Tokyo - Post Report Question and Answers

What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing in Yokohama was great: a house on the Bluff, close to YIS and easy walking distance to Motomachi. In Tokyo, we lived in a townhouse on the compound (Mitsui side). Compound housing is much larger than typical Japanese housing. The location is great: right in the heart of the city with easy access to everything (either by train, bike or walking). The housing is not modern at all, but it's fine. They were doing updates when we were there and some of those updates happened right after we left. - Nov 2020

Weirdly dark and small apartments , old and run down with weird layouts , lots of unconnected rooms and not an open family friendly living environment . Some apartments are being renovated . There are also townhouses with their own quirks. Best appointed units are off compound. But those are usually for other agencies or lucky people. - Mar 2019

The housing compound is a ten minute walk from the Embassy. It's gated with large towers and two rows of of town houses. There is a pool, gym, preschool, store, field, gazebo, and playground. The apartments vary in size and layout. Not all are created equal and people get housing envy. Most have nice elements and some not nice (like dark, tiny kitchens, bedrooms separated etc). Some get an extra bedroom while many do not. The compound is full so some people live off compound in swanky corporate apartments. Foreign affairs agencies generally go on compound first though. - Jun 2018

We live in a 4th floor apartment in a smallish building (about 20 units) within a mile of the US Embassy. It is 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath, with a generous kitchen and lots of closets. This is not typical, from what I can tell; storage tends to be at a premium in most homes. We are less than a 10 minutes' walk (in 4 different directions) from 4 different subway lines. - Mar 2018

Compound - easy 10 min walk to US embassy. Small by US standards but large for Japan. The units are shabby, old and run down. If you are lucky to live off the compound, the house quality is much better.

BBQ grills of any kind are banned -this makes compound life really frustrating. There are a few "first come first serve" grills on the grounds - much like living at Oakwood Falls Church - you have to schlep your stuff downstairs and outside. - Mar 2017

Most embassy staff are housed at a gated compound with security. There are three high-rise apartment towers and two town-home complexes. This is large by Japanese standards. About 10-12 minute walk from the Embassy. - Feb 2014

U.S. Embassy employees and their families live on the compound located blocks from the embassy. The spaces consist of apartments and town homes that are fairly spacious relative to other homes in Tokyo, although may be smaller than what you've had in other posts. We've got an apartment and we're very comfortable. We love our bright sunny apartment. - Apr 2013

U.S. Embassy people live in a compound with gym, pool, playground, daycare, and a convenience store. - Jan 2011

Embassy folks live on the compound, about a ten-minute walk from the Embassy. There are several high rises with apartments as well as townhouses. Depending on your rank and family size, your place will be chosen for you by the housing board. - Oct 2008

There is a housing compound for embassy families about a 10 minute walk from the Embassy that is very well-equipped with a playground, pool, gym, and large field. Housing is very spacious by Tokyo standards, most are two-story apartments in one of 3 towers, or 3 -story townhouses. I am not sure about non-embassy housing although most corporate housing appears to be quite nice (local housing tends to be very small). - Jan 2008

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