Moving to Tokyo? Real estate agent picks 5 best neighborhoods for single residents

By Preston Phro, RocketNews24

Tokyo is a big place, both in terms of population and area, and if you’re moving here from anywhere else, you might be at a bit of a loss in terms of where to look for an apartment. Obviously, a large part of that decisions is up to personal preference, but we do happen to have some advice for areas to look at if this will be your first time living alone.

These five areas were selected by a local real estate agent, so you know they must be good, right?

1. Nakano

For a lot of youngsters moving to (or already living in) Tokyo, Kichijoji is the place to be, but it’s also fairly expensive. So, our real estate friend said, “If you want to live in Kichijoji no matter what, I would definitely recommend the Nakano area, as it’s on the same train line as Kichijoji. The neighborhood gives you access to not only JR train lines but also subways, making it a really convenient place. It’s been popular with students for a long time, and there are a lot of treasures to be dug up if you look.”

Rents in the Nakano area tend to range from quite high to extremely cheap, so you can be sure to find something that fits your budget. There are also plenty of shops and supermarkets in the area, making it all the more convenient. Similar places would be Koenji, Ogikubo, Asagaya, and Higashi-nakano.

2. Komagome and Tabata

Generally, living near the JR Yamanote Line, which circles the heart of downtown Tokyo, means paying a lot in rent, but the Komagome and Tabata areas are (relatively) inexpensive. People generally don’t think of either area when they think of the Yamanote Line, but they do, in fact, have stations on it. Also, they’re close to lively Shinjuku, making it easier to go out for a drink whenever you feel like!

Our real estate agent told us, “They’re not the most glamorous areas, but they have plenty of shops and supermarkets, so they’re by no means inconvenient. And they’re not too expensive either. Komagome in particular has green spaces like Rikugien and Kyu-Furukawa gardens, in addition to temples and shrines, making it a good place to take a stroll on your days off.”

3. Sumiyoshi

Apparently people aren’t too familiar with the Sumiyoshi area, even people living in Tokyo. However, it has stations on both the Hanzomon and Shinjuku lines, so you can get wherever you want to go pretty easily. Even better, you can get to Otemachi, Shibuya, and Shinjuku without changing trains!

Like most of the places on this list, the Sumiyoshi area has supermarkets and shops, as well as lots of greenery in places like Sarueonshi Park. “It’s a popular area for families,” the real estate agent told us, “but there are also a variety of places for people living alone.” It’s apparently gotten a bit more expensive in the last few years as its popularity has grown, but it’s still reasonable and convenient.

4. Kamata

This area is kind of close to Kanagawa Prefecture (which is actually a plus if you’re keen to spend your weekends at the temples of Kamakura or seaside parks in Yokohama), but access to the Tokyo city center isn’t too bad. The area right around the station feels fairly busy but not so far away from it things are pretty quiet and rents aren’t too expensive. There are a lot of inexpensive but good restaurants around the station, so it’s pretty convenient for people living alone.

Access to the city center isn’t the best, but Ikegami and Hasunuma, which are accessible from Kamata on the Tokyu Ikegami line, are worth checking out. Due to the less-than-ideal public transportation options, rent is cheaper, so if you can’t find what you want in Kamata, these two areas might be worth a look.

5. Asakusa

“People tend to think of Asakusa as a tourist area, but it does also have a lot of residences. As you might expect, rent around Sensoji temple and the station is expensive, but if you head towards Tawaramachi or Iriya, there are plenty of inexpensive places,” we were told. And, in addition to Sensoji and the shopping/dining area around it, there are also plenty of restaurants elsewhere in Asakusa, too.

Apparently there isn’t much in the north part of the Asakusa area, so if you want to make the most of living in Asakusa, our real estate friend told us that places close to Asakusa, Tawaramachi, Inaricho, and Iriya stations are highly recommended.

Final thoughts

Our real estate agent left us with some good general advice. While people moving to Tokyo probably want to live in the famous places they’ve already heard of, they’re also the most expensive. If your selected area has a mixture of JR lines and subway lines, it probably won’t be inconvenient at all to get to those glamorous high-rent districts for a day out (or a day in the office), and you will have an easier time living in the city when you rent isn’t through the roof.

Other recommended locations were: Kotake-mukaehara, Machiya, Koiwa, Akabane, and Kiba. Also, we were told that places like Nezu and Sendagi, which have a lot of history and older shops and temples, are places where you can enjoy putting down roots of your own.

So, for those of you living in Tokyo, what do you think? Are these great places to live or should people planning to move to Tokyo be looking elsewhere?

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Location, location, location. Yesterday, I passed an advertisement for a 1DK for sale in an older building. They wanted nearly as much as I'm paying for our 3DK new mansion, just because it was near the beach.

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I won't be living near any beaches after seeing what the tsunami did. You can keep your beachfront property: solid bedrock and a slightly elevated location are the key factors for me.

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I have hardly heard of any of these areas. I have lived in Setagaya for 7 years and it is pretty suitable for foreigners and lots of trees. I find this list containing Kamata hard to believe. It is a seedy area with love hotels near the station.

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Nakameguro is cool.

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Actually, many places near the Tokyu Toyoko Line is pretty desirable--especially if you can get into housing built by Tokyu Corporation. If your job is somewhere in the western half of Tokyo, even better in this case.

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This is also very useful information for non-Japanese people seeking out less expensive hotel accommodations in Tokyo. The merits of these areas are helpful in choosing places to stay for those longer term travels in the city. It's so much better to be conveniently near a trendy area or popular cultural sights and enjoy them without the exorbitant price.

I'd like to see article like this on other Japanese cities: Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kanazawa--the various capitals in every prefecture.

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@Raymond Chuang, that's the smartest post you've made all year,,,

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TBH, I wouldn't want to live anywhere outside of Minato-ku, just too far and boring

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I lived 5 years in Tokyo & now 2 years in Chiba. The BIGGEST point that the author failed to mention isn't the rent prices, nor the distance from the station, nor the convenience of supermarkets & other shops - it's the train line.

If you're thinking of living ANYWHERE in Tokyo or its surrounding areas, what train line you choose should be first and foremost on your list of priorities. This will make or break you, trust me. Let's look at the list sans the rose-tinted glasses:

Nakano - Start of the Tozai line (and NOT from the Chiba side, thank god!), so we're good. Would avoid Chuo Line at all costs, though. It's not called the 'suicide line' for nothing...

Komagoe & Tabata - Komagoe's on the Namboku & Yamanote lines, so just ensure that you don't have to take the Yamanote any more than 10 - 15mins. Anything more and you'll immediately regret your decision, as one Ron Burgundy put it. Same goes for Tabata - the Yamanote line is bearable in very short doses (plus its reliable) - but avoid the Keihin-Tohoku if possible. That goes for ALL JR lines bar the Yamanote. Horrendously packed and ALWAYS late.

Sumiyoshi - Yes, only if you're using the Hanzomon line. Avoid the Toei Shinjuku line at all costs. By far one of the worst lines I've ever had the displeasure of experiencing on my daily commute. And that's saying a lot!

Kamata - A few options here, but 2/3 lines on offer are pretty useless. Again, Keihin-Tohoku line is not for the faint hearted. Tolerance of a rush-hour JR line takes a particular type of individual, and I say that in all seriousness.

Asakusa - Ginza line - Yes, Asakusa line - big NO. Often late and just too packed (as it runs from Chiba).

I would not recommend ANY JR (Yamanote being the only exception) or Toei lines. Stick to the Metro & try to get a 'home' station & you should be sweet :) If you've got the cash, Daikanyama, Ningyocho (quiet & by far the most convenient - 5 lines all within walking distance!) or even Jiyugaoka would be my top picks.

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@sighclops, excellent excellent post. anyone who actually works in Tokyo should well heed your advice. My only point to differ it jiyugaoka, with the new connection to fukatoshin-sen from last year the toyoko line can be horrendous. I pity the rich folks who bought nice expensive condos in naka-meguro few years back when the toyoko line was pleasant who can barely get on for the final few stops to nakameguro or shibuya,,, Always heard the Meguro line is not bad though.

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I lived in three places in Tokyo. All were fine with me. The first is in Minato-ku. It is Shirogane-dai. Closest statio was Meguro on the Yamanote line. Then, I lived in Shinjuku-ku. It was Yotsuya San-chome. Closest train line was the Marunouchi subway. My last location was Higashi- Koenji. Closest line was Marunochi line.

All train lines in Tokyo are always packed during rush hours. While living in the Tokyo area first as a student and then as a trainer, I traveled all over the metro area. I had to change trains many times. I even used the bus lines. So, if you want to live and work in Tokyo, you will have to learn to live like the Japanese do. Not like you would do in the States or any other country.

Enjoy the people and the country.

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