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Living as an expat in Tokyo

Living in Tokyo, the capital of Japan, the world’s second largest economy, means experiencing one of the liveliest cities the world has to offer. Japan is well known for its rich culture, incredible cuisine, efficient transportation, and friendly people and is home to more than 10 million people.


Tokyo is a hub for a large number of international corporations, so having an office or affiliate in Japan is common, and consequently the expat community in the city is significant. Tokyo city offers a plenty of options for families with children, which includes daycare, play spaces and international schools. Tokyo is also one of the safest capitals in the world, boasting a very low citywide crime rate.
For those looking for excitement, culture shock, neon lights and the hustle and bustle of one of the top cities in the world, Tokyo is definitely the place to be. Tokyo truly has it all and for the expat that is looking for a true challenge, there are fewer places in the world that are so different from the United States.
Housing for expat in Tokyo is much harder that many think. Many expats after spending few months in Tokyo figure out that the place is definitely not for them. It is not only a huge language barrier, but the culture is really mystifying. There are lots of infrastructures in Tokyo; in fact most expats wonder how extraordinary the city of Tokyo can be.
Most of the expats in Tokyo are on an expat package and their housing is taken care of. Majority of expats live near the international schools, around Roppongi, Minami Azabu or Hiroo. These places are full of cafes and grocery stores where English is widely spoken. Normally, housing for expats in Tokyo either is very fine, western style apartments or very bad conditions. Many good, international schools are available for expat children. An expat can get almost everything you need here and even more fun or wacky stuff you cannot get back home. Tokyo is a city that never sleeps. There is so much to do here and one is never short on entertainment.
Tokyo is an amazing city whose residents are always on the go; working and playing hard. One should not try to completely understand Japanese ways but can always take the good and leave the bad, thereby enjoying stay in Tokyo.

The Interesting Features about Tokyo Apartments

Tokyo as the capital of Japan is said to be one of the most populated cities of the world and it has plenty of Tokyo apartments for foreigners. The city is steeped in history – that of its Royal Family, the ruin of the Second World War, and its dominance to the privileged club of wealthiest nations of the world. But still the city is young at heart. Even with its small contrasts, Tokyo remains one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Tokyo apartment for foreigners have also become a way to earn a little extra money from foreigners.



Apartments in Tokyo includes of both modern and traditional styles. Two patterns of residences are predominant in modern Japan: the single-family detached house and the multiple-unit building. These can be either owned by an individual or corporation, or owned by occupants, who in turn can rent as apartments to tenants. For unmarried people, different patterns of housing includes boarding houses which are very popular among college students, dormitories used by the companies, and barracks for members of the Self-Defense Forces, police and some other public employees.


Whilst most apartment buildings and office buildings have been constructed under some strict earthquake resistant guidelines, there are many condominium apartments and detached houses that have more resistance against earthquake in central Tokyo and the suburbs. The apartments have seismic isolation structure, damping structure, and earthquake proof reinforcements. Furthermore, there are some properties that have disaster prevention measures in place such as having water well and stocking emergency supplies including food and blankets.


An Apartment in Tokyo can also be rented through real estate agents rather than landlords. Apartments are generally rented for a minimum of two years. The biggest factor is PROXIMITY to the train station and other surrounding amenities like parks and convenience stores etc. This is what really drives rental prices. So the closer Tokyo apartment is to the station the higher the rent will be.


In Tokyo, “Jo” or “Tatami” is a system of measurement. Interior sizes are measured by the size of a reed mat called a “tatami” A single tatami is 1.8 meters by 90 cm. A typical sitting room in a Japanese apartment is 6 jo which is roughly 9 square meters. This is enough room for a television, coffee table and love seat. The term Mansion is used to mention a concrete or metal-framed apartment house of typical size found in Japan.


Tokyo as the capital of Japan has a lot to offer in terms of new architecture. The modern architectures took some innovative and eye-opening examples of what 21st century architecture. Typical Tokyo apartment can be seen in all types of shapes, varied amenities, flooring either wooden or laminated.

Houses in Akihabara for Otaku

Otaku is derived from a Japanese term for another’s house or family, which is also used as an honorific second-person pronoun. However, Otaku is also the term used to refer to people with obsessive interests, particularly to anime and manga. And most of otaku electronic gadgets are found in Akihabara.  Akihabara is a place in Japan which is also called as Akihabara Electric Town for others. Located five minutes by rail from Tokyo Station, Living in an apartment here in Tokyo means you next to a major shopping area for electronic, computer, anime, and otaku goods, including new and used items. It is a popular destination for electrical supplies. Reaching Akihabara, it is modern facility with sky scrapers. All you have to do in Akihabara is to shop… shop… and shop.
Akihabara is also called “Akiba” after a former local shrine located in central Tokyo. It has been famous for its electronics shops. It became the center of Japan’s otaku (diehard fan) culture.  There are thousands of wholesaler or retailer stores in the area. They sell all kind of technological gadgets including household electrical goods such as washer, TV, vacuum or leisure and entertainment gadgets. Also available are electronic components of various functions or sizes, even up to the least microscopic components like transistors and capacitors. Actually, all electronic equipments can be found in Akihabara.  It is also crowded with arcade machines and arcade gamers. For those who are fan of Japanese anime, manga or comic, this is the right place for you. This is the place where technology and obsession meet and given satisfaction. Food in Akihabara is also expensive. The menu is accompanied with drinks, dessert, and your choice of either playing a board game with prizes.
Akihabara has also been undergoing some major changes and redevelopment with the addition of the Akihabara Crossfield complex designed to promote Akihabara as a prime destination and center for global electronics technology and trade. It has a bit of everything.  This is the place where you could buy electronics of all sorts; play with your favorite pet while having your coffee. This is the place where youngsters come together to buy special things they want to experience with electronics, games and cards.  After the tour, you can shop for some souvenirs items too like key chain, t-shirt, Japanese dolls, sake glass, kimono and Japanese snacks. I guess, Akihabara is just a one- stop shopping destination for the electronic craze and games wizards.

Japanese Companies’ Dormitory

With Tokyo’s high cost of housing, dormitories offer low rents which is good for employees. The accommodations are relatively small but modest enough to accommodate a single occupancy. However in some instances, some employees shares only one room. Once married, the occupant may transfer to subsidized family housing. The only disadvantage of the dorms is that, they are located farther in the city. A company dorm is usually given to long-time company employees. This is sometimes given as reward for valued employees who did not rise to senior management with a few additional years on the company payroll beyond the mandatory retirement age.
At the dorm’s entrance, there is a caretaker window where you could receive mail, pick up dry cleaning, and other services. The names of the occupants are listed in a board with the name plate for each person opposite to their room number assigned. The red side would mean the occupant is out and the green side would mean the occupant is in. Each occupant is also giving a shoe box area where thy kept their shoes and slippers in. In Japan, shoes should only be worn outside the dormitory and slippers should be worn inside the dorm. Just a tip for visitors who come to Japan, a step up is usually a signal that you need to take off your shoes. The entrance or “genkan” is always a step or two lower than the floor of the house.
The dorm had no cafeteria, but it had a kitchen and a TV room. Each floor had a large common bathroom. Like a Japanese-style inn, the shower and o-furo (bath), is located in the first floor. It is communal; about two feet deep so that you could sit in it neck deep and soak. Men and women have separate baths. To foreigners, it is difficult to share the bath with others naked.  Eventually, foreigners would soon love the o-furo, or the sento (public bath) and onsen (hot spring bath) as much as the Japanese do.
Dormitories had curfew time usually around 11:00 pm. By this time, the front gate closed and the door is locked. However, the back door is left unlocked all night. This is the perfect example of the Japanese concepts of honne (true feeling/intention) and tatemae (a person’s facade). The front door is the tatemae that said everyone had to be home by 11:00 pm or suffer the consequences. The back door was the honne that recognized that the occupants are old enough to take care of themselves.

Serviced Apartments Make for a Comfortable Stay

Shinjuku-ku is a sprawling, expansive area of Tokyo, It is very easy to spend the entire duration of your time in Japan wandering its many winding streets and still never see everything there is to see. There are many accommodation options available for anyone staying within the geographic area of Shinjuku. From hostels, guesthouse, apartments and hotels of varying price.

The option I want to present to you just now is that of staying at a serviced apartment Tokyo. Serviced apartments slot in between standard apartments and hotels in their function. They possess the best traits of both. You get the freedom and space of an apartment and the amenities of a hotel.

It is the ideal living situation for a short term business trip or even as a long stay option, whether alone, with friends, a loved one or with your family there is plenty of space and you won’t feel like you are living in an nondescript box room. It will be easy to feel at home after a long day at the office, or if you are working from home you can make use of the business center facilities provided at no extra cost.

After your work day is over you can explore the areas round Okubo and Shin-Okubo stations. Here you will find the most famous “Korean Town” in Japan, with an abundance of delicious food to try. If you feel the need to spread your wings further a field, then you are mire minutes walk from Shin-Okubo station which is on the Yamanote line, which is one of Tokyo’s busiest and most important commuter rail lines. Most of Tokyo’s major station can be accessed using the Yamanote. Allowing you, to venture out in this vibrant, fast moving and sometimes spectacularly beautiful city.