Tokyo is a sprawling, densely populated city packed full of nightlife spots, restaurants, museums, entertainment venues, shopping malls and everything besides. The city offers its expats a vibrant, unique and sociable lifestyle, with plenty of annual events, in addition to more permanent sightseeing and entertainment attractions.
Shopping in Tokyo
Shopping in Tokyo is an important part of the crazed consumer culture – in fact, it can constitute an essential cultural experience for expats. For one, Tokyo has a bizarrely futuristic shopping environment with everything from underwear to watermelons available from vending machines.
The city is also at the cutting edge of fashion, design and electronics – most famously in Akihabara. Bargains are rare, so be prepared to pay for the privilege of shopping here.
Shopping malls are a major part of the urban landscape. Shinjuku Station is surrounded by multi-level malls retailing every item imaginable. Major chains like Keio and Isetan can be reached directly from the station. Both have tax-free shopping and European language assistance. Check out Mitsukoshi department stores for a more upmarket shopping experience.
Those looking for gifts for loved ones back home should look out for traditional items like Daruma dolls and crafts such as ceramics and chop-sticks. Kimonos are always good, although quality garments are expensive. Ideal locations to find souvenirs are the Oriental Bazaar and along Omotesando.
Eating out in Tokyo
The biggest city in the world by population, Tokyo might well be the globe’s cuisine capital as well. Restaurants in Tokyo are plentiful – the city has more Michelin stars to its name than any other, and boasts eateries offering all manner of ethnic cuisines, fine dining experiences, local delicacies and foreign foods. Of course, Japanese sushi is a must-have and whether one is in Tokyo to stay or just passing through, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Nightlife in Tokyo
The nightlife in Tokyo is excellent, offering everything from geisha bars to jazz clubs, escort clubs and crazily themed dance clubs. It certainly helps that it’s legal to drink in public and that vending machines stock cans of beer. The best party area is Roppongi, which has quite friendly locals very familiar with Westerners. Other key nightlife areas are Kabukicho, in Shinjuku, and Ginza.
Are you an expat living in Tokyo?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Tokyo. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.