• 02/26/2010
  • 07/13/2013

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. 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 […]

  • 02/24/2010
  • 07/13/2013

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. 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. 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 […]

  • 02/22/2010
  • 07/13/2013

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 […]

  • 02/17/2010
  • 07/13/2013

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 […]

  • 02/15/2010
  • 07/13/2013

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 […]