how much higher the quality of life was in Japan compared to New York — and for a much cheaper price.


The $1100 New York micro apartment doesn’t even compare to the $450 Tokyo one.

In the video posted by Skye (@skye_nycrentals), she claims to be showing us, her loyal TikTok viewers, around a micro-apartment in the East Village of NYC.

“We’re in a prime location in East Village where rent does usually tend to be a bit higher,” she explains. “These units are currently listed at $1100 and are sometimes a more cost-effective way [to live] if you’re really trying to stick to a budget.”

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As Skye moves us through the cramped hallways of the apartment building that’s resting right around Astor Place, you can tell that the building was designed to shove as many people into a small space as possible — the halls can’t even fit two people walking side by side comfortably.

Skye opens the dated, brown-painted, metal door to reveal what the apartment actually looks like — a closet.

She shows us the left side where there’s a sort of metal contraption set up — almost like a bunkbed — that allows for a mattress on the top part and a space for a tiny office right under it. “This unit is definitely tiny,” she says at this moment.


“You have a twin-sized lofted bed structure and each unit has a sink, mini-fridge, and microwave. Nope, there’s no stove,” she says, predicting what people would likely be asking. “You can have a small hotplate.”

“I’m sure you’re getting to the point [where] you’re looking and saying ‘where’s the bathroom?’ Shared bathrooms on each floor that are cleaned daily,” she explains. There were a lot of comparisons to college dorms in the comments, and I don’t know about y’all, but my college dorm room looked much nicer and larger and cleaner than this. 

This micro apartment is plain and boring, and the fridge has stains on it. The microwave and sink mirrors look like they are from the 20th century, and the TV in the top corner of the room is blocked by the IKEA shelving unit right next to it.

Of course, all of this is with the $1100 a month price attached, which includes utilities, but this is nowhere near worth the price. The space is far too tiny, doesn’t even have a stove, and has a shared bathroom. It may as well be a prison.


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The $450 micro apartment in Tokyo is much nicer and has a higher quality of living.

Ryan Crouse, who lives in a $450 micro apartment in Tokyo, shows off his living space and makes the New York apartment look like a pantry.

He starts off by showing us the loft’s “genkan” — a Japanese entryway where guests and residents place their shoes to not get the rest of the place dirty. This one is relatively small and has half of the space taken up by a couple of trash bins, but it works as intended.



After stepping up into the actual apartment, the kitchen is on your left with a door to the bathroom on the right — yes, an actual bathroom outfitted with a toilet, a sink, and a shower. He explains that normally, Japanese bathrooms separate the shower from the toilet, but that’s something we’re used to in the US.


Despite Crouse saying that the wallpaper in the apartment is ugly, it beats the white concrete walls in the NYC micro apartment and adds some flair. The place looks modern, and the kitchen is outfitted with a clean fridge, a microwave that wasn’t built in the 60s, and — yes, you guessed it — a stove.

If the bathroom and kitchen weren’t enough to convince you how much better this place is (for less than half the price), Crouse moves into the main living space that is separated from the kitchen via a door.

The living space has a small office, a closet, and a small living room that’s connected to the balcony where he has his washing machine and a table for sitting. This living area is probably larger than the entire NYC apartment as a whole.

Not to mention, he also has room to house a cat.


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These two micro apartments show how little we prioritize housing in the United States.

Although there’s a lot to consider outside of just how both apartments look — things like USD to JPY conversions, location in the city, and distance from public transportation and essentials — there’s a marked difference between what both apartments have to offer.

There is not a single apartment in the entire United States that could be rented for $450 a month. You’ll need at least double that for a studio, and even then, there’s no guarantee that the apartment will come with half of the things that a micro apartment in Japan does.

Commenters joked under Crouse’s video that his apartment would be $2000 in NYC, but when you compare it to what an $1100 apartment in NYC looks like, you can tell they aren’t really joking.


While that’s happening, people in Skye’s comments are saying that her micro apartment should be illegal.

According to Moody’s Analytics senior economist Lu Chen, via The Hill, “If we’re looking at the low- to moderate-income families, they are taking 40 percent and above all of their income on the rent, even if the metro [area] itself hasn’t crossed that 30 percent line yet.”

Rent prices have continued to increase as income growth has gone stale, meaning that many people are even struggling to pitch up that $1100 each month, and after they spend that, they’re getting a closet and a shared bathroom as an apartment.

It just goes to show you how little of a priority high-quality, affordable housing in the United States is.


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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Keep up with his rants about current events on his Twitter.