Tokyo, the capital of Japan, is a very clean and orderly megacity considering its size and population base, currently at around 12 million inhabitants. It has been estimated that up to 50 million people could be in Tokyo on any given business day. Metro Tokyo is a "province" (known as Tokyo-to) and includes the cities of Tokyo, Machida, Tachikawa, etc.
The city of Tokyo consists of 23 wards (ku in the Japanese language): Adachi-ku, Arakawa-ku, Bunkyo-ku, Edogawa-ku, Katshishika-ku, Kita-ku, Koto-ku, Itabashi-ku, Suginami-ku, Sumida-ku, Taito-ku, Toshima-ku, Nakano-ku, and Nerima-ku; and the areas where most expats reside are Chiyoda-ku, Chuo-ku, Minato-ku, Meguro-ku, Ohta-ku, Setagaya-ku, Shibuya-ku, Shinagawa-ku, and Shinjuku-ku.
Some well-noted neighborhoods full of expats (also known in street slang as "Gaijin Ghettoes") include: Hiroo, Roppongi, Minami Azabu, Moto Azabu, Azabu Juban, Nishi Azabu, Minami Aoyama, Jingumae, Shoto, Uehara, Kami Osaki, Shimo Meguro, Kami Meguro, Aobadai, Yagumo, Ichibancho, Nibancho, Sanbancho, and Sanno.
The mass transit system including local trains and subways are incredibly thorough and schedules are adhered to very strictly. One of the most surprising aspects is to see buses arrive at bus stops on time for the most part, especially considering the havoc traffic jams can play. The subway lines are color coded to ease navigation.
Expatriate housing for families is priced in the neighborhood of 500,000 ~ 1.5 million yen (US$4,100 ~ $12,500 ) for the most part, which will include a parking space for one motor vehicle. Expatriates without families can find apartments for less than that (expat transferees usually live in apartments no less than Yen 250,000 per month US$2,100) but the floor space of an apartment in central Tokyo at that price would be equivalent to a loft in Manhattan. Obviously the further one travels from the city's center the less the price per square meter.
Tokyo was made the nation's capital by shogunate Hideyasu Tokugawa, and was formerly known as Edo. Original residents of Tokyo are known as "Edokko" although the majority of the estimated 12.3 million people (which is about 10% of Japan's total population) dwelling here now would not be considered such.
The two Chinese characters (which spell Tokyo, as the capital previous to Tokyo was in Kyoto) literally means east
capital. The registered number of foreign residents reached 327,000 as of October 2001. Tokyo is for the most part quite
clean for a city of its magnitude and crime remains low. The mass transit system is quite efficient, buses and trains
show up and depart on time! The food available at restaurants is some of the best the world has to offer. From suberb
Japanese cuisine such as sushi, teppanyaki (Kobe beef), tempura, and a wide variety of seafood to all sorts of foreign
cuisine. Almost every type of cuisine is represented and if it isn't here yet wait a few months. From Thai to Korean,
Filipino to Indonesia, Mexican to Brasilian, English to Russian, Indian to Ethiopian, it's all here!
With its well-known temples and shrines situated near massive skyscrapers and its mix of old and new in almost every neighborhood, Tokyo is a work of contrasts. Polite and rude, clean yet dirty, gray yet colorful, cloudy and sometimes sunny, rich and poor, the city has an incredible amount of energy but it can also drain it from one just as quickly!
Yet for the expatriate family it is a very liveable city; although people who are active may get frustrated at the
difficulty to get into nature at peak periods of travel, i.e. the weekends and holidays; convenient and services tend to
be very good.
Tokyo Convention & Tourist Bureau - Site content includes tips and suggestions for tourists, description of convention facilities, local transportation, guides, and more.
Tokyo Metropolitan Government - Official government website of Tokyo-to, which covers Tokyo's 23 wards, cities which are governed by Tokyo and the Ogasawara island chain.
Teito Rapid Transit Authority (TRTA) - One of Tokyo's subway operators, site offers information about routes, fares and special tickets, history, and other content.
JR East - Railway operator for the Kanto region which includes Tokyo.
Tokyo American Club - Private membership club with many sports and social facilities primarily comprised of American expatriates with a growing number of members from Europe and Japan.
American School in Japan (ASIJ) - Site offers information about admissions, facilities, curriculum, and more.
Aoba-Japan International School - Two campuses in Tokyo, the Meguro campus offers nursery through pre-first grade for children, 1-6 years old, the Suginami campus accommodates children from pre-kindergarten through Grade 9.
The British School in Tokyo - The only school offering British curricula in Japan has two campuses in Tokyo.
Christian Academy in Japan - A private Christian school located in Higashi Kurume which provides curriculums from kindergarten through the 12th grade.
Columbia International School - Located in the Tokyo metro community of Tokorozawa (Saitama Pref.), curricula for grades 1 to 12.
International School of the Sacred Heart (ISSH) - Located in Hiroo, all-girls K-12 school.
International Secondary School - Offers personalized academic programs through distance learning courses for middle school and high school levels.
K. International School Tokyo - Situated in Koto-ku, provides instruction for primary and junior high school students.
Lycee Franco-Japonais de Tokyo - Also known as the French School, provides instruction for children of French expatriates.
New International School - Bilingual international school located in Ikebukuro for pre-primary children to Grade 9.
Nishimachi International School - International school located in Minato Ward offering co-educational and nonsectarian atmosphere and curricula for kindergarten through grade nine.
Seisen International School - An all-girls Catholic school offering curriculums from K-12 (Kindergarten: coed; 1~12: girls only). Located in Yoga, Setagaya Ward.
St. Mary's International School - All-boys school founded in 1954 which offers classes for K-12. Located in Seta, Setagaya Ward.
Tokyo Chinese School - Instruction in Chinese for children in grades 1-12; located in Gobancho, Chiyoda-ku.
Tokyo International Learning Community - Provides full-time educational programs for children from the foreign community with learning difficulties.
Tokyo International School - An independent, co-ed, non-denominational school which offers pre-school and elementary school curricula and other programmes.
Tokyo Korean School - School for Korean students, grades 1 to 12, located in Shinjuku Ward.
Tokyo Musashikoyama International School - Offers an English Activities after-school programme for children in elementary school.
Unida International School - Offers a bilingual program and aims to foster a creative atmosphere so children can develop new ideas and express themselves through action, learning, and creativity.
Houses of Worship
Adachi Seventh-Day Adventist Church - Situated in Adachi Ward, Tokyo.
Archdiocese of Tokyo - Info on the Sekiguchi (St. Mary) Church and the Archdiocese of Tokyo.
Committed Fellowship Tokyo - Meets in Chofu, has praise and children's church services Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings.
Grace Christian Fellowship - Non-denomination Christian church located in Ome-shi, which is situated in the western sector of the Tokyo metro.
International Christian University Church - Located in the center of ICU's campus in Mitaka.
Islamic Center - Japan - Located in Ohara, Setagaya-ku, an independent, non-commercial and non-political organization of Muslims in Japan.
Jewish Community of Japan - Has Shabbat services every Friday evening, followed by a kosher dinner, and organizes a variety of cultural events and social activities.
Mission Aid Christian Fellowship - Conducts an English evening service every Sunday evening from 6pm near Takadanobaba Station and Waseda University in Tokyo.
Orthodox Church in Japan - Established in Japan from Russia by St. Nicholai in the 19th century, located in Kanda Surugadai, Chiyoda-ku.
St. Alban's Anglican/Episcopal Church - The only English-speaking Anglican church in Tokyo, located across from the Tokyo Tower.
St. Ignatius Church - Jesuit church situated on the campus of Sophia University's Yoyogi campus.
St. Paul International Lutheran Church - Situated in Chiyoda-ku in Fujimi 1-chome.
Tokyo Baptist Church - Situated in the center of Tokyo on Kyu-Yamate Dori, near Daikanyama Station.
Tokyo Church of Christ - Located in Tomigaya, Shibuya Ward.
Tokyo Peace Church - Located in Nishiwaseda Shinjuku-ku, attendees comprised of many different nationalities.
Tokyo Union Church - Located along trendy Omotesando, composed of Christians from many churches and nationalities.
Asahi Shimbun - Offers Japan news, features from the New York Times and updates from the Silicon Valley via the San Jose [Mercury News.
Daily Yomiuri - English-language version of the Yomiuri Shimbun, one of the largest-circulated newspapers in the world. News, weather, foreign exchange rates, features, and other content.
InterFM - Japan's international radio station.
Japan Times - Site content includes updated news, business information, editorials, art and culture features, in addition to other information.
Mainichi Daily News - Features include Top News and Today's Headlines, editorials, features, and more.
Platinum - A real estate consulting/brokerage firm serving mostly multinational corporations and expatriate families located in central Tokyo.
Click onto the links below for living guides specifically related to Yokohama, Kobe/Osaka, and Nagoya. We will be adding guides for other
Japan cities in due course.
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