With nearly 14 million people, Tokyo provides ample career opportunities for enterprising and skilled professionals, making it one of the most popular cities in the world for a good reason. As the capital of technology, pop culture, and a culinary haven, many foreigners dream of living in Tokyo.
Some succeed in taking the first step of living in Tokyo as an expat, whether as a professional or foreign student. However, one question remains before they can start their new life as a Tokyoite: “Which is the best area to live in Tokyo?”
Considering that an expat will be starting a new life and potentially spending months, or even years, it makes perfect sense to research and discover suitable neighborhoods to call home beforehand.
This guide will help you discover the best neighborhoods to call home, what to remember when looking for apartments in Tokyo, and how the process could be different from simply stepping into a real estate agency.
The Best Neighborhoods To Live in Tokyo
We have listed 10 of the best areas to live in Tokyo and other details you’ll need to know. Without further do, let’s get started-
Bordering the Shibuya and Minato wards, Hiroo is an upscale residential area that’s popular with expats and wealthy locals alike. Known for its tree-lined streets, international atmosphere, and charming boutiques, Hiroo has a reputation for being one of Tokyo’s most desirable neighborhoods. The area is home to several embassies and international schools, making it a popular choice for expat families.
Nishimachi International School, located just a stone’s throw away from Hiroo, is an esteemed educational institution known for providing a robust K-9 curriculum. The British School in Tokyo, nestled in Hiroo, offers a high-quality, British-style curriculum for nursery to Year 13 students, and its diverse student body representing over 60 nationalities creates a truly international learning environment
In addition to its prestigious reputation, Hiroo boasts a variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes catering to both Japanese and international tastes. The nearby Arisugawa-no-miya Memorial Park provides residents with a tranquil green space for relaxation and recreation. With its convenient access to public transportation, including the Hibiya Line and multiple bus routes, Hiroo is an excellent choice for those seeking a cosmopolitan lifestyle in Tokyo.
- Upscale, cosmopolitan residential area
- Home to various international schools
- Rich in boutique shops and restaurants
- Accessible public transportation links
For expats living in Nakameguro, the experience is highly unique, with trendy cafes, artsy crowds, and sakura trees in the area. Despite the stylish establishments dotting the area, Nakameguro is still a residential area with a relaxed atmosphere, making it popular among foreigners calling Tokyo their home.
Along the Meguro River that cuts through the neighborhood are rows of sakura trees blooming in Spring. Another remarkable spot for an urban green space is the Meguro Sky Garden which stands above the hustle and bustle of Meguro, providing a respite surrounded by trees.
Residents can also look forward to outstanding lunches and dinners in Nakameguro. One standout is Tolo Pan Tokyo, an award-winning bakery with pastries, coffees, and even pasta and wine on its lunch menu. For everyday shopping, LIFE Supermarket and Tokyu Store make shopping for groceries a simple affair.
Getting in and out of Nakameguro is also easy, with Hibiya and Toyoko Lines connecting residents to other parts of Tokyo.
With all of the goodness concentrated in the area, Nakameguro is easily one of the best neighborhoods in Tokyo. The rent is also surprisingly affordable for such a prestigious neighborhood, with a one-bedroom apartment unit ranging around 150,000 Yen per month.
- Exciting combination of stylish dining options and a relaxed atmosphere
- Simple commute to other parts of Tokyo via Naka-Meguro Station
- When Spring arrives, the scenic walk along Meguro River blooms with sakura trees
- Surprisingly affordable rent
Boasting a calm and refined atmosphere, Daikanyama draws in equally high-profile people, with the neighborhood being popular with artists, actors, and other creative professionals. Daikanyama is also popular among expats, with some embassies that enhance the neighborhood’s international vibe.
Regarding green space, the nearby Saigoyama Park is situated on a hill, offering a great view of the city while taking a stroll amidst the greenery. Right across Saigoyama Park is Sugekari Park, a serene, traditional-style park with a pond that sets the stage for a wonderful picnic.
Daikanyama is well-equipped with a wide array of boutiques and restaurants that cater to high-end clientele. Residents of Daikanyama can also opt to shop at Peacock for their groceries if they are in the mood to cook up a serious dinner themselves.
One place to highlight is the Daikanyama T-Site, named one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. Not only selling books, but this complex also houses specialty stores and cafes popular among celebrities.
While the access to and from Daikanyama is not the best, as the Toyoko Line only services Daikanyyama Station, Shibuya Station is merely one station away from the neighborhood. In some cases, it will be within walking distance too. This proximity to one of Tokyo’s biggest train hubs still gives residents of Daikanyama an easy time commuting around Tokyo.
The combined advantages and prestige of Daikanyama make it the place everyone wants to live in if given a chance. A one-bedroom apartment is priced at around 190,000 Yen per month for expats looking to live in this enticing neighborhood.
- Easy access to ample green spaces
- Stylish cafes and restaurants, often frequented by creative professionals and celebrities
- Quiet atmosphere but still in close proximity to the heart of Tokyo
- Within walking distance of Shibuya and Ebisu
An extremely high-end neighborhood, Aoyama is known for its harmonious combination of quiet streets and luxurious shops, restaurants, and bars. It is situated nearby is the Meiji Jingu Outer Garden, a part of Tokyo’s most famous shrine styled in Western aesthetics. Visitors can even participate in sports in one of the garden’s facilities.
Residents of Aoyama are pampered by choices for shopping, with the organic supermarket Natural House in the neighborhood. More excitingly, the weekly farmers market is also a great time to peruse some of the freshest local produce while mingling. Foodies can also look forward to great pies from Granny Smith with fragrant, freshly brewed coffee.
For access, Aoyama is serviced by numerous train stations, namely, Omotesando Station, Gaienmae, Aoyama-Itchome Station, and Nogizaka Station, which make reaching other parts of Tokyo easy.
Aoyama’s fame as a high-end neighborhood, combined with its high degree of livability and amenities, makes it a truly prestigious area. With all of the prestige and ease comes a higher price point, where a single-bedroom apartment in Aoyama can be rented at around 230,000 Yen per month.
- Great options for food enthusiasts
- Vast green space with sports facilities
- 4 train lines for ease of access
- Famous for being a high-end neighborhood
Azabu-juban is one of the hottest neighborhoods for foreign professionals living in Tokyo, located in Minato-ku, just south of Roppongi. Known for its narrow streets, traditional atmosphere, and diverse range of shops and restaurants, Azabu-juban offers a unique blend of old-world charm and modern conveniences.
Residents of Azabu-juban, especially ones with family and children, can look forward to spending a pleasant day in Arisugawa Park. The park is notable for its stroller-friendly pathways, an open ground to play soccer, and popularity with other dog lovers in the morning.
Thanks to the ample number of supermarkets well-stocked with local and imported goods, shopping is easy in Azabu-juban.
For a night out, there are also bars, clubs, and fine cuisines from all over the world in the area to keep the evening animated. One fact that a foodie in Azabu-juban would appreciate is the availability of a real, New York-style pizzeria for expats from NY who miss a slice of home.
For accessibility, Azabu-juban is well-connected, being served by Hiroo, Roppongi, Azabujuban, and Shirokane-Takanawa stations.
The neighborhood’s fame as a place where the wealthy and the successful reside makes Azabu-juban a prestigious neighborhood to call home.
- Access to some of Tokyo’s best dining options
- Access to international supermarkets
- Family-friendly neighborhood with a big park
- Three nearby stations give unimpeded mobility to commute
Roppongi, located in Minato-ku, is a lively and cosmopolitan neighborhood known for its vibrant nightlife, world-class dining, and impressive cultural attractions. The area is particularly popular with expats and young professionals, thanks to its modern high-rise apartments and international atmosphere. Roppongi is also home to several embassies and the iconic Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown complexes, which offer luxury shopping and entertainment options.
The neighborhood boasts a number of cultural institutions, such as the Mori Art Museum and the National Art Center, Tokyo, making it a hub for art and culture enthusiasts.
Roppongi’s excellent public transportation options, including the Hibiya Line and Oedo Line, make it a convenient choice for those working or studying in the city. With its diverse range of offerings and energetic atmosphere, Roppongi is an excellent choice for those seeking a dynamic and cosmopolitan lifestyle in Tokyo.
- Vibrant nightlife and world-class dining
- Modern high-rise apartments and international atmosphere
- Hub for art and culture enthusiasts
- Excellent public transportation links
Befitting the eponymous God of Wealth, Luck, and Prosperity, Ebisu is a highly prestigious neighborhood that draws in crowds of similar tastes. While somewhat lacking in terms of green space, the area offers everything else in abundance.
This neighborhood is thriving, from specialty shops to craft beer bars and a plethora of shopping destinations in the shopping street near the station. Ebisu’s culinary scene is particularly notable, where residents can find refined traditional Japanese restaurants serving up multi-course Kaiseki-Ryori and Italian, French, and Spanish restaurants in the neighborhood.
Four different train lines pass the nearby Ebisu Station for highly convenient access to both downtown and suburbs in Tokyo, namely the Hibiya Line, Shonan-Shinjuku Line, Saikyo Line, and Yamanote Line.
Ebisu’s popularity with actresses and models also puts a slightly higher price tag on an apartment. A single-bedroom apartment is around 210,000 Yen per month, depending on your chosen block.
- Lively shopping street with a calm residential area
- Absolutely full of dining and drinking options
- Four train lines keep the residents merely minutes away from other parts of Tokyo
- Classy and prestigious neighborhood popular with actresses and other high-profile residents
For expats, especially ones with a family, Yoyogi is one neighborhood that must not be missed. The area is particularly catered to foreigners thanks to the presence of the Yoyogi International School and various embassies.
Yoyogi’s main green space is the massive Yoyogi Park, situated next to Meiji Shrine, where the area blooms in vibrant pink in Spring. Enjoying a picnic among the sakura trees is a must whenever the hanami or flower viewing party season arrives.
But Yoyogi is not only great for families, as the neighborhood’s wine bars and dining spots come to life in the evening, frequented by creative professionals and similarly exciting crowds. For more serious shopping, especially for fashion, Yoyogi is conveniently situated just next to Harajuku, the fashion capital of Tokyo.
Yoyogi is also serviced by four different stations on two train lines, the Chiyoda Line and Odakyu Line, making commuting to other parts of Tokyo easy.
It’s also very surprising to know that despite everything Yoyogi offers, a one-bedroom apartment rent is rather affordable, averaging only around 150,000 Yen per month.
- Family-friendly neighborhood
- Massive green spaces in the nearby Yoyogi Park with events often held in the park
- Animated crowds, with the neighborhood’s bars and pubs being particularly popular with creative professionals
- Affordable monthly rent
Kagurazaka, often referred to as Tokyo’s “Little Paris,” is a charming and historic neighborhood located in Shinjuku-ku. Known for its narrow cobblestone streets, traditional architecture, and an array of French-inspired cafes and shops, Kagurazaka offers a unique blend of Japanese and European culture. The area is also famous for its geisha houses and traditional Japanese restaurants, providing a glimpse into the city’s rich history.
Kagurazaka’s central location and excellent public transportation options, including the Tozai Line and the Oedo Line, make it a convenient choice for commuters.
The nearby Zenkokuji Temple and Akagi Shrine provide residents with tranquil spaces for contemplation and relaxation, while the neighborhood’s bustling shopping and dining scenes ensure that there’s always something to see and do in this captivating neighborhood.
- “Little Paris” with a blend of cultures
- Famous for geisha houses and traditional restaurants
- Excellent public transportation links
- Tranquil spaces and bustling shopping/dining scenes
Jiyugaoka is a charming and fashionable neighborhood located in Meguro-ku, with European-inspired architecture and quaint streets. The area is known for its relaxed atmosphere, stylish boutiques, and trendy cafes, making it a popular destination for those seeking a more laid-back lifestyle within the city.
Jiyugaoka is home to several beautiful parks, such as Kuhonbutsu Jōshinji Temple Park, which offers residents a peaceful retreat from the urban hustle.
The neighborhood is also known for its excellent dining options, ranging from traditional Japanese fare to international cuisine.
With convenient access to the Tokyu Toyoko Line and Tokyu Oimachi Line, Jiyugaoka is an excellent choice for those seeking a charming and stylish community within Tokyo.
- European-inspired architecture and quaint streets
- Relaxed atmosphere with stylish boutiques and cafes
- Beautiful parks for peaceful retreats
- Excellent dining options and convenient transportation links
Finding an Apartment in Japan is Different
The process of renting an apartment in Japan is a unique experience in itself. It generally starts with finding a real estate agency. As English isn’t commonly spoken in Japan, finding a real estate agency that provides their services in English and is experienced in helping foreigners rent an apartment would be a massive boon.
Working together with a real estate agent would make the whole process of renting an apartment in Tokyo so much smoother.
We at Tokyo Portfolio also run a brokerage agency, so feel free to contact us about finding your next property.
Tokyo is a city of contrasts, offering a wide range of neighborhoods to suit any taste, lifestyle, or budget. From the upscale sophistication of Hiroo and Aoyama to the creative energy of Nakameguro and Yoyogi, these 10 best areas to live in Tokyo showcase the diverse charm and appeal of Japan’s capital city.
Whether you’re a young professional, a family, or a retiree, there’s a perfect neighborhood for you in Tokyo. So pack your bags and start exploring this incredible metropolis!