Expat Exchange
Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo, Japan

Pros and Cons of Living in Japan

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Nov 27, 2021

Summary: Pros and Cons of Living in Japan. Expats, Retirees and Digital Nomads talk about the pros and cons of living in Japan

Allianz Care International Health Insurance
Allianz Care International Health Insurance
Allianz Care International Health Insurance
Allianz Care International Health Insurance

What are the pros and cons of living in Japan?

Live in Japan? Answer this Question

Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in Japan responded:

"There is nothing I don't like. Since I come to this place, I have to adapt to it and let what I don't like become what I like," said another expat in Osaka.

"Yokohama Japan is an awesome place to live. It is pretty quiet here at night when everyone goes home from work so it doesn't feel as crowded as Tokyo. The Japanese are kind-hearted and somewhat friendly, they respect your space and are not overtly rude like many other cultures can be," remarked another expat in Yokohama.

"The city is safe and clean, people are generally friendly, the food is very good quality. It's hard to talk to locals, they don't engage much with each other unless you're a colleague or friend. It can feel lonely as an expat," explained one expat living in Tokyo.

"I really enjoyed the small community pockets. Everything you needed was in walking distance. There were little treasures everywhere. Public transit could take you practically anywhere, but it does add up in price. Having a car is so unreasonable: expensive to get a license, expensive to pay for parking, expensive to pay for car inspection. Restaurants were affordable, but anything that wasn't Japanese food was either infrequent or not very authentic. If you had a hankering for something authentically different, you and to search for a few good options across the city or learn to make it yourself," said another expat in living in Tokyo, Japan.

"Tokyo is a city with a history, beautiful environment, convenient living and high medical level.There is a lot of emphasis on education. The locals are very good, very rigorous and not very talkative," added another expat in Tokyo.

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What do expats in Japan appreciate most about the local culture?

Live in Japan? Answer this Question

"I appreciate the transportation system that is in place. It is convenient, clean, and on-time. I liked how close I lived to a grocery store and the station," said another expat in Tokyo.

"I love the frequent trips to the grocery store. I can see the seasonal items and learn to cook with them. I also like how people go drinking early so they can get the last train home. It's very hard for me to stay up late so this is perfect for my sleep schedule. I also like how there are so many events and nature areas that are promoted. I get to easily take public transit to see such new things," added another person living in Tokyo.

"I appreciate the public transportation system, the cleanliness of everything, and everyone's courtesy," explained one expat living in Tokyo.

"I appreciate the kindness of everyone that I run into. Everyone in Japan has extreme generosity. Also, I love how clean and quiet the suburban neighborhoods are, and yet they're only a 15 minute train ride from downtown," said another in Tokyo.

"Community - spirit and the phrase gambarimasu (to keep on going strong And never give up!)," explained one expat who made the move to Tokyo.

"The respect the Japanese show for strangers, how they all clean up after themselves and go out of their way to help people, the customer service which is always provided with a smile, the fact that no one expects or accepts a tip," added an expat living in Tokyo.

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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.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

William Russell Health Insurance

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.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

What do expats find most challenging?

Live in Japan? Answer this Question

"You have to read body language very carefully in Japan. No one ever explicitly tells you "no," so you have to pick up on their rejection via body language. I did not think this would be difficult for me, but I now think this would be difficult for any American moving to Japan. You have to be aware of it at all times," said another expat in Tokyo.

"The quietness and separation. People don't really say hello when passing by. People don't look much at each other. Even your acquaintances keep to themselves. It's harder to feel connected to the people around you," added another person living in Tokyo.

"The crowds are the worst for me, but I also frequently get frustrated by Japan's traditional way of thinking," explained one expat living in Tokyo.

"The ability to not speak Japanese. It can be very isolating not being able to have conversations with the people you want," said another in Tokyo.

"Facing at all times discrimination as a foreigner, a woman and being single with a child at age 47," explained one expat who made the move to Tokyo.

"Riding the very crowded trains during rush hour. Finding my way around the city, given the lack of street names," added an expat living in Tokyo.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

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Tokyo, Japan

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

Japan GuideJapan Guide
Learn what members have to say about living in Japan.

Japan Forum Japan Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Japan on our Japan forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Japan Index Japan Index
An index of all of our site's Japan information.

Contribute to Japan Network Contribute
Help others in Japan by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Japan.

Expat Healthcare Advice in JapanHealthcare & Health Insurance in Japan

Expats in Japan offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Japan.

Real Estate in JapanReal Estate in Japan

Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Japan.

Guide to Real Estate in JapanGuide to Real Estate in Japan

Advice for people renting and buying real estate in Japan.

Pros Cons of Living in JapanPros & Cons of Living in Japan

Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what digital nomads & expats have to say about the biggest challenges and the greatest rewards of living in Japan.

Cost of Living in JapanCost of Living in Japan

Digital Nomads & Expats offer insight into the cost of living in Japan.

Top-10-Tokyo-Neighborhoods-For-ExpatsTop 10 Tokyo Neighborhoods For Expats

Expats in Tokyo have several neighborhoods worth considering when they move abroad. Individual needs, such as proximity to work, international schools in Tokyo and other factors will help determine the best choice for each expat and expat family.

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