A bustling metropolis that holds over 35 million people, Tokyo is the economic hub of Asia. Earlier known as Edo, Tokyo got its name when it became the capital of Japan in 1868. The city witnessed tremendous growth in the 1960s and 1970s with huge leaps in technological advances. Today, it is considered as one of the finance command centers in the world.
Many foreigners would like to relocate to Tokyo due to its economic sovereignty. As of 2007, Tokyo had about 3% registered foreigners, and this number has been growing steadily. Preferred industries include multinational finance companies and hi-tech industries. A large number of Koreans, Chinese and Filipinos move to Tokyo for semi-skilled labor jobs. Almost everybody speaks English in Tokyo and it is usually very easy to get around. However, the people in the suburbs of Tokyo as well as the rest of Japan are not well versed with English and you will do yourself a big favor by learning some bit of Japanese. The Tokyo Employment Service Center for Foreigners imparts essential data for non-residents in Tokyo and it is a good idea to bookmark it for future needs. If you are looking for a job in Tokyo, you can find them on websites such as Tokyo Connections, Jobs.com, CareerCross and Japanese Jobs.
Tokyo is also home to about one third of all universities in Japan. Admission processes for foreign students in Japan, however, are not at all simple and requires some bit of research. You may go though the Japan Student Services Organization website and also visit the websites of individual universities as each has a different admission process. For younger children who are moving to Tokyo along with their parent(s), there are many English speaking schools in which they may enroll.
The most daunting part of moving into Tokyo is the high cost of living, being one of the highest in the world in some areas. The cost of renting an apartment is equivalent to renting one in London. Additionally, you also have to pay the first month’s rent, last month’s rent, damage deposit (normally not returned), gift to the landlord and realtor’s fee up front. Housing is usually cheaper in the suburbs and if you can avoid staying in central Tokyo, you will save yourself a big deal. Visit TokyoRent, Tokyo Apartments, Arkios and Sakura House. While cost of living in Tokyo is very high, many people who live in the suburbs, have adapted to Japanese cooking and public transport will tell you how affordable it is if you do the same.
Traveling within Tokyo can be done using their metro and bus services. You may also want to travel using taxis and boats (water taxis), though these are very expensive. Most people prefer using the metros in Tokyo due to their affordability and proximity to almost any place within Tokyo.
True to any urban metropolis, Tokyo’s main attractions include shopping, cuisine, museums, zoos and amusement parks. There are scenic attractions as well, but these are very few. Be sure to check out the tourist calendar of events to see if anything interesting is coming up while you are there.
The climate in Tokyo varies greatly with difference in summer and winter temperatures being 20° C (68° F). With four distinct seasons – spring, fall, summer and winter – March to May and September to November are the best seasons here. So pack your bags accordingly!