Akasaka – Japan’s most sought-after residential address for CEOs.

Akasaka Tokyo
Akasaka and Tokyo Midtown.

Until recently, the most popular residential neighbourhoods for company presidents were Denenchofu and Seijo, but the latest trends show a preference towards central Tokyo.

Tokyo Shoko Research conducted a survey of 2.67 million companies nationwide and has ranked the most popular residential addresses of company presidents. In top spot was Akasaka in Minato-ku. It was followed by Yoyogi and Nishi Shinjuku. Denenchofu, which had once dominated the chart, had fallen to 18th spot, while Seijo dropped to 13th position.

In 2003, Roppongi was ranked 88th, while Nishi-Shinjuku did not even make the top 100. In 2014, Roppongi was ranked 5th.

Google launches disaster prevention map for Tokyo

Tokyo Hazard Map
Fire hazard map for Tokyo

Google’s Crisis Response Team have released a disaster prevention map for Tokyo. The map shows the various risk levels for building collapse, fire and evacuation hazards, as well as the location of evacuation zones, public pay phones and tsunami evacuation buildings.

Zones are based on data supplied by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. The local government has provided this data online for several years, but the link up with Google Maps has provided a much easier user interface.

Government may introduce long-stay visas for wealthy foreigners

The Japanese Government is considering introducing a visa to allow wealthy foreigners to reside in Japan for a number of years.

The government wants to follow in the footsteps of other countries such as Thailand and Australia which offer long-stay visas. Australia recently introduced a significant investor visa which provides a four year visa to those who invest AUD 5 million in complying investments, such as state government bonds.

Living allowances of university students falls to lowest level

The following article may be useful to those investing in student-oriented accommodation.

The average living allowance of a private university or college student living away from home and starting university in 2012 was 89,500 Yen/month (USD 917). This is the twelfth year of continuous decline.

The survey was conducted by the Tokyo Private University Teachers Union. A total of 5,349 students from 17 universities across Tokyo were surveyed between May and July in 2012. Of those students, 2,128 students were living away from home.

Buildings in Minato-ku to be designated as tsunami-evacuation points

Selected buildings in Tokyo’s Minato ward will be soon be designated as tsunami-evacuation points. Negotiations are underway between the local city council and 16 companies who own buildings of 10-storeys or higher. Approximately 36.5 million Yen has been set aside in the City’s budget.

Several commercial and residential buildings in Arakawa-ku and Koto-ku have already received designations. While Arakawa-ku provided some assistance with the purchase of emergency supplies and rations, Minato-ku will provide all necessary supplies to the co-operating buildings. They are also considering providing assistance with any upgrades to building security so that they may be accessible to evacuees in an emergency situation.

How much will distance from the station affect rent?

The walking distance from the nearest train station is a major factor when searching for an apartment or house in Japan. The closer to the station, the higher the rent. So, how much does rent change as you look at places that are 5, 10 and 15 minutes away?

The following is a translation of an interview between a writer and real estate agent that appeared on the MyNavi news site on January 3, 2013:

— Where I live the difference in rent is approximately 10,000 Yen/month between a property 5 minutes from the station and one that is 10 minutes away. Are other areas the same?

Although it will depend on the area, that would be the approximate difference in rent that you will see. For properties over a 10 minute walk, the rent will be even lower. As for one-room studio apartments, there is almost a 30% difference in rent between properties that are 5 minutes and 10 minutes away.

Can I hang Christmas lights on my balcony?

Apartment dwellers may want to get into the Christmas spirit by hanging lights on their balcony, but they should be aware that their building’s management association may have rules that prescribe if and how they can hang lights.

While you have exclusive ownership of the inside of your apartment, your balcony is technically part of the building’s public space with usage rights granted to the apartment owner. As such, owners and tenants must follow the rules for the use of balconies which are set out in the management agreement.

Tokyo is the most expensive city in the world to rent a 2-bedroom apartment

The 500.38sqm (5384 sqft) 1-bedroom penthouse in La Tour Daikanyama has an asking rent of 5,310,000 Yen/month and is the most expensive rental apartment in Tokyo.

According to a survey by ECA International, Tokyo is the most expensive city in the world to rent a 2-bedroom apartment, and the 2nd most expensive city in the world for 3-bedroom apartments.

Tokyo has also seen the biggest fall in rents in Asia. This continues the trend of year-on-year rental price decreases witnessed there since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008.

Lee Quane, Regional Director of ECA International Asia explains that “assignee numbers in Tokyo are still lower than before the financial crisis”. This means there is less demand for rental property in expatriate areas, and rents in those areas have steadily fallen since then, dropping almost 5% in Yen terms. Further falls in international assignee numbers following the tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster have continued to contribute to this trend.

Growing concern over Tokyo’s shortage of emergency evacuation centers

  • 1.3 million residents will be turned away
  • 2.39 million residents will lose their homes
  • 4.48 million residents will be stranded until transportation services resume

Tokyo City is currently unable to provide enough emergency accommodation for the temporary refugees that would not be able to return home in the event of a magnitude 7 earthquake hitting Tokyo.

SUUMO real estate site opens cafe in Ginza

One of Japan’s major real estate listing sites, SUUMO (), has recently opened up a promotional cafe in Ginza.

The cafe shares the space of the R25 Cafe on the 1st floor of the Recruit Ginza 7 Chome Building (see google map ). They are selling various sweets and drinks featuring the Suumo character (a green alien) including hot cocoa, muffins and cider. Prices range from 330 – 500 Yen.

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