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Expat Community in Tokyo: Meetup Opportunities for Foreigners

Post: Wednesday January 28, 2015   Author : plazahomes

If you've recently moved to Tokyo, you may not have yet gotten the chance to make friends or acquaintances. If you don't speak Japanese on top of that, this can feel like a daunting task. Or, maybe you're getting ready to move to Tokyo and are concerned about coming to a new country where you don't know anyone at all. Expat life in Tokyo can be challenging and lonely without a community of people who speak your native language and who share a common cultural background and context. If this describes you, read on. We have some suggestions on where to go to begin making some connections for your new life in Tokyo through community meet-ups, online forums, and more.

Expat Community in Tokyo

Get Answers about Expat Life in Tokyo through Expat Forums

Online forums are a good place to go to get first-hand answers about questions on life in Japan. These forums can be a place for those getting ready to take on the expat life or those who have been in Tokyo for a lifetime. All manner of individuals frequent online forums and they can be the perfect place to ask and get answers to all the questions you won't find in a guidebook or a simple search on Google. Below are a couple of good options to check out if you're looking for a good place to start:

Expat Exchange

  • The Japan section of the Expat Exchange offers an online forum where you can post topics and get answers from other expats who have already made the transition to Japan.


  • This site has a large network forum of active Tokyo expatriate users along with a number of sub-forums specific to different nationalities (e.g., American Expats in Tokyo forum, British Expats in Tokyo, Canadian Expats in Tokyo, etc.).

Meeting Like-Minded Expats through Tokyo Meetup and Craigslist

When you're ready to make a real-life human connection, you may need more than just online forums to build those relationships. The website can be used as a way for people who share an interest or life circumstance and also live in proximity to one another to easily connect and schedule in person, community meet-ups. There is every variety of meet-up community imaginable and the Network in Tokyo meet-up community is an active one with a number of members and a lot of activities scheduled. This would be a great way to get started in building relationships.


Some other ideas on how to find people and groups to connect with include Tokyo Craigslist or searching for "Tokyo expat" on Facebook. One thing to note with sites like these, exercise a reasonable amount of caution when first meeting up with people. Always meet in public places and bring a friend or two if you can.

The Tokyo American Club and Other Community Organizations

Another alternative to connecting with people online is to visit or join a social club or community organization. These organizations offer the convenience of having facilities of their own and regularly scheduled activities that you can join in without having to worry about trying to coordinate things yourself. Below are a couple of suggestions for expats:

The Tokyo American Club

Tokyo American Club
  • The Tokyo American Club is one of the largest private clubs in Tokyo and is operated in the style of a traditional American private social club. It was founded in 1928 by American businessmen and has more than 3,500 members at present. It offers a comfortable environment for individuals from all nations to meet and socialize.

The Yokohama Country & Athletic Club

Tokyo American Club
  • While a little farther afoot from central Tokyo, the Yokohama Country & Athletic Club is a unique organization modeled on sporting clubs in Europe and originally started as the Yokohama Cricket Club in 1868. It's evolved since then but still has excellent athletic facilities and offers a wide variety of athletic and sporting activities to its members.

Another option is to consider joining a community through volunteering. Volunteering is a great way to meet other people who share an interest in making a positive contribution and you'll find that working alongside others is a great way to build friendships. You can find suggestions in our previous article on volunteering in Tokyo.

Another thing to consider is joining a professional organization or society. There are a variety around Tokyo and would be great way to build connections for professional development.

Organizations for Women in Tokyo

Whether you're single or married, moving to a new country with a new language doesn't mean you have to make it all on your own. Especially in a cosmopolitan city like Tokyo, you're bound to find a network of people that will understand your struggles from a woman's perspective, and support you through both the good and bad.

Below is a list of organizations within Tokyo that focus on creating a positive environment of support and friendship for women expats living around the city.

Professional Organizations for Women

College Women's Association of Japan

College Women's Association of Japan
  • The College Women's Association of Japan (CWAJ) has been supporting Japanese and non-Japanese women interested in education, cross-cultural exchange, and friendship, since its establishment in 1949. The organization boasts a membership of 500 women from 30 different countries, and offers a wide array of opportunities for its worldly members to share unique cultural experiences with their Japanese peers. The CWAJ center can be found near Meguro Station on the Yamanote Line.

For Empowering Women Japan

For Empowering Women Japan
  • If you're looking to be supported and empowered in order to achieve your goals both professionally and personally, FEW Japan can help provide you with support. A women's networking group in Tokyo, FEW offers opportunities for worldly women to network with other women of diverse backgrounds. You'll have a pretty good chance for building up your professional network while also making friends who share similar goals and interests and are just as ambitious as you.

International Women in Communications

International Women in Communications
  • Do you work in the field of communications and feel like you're in an all-boys club? Perhaps it's time to get to know your fellow female journalists, PR agents, writers, photographers, and other communications field specialists, because The International Women in Communications features members in every field that fits under the broad "communications" umbrella. Whether you're a freelance blogger or a journalist covering breaking news stories, you're welcome to be a part of this mentor-mentee-based organization.

Foreign Women Lawyers Association

Foreign Women Lawyers Association
  • The Foreign Women Lawyers Association is a diverse group of women from across the globe. The group members and alumnae include women licensed in countries in all corners of the world, with many of its Japanese members having studied or practiced abroad. Even if you reside in in Japan for two or three years, the solid network of FWLA will last a lifetime.

Personal Organizations for Women

Association of Foreign Wives of Japanese

Association of Foreign Wives of Japanese
  • Are you married to a Japanese person and are currently living in Japan? Are you feeling homesick being so far away from home? Featuring opportunities for friendship that span cultures and generations, the women of AFWJ will be your family away from home. They'll help you get adjusted to Japanese culture and society, and you'll even have a number of opportunities for service, personal development, and the development of new skills through facilitating the organization. With approximately 470 members from 50 countries, you'll have a big family who understands exactly what you're going through.

Tokyo Union Church

Tokyo Union Church
  • If you're a person of faith and are looking for a convocation to join, try stopping by the Tokyo Union Church located just five minutes away from Omotesando Station in Shibuya. This organization offers a great opportunity to meet female expats from across the globe, learn about Japanese culture and explore your own faith and spirituality through activities such as volunteer work, programs, classes, tours, lunches and more. The network of friends you build at Tokyo Union Church will remain close to heart for decades to come.

Tokyo Pregnancy Groups

  • You can find information about maternity support groups in Tokyo by visiting our Childbirth in Tokyo page.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, all of the above suggestions still require that you get out and get to know people but can help make the process a little easier since they, in various forms and venues, offer structured environments conducive to meeting people and making friends. We hope this article helps get you on your way to long-lasting friendships in Tokyo!

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This entry was posted in Living Information


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