Best Places to Live

Best Places to Live in Tokyo: 2018 Survey

Here are the most desirable places to live in greater Tokyo, according to a recent survey of locals conducted earlier this year by SUUMO. The survey asked local residents to name the best places to live in greater Tokyo, which was defined to include Tokyo, Chiba, Saitama, and Kanagawa prefectures.

#1 Yokohama

In this year’s survey, the best place to live in greater Tokyo isn’t even in Tokyo itself. The lovely bayside city of Yokohama, located about 40-km south of the capital, took the top spot, jumping from last year’s number third place finish.

Singles, couples, and families have always been drawn to Yokohama’s open and vibrant atmosphere that combines the charm and international atmosphere of a historic port city, with world class dining, shopping, and entertainment. Yokohama is also very popular with foreign residents, drawn by its numerous international-standard housing options, international schools, and convenience. Yokohama offers everything Tokyo has, only in a much lower density and more relaxing environment.

The Minato Mirai district in Yokohama is a popular choice for ex-pats looking for high-rise international-standard housing in a development specifically designed to showcase the city’s international focus. Photo: Wikimedia

Another area popular with ex-pats is Yamate, a historic neighborhood in Naka Ward. It is famous for having been a residential area set aside for foreigners during the final years of the Edo period through Taisho. Today’ it is a popular tourist destination, but in fact, it is still primarily a high-end residential area. Here you will find historic residential properties, ornamental gardens and public parks, as well as luxurious single-family western-style homes for rent.

The Yamate neighborhood of Yokohama is a high-end residential area dotted with historic residences, tree-lined streets, and ornamental gardens.

Apartments for Rent in Yokohama

Yokohama consists of 18 wards. As is the case with any major city, average rent tends to be higher in the the central wards (Naka, Nishi, Minami, Isogo, Hodogawa, Konan, and Tostuka).

Currently, on Real Estate Japan, you can find many options for budget rentals in the ¥30,000 ($282) in Asahi, Minami, Nishi and Kanazawa wards.

As mentioned we mentioned above, if you are looking for high-end ex-pat style accommodations, Yokohama also has many desirable options, mainly concentrated in Minato Mirai and Yamate, and the central wards in general.

Please see the listings here: Yokohama apartments.

Average Rent near Yokohama Station

  • Studio to 1-Bedroom (1R, 1K, 1DK):¥80,300 ($755)
  • 1-Bedroom to 2-Bedroom (1LDK, 2K, 2DK):¥125,600 ($1181)
  • 2-Bedroom to 3-Bedroom (2LDK, 3K, 3DK):¥183,000 ($1720)
  • 3-Bedroom to 4-Bedroom (3LDK, 4K, 4DK):¥234,200 ($2201)

#2 Ebisu

Taking the number two spot this year is Ebisu, retaining its position from last year.

Ebisu Garden Place, one of Tokyo’s most pleasant dining, shopping mini-cities.

The atmosphere in Ebisu is high-end but friendly and relaxed. It has everything an urban dweller would want: central location, easy access to public transport, and desirable amenities.

The neighborhood is also very popular with ex-pats because a number of embassies and international corporate headquarters are located in the vicinity. See this article for a rundown of the many housing options available in Ebisu: Ebisu living guide.

Its popularity as a residential and leisure hub is also due to 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 also synonymous with “restaurants and izakaya” (Japanese-style pub) in Tokyo.

Ebisu Yokocho, a vibrant izakaya arcade catering to the after-5pm crowd and offering everything from wine bars to sushi and grilled delights. It has been a landmark in Ebisu since it opened in 1998.

Apartments for Rent in Ebisu

Apartments for rent in Ebisu start around ¥70,000 ($641) a month for a studio apartment.

You can find less expensive options, such as short-term rentals and guesthouses here: Ebisu share houses.

Please see listings for Ebisu apartments.

Average Rent in Ebisu

The average rent level in Ebisu reflects the desirability of this neighborhood.

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

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

#3 Kichijoji

Kichijoji, a perennial favorite, fell from the top spot in last year’s survey to number three this year.

Kichijoji night life. Photo: Nayalan Moodley

Kichijoj, located in Musashino city, just west of Suginami Ward is trending with singles, couples and young families who are drawn to its diverse and bohemian atmosphere. While you can find name-brand chains in and near the station, Kichijoji’s side streets are filled with endless boutiques, coffee houses, restaurants, patissieres, art galleries, bars and live houses.

Kichijoji is synonymous with bohemian fashion. Photo: Nayalan Moodley

This a perfect neighborhood if you want to live in a location that is not too far from the city center but with plenty going on right at your doorstep.

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. It’s about a 20-minute direct ride from Kichijoji to Shinjuku. The Sobu line 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.

For Tokyo locals, Kichijoji is synonymous with bohemian fashion and good but inexpensive eats.

For more in-depth info on Kichijoji please read the Kichijoji area guide.

Apartments for Rent in Kichijoji

Apartments for rent in Kichijoji start in the high-¥40,000 ($367) for a small studio apartment.

Please see listings for Kichijoji apartments.

Average Rent in Kichijoji

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

#4 Shinagawa

Jumping from number five last year, the Shinagawa station area, landed at number four this year.

Shinagawa Ward, which borders Tokyo Bay, is one of Tokyo’s 23 special wards. Shinagawa station is of Tokyo’s main transportation hubs, and despite its name, is located in Minato Ward, just north of Shinagawa Ward.

If you want to live in a bustling uber-urban and high-rise environment, with convenient access to major train lines like the Yamanote, and direct connections to Haneda and Narita airports and the shinkansen, this is the neighborhood for you.

Shinagawa Station, Takanawa Entrance. Image: Wikimedia

Shinagawa station has two exits. The Takanawa Exit, on the west side, is dominated by hotels, shopping malls, and the Shinagawa Prince Hotel complex, as well as a major aquarium.

The Konan Exit is on the east side. Almost every foreigner living in the greater Tokyo area has probably been through the Konan exit at one time or another because this is the exit you take to go to the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau (to apply for or renew your visa)! In recent years, the Konan side has undergone extensive renovation to make it into a next-century business and commercial hub, with an abundance of retail and dining options.

Shinagawa Station, Konan side. Image: Goo

As we discuss in this article (Shinagawa to be Japan’s Gateway to the World?), Shinagawa has seen healthy appreciation in residential property values in recent years due to a major urban revitalization project that started in 2014 that is meant to transform Shinagawa into Tokyo’s genkan (reception area) to the world.

In the spring 2020, a new station, tentatively called Kita Shinagawa will also be completed that will serve both the Yamanote and Keihin-Tohoku Lines and will be the first new station on the Yamanote line since Nish-Nippori was built in 1971.

Shinagawa will also be the terminal point in Tokyo for a maglev (magnetic levitation) train that will begin commercial service between Tokyo and Nagoya in 2027. Currently, it takes about 100 minutes on the shinkansen (bullet train) to go between Tokyo and Nagoya. The new maglev train will cut that to 40 minutes.

Apartments for Rent in Shinagawa

There are many good options for renting in Shinagawa, from mid- to high-rise apartment complexes to single-family homes.

If you are looking for an entry-level apartment, you can find studio apartments starting in the ¥70,000 ($641) a month range. Expect to pay in the ¥1,100,000 a month for ex-pat level rentals.

Please see the listings here: Shinagawa apartments

Average Rent in Shinagawa

The average rent for an apartment near Shinagawa is:

  • Studio (1R, 1K, 1DK):¥108,500 yen ($994)
  • 1BR to 2BR (1LDK, 2K, 2DK):¥204,000 ($1868)
  • 2BR to 3BR (2LDK, 3K, 3DK):¥286,700($2,626)
  • 3BR to 4BR (3LDK, 4K, 4DK):¥318,200 ($2,915)

#5 Ikebukuro

Ikebukuro Sunshine City

Ikebukuro is a major commercial and shopping district (really, a mini-city inside Tokyo) and the second busiest station in the world, after Shinjuku, with 2.71 million passengers a day on average in 2007. It primarily serves commuters coming in from northwestern Tokyo and Saitama prefecture.

It is very urban and very convenient. Here you will find the Sunshine City complex (which includes a 60-story mixed-used skyscraper with an observation deck, aquarium, planetarium, and shopping mall), branches of Seibu and Tobu, two large department store chains, major electronic chains, and shopping and restaurants galore. In recent years, it has also developed a small otaku sub-culture.

Live here if you want to be right on the Yamanote line and have easy access to points in north and west of Tokyo and shopping at your doorstep.

From Ikebukuro, you can access JR lines (the Yamanote, Saikyo, and Shonan Shinjuku), two privately operated lines (Seibu Ikebukuro and Tobu Tojo lines), and three subway lines (the Marunouchi, Yurakucho, and Fukutoshin lines).

A number of Real Estate Japan’s office mates currently live in or have lived in Ikebukuro, and here’s how they describe living there: bustling, vibrant and crowded, it’s a great neighborhood for young people and something like Shibuya but not as crazy. It is a “good place to live as one of the “stops” in your life, but I would not buy a house there,” says one current resident, “It’s just two crowded.” Apparently, it is also the place to go to find a good hair stylist or nail salon. So, there you have it.

Average Rent in Ikebukuro

The average rent for an apartment near Ikebukuro (as of March 2016) is:

  • Studio (1R, 1K, 1DK): 86,600 yen ($789)
  • 1BR to 2BR (1LDK, 2K, 2DK): 139,500 yen ($1272)
  • 2BR to 3BR (2LDK, 3K, 3DK): 200,800 yen ($1831)
  • 3BR to 4BR (3LDK, 4K, 4DK): 258,700 yen ($2350)

To see apartment listings in Ikebukuro: Apartments for rent in Ikebukuro. Share houses in Ikebukuro start from around 26,000 yen a month. Studio apartment listings start from the low 40,000 yen a month range.

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

Source SUUMO