Expats in Japan report that living in Tokyo is more like living in Los Angeles or Boston as opposed to New York City. Initially determining the individual needs of each expat, or expatriate family, will help point you in the right direction. A balance of proximity to work and international schools, for instance, will be the dominating factor for many expat families.
Here are 10 of the best neighborhoods for expats in Tokyo:
Hiroo is popular with expats and centrally located. It is home to the International School of the Sacred Heart, an international School for girls for K-12. Hiroo is located in the southeast section of the district of Shibuya.
The area around Hiroo Station offers many entertainment, recreation and other options in Hiroo.
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This is largely a residential district and home to a large number of embassies. Azabu is the home to Nishimachi International School. Adjacent to other districts with desirable features - business, entertainment, fashion, etc. - make it a much sought after location. Temple University, Japan Campus is located in Azabu.
Named after Yebisu Beer, there are numerous restaurants and pubs and is relatively quiet compared to other areas of the city. Yebisu Garden Place is build on the site of the old brewery and is a popular attraction.
Daikanyama - Near Ebisu, Daikanyama has been called relaxed, artsy and is located in Central Tokyo. Transportation runs through Daikan-yama Station.
Jiyugaoka - Rural until the 1920s, Jiyugaoka has a residential feel to it and is located in southern Meguro.
The name also refers to the broader area surrounding Jiyugaoka Station, which includes both Jiyugaoka and the Okusawa neighborhood of Setagaya.
Denenchofu - Closer to the American School of Japan, so an excellent choice for parents with children that will attend there. Located along the Tama River, which lies on the dividing line between Tokyo and Kanagawa.
Nakameguro is a residential district of Meguro on the Meguro River. With its combination of shops, cafes and quiet atmoshphere, it evokes images of Europe.
Meguro is a special ward that, while predominantly residential, does include embassies, the University of Tokyo, Komaba and corporate offices.
There is no shortage of things to do in Meguro.
Expats in Omotesandro enjoy some of the most unique architecture in Tokyo. It is often described as Tokyo's French quarter, and has plenty of shopping for those that like high-end stores, although there are also some less-expensive options, too.
Yoyogi is defined most prominently known for its famous Yoyogi Park. It is a largely quiet neighborhood that does not offer much in terms of shopping and entertainment, although it is located between busier districts that do.
Yoyogi Station provides ample transportation and is home to Yoyogi International School.