Living in Tokyo

Where in Tokyo do most foreigners live?

In this article we take a look at the foreigner population of Tokyo to see what nations are most represented and where in Tokyo most foreigners live. The data comes from a recent survey by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

What do we mean by Tokyo?

Tokyo can mean a number of things depending on what geographic definition you use.

The Tokyo Metropolis

In this article, we are only looking at the population of foreigners living in the administrative boundaries of the Tokyo Metropolis (東京都 Tōkyō-to). Most of the Tokyo Metropolis consists of the mainland areas: the Tokyo 23 Wards lying to the east and the Tama area, to the west (on Real Estate Japan, we sometimes refer to the Tama area as the the Tokyo western suburbs).

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 mainland portion of the Tokyo consists of the 23 Wards to the east and the cities and towns of the “Tama” area to the west.

Izu Oshima is the largest of the Izu Islands, a group of volcanic islands under the administration of the Tokyo government. They are off the coast of the Izu Peninsula.

The Izu and Ogasawara Islands

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.

What percentage of Tokyo’s population consists of foreign residents?

As of March 2018, the total population of Tokyo was 13,754,043. Of that number, 3.79% or 521,500 are registered foreign residents.

What is the breakdown of foreigners by continent of origin?

The key takeaway from the data is that the large majority (87.6%) are from Asia. This is followed by Europe (5.6%) and North America (4.1%).

What nations are most represented in Tokyo’s foreigner population?

The top five Asian countries by resident foreigner population are: China (with 199,949), Korea (90,438), Viet Nam (32,334), the Philippines (32,089), and Nepal (26,157).

The top five European countries  by resident foreigner population are: France (6,337), the United Kingdom (6,107), Germany (2,835), Russia (2,561), and Italy (1,848).

The top three North American countries by resident foreigner population are: the United States (17,578), Canada (3,075), and Mexico (549).

The top three South American countries by resident foreigner population are: Brazil (3,206), Peru (1,857), and Colombia (519).

The top two Oceanian countries by resident foreigner population are: Australia (3,215) and New Zealand (852).

The top three African countries by resident foreigner population are: Ghana (523), Nigeria (523), and Egypt (294).

How many foreigners live in the Tokyo 23 Wards?

The majority of foreigners living in Tokyo, 439,959 or 84.4% live in the Tokyo 23 Wards.

How popular are the western suburbs?

About 15.6% of the total foreigner population of Tokyo lives in the Tama western suburbs. The five most popular western suburban cities are: Hachioji (with a foreigner population of 12,219), Machida (5,852), Kodaira (4,998), Fuchu (4,940), and Nishi-Tokyo (4,309).

Are there foreigners living on the outlying islands?

There are a grand total of 252 registered foreigners living on the islands of Oshima, Miyake, Hachijo, and Ogasawara.

What are the top wards in terms of foreign residents?

1. Shinjuku

Shinjuku Ward is home to the highest population of foreigners in the 23 Wards. About 9.6% of the total foreigner population of the 23 Wards live in Shinjuku Ward.

Major stations and neighborhoods in Shinjuku Ward include: Shinjuku, Ochiai (a residential area in the northwestern corner of the ward), Okubo (Tokyo’s historic ethnic Korean neighborhood), Totsuka (the area near Takadanobaba Station and Waseda University), Toyama (east of Okubo and south of Waseda University), Ushigome (a largely residential area in the eastern part of the ward, home to Ichigaya and Iidabashi stations as well upscale residential Kagurazaka), and Yotsuya (another upscale residential neighborhood).

The Shinjuku skyline by night. Image (Wikimedia)

2. Edogawa

Despite the stereotype of foreigners being concentrated in the central wards (Shinjuku, Shibuya, Chuo, Minato, and Chiyoda), the second most popular ward for foreigners is Edogawa, located to the east of the city and bordering Chiba to the east and Tokyo Bay to the south. About 7.6% of the total foreigner population of the 23 Wards can be found in Edogawa Ward.

Major stations in Edogawa Ward include: Koiwa, Funabori, Nishi Kasai, Kasai. At the southern tip of Edogawa Ward is Kasai Rinkai Park, which consists of a bird sanctuary and aquarium.

Kasai Rinkai Park in Edogawa Ward

3. Adachi

Third is Adachi Ward, with 6.8% of the total foreigner population of the 23 Wards.

It is located north of the center of Tokyo. The ward consists of two separate areas: a small strip of land between the Sumida River and Arakawa River and a larger area north of the Arakawa River.

Major stations in Adachi Ward include: Ayase, Gotanno, Umejima, and Toneri.

Ayase is a major station in Adachi Ward.

4. Toshima

Fourth is Toshima Ward. Toshima is considered one of the eight central wards of Tokyo is and located in the north-center of Tokyo. It has 6.6% of the total foreigner population of the 23 Wards.

Major stations in Toshima Ward include: Ikebukuro and Sugamo.

Ikebukuro Sunshine City

5. Koto

Koto Ward, literally “River East” has the 23 Wards’ fifth highest population of foreigners, with 6.3% of the total foreigner population. Koto Ward is bordered on the west by the Sumida River and on the east by the Arakawa (River), just across the river is Edogawa Ward (number 2 in the ranking). Tokyo Bay is to the south.

The main neighborhoods in Koto Ward include: Kameido, Kiba, Kiyosumi, Monzen-nakacho, Shirakawa, and Toyosu. Part of Odaiba is also in Koto Ward.

Odaiba by night. Image: Wikimedia

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