28+ Must-Read Articles If You’re Starting A New Life In Tokyo

Your One-Stop Guide To Living It To The Fullest In The Capital

From learning to decode your grocery labels to where to shop for bras in Tokyo to how to call emergency services, here's a list of useful articles for your new life in the city.

Casually known as the “X-month” in Japan, April is all about starting from scratch. It is this time of the year when most people in Japan start a new life, new jobs and relocate to a new neighborhood or even city to start anew. If you are one of those people who are starting a new life in Tokyo this spring, here is a list of articles and resources that will help you prepare for your new journey in the big city.

Daily Life & Home Sweet Home

1. 6 Useful Websites For Your Life In Japan

From transportation to finding vegetarian restaurants in your area, these six websites are helpful for managing your life in Tokyo and other big cities in Japan. For recommended apps, also see this and this article.

2. Easy Japanese For… series

From shopping to taking a cab and ordering food when you don’t feel like going out, these vocabulary lists will help you with the local lingo.

3. Decoding Japanese Nutrition Labels

The ultimate cheat sheet of all you need to know for efficient and safe grocery shopping in Japan. This article will help you to navigate the supermarket like a local and know your fresh vegetables from your pickles.

4. 6 Convenient and Well-Stocked Tokyo Health Food Stores

Looking for organic, vegan and macrobiotic goodies but don’t know where to start? Here is a guide to Tokyo’s brick-and-mortar health food stores. Also, if you live in Minato city, check Bio C’Bon, the Japanese branch of the famous French health store.

5. 7 Must-Know Things About The Japanese Home And Kitchen

A quick guide to several of the biggest differences between Japanese and Western homes and kitchens — including how to tackle the dreaded humidity once the Japanese summer kicks in.

6. Kanji Cheat Sheet: Washers and Dryers

One of the biggest problems foreigners face in Japan is how to decode Japanese washers and dryers. This article is your ultimate guide to managing those tricky machines and making sure that your clothes don’t shrink. For a kanji cheat sheet on rice cookers, click here, for microwaves, click here, for reading your AC rimokon (remote control), here, and for other general appliances, here.

Work, work, work

7. Office Fashion: 4 Tips For “Wearing It Right” At A Japanese Workplace

Choosing your clothes for a new office environment, especially if coming from a different country and/or culture, can be challenging. This article introduces the most important unspoken fashion rules when it comes to what to and what not to wear at a typical Japanese company.

8. 7 Ways To Master The Art Of Polite Conversation In Japan

Your Japanese coworkers will love you when they get to know you, but before they do, it’s essential to keep it neutral and polite when breaking the ice. Especially useful in the workplace, but also everywhere you go, from your child’s school to your day-to-day interactions with your Japanese neighbors, this article gives you a few tips on mastering the Japanese keigo.  

9. 5 Female Coworkers You Will Meet In Japan (And How To Deal With Them)

From the hard-hitting manager to the avid husband hunter, discover the five most common types of Japanese female coworkers you’re likely to meet at your new job — and tips on how to deal with them.  

10. 4 Out-Of-Office Spots To Get Some Work Done

If your job gives you the freedom to work from elsewhere than your regular office, here are four recommended spots where you’ll be able to concentrate and get your work done in no time. The list includes recommended wifi cafes, bookshops, public libraries and rental offices. For a full list of Tokyo’s best wifi cafes, check this article too.

11. 5 Easy Ways To Relax After A Stressful Workday

If you’re new to Japan’s corporate lifestyle, it’s very likely that you will feel absolutely exhausted in the beginning. This article gives you recommendations on how to properly relax after a busy day at work.

12. 6 Tips For Saving Money In Tokyo

No two ways about it: living in Tokyo can be expensive. But there are many ways you can be smarter with your moolah while still making the most out of life in the big city. Use these tips to make sure that you don’t run out of cash while living in Tokyo. For tips for working women in the city, check this article, too.

Families & Kids 

13. Babysitting Services in Japan

A guide to babysitting services in Japan, including a list of companies that offer services in English.

14. 12 Must-Read Articles If Your Child Is Starting School In Japan

Get fully ready for what to expect, what to prepare, what to ask and how to support your child in the Japanese public school system.

15.10 Must-Read Articles If You Are Pregnant In Japan

For expats living in Japan, aside from the realization that you are expecting, that fear may be compounded even further by having to figure out prenatal care, doctors, official registration and the like. Here are ten articles with tips for what to do and where to go if you’re expecting in Japan, as well as how to choose the best place to give birth in Tokyo. 

16. 50 Things To Do With The Kids In Tokyo

If you have little ones and you’re trying to figure out where to take them and how to keep them entertained, here is the ultimate guide to the city’s 50 best kid-friendly activities.

Bonus: For a database of international schools in Tokyo, see here.

Emergencies & Healthcare

© Photo by Miki Yoshihito

17. What You Need To Know Before You Go To The Doctor In Japan

Getting sick in Japan can be both frightening and frustrating. This article offers some useful information and language help for the next time you go to your local hospital. For gynecologists in Tokyo, check this article.

18. Calling Emergency Services in Japan

Hopefully, you will never need it, but this article will help you in case you need to call an ambulance, the fire department or the police.

19. Overcome Earthquake Anxiety By Staying Prepared For Disasters

Living in Japan means that you’ll also have to get used to earthquakes. While these are frightening, knowing how to be prepared helps relieve the anxiety. This article introduces one woman’s personal story of how she overcame her fears, as well as tips on what you can do to stay prepared. For a guide on what to add to your evacuation kit, click here. For a recommended disaster-relief app, check this article.

Shopping, Networking & Making The Most of Your Freetime

© Photo by Yoshikazu Takada

20. Tokyo’s Top 5 Shopping Districts

Introducing the capital’s top five shopping areas where you can find everything from the high-end to the offbeat, from subculture favorites to traditional crafts and vintage wares. For recommended varieties stores to spice up your home or office, see a list of Tokyo’s best ‘zakka’ variety stores. For foreign-friendly lingerie and bra shops, see this and this article.

21. 9 Tokyo-based Organizations You Can Volunteer For

From food distribution, mental health support and event planning, this article introduces nine of the best-known philanthropic organizations in Tokyo which you can support through volunteering.

22. 4 Inspiring Women’s Network Groups & Resources In Japan

Finding female friends can be difficult in the fast-paced world of Japan, but it’s certainly not impossible. You can start by joining one (or more) of Tokyo’s best-known women’s groups and resources in the city and build up your support network. For recommended places to find mama friends, see this article.

23. Five Fun and Creative Tokyo Classes

From ikebana to pottery-making, find the cultural class that fits you best. For cooking classes in Tokyo, see this article.

24. 10 Essential Museums To Visit In Tokyo

A guide to the city’s best locations for art, science and history. If you want to go a step further and explore the local culture, these ten historical museums are also highly recommended. Last but not least, if you’re into photography, check our list to Tokyo’s best photography museums, too!

25. Savvy’s Guide To All Events You Can’t Miss In Tokyo This Year

A guide to 2018’s top events, divided per month. Savvy Tokyo also publishes weekly event lists, so if you’re looking for fun things to do over the weekend, check our page every Monday afternoon!

Bonus: For neighborhood guides in Tokyo, check our Neighborhood Strolls series, which cover Shimokitazawa, Daikanyama, Koenji, Odaiba, Aoyama, Yanesen and other areas.

For recommended foreign-friendly hair salons with English-speaking services, see here and here. For recommendations for dining and wining in the city, see or Food & Drink section.


26. Love In Japan: 7 Ways To Meet That Special Someone

Dating in Japan can be quite of a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Beyond Tinder and other dating apps, this article introduces seven ways to find your potential future partner in Japan. And if you want to see what types of men you’re likely to encounter through the process, here’s your guide.

27. Dating In Japan: Foreign Women Share Their Stories

OK, read this one before you try to find a partner in Japan. And this, before you take the next step.

28. Contraception in Japan

A guide to what’s available in Japan, where to find it, and how much it costs.

What other areas of your life in Tokyo do you need information and support on? Let us know in the comments!