FAQ Frequently Asked Questions Working & Living



    Q. What kind of place is Tokyo?

    A.Tokyo is the capital of Japan, and the national center of politics, economy, and culture. It is also home to a great number of head offices of foreign companies and Japanese corporations seeking to expand overseas, so a lot of foreign workers are active in the city. The gross metropolitan product (GMP) of Tokyo is on a massive economic scale, equivalent to the gross domestic product (GDP) of some smaller countries. Tokyo has continued to attract worldwide attention for hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which are scheduled for 2020, and its further economic development is widely expected.

    Global Ranking of
    Gross Domestic Product

    Global Ranking of Gross Domestic Product

    Global Ranking of Gross Domestic Product(SP)

    the center of Japan

    Number of companies & businesses:Approx. 630,000(SP)

    Number of companies & businesses:Approx. 630,000

    Many corporate headquarters
    are gathered here.

    About half of all Japanese companies are headquartered in Tokyo, and the city is home to a wide variety of companies, including major corporations that are leading names all over the world as well as venture enterprises launched by young people, among others. About 99% of the companies in Tokyo employ 300 or fewer employees, making them small- and medium-sized enterprises. These small- and medium-sized enterprises play an important role in supporting the economic development of the huge city of Tokyo, as their presence contributes to launching new business and technology.

    Number of people working in Tokyo:Approx. 7.31 million

    Tokyo—where people gather
    from all over Japan & the world

    Around 12% of all workers in Japan work in Tokyo, and of the 790,000 or so foreigners in Japan, approximately 230,000 work in Tokyo (around one in four). People from all over Japan and the world visit Tokyo for study or work, and the air is full of various regional Japanese dialects as well as foreign languages. Because so many people gather in Tokyo, there are many shops and restaurants selling food from all over the world, as well as from other regions of Japan. This means you can enjoy a variety of local and international national dishes—you might dine on Okinawan cuisine today and Vietnamese cuisine tomorrow.

    Number of people working in Tokyo:Approx. 7.31 million
    Number of academic and R&D institutions Approx. 985 institutions

    Number of academic and R&D institutions Approx. 985 institutions(SP)

    Tokyo—a base for research
    and development

    Tokyo is home to many universities and research institutions affiliated with the Japanese national government or with local governments, and a lot of research and development of advanced technology and related fields is conducted here. Additionally, many joint research projects are carried out here with government or private sector support. The city of Tokyo is heavily involved in the development of Japanese industry.

    Source: Industry and Employment in Tokyo
    - A Graphic Overview -



    Q. What sort of skills and abilities
    are in demand?

    A.Looking at the ideal non-Japanese personnel sought by employers, "Personnel who think in the same way as high-level Japanese personnel" was the most common response (56.6%). This was followed by "Specialized personnel with advanced technical skills or abilities" (32%) and then "Specialized personnel to play a role in overseas business dealings" (27.5%).* Behavioral abilities such as teamwork and communication ability were also relevant for employers evaluating applicants. Non-Japanese applicants should expect the same skills and abilities to be sought by employers. For non-Japanese applicants, specialized skills such as expert knowledge or language ability are even more prioritized.

    Examples of desirable
    behavioral abilities


    The ability to understand one's own role, and to cooperate with the team to produce results

    Ability to build relationships

    The ability to encourage those around you in order to create good relations with other people

    Ability to achieve goals

    The ability to think and act on one's own in order to understand and achieve targets and goals


    The ability to accept and respect other people's opinions and new ways of thinking

    Problem-solving ability

    The ability to become aware of problems and issues on one's own, and to devise and carry out methods to resolve these


    The ability to bring out and engage the best qualities of those around you in order to achieve goals

    Examples of desirable skills*

    Specialized knowledge
    • Personnel who can utilize advanced technical skills and abilities
      (researchers, engineers, etc.)
    • Personnel who can handle overseas business dealings
      (overseas sales, etc.)
    Language ability
    • Level capable of creating written documents such as reports
    • Level capable of handling business dealings
    English ability
    • Daily conversational level

    ※From the Survey on Acceptance and Utilization of High-Level Non-Japanese Human Resources by Companies, by the Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training (Independent Administrative Agency), dated May 2013

    Human Resources & General
    Team Manager

    The principal reason for hiring non-Japanese personnel is because we want to hire outstanding personnel. At our company, we are happy to welcome outstanding personnel, regardless of nationality—they may be Japanese or they may not be Japanese. Even if they are non-Japanese, in light of the communication aspect, I believe that they are capable of applying their skills in the same way as Japanese employees after joining the company. Working with outstanding non-Japanese personnel is very stimulating for Japanese employees, and it energizes the whole organization. I also expect them to play a bridging role in relations with our overseas connections, and to play a role in ensuring that business proceeds smoothly.



    Q. Can you tell us
    more about salary?

    A.Salary in Japan consists mainly of monthly salary plus bonuses. Social insurance and tax payments etc. are deducted from the (gross) amount payable before the remainder is actually received by the employee as take-home pay. Bonuses are usually paid twice per year (in June and December), and the amount will vary a lot depending on the employee's performance and the company's performance―in some years, no bonus is paid at all, while in other years 4 months' worth of wages may be received.

    Take-home pay(SP)

    Take-home pay

    Total salary (main items)

    • Base salary
      The base amount as stipulated in the Notice of Working Conditions
    • Overtime
      Premium amount paid for working outside designated hours, recruitment, night work, etc.
    • Transport
      Covering the cost of a commuter pass etc. from home to workplace (not taxed)


    Amount deducted

    • Income tax
    • Residence tax
    • Employment insurance
    • Health insurance
    • Welfare pension  etc.


    Example of yearly income

    Example of yearly income(SP)


    Q. How much will I need to cover
    living expenses each month?

    A.If you live or work in Tokyo, your living expenses will tend to be high. In the case of Employee A, who has rather low household and food expenses despite living in central Tokyo, monthly living expenses are around 130,000 yen. In the case of Employee B, who lives alone and mostly dines out, monthly living expenses are around 180,000 yen.

    Employee A(25 years old, Marketing)

    The most expensive sections of my living expenses are rent and food. When I first came to Tokyo, I rented an apartment, but to lower my rent I now live together with a Chinese friend of mine.
    Regarding food expenses, if I dine out lunch will be around 500–800 yen while dinner will be around 800–1500 yen, but I save on costs by cooking dishes from my home country for myself and packing my own lunchbox.
    Some things are cheap in Tokyo, though: medicines, electrical appliances, candy, glasses, etc. If you go to a 100 yen shop, where everything sells for 100 yen, you can buy all kind of items for daily use quite cheaply. Tokyo has a diverse range of products, so I look for cheaper stores and products when I buy.

    Employee B(30 years old, Overseas Sales)

    I'm renting an apartment by myself, but because I wanted somewhere more spacious, I'm living in the suburbs, 30 minutes or more from central Tokyo.
    Because Tokyo is so big, transport costs such as train or taxi fares are higher, but Japanese employers cover the cost of a rail commuter ticket, which means that I can travel into central Tokyo whenever I like. It's really helpful.
    I often enjoy my days off by going to free events, parks, or nature walking. I have some friends who send money to their families back in their home countries. If you don't do a lot of shopping, you can save money.



    Q. I'd like to hear more about
    other people's
    experiences with
    different cultures at work.

    A.The experiences of other people who have left their home countries and traveled to Tokyo to work don't always turn out as expected, and they aren't necessarily positive stories. Some have experienced failure at work due to differences in customs or language, and others have discovered new things about Japanese work culture.

    There is so much email. Most emails have a huge number of CC recipients, and it bewildered me at the start how people sitting right near me would send simple reports via email. I wondered why, but then I realized that reporting our work situation to each other helps us cover each other's work. I was really surprised at the difference in work culture. Malaysia, age 29,
    service industry
    I wasn't able to create documents as carefully and precisely as the Japanese employees, so I had to revise them over and over. I learned to ask about things I didn't understand before I finished each document. You will definitely build up your document creation skills in Tokyo. Hong Kong, age 30,
    mass media
    Meetings are often not a place for discussion, but for reporting. Spending so much time just sharing information seemed inefficient to me, but it gave me the opportunity to listen to the experiences and circumstances of other people, so meetings were also a place of learning for me. Taiwan, age 26,
    service industry
    My boss would give me instructions in the Kansai regional dialect, which I didn't really understand. It took some time before I became familiar with the accent. I was surprised at how often in Tokyo you hear not only foreign languages but also regional dialects of Japanese. I really enjoy the expressions of the different variations of Japanese. Malaysia, age 27,
    IT & communications
    Answering the phone, I just couldn't pick up the caller's name, even though I asked them to repeat it many times, so I eventually noted the name down in Korean as best I could, which turned out to be completely wrong. I learned how to cope with not picking up words by asking clarifying questions, such as "Is the Mae character in your name the same mae meaning 'front' in Japanese?" South Korea, age 29,
    IT & communications



    Q. Can you tell us more about
    Japanese business style?

    A.Business dress and the items required will vary widely depending on industry and job category. Although a suit with jacket is fundamental for both men and women when interviewing or meeting with clients, the dress code may be more casual for IT or design-related employers, and in summer some employers may not require the jacket or necktie to be worn.

    Employee A
    Overseas sales,
    manufacturing industry


    Face & hair
    I shave my face daily. I wear my hair to a length that does not cover my ears. I use hair styling product each morning.
    I keep my fingernails short. This is because my fingers are often highly visible when describing or presenting my company's products to clients.
    I choose sober, conservative colors. Dark blue, gray, or black are basic. A jacket is required. My suit needs to impart a sense of calm and security to my clients.
    When meeting with clients, I cannot use my smartphone to check the time, so I wear a watch every day.
    Long-sleeved white shirts worn with a necktie are basic. I wear long sleeves even in hot weather.
    Black or brown in color. Choosing the same color as my belt is a cardinal rule. Shoes are always well polished.
    In Japan, you often need to remove shoes before entering a tatami mat room, so my socks must be unremarkable and the same color as my suit. White socks are not allowed.
    A bag or case is essential. Japan is quite safe, so I can carry it by hand. My bag is black. It should be large enough to transport documents without folding.

    Employee B
    Commercial company,
    trade affairs


    Face & hair
    For make-up, I always apply foundation and lipstick. My hair is usually kept back in some way. Hair ties and accessories are in black, dark blue, or brown to give a serious impression.
    Inner (Blouse, shirt, knitwear)
    I often wear white, black or gray. I often wear shirts made from jersey cloth in summer and knitwears in winter. I vary the color and material depending on the season and the jacket I am wearing.
    I only wear a jacket when I meet with customers. I generally wear a knee-length skirt that matches the color of the jacket.
    I don't have to wear any accessories. However, on some days I wear a simple necklace and earrings.
    Generally I wear pumps with a heel. I have a black pair and a brown pair. I walk quite a lot on my commute, so I change my shoes every other day.
    I always wear stockings in summer and black tights in winter. I always keep a spare pair in the office in case they run.
    A black or brown bag with an inconspicuous design and logo is simple and easy to use. It's best to have a bag in which you can carry documents without having to fold them.

    Q. What sort of jobs are available?

    A.Non-Japanese personnel are active in a diverse variety of job categories (which are classified depending on the content and tasks involved in the job). Depending on the employer, in some cases a single employee may take on numerous jobs―for example, overseas sale staff may also be involved with marketing. Conversely, in some cases numerous employees may be responsible for a single job, with the details of the work changing whenever the job is particularly busy or difficult, such that the whole organization is involved in performing the job. When applying for a position, don't judge the type of work involved simply by the job category or title; instead, it's important to confirm the content of the job in concrete terms.

    Rolas Timbul

    Job category Overseas Sales Rolas Timbul

    Working in overseas sales, my job is to expand our business and develop new markets overseas (specifically, Indonesia). I introduce Indonesian customers to new products, and I respond to clients' technical requests using our testing room. Before I joined the company...


    Dao Yen Vi

    Job category Planning & Marketing Dao Yen Vi

    My job is to create mechanisms to expand my employer's profits. I receive instructions directly from the company president, and I'm involved in a wide range of work―Japanese and overseas marketing research, establishing new business, support for M&As, and more. Just the other day, the latest marketing...


    Yuki Chen

    Job category Designer Yuki Chen

    My job is to come up with design ideas and make them happen. I design packaging for beverages, cosmetics, and so on. If it's a cosmetic product, for example, I try to imagine what sort of container shape and design would best express the message of the brand. I'm always focused on creating designs that would make people want to pick up the products. Software that I use often includes Photoshop and …….


    Shan Lin Tsai

    Job category Sales Shan Lin Tsai

    I buy and sell properties at a real estate company. I respond to phone inquiries, handle property viewing arrangements, guide buyers to locations, and also perform interpreting into Chinese and English. In Tokyo, there's currently a great deal of inbound demand, and the number of customers from overseas is increasing. The other day...



    Q. Can you tell us
    more about job postings?

    A.In Japan, company profiles, careers information, or details of employment conditions that are listed as employment information are known as kyujin-hyo, or job postings. You probably pay a lot of attention to job descriptions and application requirements. Deciphering these two things is important for establishing that the employee's skills and abilities are a good match for the skills and abilities required by the prospective employer.



    Type of employment
    In Japan, depending on the period of employment, jobs are considered as either indefinite employment (full company employees) or fixed-term employment (contract or temporary employees). Since contracts for fixed-term employment can be renewed either on a 3-month basis or a annual basis, it's worth checking the anticipated length of the contract period with the employer.
    This is the yearly (gross) amount of income. If you have applied for a position with a salary stated as a range (from XX yen to XX yen), the employer will determine the exact amount based on the employee's experience and skills. Please confirm this during the interview.
    Application requirements
    【Mandatory requirements】
    These skills and experience are absolutely required when applying for the position. If you don't satisfy these requirements, you'll often be disqualified at the document selection stage.
    【Recommended requirements】
    These skills and experience are desirable when applying for the position, and may lead to preferential treatment. Applicants satisfying these requirements will have an advantage at the document selection stage. Determining whether or not you fulfill these requirements can be a factor in your ability to pass the document selection stage.


    What if you don't know whether a company is hiring non-Japanese employees?

    In Japan, specifying a certain nationality for a position advertised in a job posting is not recognized by law. You should check the job description to see whether the job will be involved dealing with your home country or region, and also check the application requirements to see whether your native language or some other foreign language is required. Non-Japanese applicants may even have an advantage for some positions. Also, if the description states that "Japanese language skills are required," the position is probably aimed at non-Japanese applicants.

    From Indonesia
     Age: 30s 
    Overseas sales

    There are some companies in Tokyo that hire employees based not only on the skills and abilities we possess right now, but with confidence in our future potential and growth. In my case, my employer initially wanted to hire a Japanese employee with experience working at an overseas sales office, but after interviewing me (an Indonesian with no sales experience), they hired me based on expectations of my future potential. After joining the company, I believe it's important to develop your own ability to perform until those around you can place their trust in you.



    Q. Can you tell us more about the
    Notice of Working Conditions?

    A.When a company employs a person, a work contract between the company and the employee regarding working conditions is required. The company presents the employee with a written Notice of Working Conditions (employment contract) that lists the salary, working hours, etc. of the position.

    Working Conditions

    Duration of work contract

    Location of work &
    details of work tasks

    Starting & finishing

    Break times &
    vacation days


    Matters related to
    ceasing work

    > Reference: Multi-lingual Living Information: Working & Training Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR)

    Sample: Notice of Working Conditions
    [click to enlarge]

    Sample: Notice of Working Conditions1

    Sample: Notice of Working Conditions2

    Sample: Notice of Working Conditions3

    Notice of Working Conditions (PDF)Download(SP)

    Notice of Working Conditions (PDF)Download


    Q. Can you tell us more about
    social insurance and tax
    payments for working people?

    A.Under the Japanese social insurance system, people who work for companies have labor insurance and medical insurance, and the companies take care of the enrolment procedure on behalf of the employee. As a general rule, non-Japanese employees must also enter the insurance system. Tax incurred as part of working will be either income tax (payable to the national authorities) or residence tax (payable to the city of Tokyo or the local municipal authorities), and will be automatically deducted from your wages by your employer. If you live in Japan for a year or more and have an income, you are required to pay tax just like the Japanese do.

    Labor insurance

    1 Workers' accident compensation insurance
    This insurance is paid to those who suffer injury or illness while working or traveling to/from work. The employer bears the entire cost of these insurance payments.
    2 Employment insurance
    This insurance is paid to those who lose their employment. So that working people are not troubled in their daily lives, this insurance supports them while they search for their next job.

    Healthcare and pensions

    1 Health insurance
    This payment means you have to cover only 30% of your costs incurred due to illness or injury. Payment is also received in case of death or childbirth.
    2 National pension & employee's pension insurance
    This insurance is paid to working people when they reach old age or suffer some disability or death. In the case of non-Japanese workers, they can recover (as a lump-sum withdrawal payment*) some of the amount paid while enrolled in the insurance system.

    ※Lump-sum withdrawal payment: Funds paid upon request to non-Japanese who have participated in a pension scheme for six months or longer, payable within 2 years of their return to their home country.

    Reference: Multi-lingual Living Information: Working & Training Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR)

    Tax relating to income

    1 Income tax
    Income tax is incurred for the entire amount earned from January to December of any given year. Estimated income tax payments are automatically deducted from your monthly paycheck, with the correct tax amount adjusted in December (year-end adjustment).
    2 Residence tax
    This tax is payable to the local municipal authority wherever you are registered as living on January 1 of each year. The amount of tax changes depending on the amount of income you earned in the previous year, as well as whether you have a family, etc.

    Reference: Multi-lingual Living Information: Taxation Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR)

     Age: 40s Designer

    Because I'm part of my employer's health insurance system, if I suffer some illness or injury I just show my insurance ID at the hospital and I only have to pay 30% of the costs. When I gave birth in Japan, I was able to receive nearly 400,000 yen as a lump-sum childbirth payment, which meant my hospital expenses were nearly nothing at all.




    Q. How do you spend a
    typical day in Tokyo?

    A.A. People working in companies work from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and may even stay in the office until 10pm when working overtime. Saturdays and Sundays are generally days off and there are also many public holidays, but some workers in service industries and real estate have their days off during the week and spend the weekend working.
    Although work in Tokyo can seem hectic and stressful, there are many places and services which allow you to take your mind off work and fully enjoy yourself during the evenings and your days off.

    Mr. A (Malaysia, 27, IT, development engineer )

    Mr. A

    (Malaysia, 27, IT, development engineer)


    Wake up
    Watch the news on TV
    Study Japanese while watching the news. I study a little bit every day.
    Drink black tea with breakfast
    Leave home
    Walk about 10 minutes to my closest station.
    Interpret in a meeting for
    from America.
    Maybe my English is better than my Japanese...


    Development work at my desk

    A lunch meeting about
    a new service
    with the
    members of my project team
    I often go to a ramen shop near my company that is well-known in Tokyo. The tsukemen (dipping noodles) is great!
    Development work at my desk
    Join a team debriefing
    about the system
    I still have a lot to learn and I have to improve my Japanese even more.
    No overtime today. I'm going to a Chinese restaurant in Ikebukuro with my friend from Malaysia. I relax the most when I spend with friends from the same country as me.
    Arrive home
    Go to bed


    Wake up
    (study marketing by
    watching a video)
    On my days off, I get up early and study.
    I learn the most when I study by watching a video.

    Take the monorail to Odaiba

    Buy clothes at the mall


    Eat lunch at an omurice
    (Japanese omelet rice) restaurant

    Enjoy a street performance
    and a show
    Go look at a display
    of anime characters
    I've loved Japanese anime since I was a kid and it's the reason why I wanted to visit Japan.
    Take pictures of the sunset
    over Tokyo Bay

    Watch a beautiful light show
    on the buildings
    Dinner at an anime character
    theme park
    Go home
    Playing soccer game at home
    Go to bed



    Q. What level of Japanese language ability is required?

    A.When we asked companies that hire foreigners about the level of Japanese language ability required to perform work tasks, their responses* included "A level capable of creating written documents such as reports" (60.8%), followed by "A level capable of handling business dealings" (24.3%), "A simple everyday conversation level" (11.7%), and "Japanese is hardly required at all" (0.3%). Also, even for applicants who do not speak Japanese, some companies will evaluate the applicant's English language ability and motivation to learn Japanese in a short period of time.

    *From the Survey on Acceptance and Utilization of High-Level Non-Japanese Human Resources by Companies, by the Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training (Independent Administrative Agency), dated May 2013

    We asked 100
    people working in Tokyo

    How proficient are you
    at Japanese?

    (Answers are based on the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) Levels N1–N5
    (with N1 being most difficult and N5 easiest)

    Level N1

    Level N2

    Level N3

    Level N4

    Level N5


    Are you taking steps or making
    efforts to
    improve your
    Japanese language ability?

    I socialize with Japanese friends, such as going to dinner or karaoke, and I try to create a lot of opportunities to speak Japanese. I also recommend you try attending international exchange events in your area. Taiwan Age 28
    Service industry
    If I hear an unfamiliar word or phrase when I'm speaking with more senior employees, I make a note immediately and I look it up later. I also try to commit to memory emails and documents created by my Japanese customers or colleagues. The thing to keep in mind is that if you learn new words and speak without fear of making mistakes, you can learn while using the language for real and while doing what you like. Malaysia Age 23
    Commercial company
    When I watch the news on TV, I listen closely to what the announcer is saying. I also watch Japanese drama programs about 1hour daily, and I read the newspaper every day. Reading Japanese text is quite effective. Indonesia Age 34
    IT & Communications
    While working in Tokyo, to improve your practical Japanese you should learn Japanese for use at work. To improve your Japanese grammar and ability to express yourself, I think attending a Japanese language school and speaking with Japanese people are effective methods. Vietnam Age 24
     IT & Communications

    Q. How can I commute to
    my workplace?

    A.You can use trains, buses, and the like to commute to work. Many people who commute to work in Tokyo catch the train. Because trains run at scheduled times, you can commute to your workplace without delay. Since travel by motorcycle or car involves the risk of traffic congestion and difficulty finding parking, fewer people commute to work this way. Also, when making visits to clients or business partners, you can plan to use train travel more strategically than by car.
    During the peak morning commuting period, many extra train services are scheduled and trains often depart at intervals of three to five minutes. The system has been designed so that a large number of commuters can travel in comfort.

    Official Tokyo Travel Guide GO TOKYO

    We asked 100 non-Japanese
    working in Tokyo

    How long does it take you to
    commute to work?

    Commuting Time

    15 minutes








    Q. Please explain more about
    clothing in Japan.

    A.Japan has four seasons—spring, summer, fall, and winter. You'll have to prepare clothing for each of the four seasons, since the difference in temperature between summer and winter can be greater than 20℃.

    • Spring

      Light coats, jackets,
      long-sleeved shirts

      Many spring days are quite chilly in the morning and evening.
      Starting from May, the temperature can reach 20℃ or higher during the daytime.


    • Summer

      Light jackets,
      long-sleeved or short-sleeved shirts

      This is the hottest season of the year.The rainy season lasts from June to July, marked by continual rain and high humidity.Once it ends, the rainy season is followed by many hot days of 30℃ or higher.In order to save energy on cooling, many companies follow the recommended "Cool Biz" policy and allow employees to wear short-sleeved shirts and no necktie.


    • Fall

      Light coats, jackets, long-sleeved shirts

      September still has long stretches of hot days. From October, temperatures will drop gradually and mornings and evenings may get chilly.
      Even when the temperature is low, the skies will often be clear.


    • Winter

      Heavy coats, jackets, long-sleeved shirts

      From December to February, there will be many continuous cold days. Sometimes it snows, even in Tokyo.


    Reference: GO TOKYO

    We asked
    100 non-Japanese
    working in Tokyo

    What is your favorite
    season in Tokyo?







    • It's because I like
      the cherry blossoms—
      they're very pretty.
    • There are lots of opportunities for picnics in spring, and the flowers are beautiful.
    • I feel refreshed by the new year and the cherry trees blooming all at once across Tokyo. It really feels like spring is a new start for everything.


    • The daytime is longer,
      which makes
      working easier.
    • It's great weather for going outdoors. I can travel during my summer vacation.
    • There are fireworks and festivals to enjoy on my days off.


    • Fall is just right—
      not too hot, not too cold.
      The fall foliage is so beautiful and romantic.
    • The weather is cool. I get to wear fashion
      that I can't wear in my home country.
    • The weather is perfect for activities—everyone looks so healthy and energized.


    • Compared to Taiwan, where it's warm all year round, Japan has four distinct seasons. I enjoy wearing winter fashion that I can't wear in Taiwan.
    • I love snowy landscapes, which I don't
      get to see in
      my home country.

    Q. How should I find a place
    to live?

    A.Search for vacant rooms in rental condominiums and apartments on real estate information websites. If you find a room you like, contact the real estate company using the contact information provided on the website. You will be given a tour of the room, sign a contract with the landlord, then move in. Depending on the room, you may not be able to move in for one or two months, so be sure to confirm the move-in date when talking to the real estate agent at the enquiry stage. Some real estate companies are able to provide foreign-language support.

    Types of housing

    Share house

    A single house in which multiple people can live. The initial cost to move in is inexpensive and many share houses are furnished with home appliances and furniture!

    Share houses generally consist of a single entrance, shared facilities such as the kitchen, living room, toilet and bath/shower, and individual bedrooms for each occupant. They are increasingly popular with singles in their 20's and 30's, and persons living on their own for the first time. You will have many opportunities to interact with the other occupants of the house, so you will be need to be considerate, but it should be a good chance to make new friends in Tokyo.

    Monthly rent: Approx. 30,000 - 70,000 yen

    Initial expenses

    Mr. A, living in the city center
    Rent 55,000 yen
    Common service
    10,000 yen
    Deposit 30,000 yen
    Total 95,000 yen
    Rental housing

    Rooms rented in condominiums and apartments, etc.
    You can have a space of your own! You can also live with family and friends.

    A room consisting of a separate toilet, shower/bath, kitchen and bedroom is referred to as a 1K. In a 1DK room, the kitchen is larger and combined into a dining room. In a 1LDK room, there is a separate living room in addition to the kitchen/dining room. Generally, rental rooms are unfurnished, but can sometimes come with a cooking stove, refrigerator and air conditioning. Rent gets cheaper the farther the room is from the city center and train stations, and bigger rooms on higher floors are more expensive.

    Monthly rent [For a 1K room]:
    Approx. 50,000 - 90,000 yen

    You will require the following
    when signing the lease agreement


    Equivalent to 1-3 months' of rent. The deposit is kept for security and returned to you after moving out, minus repair and cleaning costs.

    Key money

    Equivalent to 0-2 months' of rent. This money is paid to thank the landlord. It is a unique Japanese custom.


    Equivalent to 0-1 months' of rent. A fee paid to the real estate company.


    10,000 - 20,000 yen, to insure the room against disaster such as fire, etc.


    A person liable for paying the rent on your behalf if you are unable to pay the rent. Concluding a lease guarantee agreement with a company that provides guarantor services is also an option if there is nobody you can ask to act as your guarantor.

    Initial expenses

    Example) Mr. B, living in the suburbs
    Rent 75,000 yen
    Common service
    5,000 yen
    Deposit 75,000 yen
    Key money 75,000 yen
    Brokerage fee 75,000 yen
    Guarantor fee 60,000 yen
    Total 365,000 yen
    1K ROOM

    32, service industry

    When I first came to Tokyo, I lived in a share house for one year. I then wanted my own rental room with a loft, so I searched real estate companies on the Internet. There was a Taiwanese staff member working at the Japanese real estate company, so I was able to complete the necessary procedures smoothly and sign a contract. I'm really happy to be able to have my own room in Tokyo!



    Q. Please explain more about
    cell phone contracts
    and the
    Internet environment.

    A.In order to use a cell phone, you will need to purchase a phone from a company that handles mobile phones and you will need to enter into a phone contract to make calls and other communications. To connect to the Internet you will need to enter into a contract with an Internet provider. Some public facilities also offer free Wifi. Since high-speed lines are in place in Tokyo, you can benefit from high-capacity data communication.

    Cell phones

    The purchase price of a cell phone can reach several tens of thousands of yen, but it is also possible to pay in monthly instalments (in addition to communications/call charges). Communications/call charges are paid in 1-month units, and you can choose at time of contract whether to pay by credit card, or by direct debit from your bank account.

    Documents required at time of
    Documents required at time of contract

    Internet environment

    In order to use the Internet both at home and away from home, you need a contract with an Internet communications provider. Contracts are available via the websites of various companies, as well as over-the-counter at electronics stores. If you want to use the Internet for free, there are plenty of free Wifi environments in Tokyo at public facilities such as cafes and hotels, so you can easily search for a Wifi spot to connect the Internet.

    Official Tokyo Travel Guide GO TOKYO


    Q. What should I do if
    I am sick or injured?

    A.If you are sick or injured, you should seek medical assistance at a local medical institution. You may purchase medicine from out-of-hospital pharmacies by presenting your prescription. If you present the health insurance card for the health insurance in which you have been enrolled by your company, you will only have to pay 30% of your medical expenses.

    How to find a hospital or clinic

    Search for hospitals or clinics near your home or office using the Tokyo Metropolitan Medical Institution Information "Himawari". You will need to specify the specialty such as ophthalmology or dental clinics, depending on your condition. The consultation times and languages supported differ by hospital and clinic, so make sure you check on the Internet before visiting the hospital or clinic.

    Emergency treatment

    Call for an ambulance by dialing 119 on your phone if you are experiencing extreme pain or heavy bleeding, etc. and cannot go to a hospital on your own. Ambulances can be called free of charge.

    How to use the hospital or clinic

    • Fill in the questionnaire you receive from the receptionist then return the completed questionnaire together with your health insurance card.
    • Wait in the waiting room until your name is called, then enter the examination room to be examined.
    • After you have finished your examination, pay the examination fee and collect your prescription at reception.
    • You can purchase medicine at the hospital/clinic or at the prescription counter of a local pharmacy by presenting your prescription and health insurance card.

    Reference: Tokyo Metropolitan Medical Institution Information "Himawari"

    20-29 Service

    My eye got really sore, so a co-worker recommended me to visit an ophthalmologist near the office. As I couldn't understand Japanese, the doctor explained the results of my eye examination by using English and drawing a picture on a piece of paper.
    After the examination, I received a prescription containing information about the medicine from reception and presented this prescription at the "dispensing pharmacy" next door to purchase my medicine. The prescribed medicine was cheaper and more effective than the over-the-counter medications available, and quickly eliminated my pain.

  • BANK

    Q. Please tell me about
    financial institutions.

    A.Persons living in Japan with a period of stay of one year or more may open a bank account. Some companies nominate a specific financial institution for the remittance of salary, so please ask your employer where you should open your account. Be sure to confirm with the bank that there are places you can withdraw cash close to your home and office, and that you can remit money to your home country.

    Opening an account

    To open an account at a bank, you will need your residence card or, alternatively, your passport and documentation that confirms your address (juminhyo, etc.), as well as money to deposit into the new account and your hanko (personal seal) or signature. You can have a hanko made containing katakana or alphabetic characters on the Internet or at a hanko store. You will often use your hanko while living in Japan, so it might be convenient to have a spare.

    Managing deposits

    When you open your account, you will be issued with a passbook and cash card. You can use your cash card to make deposits, withdrawals and transfers and to check your balance at ATMs located in financial institutions and convenience stores, etc. You may also register for Internet banking which will allow you to check your balance and make transfers online.

    Overseas remittance

    If you want to remit money to your home country, you will need to complete the remittance procedures at a bank that handles overseas remittances. You will be charged a fee to send and receive overseas remittances.

    Foreign currency exchange

    You can exchange to and from Japanese yen at banks that handle foreign currency exchange transactions as well as currency exchange counters.

    Reference:Tokyo International Communication Committee: Living Information


    Q. Please tell us about
    things to do in Tokyo.

    A.There are many ways to enjoy yourself in Tokyo; there is the Shitamachi area in which you can feel the traditional culture, the city areas in which you can experience the latest technological trends, and the great outdoors where you can admire the beautiful mountains and rivers.

    We asked
    100 foreigners
    working in Tokyo

    What is your favorite place
    in Tokyo?

    Shitamachi area
    Ikegami. I like the Shitamachi atmosphere. The area is also home to splendid temples and delicious confectionary stores. It is an interesting and unique area that differs from the image of urban Tokyo. Taiwan, 28,
    sales, marketing
    I like Asakusa. I feel it is the most "Japanese" place in Tokyo. Brazil, 38,
    admin, management
    Ryogoku, because I love Sumo. Ryogoku is home to the Kokugikan National Sumo Stadium, and there are also many Sumo stables and Chanko Nabe stores (Chanko Nabe is a kind of stew that's known as the original sumo food). Germany, 31,
    admin, management
    Areas in which you can experience the latest trends
    I like Oku-Shibuya, the area from Yoyogi-Uehara to Yoyogi-Hachiman Station and Tomigaya. I spend my weekends relaxing in Tokyo. Hong Kong, 32,
    Shibuya is always crowded and fun. I also like Akihabara because I can purchase a variety of products there. Vietnam, 25,
    I often hang out in Ikebukuro. There are many anime, manga and character stores for women in Ikebukuro, so I think it's a great place for shopping. Hong Kong, 22,
    sales, marketing
    I love Nakameguro because you can view the cherry blossoms in Spring. I like Daikanyama and Omotesando too. I also enjoy having a picnic along the Futako-Tamagawa river in the afternoon when I have a day off. Taiwan, 24,
    admin, management
    Rainbow Bridge and Meguro River. Rainbow Bridge is the place where I can feel Tokyo the most. Meanwhile, viewing the cherry blossoms at night along the Meguro River during the spring is like appreciating art. South Korea, 43,
    sales, marketing
    The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observatories. I always take my friends there when they visit Tokyo. The views are great and it's free! South Korea, 34,
    Areas in which you can enjoy nature
    Shinjuku Gyoen, Mount Takao, Showa Memorial Park and Ueno Park are areas in which you can enjoy vast greenery. Vietnam, 27,
    I recommend Ueno. There is Ueno Oncho park and a zoo. There are also department stores and volume electronics retailers. For me, it is a place where anything is possible. It's a highly satisfying area. Taiwan, 28,
    sales, marketing
    Odaiba is an area where you can stroll along the sandy beach and relax with a view of the sea. Hong Kong, 22,
    sales, marketing
    Tachikawa. Because it is a great place to admire the cherry blossoms and enjoy the smell of nature. Hong Kong, 26,
    Kunitachi. It's a stylish area full of greenery where I can enjoy the four seasons. Hong Kong, 30,

    Things to do: Official Tokyo Travel Guide
    "GO TOKYO" website


    Q. Please explain more about
    disaster readiness.

    A.In order to avoid trouble when earthquakes, fires, or accidents occur, you should know how to respond to and prepare for emergencies.

    Earthquake readiness
    Japan experiences a lot of earthquakes. You should arrange to buy everything you may need during evacuations.


    Traffic accidents & theft
    If a traffic accident occurs, you should call a patrol car by dialing the police on 110. If you experience theft, dial 110 or visit the nearest police box.


    About 5,000 fires have occurred in Tokyo in recent years. If you discover a fire, inform everyone around you in a loud voice, then dial 119 to call a fire truck.


    Typhoons & torrential rain
    Tokyo experiences typhoons from August to October. If severe rain falls continuously, don't ignore it as simply rain or wind; instead, you should check the latest TV news from the Japan Meteorological Agency.


    TOKYO International Communication