Ranking the Most Popular Areas in Tokyo to Live for Americans
Housing in Japan
If you’re a foreigner living in Japan or planning to live here soon, one of the things you’ve probably wondered about is which area in the country do most of your compatriots choose to live in. Living in an area where many compatriots reside gives you more opportunities to get in touch with your own culture. You can also easily get support from others who are more familiar with Japan than yourself.
In this article, we rank the 23 Special Wards of Tokyo by their population of U.S. citizens. We hope it can serve as a useful reference if you’re going house hunting in Tokyo.
What Makes a Place “Livable” to Americans?
What makes any place “livable” varies from person to person, but in general, many Americans give much importance to the following three factors when considering the livability of an area in Japan.
・The number of fellow Americans living in the area
・The number of American restaurants or stores that sell American food products
・The quality of support services for foreign nationals
To many Americans, living in an area where many other Americans reside is an important consideration. This is probably because they can easily get assistance and information about the area from compatriots who have been living there for a longer time, which can be quite reassuring especially if they are new to Japan.
An area with a high population of a specific nationality tends to have more restaurants and shops that offer food and products from that country, which naturally makes it an attractive location for newcomers from that specific country. While there are individuals who would rather live away from their own culture when living in a foreign country, the number of fellow citizens living in an area is usually an important consideration for many foreigners going house hunting in Japan.
Indeed, there are already places in Tokyo that have a high concentration of citizens from a specific country, with the local culture being influenced by the foreign country’s culture. The most famous one is probably Shin-Okubo in Shinjuku Ward where many Koreans reside. It is known as Tokyo’s Koreatown, and houses many Korean restaurants as well as shops that sell Korean pop culture items. Nishi-Kasai in Edogawa Ward is home to many Indian nationals, and it has been called Tokyo’s Little India for its abundance of Indian restaurants and schools. As Japan’s foreign population increases, many other foreign enclaves like these will probably arise in the future.
Another result of Japan’s rising foreign population is the enhancement of support services for foreign residents provided by local governments. For example, Toyama Prefecture has established the Toyama Foreign Resident Support Center, offering various services aimed at foreign nationals. The availability of such support systems makes life easier for foreigners living in the area.
Ranking the 23 Special Wards by their Population of American Citizens
Here we rank the 23 Special Wards of Tokyo according to their population of American citizens (as of December 2019, based on data from the “Statistics on Foreign National Residents”).
Rank Ward Population
1 Minato-ku 20,251
2 Setagaya-ku 3,315
3 Shibuya-ku 1,567
4 Meguro-ku 1,102
5 Shinjuku-ku 1,028
6 Suginami-ku 829
7 Shinagawa-ku 669
8 Ota-ku 656
9 Nerima-ku 579
10 Nakano-ku 550
11 Koto-ku 533
12 Toshima-ku 474
13 Chuo-ku 458
14 Itabashi-ku 400
15 Bunkyo-ku 397
16 Edogawa-ku 367
17 Adachi-ku 332
18 Taito-ku 305
19 Kita-ku 282
20 Chiyoda-ku 237
20 Katsushika-ku 237
22 Sumida-ku 227
23 Arakawa-ku 201
Increasing Population of Americans in Tokyo
The top three Special Wards in terms of population of American citizens are Minato-ku, Setagaya-ku, and Shibuya-ku. Compared to Chinese and Korean nationals, not that many Americans live in Japan, but that number is increasing by around 1,000 every year. Interestingly, Minato-ku, Shibuya-ku, and Meguro-ku, which rank high for U.S. residents, have relatively fewer Chinese residents. While there is no definite pattern, it seems that every country has a different trend on where their nationals choose to live in Tokyo.
Though it may not affect the above numbers for the 23 Special Wards, it is important to note that U.S. military personnel and their dependents based in Japan are not included the statistics. The number of Americans actually living in Japan is thus much higher than what these statistics indicate.
In this article, we ranked the 23 Special Wards of Tokyo by their population of U.S. citizens. The top three wards are Minato-ku, Setagaya-ku, and Shibuya-ku, while Sumida-ku and Arakawa-ku take the bottom spots. This likely indicates that Americans tend to live in areas where other Americans are already living.
So if you’re planning to go house hunting in Japan, it might be worth checking out how many of your compatriots reside in the area you’re considering.