It’s always difficult to decide to study in an overseas university and once you’ve made that Big Decision there are many, many more to make after. One big one is the choice of where to stay, especially if you’ll be studying there for the full 4 year course. When I first decided to study in Kwansei Gakuin University I was presented with a choice between various dormitories and school owned properties, and ultimately I chose the International Residence 2.
I found out information about it via a Google search that led to a blog by an exchange student who was already staying there. I sent her an email, and thank goodness for that because I was very lost and anything to get me acquainted with the neighbourhood and living in Japan as fast as possible was very greatly appreciated. So I write this post now for anyone, be it exchange student or full time international student, who is trying to decide where to stay. Hopefully this will help!
Video tour of the dorm room:
The information below is accurate as of January 2016. I first lived in this dorm from March 2012 to April 2013, then again in September 2015 to January 2016.
Kwansei Gakuin University International Residence II
3 Storey tall unisex dormitory that house 20-30 (?) students
(not the full address to protect the privacy of students)
Maximum duration of stay: 1 year
Cost: 44,000yen/month (including internet), excluding utilities and gas bill
Nearest train station: Hankyu Takarazuka, JR Takarazuka (both a 7 minute walk away)
Distance from school: 12 minutes via train to Niigawa/Kotoen Station (5 to 6 stops), followed by a 15 to 20 minute walk to campus
Nearby amenities: 4 minute walk to Circle K convenience store, 7 minute walk to LAWSON convenience store, Manekiya supermarket, 15 minute walk to the Takarazuka Grand Theatre, Round 1, various Izakaya, Book 1st, au store, Post Office, SMBC Bank, Mister Donut, Subway etc all within walking distance in the vicinity of the station. Basically anything you’d possibly need. 100yen stores in Takarazuka Minamiguchi (1 stop or 20min walk away, LAWSON 100yen store) or Sakasegawa Station (Seria, Daiso; Takarazuka City Hall is also at this station)
Rooms are fully furnished, with a bed, desk + chair, air conditioning/heater unit, modem and a fridge. Blinds cover the sliding doors to the balcony where clothes can be hung to dry. A door separates the sleeping area from the genkan/bathroom. Bathroom includes small bathtub, sink and wc. Storage aplenty with cupboards. Hangars + laundry line etc can be procured from the manager if not already in room. You can choose to purchase a futon (comes with a pillow) or not. There’s a mattress so I don’t see a need for one, but if you move out into an apartment without a bed you’d need it.
Common areas/items: Dining room/lounge, Common area (level 1), Smoking area, Laundry room (coin operated laundry machines cost 200yen per wash). Vacuum cleaner and iron+board available for use.
Internet: LAN cable internet available in each room, no wifi
(Connectify is a good program you can run on your laptop/pc to create a wifi hotspot for your phone etc)
Dining Room/Lounge: Closes at 10:45PM. Communal utensils, pots and pans etc and condiments available. Toaster, Toaster oven, oven, stove and rice cookers also available for communal use.
1. Kitchen closes at 10:45PM.
2. No laundry after 11PM.
3. Curfew is at 11PM, but if you come home after that, be sure to enter quietly.
4. If staying out overnight or travelling, fill in the form and pass it to the manager asap.
5. No shoes to be worn past the dorm entrance.
6. Guests must be signed in, can only go to the Dining Room/Lounge, not allowed in your room. Must leave by 9pm.
7. Keep noise down after 10PM, no parties etc as it will disturb the neighbours.
This might seem like a lot but it’s really just a result of UNGRATEFUL PEOPLE WHO FLOUTED THE RULES BLATANTLY WITHOUT ANY CARE FOR CONSEQUENCES. See, most of the people who tend to stay at this dorm are exchange students (thus the maximum 1 year stay period) and somehow a lot of them believe they can just cause havoc and move out because nothing will affect them. Well, you idiots, it affects all the people living there AFTER you.
In 2012 – 2013 there were never any of these rules and signs pasted everywhere saying things like PLEASE CLEAN UP KITCHEN AFTER USE, DO NOT DO THIS, DO NOT DO THAT. All we were told was please be quiet after 10PM so as not to disturb the neighbours, don’t have anyone illegally squatting with you, no cooking in your room. The kitchen was open 24/7 and it was great because I could whip up some grub at 3am in the morning to satiate my late night studying hunger pangs. But people never listened and they held nomikai (drinking party) after nomikai and made ridiculous amounts of noise that the neighbours came over and complained (I witnessed it more than once) not only to the live-in manager but also to the school. They also trashed the place and had no respect nor common courtesy (poor manager had to clean other people’s dirty dishes almost DAILY) and I am so disgusted at how fellow 18 and above year olds (you are practically ADULTS) could be such irresponsible and incorrigible twats who believed they were entitled to be lazy slobs.
I hate people sometimes, and these are the very big reasons why.
Did I enjoy staying there? YES.
Takarazuka is a small, quiet city. It is charmingly peaceful and beautiful especially in Spring (Hana no Michi near the Grand Theatre is gorgeous) but also has things to entertain yourself with such as karaoke and other amusement activities at Round 1, various supermarkets for all your shopping needs, bookstores, homeware etc It is close enough to campus and to Osaka and Kobe and easily accessible via both JR and Hankyu train lines. The dorm itself is clean, well maintained and the rooms are large and comfortable. Rent isn’t too expensive and you can live a peaceful, drama-free life there.
The ‘other people’ situation is relative to each new batch that occupies the rooms there but the people in general are pleasant. The managers are also there to give you any support you need and you can get info and brochures about activities for foreigners once in a while. Other students living there leave behind or give away free stuff too, so yay.
It is a pretty cool neighbourhood! Might not be much for party animals but for me I liked it enough in my first year to want to stay there for the rest of my three years (hah) though ultimately I moved to Nishinomiya city which I then also fell in love with.
If you have any questions about the residence, do ask the school admin staff. But if you have any questions for me, feel free to comment or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope you enjoy your journey in KGU!