Wouldn't we all want to live in a mansion. The chance to live in a "mansion" might be far greater in Japan than in your home country. Of course my comparison is between the United States and Japan since the US is my home country. Your financial situation obviously will factor into your chance to live in a mansion.
Japan is loaded with "mansions." Maybe some of you are wondering, "why is this guy using quotations every time he mentions mansions?" Well I have the answer to your question! In Japan, apartment complexes are broken down into different categories, マンション and アパート, mansion and apartment respectively. There are other categories such as文化 住宅(bunka) or ハイツ (heights), but for today's blog I will focus on two.
* In Japan, there are different forms of writing; hiragana, katakana, and of course Kanji. Hiragana and kanji are used when writing a word from the Japanese language. Katakana is the form of writing when a word is borrowed from a different language, but it is still used as part of the Japanese language. For example, my Mike Bennett will be written like this マイク ベネット in katakana. With katakana, the pronunciation is similar to the word of origin. Whenever you hear マンション it will sound like "mansion." At times, I have trouble with katakana pronunciation, both speaking and listening.
マンション -vs- アパート
Granted both "mansions" and "apartments" are used in the same sense, apartment complexes. Even when you're speaking (in Japanese) of the unit you live in, you will either use "mansion" or apartment. In general, you can use 部屋 (heya), which means room. This word is also used when speaking of a home as well.
The main differences between "mansion" and "apartments":
Mansions' structure is constructed of steel frame (S) or steel framed reinforced concrete (SRC), where as apartments' structure is constructed of mainly wood or lightweight steel frames.
Typically, "mansions" have more floors compared to the "apartment," "mansions" are high rises where "apartments" typically are not.
"Mansions" are better insulated, better managed, and secutiry is tigheter compared to "apartment" complexes.
"Mansions" have better sound proofing than "apartments."
Rent is more expensive when living in a "mansion" complex considering the cost of construction is higher when taking into consideration what was mentioned above.
And that is about it! When it comes to "mansions" there will be more amenities such as 24 hour security, auto-lock system for the main entrance, sometimes an elevator, where "apartment" complexes usually don't have an elevator.
The main difference between "mansion" and "apartment" is in the construction of the building. Building codes in Japan only allow wooden framed buildings to be built up to three stories.
Last bit of information for today, condominiums = 分譲マンション (bunjyo mansion), where each unit is separately owned.
Side note: The "mansions" I focused on today are the rental types where the owner of the building is one person or corporation. The wording is a bit different from condos, but of course condo's are rented out to tenants as well.