Moving to Tokyo

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Expats moving to Tokyo have good reason to be excited: the city is a large, crowded metropolis overflowing with options and activities. The greater Tokyo area is the largest metropolitan area in the world, and contains over 30 million inhabitants. This means that expats will find it hard to escape the crowds: be prepared for very little alone time when going outdoors, and for long queues at any popular event.
moving to tokyo
Since Tokyo was razed during the fire bombings of World War II, the small, traditional Japanese façades have been nearly entirely replaced by a modern concrete jungle – there are hardly any buildings consisting of less than three storeys. Still, despite the frenetic pace of this cosmopolitan hub, there are still backstreets even in the heart of the city that can be eerily quiet and tranquil and provide charming accommodation.

There are very few road names as the city is divided into numerical areas, so clear directions and maps are very important for new expats trying to find their way. The city has a well-run, integrated public transport system consisting of underground trains (subways), over-ground trains, buses, trams and, of course, taxis. Compared to many European destinations, public transport is relatively cheap, safe, extremely reliable and efficient, making the city extraordinarily accessible, even to newly arrived expats.

Shopping seems to be one of the primary Japanese pastimes and there is no better place to indulge in this than Tokyo. Shopping malls are relatively foreign to the city – expats will most likely find themselves in a high-rise department store, with shop assistants shouting their welcomes. The range of what’s available, particularly in the technological sector, will tempt even the most reluctant buyer.

The city also boasts many art galleries and museums, and has a very rich live music scene. There are various summer concert festivals held around Tokyo and live concerts throughout the year. Expats in Tokyo religiously pick up their free weekly copy of Metropolis magazine at various stores in the city, to find out about that week’s line-up of events and entertainment.

Especially since the FIFA World Cup was co-hosted by Japan in 2002, the city has become more and more foreigner friendly, with signs in English as well as in Japanese and Korean. Expats will find that most locals are very welcoming and proud of their city, and willing to go the extra mile to make sure new comers have a positive experience in their city.

Moving to Tokyo can be a very enriching experience indeed.

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