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Discover the ethos, soul and character of the business scene in Tokyo.

Explore a dynamic, determined and disruptive business landscape that has real global impact. Leverage Tokyo's exceptional pool of talent, efficient infrastructure and ahead-of-the-curve ideas and make it work for you. Through our main interviewee, expatriate Jonathan Hewitt, embark on a journey through Tokyo to understand the innovative and unmatched professional philosophy of the city.

Tokyo: The city you want to be in

Nothing explains contrasts better than Tokyo—home to traditional sensibilities and modern thinking, hi-tech gizmos and hand-drawn Manga, swanky malls and hole-in-the-wall noodle shops, humble shrines and plush skyscrapers, it's the confluence of these contrasts that attracts expats.

The organized chaos dominating life here can be overwhelming. But when it comes to business, a sound set of government initiatives woos international entrepreneurs looking to set up shop. Success stories of foreign companies in Tokyo are based on unparalleled logistics and robust infrastructure. Not surprising then, that foreign brands thrive. In fact, Tokyo's Special Zone for Asian Headquarters project ambitiously aims to host 400 foreign companies, including 40 R&D centers by 2020!


Unparalleled infrastructure
for your business

Otemachi, Yurakucho, Marunouchi districts today comprise many urban development projects that offer organizations the ideal environs and unparalleled convenience to conduct business. High-performance office buildings with superior earthquake resistance cores and emergency power systems ensure businesses can operate 24/7 despite disasters, while multipurpose office buildings equipped with sophisticated business support functions and great infrastructure are attracting businesses in a big way.

Tokyo reaching out
to you

To facilitate international business relations, Tokyo has extended their reach into their overseas partner locations. "Access to Tokyo" are overseas consultations desks in London, Paris, San Francisco and Singapore to help with enquiries related to specific Japanese markets. These desks provide immediate information in local languages to help businesses set up in Tokyo, after seeking the expertise of government institutions, industrial groups and investors.

"The Japanese consumer has different preferences for colors, sizes, fits, quality etc. than your average European or American. So, market requirements need to be understood while still holding true to the brand and its identity. Then the old adage of "Think Global, Act Local" remains as true as ever."

Did you know?

Many Japanese wear masks on trains and in town. This is not because the air is bad but because the Japanese are very sensitive to their fellow commuters and do it so as not to spread viruses and diseases.

What’s the right way to accept
business cards?

Business card etiquette is very important. No business can begin until cards are exchanged as it marks the beginning of a relationship.

  • The highest-ranking person gives out business cards first.
  • Cards must be given and received with two hands.
  • Cards should be handed face-up to the receiver.
  • Cards should be kept on display for the remainder of the interaction.
  • Cards should be kept as immaculate as possible.

Living it up in Tokyo

Moving lock, stock and barrel to Tokyo may seem intimidating at first but it truly shouldn't. Expats residing here vouch for the liveliness and bustle that characterizes the city's districts and the friendly and outgoing nature of the native Japanese that puts families at ease. Hewitt calls this the "pizza slice approach to Tokyo" specifying the "loop line (Yamanote Line) that encircles the center, comprises the most convenient areas along with Akasaka."

Did you know?

Tokyo is home to Alice in a Labyrinth Restaurant which brings you the entertaining experience of fine dining in Lewis Carroll's weird world.

A universe of things to do
in the neighborhood

From bakeries to coffee, trendy neighborhoods, such as Hiroo, Azabu and Aoyama top the list of preferred spots for expats to settle down. Why? Quiet and upscale, each district comes with a smattering of parks, museums, shopping complexes, eateries, convenience stores and supermarkets, as well as a vibrant night life.

Hewitt says expats with young families may find Tokyo "a fascinating city but there isn't actually that much to see though there is a universe of things to do—food, sports, movies or walking the back streets - Tokyo has it in abundance with a lot of English language support online." Bottom line, if there's something you want to do, just look it up.

What are the residential areas
preferred by expats in Tokyo?

Neighborhoods such as Hiroo, Azabu and Aoyama are popular. Other neighborhoods to look into include Meguro, Shinagawa & Shinjuku.

Can I buy all groceries
from vending machines?

While Japan has the highest per capita rate of vending machines in the world (according to the Japan Vending Machine Manufacturers Association), you will still need to head to a supermarket if you want to stock up on groceries. However, if you need to purchase one-off items such as bananas, milk or honey, a vending machine can help you out.