Japan is a beautiful country outside of its overpopulated and gray megacities; however, one will find Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Kobe, Nagoya, Hiroshima, Fukuoka and other Japanese cities to be very clean (esp considering the number of inhabitants), apart from air quality in the largest cities, and crime remains quite low. The mass transit system, including local trains and subways, bullet and various express trains, buses and domestic air travel are second to none. Things show up and depart on time!
Many expatriate transferees and their family members, at first reluctant to come for a posting, often find themselves unhappy to leave! Expats find Japan, although very transient for the international community, to be rewarding from a social aspect, and career-wise. The opportunites to make friends hailing from various parts of the globe is very appealing and parents have to worry little of their children outside of comfort zones as back home. Children and parents often find the international schools to be very conducive to educational social and emotional growth.
Japan offers incredibly beautiful terrain outside of its concrete jungles. Foreigners who move to Japan for a sojourn have Kyoto as a must-see and rightly so for its rich cultural heritage and sites, as well as Nikko and Hokkaido. The Izu Peninsula and Odawara/Hakone (both of which are close to Tokyo), the eastern and southern parts of Kyushu (Miyazaki, Kagoshima and Kumamoto prefectures) and Okinawa are highly recommended places to visit. For nature lovers opportunities abound for hiking, surfing, skiing and snowboarding. For more info and details, be sure to check out Outdoor Japan.
Depending on the city where you are being posted there are currently many options with regards to housing. Most expats choose to live in an apartment but there are houses available in the areas where most expatriate-style housing is situated. Housing options of course depends on the budget, as well, of course, the size of the city to which you are moving. Finding a suitable house in Tokyo is usually difficult but not impossible!
It is highly advisable to consider commuting time, train transfers (if you are going to travel to/from the office by rail) and congestion, be it human on the train! or traffic jams, before deciding the locale of your Japan residence. Many of the international schools provide bus services if you have children, and many families choose to live nearer the school than the breadwinner's office. We would happy to provide free consultation and recommendations on areas to live after learning of your particular situation. Do not hesitate to contact us for advice.
For those who may cringe at the thought of Japanese food, there are many restaurants in the major cities providing a variety of cuisine types from all over the globe. As well noted by doctors and scientists studying the topic, Japanese and Okinawans have the longest life expectancy in the world and a large reason for that is atrributable to the nutrients, fiber, acids and oils inherent in Japanese cuisine.
Tasty Asian, American, African, Mediterranean, various European and Fusion fare can be had here, especially in the larger cities such as Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka, with the provincial areas providing the best "washoku," i.e. Japanese cuisine. Sushi is fresh and the best in the world. If you are unable to find acceptable fare in the major cities you are indeed a finicky eater! Japanese cuisine is quite diverse in its choices and many who have come hardly able to bear eating Japanese food come to miss many parts of the cuisine upon leaving.
American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) - Provides information, networking opportunities, and advocacy resource services for members.
Japan National Tourist Organization
United States Embassy Tokyo, Japan - Located in Minato Ward, Tokyo, near the ANA Hotel. Site provides information on U.S. policy, public affairs, visas and consular services for audiences interested in U.S.-Japan relations.
Click onto the links below for living guides specifically related to Tokyo, Yokohama, and Kobe and Osaka. We will be adding guides for other
Japan cities in due course.
If you have queries with any Japan real estate matter, even advice, please do not hesitate to contact me at: