What are the most popular places for foreigners to live in Tokyo? 2019 By Nationality – Europeans – Part 1

In this series of articles, we look at the most popular places for foreigners to live in Tokyo, based on the most recent data available from the Tokyo Metropolitan government.

In Part 1, we give an overview of the foreigner population in Tokyo and zoom in on registered foreigners from Europe.

How many foreigners live in Tokyo?

According to the Tokyo Metropolitan government‘s January 2019 data on registered foreigners, 551,683 foreigners live in Tokyo. Of these, 465,191 (84.3%) live in the Tokyo 23 Wards. The total number in all of Tokyo represents a year-on-year increase of about 5.79%

As explained in a previous article (Where in Tokyo do most foreigners live? (2018 edition)), in addition to the 23 Wards, Tokyo includes 26 more cities (市-shi), five towns ( -chō or machi), and eight villages ( -son or -mura). The Tokyo metropolitan government also administers  two island chains in the Pacific Ocean: the Izu Islands, and the Ogasawara Islands, which are located more than 1,000 km away from the mainland.

As of January 2019, the total population of Tokyo was 13,857,443, so the registered foreigner population of the metropolis is about 3.98%. This represents a slight increase from 2018, when foreigners were about 3.79% of the population.

What countries do most foreigners come from?

The overwhelming majority (87.5%) of foreigners living in Tokyo come from Asia. Below we give a breakdown by continent and Top 10 countries.

By Continent

Top 10 Countries

  1. China
  2. Korea
  3. Viet Nam
  4. Philippines
  5. Nepal
  6. Taiwan
  7. United States
  8. India
  9. Malaysia
  10. Thailand

Where do most foreigners live in Tokyo?

If we look at the data for all foreigners, the Top 5 ranking is as follows:

  1. Shinjuku Ward
  2. Edogawa Ward
  3. Adachi Ward
  4. Toshima Ward
  5. Koto Ward

By Ward

However, if we break down the data by nationality, we see that other wards are more popular. For example, as the data below show, the most popular ward for Europeans is Minato, which comes in only at #11 the overall ranking. Setagaya Ward is ranked #10 for all foreigners in Tokyo, but scores second place among Europeans. Shinjuku Ward, which ranks #1 overall for foreigners comes in at #3 for Europeans.

What are the most popular wards for Europeans?

Numbers in parentheses indicates European percentage of total foreigner population in Tokyo as a whole (551,683) and Europeans as a percentage of foreigners living in the 23 Wards (465,191)

Total number of Europeans in Tokyo Including Western Suburbs: 30,864 (5.6% of total foreigner population)

Total number of Europeans in 23 Wards: 27,234 (5.85% of foreigner population in 23 Wards)

Top 5 Most Popular Wards for Europeans living in Tokyo 23 Wards

Numbers in parentheses indicates percentage of total European population (27,234) living in the indicated Ward.

  1. Minato Ward (13.3%)
  2. Setagaya Ward (10.4%)
  3. Shinjuku Ward (8.8%)
  4. Shibuya Ward (8.5%)
  5. Meguro Ward (5.90%)

Top 5 European Nationalities living in Tokyo

French and UK nationals are the top two nationalities among Europeans living in Tokyo, with the UK population trailing by just a smidgen. Together, the top five nationalities comprise about 60% of all Europeans living in Tokyo.

  1. France (6,685, 21.7% of Europeans living in Tokyo)
  2. United Kingdom (6,302, 20.4%)
  3. Germany (2,830, 9.2%)
  4. Italy (1,952, 6.3%)
  5. Spain (1,265, 4.1%)

Where do most French live in Tokyo?

The French population (comprising of 6,685)  in Tokyo is concentrated in the same five wards as the European population as a whole, but the Top 5 are in a slightly different order.

Shinjuku Ward is the most popular ward among French nationals. One reason may be that there is a long-established community of French citizens living in the Iidabashi / Ichigaya /Kudanshita neighborhoods of Shinjuku Ward (Iidabashi station actually straddles three ward: Shinjuku, Chiyoda, and Bunkyo wards) .

The French Institute is located in Ichigaya, Shinjuku Ward. The Institut français du Japon offers French classes, and cultural activities.Image: Wikimedia

The Iidabashi / Ichigaya /Kundashita area used to be home to the French international school (the Lycée Français International de Tokyo) in Tokyo. The French international school was moved to the Takinogawa area of Kita Ward a few years ago, but many French families still live in the Iidabashi and Kagurazaka neighborhood, where the French Insitute (Institut français du Japon) is also located.

The French embassy is located in Minato Ward.

  1. Shinjuku Ward (12.9%)
  2. Minato Ward (12.3%)
  3. Shibuya Ward (10.7%)
  4. Setagaya Ward (9.1%)
  5. Meguro Ward (6.7%)

Where do most UK citizens live in Tokyo?

The UK population (comprising of 6,302)  in Tokyo is concentrated in the same five wards as the European population as a whole, but the Top 5 are in a slightly different order. The most popular ward is Minato, with about 15% of the UK population choosing this central ward as their home in Tokyo. Setagaya Ward is a close second with 14%.

Setagaya is located just west of Tokyo and is known for its many family-friendly neighborhoods (for example, the Futako Tamagawa Rise shopping and residential development in Futako Tamagawa), proximity to natural areas (especially along the Tama River and Komazawa Olympic Park), and a number of well-ranked universities. Many families choose to live on the Den-en-toshi line, which has its eastern terminus at Shibuya Station.

The British embassy in Tokyo. Image: Wikimedia

The British embassy is located in Chiyoda Ward.

  1. Minato Ward (15.7%)
  2. Setagaya Ward (14.5%)
  3. Shibuya Ward (11.0%)
  4. Shinjuku Ward (7.11%)
  5. Meguro Ward (6.84%)

Where do most Germans live in Tokyo?

The German population (consisting of 2,830)  in Tokyo is concentrated in five wards, four of which are the same as for the overall European population. The difference is Ota Ward, which is the third most popular ward for Germans, coming in after Setagaya and Minato.

The German embassy is located in Minato Ward, as well as the Goethe Institut (which offers German lessons and other cultural activities).

The Goethe Institut offers language classes and many cultural activities. Image via: Visit Minato

  1. Setagaya Ward (14.8%)
  2. Minato Ward (14.4%)
  3. Ota Ward (9.3%)
  4. Shinjuku Ward (7.1%)
  5. Meguro Ward (6.1%)

Where do most Italians live in Tokyo?

The Italian population (consisting of 1,952)  in Tokyo is concentrated in five wards, all the same as for the European population as a whole.

  1. Minato Ward (14.2%)
  2. Setagaya Ward (9.8%)
  3. Shibuya Ward (9.6%)
  4. Shinjuku Ward (8.0%)
  5. Meguro Ward (6.5%)

Embassy of Italy in Minato Ward, Tokyo. Image: Wikimedia

Where do most Spanish citizens live in Tokyo?

  1. Minato Ward (11.2%)
  2. Shinjuku Ward (10.2%)
  3. Setagaya Ward (7.7%)
  4. Shibuya Ward (7.3%)
  5. Nakano Ward (6.8%)

Embassy of Spain in Minato Ward, Tokyo. Image: Wikimedia

Below, we give an overview of Minato Ward, the most popular ward for Europeans living in Tokyo.

Minato Ward

Minato Ward is considered one of the 5 central Tokyo wards (Chiyoda, Minato, Chuo, Shibuya, and Shinjuku) and includes:

  • Many of the city’s iconic landmarks (Tokyo Tower and the Rainbow Bridge)
  • Major hub stations (including Shinbashi and Shinagawa)
  • Premiere business districts (including Akasaka, Toranomon and Hamamatsucho)
  • Shopping and entertainment destinations (Roppongi Hills, Omotesando, Odaiba),
  • Many government buildings and embassies.

Minato also has many of the city’s most exclusive residential neighborhoods (including Roppongi Hills, Aoyama, Azabu, Shiba, Shirokane, and Takanawa).

Popular residential neighborhoods in Minato Ward

Home to numerous embassies, excellent public and international schools, quiet narrow streets, expat-dense, international influences vie with Edo-period appeal. Popular with expats and cosmopolitan Japanese alike, this family-friendly suburb boasts top-class amenities. Click on the photo for a guide to living in Azabu Juban. Photo by Chris Mollison

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Lead photo: Tokyo Disney Sea via Pixabay (royalty-free)