Neighborhood Guide

Best Places to Live in Tokyo: 2016 Survey

These neighbourhoods were chosen as the best five places to live in greater Tokyo, based on a recent survey of locals.

#1 Ebisu

Ebisu, Tokyo. Photo: 陳 ポーハン via Flickr

Ebisu, Tokyo. Photo: 陳 ポーハン via Flickr

In SUUMO’s recently released 2016 survey, Tokyo locals ranked Ebisu as the neighborhood that they would most want to live in, taking the crown from the perennial favorite, Kichijoji. The headquarters of many international companies and embassies are also located nearby, which also makes the Ebisu neighborhood popular among ex-pats.

The atmosphere here is high-end but friendly and relaxed and the neighborhood hits the trifecta of central location, easy access to public transport, and desirable amenities.

The Ebisu neighborhood was developed on the site of a former brewery, Ebisu beer, which gave the area its name. The main reason for its popularity as a both a residential and leisure hub is Yebisu Garden Place. Yebisu Garden Place is one of Tokyo’s most pleasant dining, shopping, residential and working mini-cities since it opened in 1994. “Ebisu” is synonymous with “restaurants and izakaya” (Japanese-style pub) in Tokyo.

Read the full guide here: Ebisu area guide.

Average Rent in Ebisu

The average rent level in Ebisu reflects the desirability of this neighborhood. The following is the average monthly rent for the Ebisu neighborhood (data is from Home’s) as of March 2016.

  • Studio to 1-Bedroom (1R, 1K, 1DK): 126,700 yen ($1,114)
  • 1-Bedroom to 2-Bedroom (1LDK, 2K, 2DK): 224,100 yen ($1,970)
  • 2-Bedroom to 3-Bedroom (2LDK, 3K, 3DK): 311,700 yen ($2,740)
  • 3-Bedroom to 4-Bedroom (3LDK, 4K, 4DK): 406,700 yen ($3,580)

But you can certainly find budget and mid-range rental accommodations in Ebisu for much less than these average rent levels.

Browse Apartments for Rent in Ebisu

#2 Kichijoji

Kichijoji Station Shopping

Kichijoji, Musashino City, Tokyo

Situated in Musashino city, just west of Suginami ward, Kichijoji is ideally situated close enough to the central wards to be convenient, yet far enough away to have a far more relaxed atmosphere. It has a vibrant and diverse commercial district, is surrounded by peaceful residential areas and is home to the famed Inokashira Park.

Inokashira Park.

Inokashira Park, Mushashino City, Tokyo

JR Kichijoji Station is serviced by the Chuo and Sobu lines. The Chuo links Kichijoji directly to the commercial and transport hubs at Shinjuku and Tokyo, and, if one is feeling especially adventurous, hopping it in the other direction could take you as far west as Nagoya. The Sobu connects Kichijoji with Ochanomizu, Akihabara and onward to Chiba. Kichijoji Station is also the terminus for the Keio Inokashira line which heads through to Shibuya.

The majority of Kichijoji’s commercial and shopping areas are situated around the station and they have a little something to suit just about everyone’s needs.

The north side of the station is centred on two arterial shopping streets, The Sunroad heading north east and Nakamichi, heading north west. Closer to the station there are branded chains and department stores, but a few blocks in, and the boutiques, coffee houses, restaurants, patissiers, art galleries, bars and live houses take over. It is this diversity and selection of all things fashionable, edible and audible that calls to people across Tokyo.

South side of Kichijoji Station.

South side of Kichijoji Station.

Kichijoji thrives on passion and creativity, and thus, draws in passionate and creative folk as customers, workers and as residents. This gives the entire neighbourhood a distinctly bohemian feel. Tokyo’s figurative hard edges are ground down, every minute spent exploring all the little side-streets.

Average Rent in Kichijoji

  • Studio to 1-Bedroom (1R, 1K, 1DK): 75,900 yen ($701)
  • 1-Bedroom to 2-Bedroom (1LDK, 2K, 2DK): 110,740 yen ($1,023)
  • 2-Bedroom to 3-Bedroom (2LDK, 3K, 3DK): 170,910 yen ($1,579)
  • 3-Bedroom to 4-Bedroom (3LDK, 4K, 4DK): 180,810 yen ($1670)

Browse Apartments for Rent in Kichijoji

#3 Yokohama

Minato Mirai, Yokohama. Photo: Takashi Hososhima via Flickr

The Minato Mirai 21 district of Yokohama. The tall building on the left is Landmark Tower, the second tallest building in Japan. Photo: Takashi Hososhima via Flickr.

Yokohama is Japan’s second largest city with a population of over three million. It is located  just under 30 minutes south of Tokyo by train, on the Pacific coast.

It was one of the first cities open to western trade during the Meiji era and remains popular among expats who want to escape the higher density living of Tokyo. Many of its districts are built on a well-planned grid system with pedestrian-friendly streets, perfect for strolling and enjoying the ocean breezes.

Chinatown, Yokohama. Photo: José María Mateos via Flickr

Chinatown, Yokohama. Photo: José María Mateos via Flickr

Yokohama is probably best known for its Chinatown, which has hundreds of Cantonese restaurants and gift shops, catering to tourists and locals alike.

Minato Mirai 21, more commonly just called Minato Mirai, is another of Yokohama’s well-known neighbourhoods. Originally developed in the 1980’s as a major master-planned community and new urban center, it was meant to connect Yokohama’s traditionally important areas and commercial centres of Kannai and Yokohama station.

Today it is a major center for business, shopping and tourism in the greater Tokyo area, and is a great place for couples and families to spend a day or the whole weekend, with several major hotels, art museums, and countless shops, restaurants, and cafes along a wide pedestrian mall.

The Yamate district of Yokohama is known for preserving of the residences of 19thC ex-pats. Berrick Hall is a registered historical building of Yokohama. Designed in 1930 by architect J.H. Morgan as the residence for a British trading merchant, B.R. Berrick. It served as the dormitory for St. Joseph’s International School until 2000. Now this building is opened to the public. The building is very popular, and is often used as a wedding venue. Photo: yokohamajapan.com

The Yamate district of Yokohama is known for preserving some of the residences of 19th-century ex-pats. Berrick Hall is a registered historical building of Yokohama. Designed in 1930 by architect J.H. Morgan as the residence for a British trading merchant, B.R. Berrick. It served as the dormitory for St. Joseph’s International School until 2000. Now this building is opened to the public. The building is very popular, and is often used as a wedding venue. Photo: yokohamajapan.com

Average Rent near Yokohama Station

  • Studio to 1-Bedroom (1R, 1K, 1DK): 80,300 yen ($742)
  • 1-Bedroom to 2-Bedroom (1LDK, 2K, 2DK): 125,600 yen ($1160)
  • 2-Bedroom to 3-Bedroom (2LDK, 3K, 3DK): 183,000 yen ($1690)
  • 3-Bedroom to 4-Bedroom (3LDK, 4K, 4DK): 234,200 yen ($2163)

Browse Apartments for Rent in Yokohama

#4 Musashi Kosugi

Musashi Kosugi

Musashi Kosugi

“Musashi where?” you might say, and you would not be alone. Musashi Kosugi station is located in the Naka Hara ward of Kawasaki, which sounds distant from Tokyo. In fact, it is only a 16-minute ride to Shibuya on the Tokyu Toyoko line.

Musashi Kosugi is popular among locals who want a relatively easy commute to central Tokyo, without having to pay a fortune for rent. Since the late 2000s, a small building boom around the station has transformed it into a “tower mansion” neighborhood, with at least five apartment buildings in excess of 45-stories near the station.

There is an abundance of shopping and dining in the station area, including a big branch of Itoh Yokado (a large discount department store chain), which makes it a stereotypical bedroom community to come home to; but stereotypical can be be quite convenient!

Average Rent in Musashi Kosugi

  • Studio to 1-Bedroom (1R, 1K, 1DK): 76,500 yen ($707)
  • 1-Bedroom to 2-Bedroom (1LDK, 2K, 2DK): 116,600 yen ($1077)
  • 2-Bedroom to 3-Bedroom (2LDK, 3K, 3DK): 180,200 yen ($1665)
  • 3-Bedroom to 4-Bedroom (3LDK, 4K, 4DK): 230,600 ($2130)

#4 Jiyugaoka

On the south side of Jiyugaoka. Photo: jiyugaoka-minami.com

On the south side of Jiyugaoka. Photo: jiyugaoka-minami.com

Tied for fourth place with Musashi Kosugi, is a station you may more likely have heard of: Jiyugaoka.

In fact, the popularity of Jiyugaoka as a residential neighborhood would not be a surprise for locals. With its leafy tree-lined streets and many boutiques, eateries and cafes, Jiyugaoka is synonymous with “calm and sophisticated”. It is where you live if you like to take a pleasant stroll around on your day off and have an excellent meal at your local hang out (it won’t be easy to pick a favourite restaurant!).

Yet, Jiyugaoka is only ten minutes by train from Shibuya, so you can easily get to the heart of frenetic Tokyo, if and when you want.

  • Studio to 1-Bedroom (1R, 1K, 1DK): 91,300 yen ($843)
  • 1-Bedroom to 2-Bedroom (1LDK, 2K, 2DK): 140,300 ($1296)
  • 2-Bedroom to 3-Bedroom (2LDK, 3K, 3DK): 200,200 ($1849)
  • 3-Bedroom to 4-Bedroom (3LDK, 4K, 4DK): 272,500 ($2517)

Browse Apartments for Rent in Jiyugaoka

Please see this post for the #6 to #10 Best Places to Live in Tokyo

You may also be interested in: Best places to live in Kyoto according to the locals

  • 3ddie

    Coming from NYC, those rent prices are amazing, even with strong Dollar, those rent prices are only available here at the worst neighborhoods in NY. Very far from midtown Manhattan.
    I loved Meguro when I was there, I would often bike ride past Ebisu, so I can see how that neighborhood is so popular, although there were too many expats to my taste. I prefer seeing more of the local culture, which is why I prefer Meguro.

    • Jameika

      You’re saying you can recognise when someone is an “expat”? By their appearance? By their suits? By their race? And they’re not part of “the local culture”? That just might be quite a racist thing to say ‘coming from NYC’, wouldn’t you think? Tokyo is a giant city with plenty of different kinds of people and plenty of different kinds of culture. Japan is racist enough without people like you expressing that certain people don’t belong. Surely you could find better things to say about Meguro than it doesn’t have the kind of people you don’t like looking at.

      • 3ddie

        Whatever dude/dudette, 97% of Japanese are ethnic Japanese, if I see white people that speak native English, or European languages, I would safely assume that they’re expats, it’s not Queens, NY where you should never assume where the person comes from.
        Stop being so sensitive, and you seem to have missed my entire point because of your silly reply.

        • Jameika

          You must be white. Only someone of a dominant ‘racial’ group would say something like that.

          97% of Japan are Japanese citizens. Japan keeps zero statistics on ethnicity in population surveys, so no one knows what you’re saying you know.

          And we’re not talking about Japan, we’re talking about Tokyo, which is about 10% non-citizen (nothing compared to Queens, of course, but we’re not comparing).

          You’re probably right about Ebisu. Most of those people speaking European languages are probably expats, but you missed the point: they’re very much part of Tokyo’s local culture. What you seem to be desiring is something else. A mountain village where little has changed in hundreds of years sounds like what you’re looking for. They’re great places, but they’re not Tokyo.

          And of course I’m sensitive: I walk down Tokyo streets speaking English to my mother, but that doesn’t make us not Japanese. Many people treat us in a similar way that you seem to be comfortable with (and have my whole life), but this is my home and I am part of it. There are plenty of us who don’t “look Japanese” (even last year’s Miss Japan), so when I read that you don’t, essentially, enjoy seeing us here because we’re not part of some “local culture” you would rather see, I find it offensive.

          I hope that clears my comment up for you. Perhaps the next time you come to Tokyo, you can enjoy more of what we have to offer with a more open mind. I wish the same thing for the people of my country as well.

          • 3ddie

            I understand, you are surely a minority, as a Gaijin, even a born Japanese you will always be considered a foreigner, it’s not endemic of Japanese, it’s a SE Asia issue. I’ve met Koreans in the US that refer to me as a “foreigner” in my own country, because in their Korean group, I am.
            So, I didn’t mean to insult you, but I guess my desire is to meet local people, even Hafu. I met many in the Brazilian community that were born in Japan, and didn’t speak Portuguese well, and they were also not treated as Japanese. To me, it’s all interesting.

            So, I don’t know, do you have Western expectations in an ancient culture?

          • Jameika

            Thanks for that.

            I don’t know what you mean. I have a Western outlook sometimes, most likely. It’s hard to say. And no culture is ancient. There’s nothing particular to these islands that would make me think of it as an ‘ancient’ culture. There are ancient aspects to all cultures, but they all change over time, so we are all living in cultures that are ancient and new simultaneously. That change is what makes us all human.

          • Tijs

            Jameika you are a crazy racist full of prejudice with that “You must be white. Only someone of a dominant ‘racial’ group would say something like that.”

          • Jameika

            You’re best off looking up what “racism” is, then. I don’t think it’s a prejudice to point out that only people of dominant ethic groups lack an understanding of how ‘race’ affects the everyday lives of people who are not of that dominant ‘racial’ group. I never said that I wanted to harm or disenfranchise a group based on what they look like. I never even said anything bad about white people.
            Read the whole thread before calling me racist (unless you’re a troll and then just go away). You’d likely notice that we’re talking about the dominant ‘racial’ group of Japan doing the same things that the dominant ‘racial’ group of the US does. I still don’t think I’m the racist here.

  • Jameika

    Yokohama is on this list, so one of the best places to live in Tokyo is not Tokyo? That’s funny.

    • REJ

      Thank you for your comment. The survey asked people to name the best places to live in “greater Tokyo” which was defined to include Tokyo, Chiba, Saitama, and Kanagawa prefectures. Yokohama is in Kanagawa prefecture, and it made the list.

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  • Troy Studmuffen Minor

    As I`m reading these comments I feel as though I have to ask: Is Japan really that racist? On a scale of 1 to the U.S in terms of racism. I love Japanese culture but I hate to be in places where I don’t feel welcome. Give it to me straight. I can take it.

    • Kiran Kumar Bokkesam

      Unfortunately it seems like anything is hardly given as straight as expected in Japan, even for other Japanese people.