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Living in Tokyo: Residential & Commercial Area Guide

Welcome to the PLAZA HOMES Residential and Commercial Area Guide for Tokyo, which aims to provide you an overview of the Tokyo area from two distinct perspectives. Click on the “Commercial Area” button below to discover where Tokyo’s major business hubs are located. Click on the “Residential Area” button to gain perspective on the best places to live for expats.

  • Residential Area
  • Commercial Area

Living in Tokyo: Neighborhood & Residential Area Guide

Most expatriates of foreign companies and foreign diplomats residing in Japan live in central Tokyo, particularly in the areas around Minato-ku and Shibuya-ku. In areas where foreign embassies have been located for many decades, many of the shops, restaurants and other businesses and facilities are English speaking, and there are numerous international schools and high-end residential properties. All of this creates a safe and convenient environment for foreigners living in Tokyo.

18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Setagaya-ku Meguro-ku Shinjyuku-ku Chiyoda-ku Chuo-ku Shinagawa-ku Minato-ku Shibuya-ku Ota-ku

Minato Ward

Minato Ward is an embassy hub and home to many foreign residents, perhaps the most international place in Japan. It includes the famous commercial foreign district of Roppongi, home of Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown, as well as the Hiroo, Azabujuban, Motoazabu and Shirokane residential areas. Services for foreigners including international schools, English speaking hospitals, international supermarkets, and luxurious housing from single-family homes to condominiums are concentrated here-many providing English front desk services.

Shibuya Ward

Shibuya Ward is home to trendy shopping areas such as Daikanyama, Ebisu, Shibuya, and Omotesando, which are all within walking distance of Shibuya Station. Yoyogi Park and Shinjuku Gyoen Garden provide a natural break, while luxurious residential areas such as Hiroo, Shoto and Yoyogi-Uehara, not to mention the many embassies and other facilities for foreigners throughout Shibuya Ward, will make you feel at home. Foreign services are expected to improve as the 2020 Olympics approach.

Chiyoda Ward

Modern and ancient Japan coexist in Chiyoda Ward. During the Edo era, Ichigaya, Iidabashi, Bancho and Mejiro were once populated with many affluent samurai residences. This history can still be seen in these areas and there are many high class residences and embassies. The other major areas are the famous electronic district of Akihabara, a pop-cultural mecca that attracts domestic and overseas tourists, and the Nihonbashi area, an important historical landmark in Tokyo.

Shinagawa Ward

Shinagawa Ward is a family-friendly suburban area also convenient to the business district. The Ichigaya and Akebonobashi residential areas lie along Yasukuni-Dori Street; Yotsuya and Shinjuku-gyoemmae also offer nice homes along the Marunouchi Line. At Shinanomachi Station, take in the lush greenery near Jingu-gaien and Akasaka Palace. Station areas are lined with mid-size and high-rise condominiums. In addition to Waseda University and numerous university hospitals in Shinagawa Ward, there are some foreign diplomatic offices.

Chuo Ward

Chuo Ward is a center of both upscale commerce and local culture. Ginza has prestigious department stores and high class brand boutiques; Tsukiji, one of the largest fish markets in the world, and Tsukishima, a waterfront neighborhood featuring local food sensation “monjya yaki,” are also in Chuo Ward. In other waterfront areas such as Kachidoki and Harumi, high-rise condominiums are currently in development for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Many young Japanese families are moving here.

Meguro Ward

Meguro Ward offers a well-organized, pleasant and high-end environment near central Tokyo, with high-end residences in the north, east and west as well as fashionable shopping towns such as Jiyugaoka and Nakameguro. Academic areas in the northern part of the ward are coupled with affluent residential areas such as Aobadai; this high-class atmosphere continues in hilly, tree-lined Meguro itself, as well as in stylish Daikanyama. The western part of Meguro Ward also houses numerous embassies.

Ota Ward

Haneda Airport, which serves as a hub airport to other cities in Japan and also overseas is located in Ota Ward. The eastern part of Ota Ward faces Tokyo Bay, where a wild bird park and a seaside park is located. High-class residential areas dot along the Tokyu Line, the hilly landscape offering splendid views. There are some old temples and the historical remains of famous novelists; celebrity residents are concentrated in Magome and Senzokuike.

Setagaya Ward

Setagaya Ward is a peaceful suburban-style residential area very close to Central Tokyo. There are cultural facilities such as art museums and libraries, and the many parks foster a nice residential environment. Many high-class residential areas can be found throughout the north, south and central part of Setagaya Ward. Convenient commercial shopping areas including Sangenjyaya Station, Shimo-kitazawa Station, Chitose-karasuyama Station, Jiyugaoka Station, and Futako-tamagawa Station attract many people. Setagawa Ward also houses some embassies.

Shinjuku Ward

Shinjuku Ward, home to the Shinjuku Station hub and the largest commercial and amusement area in Japan, is also touched by nature. Shinjuku Gyoen Garden and Meiji Jingu Shrine Gaien (Outer Garden) add abundant greenery to Shinjuku’s city scene. Akasaka Palace, designated a National Treasure, offers tranquil fountains and footpaths. Residential areas are concentrated to the south, which house numerous university hospitals. Shinjuku Ward is home to Waseda University as well some foreign diplomatic offices.

Tokyo Information

Tokyo is the capital city of Japan, where the core functions of politics and public administration are centered. The Diet building, the Prime Minister's office, the Supreme Court, each ministry and government office are located here.

The head office functions of the major companies are concentrated in Tokyo and it is the industrial center in every field. Culture, fashion, and trends are disseminated from Tokyo, and it is always crowded with a lot of tourists from both inside and outside the country.

International City Tokyo

Foreign embassies and many foreign companies are based in central Tokyo, hence many foreigners live there.

In recent years government initiated programs such as the plan to “reinforce Tokyo as an international business center” and the foundation of “special districts for inviting foreign companies” are ongoing, and at the same time improvement of the infrastructure of transportation networks is underway for the Olympics that will be held in 2020. Furthermore, the government is planning to change guide displays and signs to multi-language and also increase the facilities and services that are multilingual so that foreigners can live more comfortably and conveniently.

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