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An Expat Talks about Moving to Tokyo, Japan

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Tokyo

Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.

I wish we had brought: box fans (it gets really hot here in the summer, and there is no central AC.) A roaster oven or convection oven. Traditional Japanese apartments don't have ovens. Food, including sugary cereals, Gatorade drink mix, and sweets. The "sweets" they sell here are very different.

I wish we had left: some of my clothes, our golf clubs

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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?

When choosing a home, pick something near a train station, as this is the easiest way to get around. Most Tokyoites spend at least an hour commuting by train, so don't let the distance worry you. Most real estate agents only speak Japanese, so bring a translator with you. Expect the kitchens to be galley style, and for the washing machines to be in the bathroom or on the balcony. Make sure your neighborhood also have plenty of markets nearby-refrigerators are so small, you have to shop daily!

What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?

We live in a two-bedroom apartment, called a "mansion". This means it is newer construction, built mostly of concrete and brick. It is a small building, with only 5 other tenants. The owner lives on the first floor. Our neighborhood is all Japanese, and we are the only foreingers in our area.This is not typical - most expats either live in high-class apartments that cater to foreigners, or else in tiny traditional apartments. It depends on your payscale. (ie executive or English teacher)

How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?

My husband's company gave us a real estate agent. We told her what we were looking for, and our price range. We also brought our dog with us, so it was much more difficult to find a place. Most places that allowed dogs were much more expensive.

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Need health insurance in Japan? William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?

Housing costs are at least double what we paid in Texas. We had an 800 sqft apartment in Texas for about $900 a month. Here, for the same amount of space we pay close to $2000 US. For apartments catering to executives and foreigners, look to pay between 3000-$5000 US. For a traditional apartment, depending on the area, anywhere from $500US-$1000US.

William Russell Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quotes for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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William Russell Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quotes for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
Get a Quote


 

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Tokyo, JapanGuide to Living in Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan: Cost of Living, Healthcare and What to Know About Living in Tokyo

Japan Forum Japan Forum
Meet other people living in Tokyo.

Healthcare in Tokyo, JapanHealthcare in Tokyo, Japan

Expats and global nomads in Tokyo share their experiences with health insurance, healthcare in Japan, local hospitals and specialists, quality of medical care and more.

Moving to Tokyo, JapanMoving to Tokyo, Japan

Expats offer advice about everything you need to know before moving to Tokyo: what to bring (and what to leave behind), how to find housing and more.

Pros and Cons of Living in Tokyo, JapanPros and Cons of Living in Tokyo, Japan

Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what expats and digital nomads have to say about the pros and cons of living in Tokyo, Japan.

Real Estate TokyoReal Estate in Tokyo

Advice about renting and buying real estate in Tokyo

Schools in TokyoInternational Schools in Tokyo

Tokyo has many international schools and bi-lingual schools for expat students. Here are several of the more popular options.

Tokyo, JapanExpats Talk about Living in Tokyo

Expats share their experiences living in Tokyo, Japan and offer advice about meeting people, schools and more.

ContributeContribute
Help other expats and newcomers by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Tokyo.

Moving to TokyoExpat Report: Moving to Tokyo

An expat in Tokyo talks about the high cost of housing, living close to work, property searches and mansion apartments.

Expat Healthcare & Health InsuranceExpat Report: Healthcare in Tokyo

What's the difference between Social Health Insurance and National Health Insurance in Japan? Are there some English-speaking doctors in good hospitals in Tokyo? What's a typical doctor visit like? An expat in Tokyo answers these questions and more.

Culture Shock in TokyoExpat Report: Culture Shock in Tokyo

An expat talks about what it's like moving to Tokyo. It took some time adjusting to the crowds and culture, but he's happy now and looking back the culture shock wasn't as bad as he anticipated.

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