If you’re thinking of moving to Japan, no doubt the capital city of Tokyo is a possibility on your list. Tokyo, meaning “east capital” in Japanese, was formerly known as Edo and became the official capital city of Japan in 1868. If you decide to move to Japan to teach, get married, or explore on a working holiday visa, which place is best? If you want to live in a city, there are plenty to choose from, of course.
There’s Osaka with its slang and street food, Kyoto and its countless temples, and Hiroshima with its modern vibes and charming shopping streets. Tokyo, of course, is a popular choice, too. Here are eight reasons why Tokyo is a great city to live in!
Despite it being a metropolis, Tokyo is officially the safest city in the world, according to many lists and websites – an impressive title which is a deciding factor for many people moving alone to a new country. Leaving belongings unattended in cafes while you go and order is commonly done, and women feel safe walking around alone at night.
If you watch the news in Tokyo, most local news is light-hearted compared to seeing crime-related news in many other cities. If safety is a big issue for you, definitely consider Tokyo.
Tokyo’s train and subway system is excellent. Trains run every few minutes (sometimes they are just three minutes apart), they’re nearly always on time (“late” counts as one minute outside their expected arrival time, compared to 10 minutes in the UK, for example), and service is consistent.
Trains are also very clean and safe. It’s rare to see garbage or dirt inside the train carriages. Chances are you’ll be using the train a lot if you live in Tokyo, so it’s good to know that it’s a reliable and safe public system.
Kamakura, a popular visiting spot for its temples, beaches, and giant Buddha statue, is about an hour away from central Tokyo. Other awesome places like Yokohama and Tokyo Disneyland are also within reach by train, making Tokyo a great place to be.
Tokyo is more like a collection of many small cities in one, and each station is close to several restaurants, pubs, bars, and shops, each with their own menu, their own story, and their own locals. It is impossible to visit every single establishment in Tokyo even if you visit something new each day. If you’re the kind of person who likes things kept fresh and interesting, Tokyo is for you.
Japan is home to countless festivals and local events, and Tokyo has its fair share of exciting dates to look forward to. These include Shinto festivals such as the Sanno Festival, the Kanda Festival, and the Sanja Festival, and summer festivals like the Asakusa Samba Carnival, the Harajuku Omotesando Genki Matsuri Super Yosakoi, and the Asakusa Tori no Ichi. There are festivals almost every week in Tokyo celebrating various things, and the Japanese people are great at maintaining local traditions.
Living in Tokyo doesn’t mean that you’ll always be stuck in a concrete jungle without seeing so much as a potted plant. Tokyo is also home to some gorgeous parks such as Yoyogi Park, Ueno Park, and Shinjuku Gyoen. These parks have their own special events throughout the year, too, and are a great place to relax as you do hanami (cherry blossom viewing) in spring.
Best of all, these parks are clean, well maintained, and safe for groups, families, small children, and people visiting alone. They’re lovely places to visit if you need a break from urban insanity, yet are still in the center of the city.
Japanese train station staff, waiters, taxi drivers, and hotel staff are extremely helpful and polite and will do their job professionally. Work ethic is great here and you can rest assured that if you visit a restaurant or a hotel, you’ll be treated with care and professionalism.
There will always be exceptions to this, of course, but as a general rule, the Japanese work hard and help their customers in a way that will leave you satisfied and happy.
When in some countries, shops close early or even take a break during the day, you’ll find that most high street shops, cafes, and restaurants in Tokyo are open until very late in the evening, making it perfectly possible for you to go shopping at six in the evening, drink coffee until nine, or even see a doctor at eight o’clock at night. This is one thing that is pleasantly surprising for people who are from places where shops close at six and doctors’ offices are only open during the day.
So if you’re considering moving to Japan and you’re looking for somewhere you can feel safe wherever you are and count on reliable and efficient systems, consider choosing Tokyo. This great city is home to nearly two million non-Japanese people, so would you like to be one of them?