Are you trying to figure out where to live in Tokyo? Want to scope out the top 10 neighbourhoods and spots to settle down in the city? Tokyo might not feel all that vast when you’re just hitting up Shinjuku, Shibuya, or Harajuku during your visit. But when it comes to actually planting roots and picking a spot in Tokyo, suddenly the city feels like it’s grown tenfold.

There’s a whole bunch of neighbourhoods and areas you probably hadn’t even considered. But fear not! To make your hunt for where to live in Tokyo a tad easier, here’s a rundown of the top 10 neighbourhoods to give you some inspiration on where to start looking.

Where to Live in Tokyo: Neighborhoods Perfect for Your Lifestyle

1. Musashi Koyama

Where to live in Tokyo Musashi Koyama

Musashi Koyama is a fantastic spot to settle down in Tokyo. The Tokyu Meguro Line, renowned for its stops like Shibuya and Yokohama, swings by Musashi-Koyama Station. Plus, it links directly with the Tokyo Metro Namboku Line and the Toei Mita Line, giving you seamless access to office hubs like Nagatacho Station and Otemachi Station—all on one line.

At Meguro Station, you can hop onto the JR line via the Yamanote Line. From there, you can zip to Shibuya Station in about 15 minutes, Shinjuku Station in roughly 25, and hit up other major Tokyo stations within half an hour.

Fronting Musashi Koyama station, there’s a buzz of redevelopment. In 2019, a spanking new shopping hub popped up—perfect for grabbing a quick drink or chilling out. Nestled next to the main shopping district, it boasts a mix of eateries, cafes, banks, and drug stores, ticking all the boxes for your daily essentials.

Folks flock to Musashi Koyama for its lively shopping scene, just a stone’s throw from the station. Palm Shopping Street, a covered arcade hosting around 250 stores ranging from eateries to local joints, is a shopper’s paradise. It’s Tokyo’s longest arcade town, meaning you can shop ’til you drop without dodging raindrops, even on drizzly days.

2. Nakameguro 

Where to live in Tokyo Nakameguro 

Nakameguro is another top spot to consider when pondering where to live in Tokyo. The Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line and Tokyu Toyoko Line run through Nakameguro Station. Opting for the Tokyu Toyoko Line means you can reach Shibuya Station and Yokohama Station hassle-free, which not only simplifies your commute but also makes life a tad easier for work or school.

Folks are drawn to Nakameguro for its array of trendy shops. Wander beneath the train tracks and around the area, and you’ll stumble upon a treasure trove of unique and quirky stores. Plus, there’s no shortage of cool bars and cafes dotted around the station, making it a magnet for weekend hangouts.

Come springtime, the Meguro River bursts into a riot of cherry blossoms. It’s a renowned spot teeming with weekend crowds, but if you call the area home, you can bask in its beauty on quieter weekdays or in the tranquil morning hours. Nakameguro offers the best of both worlds: the serene charm of nature amidst the urban hustle, sans the towering skyscrapers’ overwhelming presence.

3. Koenji 

Where to live in Tokyo Koenji 

Koenji is a cracking neighbourhood to consider when weighing up where to live in Tokyo. It’s a mere 6-minute jaunt to Shinjuku station and roughly 25 minutes to Tokyo Station—making it a breeze for your daily commute to work or school. Plus, it’s a cinch to hop over to Chiba if you fancy.

Renowned as a hub of subculture, Koenji boasts a quirky vibe with its collection of second-hand clothing stores and live music joints congregated around the station, lending the area a unique retro charm. And let’s not forget the abundance of izakayas and bars, perfect for unwinding after a long day.

Head to the north exit of the station, and you’ll stumble upon a bustling shopping street hosting around 200 stores, offering fresh produce and cooking ingredients at pocket-friendly prices.

Meanwhile, the south exit leads you to Pal Shopping Street, complete with its own arcade. Here, you’ll find a string of vintage fashion stores peddling retro clothing at bargain rates. Plus, with a roof overhead, you can shop to your heart’s content without worrying about rain spoiling your spree.

4. Komazawa Daigaku

Where to live in Tokyo Komazawa Daigaku

Komazawa Daigaku station isn’t just for the student crowd—it’s a gem for anyone considering where to live in Tokyo. Situated on the Denentoshi Line, it offers easy access to Shibuya Station and Futakotamagawa Station, making commuting a breeze. Plus, there’s no shortage of shopping spots in the vicinity.

Hop over to the next station, Sangenjaya Station, and you’ll find a buzzing hangout hub. It’s perfect for those times when you want a change of scenery without straying too far from home—a single stop opens up a world of options.

Thanks to its direct connection with the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line, the Denentoshi Line makes navigating office districts like Otemachi Station and Jimbocho Station a doddle—all on one line.

With Komazawa University nearby, the area boasts a plethora of student-friendly eateries right by the station. Whether you’re after budget-friendly bites or a quick takeaway, you’re spoilt for choice.

And let’s not forget about Komazawa Olympic Park, a mere 15-minute stroll from Komazawa University Station. It’s a sprawling oasis amidst the urban hustle, offering ample green space for a workout or simply soaking in the serenity of nature.

5. Sangenjaya

Where to live in Tokyo Sangenjaya

As touched upon earlier, Sangenjaya is a top-notch spot to consider when pondering where to live in Tokyo. Nestled on the Tokyu Denentoshi Line, it’s a mere hop away from Shibuya if you catch the express train.

What’s more, it’s conveniently close to Shimokitazawa, easily accessible by bike or bus. Shimokitazawa’s famed for its thrift stores and unique vibe, offering a treasure trove of exploration right on your doorstep. And with Sangenjaya as your base, you can easily venture out to many other nearby spots.

Fronting the station, you’ll find a plethora of restaurants, many of which have graced the pages of magazines or flickered across TV screens. And if you’re in the mood for a tipple, fear not—bars abound in this area. Despite its posh reputation in Setagaya Ward, Sangenjaya boasts a laid-back vibe, thanks in part to its ample supermarkets and stores catering to everyday needs.

6. Nakano 

Where to live in Tokyo Nakano 

Nakano Station is a prime spot to consider when mulling over where to live in Tokyo, offering relatively affordable rents in the bustling city. Situated conveniently, it allows easy access to major Tokyo stations like Shinjuku Station and Tokyo Station sans any train changes. Plus, its excellent connectivity extends not just within Tokyo but also towards the Chiba area.

Right in front of the station lies Nakano Sun Mall Shopping Street, teeming with local businesses. And don’t miss Nakano Marui, a large commercial building offering a smorgasbord of stores. One highlight is Nakano Broadway, a haven for anime and pop culture aficionados—perfect for a leisurely browse among its quirky shops exuding nostalgic charm.

Come nightfall, the area springs to life with a plethora of restaurants, izakayas, and bars around the station. But venture a tad further, and you’ll encounter a quieter residential area dotted with convenient shops like gyomu supa and budget-friendly supermarkets—ideal for snagging ingredients at pocket-friendly prices. It’s no wonder Nakano attracts a crowd, with many students and fresh-faced employees opting to call it home.

7. Shimokitazawa

Where to live in Tokyo Shimokitazawa

Shimokitazawa Station is a vibrant hub brimming with unique shops, from vintage clothing stores to quaint general stores. It’s a melting pot of cultures, with small theatres and live music venues peppered throughout.

If you’re a food enthusiast, Shimokitazawa won’t disappoint. The area boasts a plethora of dining options, ranging from familiar chain restaurants to hidden local gems. You’ll stumble upon specialty stores here that you won’t find elsewhere.

Serviced by the Keio Inokashira Line and the Odakyu Odawara Line, Shimokitazawa Station is a breeze to navigate. Hop on the Inokashira Line, and you’ll be whisked to Shibuya Station in just 5 minutes. Alternatively, a quick ride on the Odakyu Line will have you at Shinjuku Station in around 10 minutes—no transfers necessary.

Recently unveiled at the station is “Shimokita Ekiue,” a trendy commercial complex. With its ethos centred around being a gathering spot for everyone, it houses 16 distinct stores, making it the perfect hangout spot for folks of all stripes.

Shimokitazawa is a dynamic city that continues to evolve, all while retaining its vibrant subculture—making it an exciting place to call home for young people and beyond.

8. Ikebukuro 

Where to live in Tokyo Ikebukuro 

Ikebukuro Station stands as one of the world’s busiest transport hubs, offering stellar connectivity to all corners of Tokyo. Situated on the north side of the city, it’s also a cinch to hop over to neighbouring Saitama.

What sets Ikebukuro Station apart is its abundance of large commercial complexes nearby. Take, for instance, Sunshine City, a renowned mall housing a planetarium, an aquarium, and “Namja Town,” a quirky theme park. And when it comes to dining and nightlife, you’re spoilt for choice—with a plethora of cafes, famous ramen joints, izakayas, and bars scattered around the station. So take your time and delve into the array of entertainment options on offer.

While Ikebukuro may have once carried a reputation for subpar security, recent efforts by Toshima Ward are changing that narrative. The redevelopment of Nishiguchi Park aims to shake off this negative image. Once known as the backdrop for the drama “Ikebukuro West Gate Park,” this park has undergone a transformation into an open-air theatre, breathing new life into the area.

9. Jiyugaoka 

Where to live in Tokyo Jiyugaoka 

Jiyugaoka Station is a chic locale with a fashionable vibe, boasting an array of sophisticated shops. From trendy boutiques to cosy cafes and delectable sweet spots featured in magazines, there’s something to delight every taste. And right outside the station, you’ll find a bustling array of shops, spanning fashion outlets to food emporiums. Head to the north exit for a bevvy of friendly izakayas, perfect for unwinding after a long day.

While certain pockets of Jiyugaoka exude a high-end aura, there are also pockets of retro charm sprinkled throughout the area. A must-visit spot is Jiyugaoka depart, just in front of the station—a multi-storey haven boasting around 100 shops, offering everything from cutting-edge fashion to nostalgic treasures, gourmet treats, and cultural goodies spread across its floors.

And if you fancy a break from the urban hustle, Todoroki Ravine Park is a stone’s throw away. As the only valley in Tokyo’s 23 wards, it’s a serene oasis where you can immerse yourself in tranquil, picturesque surroundings away from the crowds.

Serviced by the Tokyu Toyoko Line and Tokyu Oimachi Line, Jiyugaoka Station offers seamless access to Shibuya Station and even Yokohama Station without the hassle of changing trains. It’s not just convenient for your daily commute to work or school, but also ideal for spontaneous day trips out and about.

10. Ogikubo 

Where to live in Tokyo Ogikubo 

Ogikubo, nestled on the JR Chuo Line and the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, offers easy access to Shinjuku—ideal for those pondering where to live in Tokyo. With main roads like Ome Kaido and Kanpachi Dori crisscrossing the area, it’s a boon for car commuters too.

Renowned as a gastronomic haven, Ogikubo Station boasts a plethora of eateries, ranging from famed establishments to cosy local joints. Head to Nakadori Shopping Street at the south exit for all your daily essentials, conveniently located within easy reach. And if you’re up for more fun, neighbouring Nishiogikubo and Kichijoji offer a plethora of activities and entertainment options.

Despite its vibrant vibe, Ogikubo exudes a snug, welcoming atmosphere. Just a short stroll from the station unveils a treasure trove of intriguing shops, restaurants, as well as tranquil parks and nature spots—perfect for those seeking a balance between city living and quiet retreats.

Finding Your Tokyo Home

Choosing where to live in Tokyo can pose quite a challenge, but I trust this blog has shed some light on navigating this vast city and discovering its finest residential areas. What constitutes “best” is entirely subjective, so take your time to explore and revisit this blog to find the neighbourhood that resonates with you the most—the perfect fit for your life in Tokyo.