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Transportation in Tokyo

Tokyo might have one of the world’s best transit systems offering a large number of different trains and subways fully interconnected in a maze allowing travel seamlessly all over the city and surrounding area.

The main artery of Tokyo transit is the JR Yamanote Line which goes around the city in a circle and is connected by the Chuo line which runs straight through it. The JR line runs above ground and is generally a bit cheaper than the subway and is excellent for going to the main parts of the city.

JR Yamanote Line Subway

The subway is run both privately and publicly but are two separate companies offering 13 lines in total which zig zag to all locations of central tokyo.

For suburban travel they are several companies such as Keio, Keisei, Tokyu, Seibu and Odakyu which provide easy connection into the Metro Transit system. It should also be noted that there is also bus network that runs to areas where they may be no train stations.

Tokyo uses two rechargeable smart card systems called Suica and Pasmo which provide quick touch and go through the ticket gates. Without these, regular tickets must be bought and the price determined by the distance travelled. It should be noted that travel using different companies will require separate fares.

Suica & Pasmo

Commuter passes can also be bought and more economical if you often travel between two specific stations for example your home and work. These can be bought at regular ticket machines or ticket booths.

For travel out of Tokyo using the high speed bullet trains can be done at Ueno station serving the Tohuku region and Tokyo and Shinagawa station serving everything to the West of Japan.


Higherground Co.,Ltd.
2-8-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
TEL:03-6459-2230
HP:http://www.higherground.co.jp/
TOP PAGE: http://livingtokyo.net/



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Daily Shopping in Tokyo

Grocery shopping in Tokyo for the expat showcases food that may seem out of the ordinary which makes a fun place to experiment and definitely develop a taste for the cuisine of Japan.
Vegetable vendors usually have their own shops based in their respective communities which makes it a reasonable place to shop being armed with a phrase book or pointing may be all that be necessary for the expat lacking Japanese ability.

Vegetable store

The neighborhood supermarket however could be a bit more daunting for those who lack the ability to read the Kanji on food labels making a simple task a gigantic one since you don’t what you might be buying.
However, supermarkets are organized similarly to the western counterparts and soon you will the aisles and what you are looking for like the back of your hand.

Super Market

One hint in saving money is trying to not to buy to many western goods as these are set at a premium.
Nevertheless,when you do crave for something western most supermarkets are stocked and if you don’t find what you are looking for, many speciality stores exist all over Tokyo catering to the varying tastes of the world.

Department stores are also a great place to do shopping. In the basement of many stores have their food section selling everything from traditional sweets, seasonal items, and other branded food and beverage.
Department stores are a great place to shop because they offer a wide range of products and services which include foreign exchange, event ticket sales, travel and representation from many brand name clothing and accessory companies.
Department stores are found in all major areas and even in suburban areas and are usually connected to the major railway stations making easy to get home after a hard day of shopping.
Famous stores are Seibu, Hankyu, Mitsukoshi, Isetan, and Daimaru. Operating times are usually from 10 am to 8pm.

Convenience stores in Japan are found on every street corner operating 24 hours a day. It is a great place to pick an item or two, pay your bills, access the ATM and do your banking etc.
Like smaller version of a department store the Japanese convenience stores offer a large range of products from clothes,snacks, stationery,magazines and prepared food.

Convenience Store

These stores are great in times when you can not make it to your regular supermarket or department store.


Higherground Co.,Ltd.
2-8-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
TEL:03-6459-2230
HP:http://www.higherground.co.jp/
TOP PAGE: http://livingtokyo.net/



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Schools in Japan

Education is a crucial part of life and the early education period is by far one of the most important times for learning as it is the where children will learn the basics of communication, manners and culture.

In Japan, Kindergardens are divided between municipal and private institutions. With municipal schools children registered with their parents in the city are eligible for admission.

Private Kindergartens and Pre-schools are numerous in Tokyo but ones where the language of instruction is in English are now available all over the 23 wards.Increasing as well are those that offer Chinese, and other languages such as German,French and Korean.

In a search for the suitable school for your young one it should be based on what you want for your child, research and what references you get from other parents.

‘International’ Kindergartens are popping up more and more over Tokyo as the demand for foreign languages are high in demand. As one would expect these schools would cost more in tuition than the municipal schools. Notable schools in the Tokyo area are the Montessori School which has a worldwide reputation and Azabu International school.

A great resource for Education for the expat community is the website called Tokyo with kids which gives excellent information from a parent’s point of view on finding international education in Tokyo. It could be accessed at http://www.tokyowithkids.com.


Higherground Co.,Ltd.
2-8-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
TEL:03-6459-2230
HP:http://www.higherground.co.jp/
TOP PAGE: http://livingtokyo.net/



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How to get your Alien regristration ID

Alien regristration ID
One of the first and most important things to do when you arrive in Japan is to head to your nearest ward office and city hall and register for your alien registration card.

This card is used for everything from applying for a bank account, getting your cell phone or getting your first apartment. It will be your chief piece of identification in Japan.

Foreigners staying in Japan for more than 90 days are required to register within 90 days of landing.The applicant must provide a completed application form, passport and two identification photos at the city or ward office. Foreigners must take an official piece of ID with them at all times which shows their official status of residence in Japan so only a passport or this card will suffice.

Another necessary piece of identification is a drivers license.
Obtaining a driver’s license is fairly painless as long as you fulfill a few conditions i.e have valid driver’s license from your home country and also reside in the said country for at least 3 months.If you fulfill this walk with your passport,alien registration card, a japanese translation of the license and a photograph to the Driver’s License Center. The procedure for converting your license is to translate it,register,take the aptitude test,take the written knowledge test and take the skill set.

But if you are from one of the exempt countries (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden) there is no need to take the aptitude and skill test.

If you do not possess a driver’s license at the time you would have to attend a driver’s school and pass the driving examination, a process which could cost well over ¥300000.


Higherground Co.,Ltd.
2-8-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
TEL:03-6459-2230
HP:http://www.higherground.co.jp/
TOP PAGE: http://livingtokyo.net/



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Looking for your Ideal Place to Live in Tokyo !

Looking for your ideal place to live in Tokyo is a very difficult and tedious task both for the newly transferred expat or the experienced Tokyoite. Whether looking for something short term or long term The Higherground Real Estate Agents will help make the transition smooth for you and your love ones. Now before jumping into to see what the Tokyo Real Estate world has to offer you let’s look over the basics what apartment hunting might be like.

In Japan, many expats find that there is a great language barrier which makes the simplest things that we take for granted a bit more complicated.It is very hard to apartment hunt in ones native language so imagine how hard it would be if you and your agent could not communicate easily. Rest assured,that at our friendly agency we can handle all of your requests in English.

Tradition plays a large role in everyday Japanese life and it also transfers over into the real estate world.It is standard practice that future tenants pay several months worth of rent. This large amount consists of deposits, gift money, guarantor fees,insurance and an agent fee. At Higherground we have a large selection of apartments that will fit your budget and keep you from spending on unnecessary fees. Most of our apartments offer large discounts and sometimes no commission fees. Even though our agents fees are reduced there is no discount on our commitment to you finding your perfect place in Tokyo.

Your choice may also be affected by the size of the property you look for. Japanese apartments are smaller than what one maybe accustomed to in the West. With our large database of properties - you would be able to see a properties which could be your home away home or something more traditional and live like the natives do.
Now, let’s say you find that perfect place in Tokyo. Another fact, is that in this market apartments are completely barebones. Unfurnished is one way to describe it where lacking in everything from lightbulbs, a stove and sometimes air conditioning systems is the industry standard. Finding the option of having a furnished or semi-furnished apartment is something not commonly seen in many agents across Japan. We offer both furnished and unfurnished properties all around Tokyo which will help you reduce the hassle of furniture shopping and nitty gritty home supplies.

No matter how long you come to Tokyo for-whether for the short term or the long term we can find something within your budget and taste. So, with the basics of finding a Japanese apartment in hand we do hope you are informed on how the Real Estate market works. Unfortunately,we could not fit everything into this so if you have enquiries on properties or you have any questions- Our friendly staff at Higherground Real Estate Agency are committed to helping you settle into your new home in Tokyo so please give us a call or email 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Higherground Co.,Ltd.
2-8-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
TEL:03-6459-2230
HP:http://www.higherground.co.jp/
TOP PAGE: http://livingtokyo.net/



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Yushima Tenmangu Shinto Shrine

yushima

Yushima Tenmangu (湯島天満宮) is a Shinto Shrine near Ueno, commonly called Yushima Tenjin (湯島天神).

This Shrine was originally established in 458 in order to worship Ameno-tajikaraono-mikoto (天之手力雄命), one of deities appears in the Japanese myths.  Later, in February 1355, the spirit of Sugawara Michizane (菅原道真, 845-903), a historical figure, was also enshrined to venerate his extraordinary virtue as a scholar.  Sugawara Michizane is enshrined as Tenjin (天神), a god of thunder and storms.

yushima Portrait of Sugawara

In 1478, Ota Dokan(太田道灌, 1432-86), a warlord in Kanto region, rebuilt the Shrine.  Since then, many scholars and litterateurs including Confucianists such as Hayashi Razan (林羅山, 1583-1657) and Arai Hakuseki (新井白石, 1657-1725) in Edo period, have worshiped this shrine.

Nowadays many students visit this shrine to express their reverence to the enshrined spirit of Sugawara Michizane as god of learning.  Especially in the season of school entrance examinations, young students visit to pray for the success of passing examinations.

yushima

The shrine is also famous for beautiful blossoms of Ume (梅, Japanese apricot) in the precinct.  In February and March every year, Ume Matsuri (梅祭り, Ume festival) is held, and it attracts many visitors who enjoy the Ume blossoms.  To the Japanese, Ume is a special flower that announces the arrival of spring, earlier than cherry blossoms.


Higherground Co.,Ltd.
2-8-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
TEL:03-6459-2230
HP:http://www.higherground.co.jp/
TOP PAGE: http://livingtokyo.net/



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