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City Guide: Housing in Tokyo

by on April 13, 2010

As an expat, you will usually find that securing housing in Tokyo is one of the biggest headaches that you will encounter.  Real estate (as in New York and London) is generally very expensive and flats are not nearly as large as many people are accustomed to when relocating from places like Los Angeles or Sydney. It’s best to get a feel for a number of neighborhoods to determine if you like it (and if it will be convenient for you and your family) before looking at particular properties.  If you are coming over with a job secured, the best place to start is by talking to friends and associates at your office who are familiar with the sprawling City.

After narrowing down your preferred locations, you’ll need to find an agent or “Fudosan”.   Most Fudosan do not speak fluent English, and added to that, many landlords would prefer to not rent to expats, so bringing along a Japanese (or at least Japanese speaking) friend can be a huge help.   Even so, you will likely still encounter some difficulty in finding a good agent to work with and then finding an expat friendly landlord.

However, a good resource for finding an expat friendly property agent is the US Embassy website.  There’s no guarantee that all of the agents listed will be able to secure you a flat.  But, the agents are generally vetted to best of the embassy’s ability, so the odds are fairly good that with some perseverance (and the right budget) you’ll be able to find accommodations that suit your needs.

For more info on living and working in Tokyo, please visit the Law Alliance City Guide.

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