Life Hacks in Japan

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"Life in Japan 2023" How to choose a microwave oven and recommended manufacturers!

Although there is a microwave oven in every household, they range from those with a single function to those with oven functions, etc., and prices range from about 10,000 yen to over 100,000 yen. In order to buy the right product for your home, please do your research thoroughly!


Generally, if you live alone, a small microwave oven of about 17L that can be placed on top of a small refrigerator is recommended; if you live with several people, a larger microwave oven of 22L or more is recommended so that you can heat large dishes. However, in our family of four, we use a 17L microwave oven and have not found it inconvenient at all, so it ultimately depends on the household. In any case, it is the second largest kitchen appliance after the refrigerator, so decide where you want to place it before buying it.

The photo is our house. It looks like there is a gap, but there is not that much room even with 17L, because you need to leave a gap of about 10 cm front to back and left to right. (Microwave oven on the left, toaster oven on the right)



To begin with, an oven range is an unavoidable choice when kitchen space is limited, and if sufficient space is available, it is cheaper to buy a single-function microwave oven and a toaster oven separately. Also, if the microwave oven itself becomes too hot due to the use of an oven, etc., an error may occur and the microwave oven cannot be used until it cools down.

The differences can be summarized as follows Oven ovens are not only more expensive, but their bodies get hotter, so they must be placed in a larger space than when placing a single-function microwave oven to allow for heat exhaust, or they can malfunction and cause a fire.

type Single Function
Microwave Oven
combination microwave
and electric oven-safe
toaster oven
oven cooking
microwave cooking ×




All manufacturers now offer this function as a standard feature, but in addition to 200 to 300 W for defrosting frozen foods and approximately 500 W for normal warming, it is convenient to have a 600 to 1,000 W version for shortening the time required for warming.

Microwave Oven Single Function Range 17L Turntable 700W 50Hz/East Japan only 60Hz/West Japan only MRT-S177 YAMAZEN


Warming Method

There are two types: the turntable type, in which a plate is placed on a round stand and heated while rotating, and the flat table type, in which the plate is placed directly on the stand and heated. The turntable type reduces uneven heating by rotating the food, while the flat table type reduces uneven heating by rotating the antenna.

Flat-table models are more convenient because the plates do not get stuck in the middle of the rotation and are easier to clean, but they are also more expensive.


How to open and close the door

There are two types: one that opens horizontally and one that opens vertically. The vertical-opening type saves space on the left and right sides, but is more difficult to remove when placed in a high location.

50 / 60 Hz compatible (Hertz-free)

In Japan, only 60 Hz appliances can be used in western Japan and 50 Hz appliances in eastern Japan. Many modern microwave ovens are hertz-free, meaning that they can be used in either direction, but some single-function microwave ovens are only compatible with 50Hz or 60Hz. However, as you can see from the comparison chart we will post later in this report, there does not seem to be a significant price difference between Hertz-free and non-Hertz-free products, so we recommend the Hertz-free product.

auto menu

Some of them automatically adjust the wattage and time according to the item to be heated. However, there are some that do not work well, such as those that heat up too much, so it is best to use different types depending on the item to be heated.



Product Comparison Chart

Based on the above, this blog would like to compare microwave ovens with a maximum output of 600W or higher, Hertz-free, and single function in the following total of three patterns!

  • 17L turntable microwave oven
  • 17L flat table microwave oven
  • 22 ~ 23L flat table microwave oven

17L, Turntable

You can scroll to the right.

Manufacturer Iris Oyama Yamazen Yamazen
model number IMB-T178-W YRM-HF171 MRT-S177
Dimensions (W x D x H) 44 × 32.5 × 25.5cm 44 × 32.5 × 25.5cm 44×34×25.8cm
output (e.g. of dynamo) 50Hz (500 / 200W),
60Hz (650 / 500 / 200W)
50Hz (500 / 200W),
60Hz (650 / 500 / 200W)

700 / 500 / 200W

How to open the door turning sideways turning sideways turning sideways
auto menu  
Price* 8,809 yen 9,980 yen 8,780 yen

*prices on Amazon as of April 28, 2023.


As shown in the table, only two companies, Iris Oyama and Yamazen, released products that fit the bill. We recommend Iris Oyama's IMB-T178-W with equivalent functions, which is cheaper than Yamazen's.


17L, Flat table

Manufacturer Toshiba
model number ER-WS17
Dimensions (W x D x H) 45.8 × 35.4 × 28.1cm
output 900 / 600 / 500 / 200W
How to open the door vertical
auto menu  
Price* 17,200 yen

*prices on Amazon as of April 28, 2023.


The only one that fit the criteria was currently available, Toshiba's ER-WS17. (I removed the Sharp because it only had an automatic menu.) The Toshiba ER-WS17 is very easy to operate, as all you have to do is press one of the four wattage buttons, then press the 1-minute and 10-second buttons the required number of times each, and finally press start.

Other manufacturers had only two buttons for wattage, high and low, and some products required more than two button presses, depending on the desired wattage.


22 ~ 23L, flat table

Manufacturer Iris Oyama Yamazen Panasonic
model number IMB-F2202 YRV-F230 NE-FL222
capacity 22L 23L 22L
Dimensions (W x D x H) 49.5 × 36.5 × 30.2cm 49.6 × 36.6 × 30.3cm 48.8 × 38 × 29.8cm
Output (manual) 900 / 600 / 500 / 200W 50Hz (500W / 200W / defrosting / half defrosting) ,
60Hz (650W / 500W / 200W / defrosting / half defrosting)
600 / 500 / 150W
How to open the door turning sideways turning sideways turning sideways
auto menu
Price* 15,245 yen 14,451 yen 24,189 yen

*Prices on Amazon as of April 28, 2023.


Yamazen is about 1,000 yen cheaper, but the Iris Oyama can produce a higher output of 900W. We recommend Iris Oyama's IMB-F2202 since we believe that only 200W is needed for defrosting.


A must-have! Cleaning products specially designed for microwave ovens

Sometimes something spills or heated food explodes, and the inside of the microwave oven becomes dirty. Even in such cases, there are cleaning products that can be heated in a microwave oven and wiped to remove stains, making them convenient to have on hand in case of emergencies.

Amazon | Cleaning sheets for microwave oven 3 bags


I hope the above is helpful. Please also see here!