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What’s It Like Living in East Tokyo?

Discover the advantages of living in East Tokyo. Explore Adachi, Edogawa, Katsushika, Arakawa, Koto and Sumida wards.

By 7 min read

Central Tokyo’s renowned attractions, like the Shibuya Scramble and Shinjuku lights, often captivate the attention and budgets of numerous tourists. However, if you want to establish a long-term residence in the city, East Tokyo can offer many advantages.

When looking for a place to call home in Tokyo, it’s easy to be drawn to the bustling energy of the city’s famous hubs. Yet, if you prioritize quieter neighborhoods, a warm and family-friendly atmosphere, and affordable rental options, it’s worth exploring the real estate opportunities on the east side through GaijinPot Apartments.

Choosing one of East Tokyo’s great train lines not only ensures a convenient commute to the vibrant heart of Tokyo but also offers quieter neighborhoods and typically more affordable rent. At day’s end, you can unwind in the relaxed residential atmosphere that characterizes this side of Tokyo.

Welcome to East Tokyo

Photo:
Can you explore it all?

Adachi, Edogawa, Katsushika, Arakawa, Koto and Sumida wards comprise East Tokyo. Compared to Central Tokyo, the east side has lower rents, quieter neighborhoods and greater access to nature. Historically, East Tokyo was considered shitamachi, an area generally home to artisans and merchants in contrast to the samurai and affluent classes who lived in the city center.

While much of Tokyo’s urban geography has transformed considerably since the end of World War II, swaths of East Tokyo have retained their old aesthetic and appeal. As such, it is still considered the cheaper and someone rougher side of the capital.

Meanwhile, limited commercial districts and long commutes may be downsides to living in east Tokyo. Depending on the ward and where in the ward, chances to shop at a department store or big-brand shops may be tricky.

Of course, you can always catch a train to one of Tokyo’s many commercial hotspots but expect to travel for 30 or more minutes. Relatedly, the farther east you move, the longer the commute to Central Tokyo and its western and southern sides.

Adachi

Photo:
The outskirts of Adachi are seen from the Arakawa River.

Relatively quiet and residential, Adachi is the northernmost ward in Tokyo. While Adachi has a reputation for being dangerous, its crime rate has declined the most of any ward in the city over the last 15 years. The ward has a mix of historical buildings, especially shrines and temples, and modern touches, such as Kita-Senju station, the third busiest Tokyo Metro station, and a large shopping complex.

Average Rent

  • 1K, 1DK: ¥60,000
  • 2LDK, 3K, 3DK: ¥72,000
10 minutes on foot to the nearest station.

Best Train Lines

  • JR Joban Line
  • Tobu Skytree Line (Isesaki Line)

Local Attractions

  • Toneri Park: A beautiful and serene park with a small lake for fishing, playgrounds for kids, and running paths.
  • Sojiji Temple: A charming Buddhist temple known for its tranquil surroundings and cultural significance.
  • Adachi Museum of Art: Explore a collection of modern Japanese art, including paintings, ceramics, and sculptures. The museum’s serene garden, designed to be a living painting, is a highlight.
  • Oukatei: A historic tea house in a beautiful Japanese garden.
  • Galaxcity: A community center with activities such as rock climbing and concerts.

Edogawa

Photo:
The border of Edogawa and Chiba

Edogawa is Tokyo’s easternmost ward and borders Chiba Prefecture. The area is quite residential, which makes it popular with families, especially ones with parents working in the city center. While there aren’t many commercial attractions here, this ward does feature affordable rents, green spaces, and access to the JR Chuo-Sobu line, which cuts through Tokyo from east to west. You can get to Shinjuku station from Edogawa’s Hirai station in 30 minutes or transfer to the all-important Yamanote line via Akihabara in 12 minutes.

Average Rent

  • 1K, 1DK: ¥59,000
  • 2LDK, 3K, 3DK: ¥113,000
10 minutes on foot to the nearest station.

Best Train Lines

  • JR Sobu Line (Rapid)
  • Toei Shinjuku Line

Local Attractions

  • Shunkaen Bonsai Museum: Explore the fascinating bonsai world at this museum established by Bonsai master Kunio Kobayashi.
  • Kasai Rinkai Park: Enjoy picnics, BBQs, a Ferris wheel ride, bird watching and more near Tokyo Bay.
  • Gyosen Park: A park with beautiful cherry blossoms during spring.

Katsushika

Photo:
Taishakuten Sando in Katsushika Ward.

Located in the northeastern corner of Tokyo, Katsushika Ward is far from the skyscrapers of Shinjuku. But what it lacks in big-city commerce, it makes up for in natural beauty and affordable housing. Mizumoto Park, the largest in Tokyo, is home to a bird sanctuary and is a popular spot for enjoying cherry blossoms. Residents can benefit from some of the lowest average rents in East Tokyo and easy access to Tokyo station in 30 minutes.

Average Rent

  • 1K, 1DK: ¥59,000
  • 2LDK, 3K, 3DK: ¥108,000
10 minutes on foot to the nearest station.

Best Train Lines

  • Keisei Main Line:
  • Keisei Oshiage Line:
  • JR Sobu Line (Rapid)
  • Tobu Skytree Line (Isesaki Line)

Local Attractions

  • Taishakuten Daikyoji Temple: A temple known for its finely detailed carvings and serene atmosphere.
  • Mizumoto Park: A spacious park ideal for biking, picnics, and enjoying the scenic beauty of the Iris flowers.
  • Horikiri Shobu Garden: A beautiful garden where visitors can admire a variety of plant species and enjoy a peaceful atmosphere.
  • Taishakuten-Sando: A historic shopping street linking Keisei Shibamata station to Taishakuten Temple, known for its old-world charm and unique shops.
  • Kameari: A vibrant neighborhood with numerous dining options, a large shopping center and a statue of Kankichi Ryotsu, a popular manga character.

Arakawa

Photo:
The Toden Arakawa Line is the last Toden tram line in Tokyo.

Arakawa’s location in East Tokyo allows it to benefit from the conveniences of the city center and its outskirts. Out of the eastern wards, Arakawa is the only one connected to the Yamanote line, the key train route that loops around Tokyo’s core. The ward maintains the low-key atmosphere the east is known for while lying in the median regarding average rents. Also, don’t be surprised if you cross paths with foreign residents in Arakawa, as about 10% of its population holds a non-Japanese passport.

Average Rent

  • 1K, 1DK: ¥68,000
  • 2LDK, 3K, 3DK: ¥160,000
10 minutes on foot to the nearest station.

Best Train Lines

  • JR Yamanote
  • Toden Arakawa Line
  • Keihin Tohoku Line
  • Chiyoda Line
  • Hibiya Tokyo Metro Line

Local Attractions

  • Arakawa Yuen: A family-friendly amusement park.
  • Nippori Fabric Town: A paradise for fabric enthusiasts, offering a wide selection of Japanese fabrics at reasonable prices
  • Arakawa Museum of Aqua: A museum dedicated to water and aqua-themed exhibits.
  • Joyful Minowa: A shopping street offering a glimpse into the daily life of Tokyo’s down-to-earth residents.
  • Suwa Shrine: A religious site where visitors can experience traditional Japanese culture and rituals.
  • Old Mikawashima Sewage Disposal Pumpout Facility: A historic site showcasing Tokyo’s infrastructure and technological advancements.

Koto

Photo:
Tokyo Big Sight and the Yurikamome line.

Situated along Tokyo Bay, Koto benefits from access to the sea and Central Tokyo. The waterfront offers opportunities for water sports such as sailing and canoeing, and the ward hosts many of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics venues. Rents in Koto are relatively high in the southern end, where the waterfront has seen plenty of new large apartment complexes rise in recent years. Meanwhile, the cost of living is more affordable in the northern part of the ward, and housing is comparatively less new.

Average Rent

  • 1K, 1DK: ¥77,000
  • 2LDK, 3K, 3DK: ¥177,000
10 minutes on foot to the nearest station.

Best Train Lines

  • JR Chuo-Sobu Lines
  • Tozai Tokyo Metro Line
  • Yurakucho Tokyo Metro Line
  • Hanzomon Tokyo Metro Line
  • Yurikamome Line (connecting Odaiba and Toyosu)

Local Attractions

  • Toyosu Fish Market: A modern replacement for the historic Tsukiji Fish Market.
  • Kiyosumi Garden: A traditional Japanese garden featuring ponds, bridges, teahouses and seasonal flora.
  • Tokyo Big Sight: An iconic convention center known for hosting major events, exhibitions, and conferences.
  • Odaiba: An entertainment district with attractions, museums, Odaiba Seaside Park and shopping malls like Aqua City and DiverCity Tokyo Plaza.
  • Ariake Coliseum: A multipurpose indoor arena hosting concerts, sports and exhibitions.
  • Yumenoshima Park: A large park with sports facilities, a botanical garden, and a museum dedicated to waste management and recycling.
  • Tokyo Gate Bridge: A stunning suspension bridge spanning Tokyo Bay, offering panoramic views of the city skyline.

Sumida

Photo:
Sumida Park

Several east Tokyo wards surround Sumida and are close to central Tokyo. The ward mixes old Tokyo charm and new commercial and residential opportunities. Several areas are quiet and residential, like the Hikifune neighborhood, which retains some old buildings from the 20th century. After the construction of Tokyo Sky Tree in 2011, Sumida witnessed an explosion of tourists. As a result, Sumida’s reputation for being unfriendly to outsiders (Japanese and non-Japanese) has waned, particularly in the more touristy parts of the ward.

Average Rent

  • 1K, 1DK: ¥78,000
  • 2LDK, 3K, 3DK: ¥180,000
10 minutes on foot to the nearest station.

Best Train Lines

  • JR Sobu Main Line
  • Hanzomon Tokyo Metro lines
  • Tobu Isesaki Line
  • Toei Asakusa Line

Local Attractions

  • Tokyo Sky Tree and Sky Tree Town: A massive shopping complex with a variety of shops, restaurants and entertainment options.
  • Edo-Tokyo Museum: Explore the history and culture of Tokyo through interactive exhibits and displays.
  • Sumida Park: A scenic spot along the Sumida River, popular for cherry blossom viewing in spring and fireworks festivals in summer.
  • Mukojima-Hyakkaen Gardens: A historic garden featuring seasonal flowers, traditional tea houses, and a tranquil atmosphere.
  • Ryogoku Kokugikan: The national sumo stadium where you can watch sumo wrestling tournaments and exhibitions.
  • Kotohira-gu Shrine: A Shinto shrine known for its beautiful architecture and cultural significance.

Have you lived in East Tokyo? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!

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