Getting locked out of your apartment is one of those staggeringly annoying, This shouldn't be happening to me!, moments. And yet here you are, perhaps a few drinks for the worse, outside your door, scratching around for a key that could be anywhere between your house and the nightclub you've just returned from. What do you do?
Well, undoubtedly the cheapest option is to wait. Wait until a more social hour to call your landlord (Any idea what the number is?), or until your rental agency opens.
If it's imperative that you resolve the problem immediately, you'll need to call a 24 hour locksmith.
Ask yourself these questions; Do I know what number to call? How do I Google 'locksmith' in Japanese? How much money do I need? If the answer is something along the lines of, I haven't got a clue., read on.
One of the key problems here (no pun intended) is that it's hard to resolve this in a language that isn't Japanese. To be begin any searches, you need to start with kagi ake (鍵開け).
This will reveal plenty of companies that can help, in Japanese! The following are links to services that operate 24 hours a day, everyday of the year.
http://www.kagiyaworks.com/ (Kanto area)
It's hard to give a definitive account of the costs until the locksmith has assessed the type of lock they have to deal with. As an example that highlights a worst case scenario, one of the services above quotes the following prices;
Unlocking: 6,000 – 18,000 yen (depending on lock type).
Travel Expenses: 4,000 – 6,000 yen.
Add on 8% tax, and this service could end up at a total of 26,000 yen. Payment can be made in cash or by credit card. So, before you make that call, make sure you can pay!
When you call the service, you'll be asked for your name, address, and phone number. It may sound silly, but do you know how to read your address? Expect at least a 20 minute wait for the locksmith to arrive and 5-15 minutes for your door to be opened. You will also need to produce some form of I.D which allows for your address to be cross referenced. Check you haven't lost your Registration Card as well!
The locksmith will only open your door for you. Something to consider if you don't have a spare key inside.
If you lack the confidence to try this on your own, another option is to find your nearest koban (police box). Local officers know all about these kinds of problems and will be able to put you in touch with a nearby locksmith. If you ask nicely, they may even call on your behalf! They are not, however, authorized to smash down your door.
The average locksmith can also handle cars, motorbikes/scooters, bicycles, and safety boxes.
鍵を紛失して家に入れない - kagi wo funshitsushite ie ni hairenai - I’ve lost my key and can’t get into my house.
車の中に鍵を入れたままロックしてしまった - kuruma no naka ni kagi wo iretamama lock shiteshimata - I’ve locked my keys in the car.
金庫の鍵を無くした - kinkou no kagi wo nakushita - I’ve lost the keys to my safety box.
自転車の鍵を無くした - jitensha no kagi wo nakushita - I’ve lost the key to my bicycle.
名前 - namae - name
住所 - jyushyo - address
電話番号 - denwa bango - phone number