In our quest to discover the best areas and neighborhoods to live in Tokyo, we take a close look at Akasaka to see why it’s so popular among foreigners who choose to settle down in Japan’s capital.
In this article, we deep dive into the pros and cons of living in Akasaka, including key factors like accessibility, famous locations, livability, and pricing for both renters and buyers. We’ll also try to answer the important question: Why do so many expat-families and foreign professionals living in Japan choose Akasaka over other famous locations in Tokyo?
If you’re looking for more information on popular locations for expats, you should also take a look at our recent article on Life in Roppongi Hills Residences.
Akasaka Area Overview
Akasaka is a residential and commercial district of Minato Ward in Tokyo, located west of the governmental districts of Nagatacho and Kasumigaseki and north of the famous Roppongi district. It is widely considered to be one of the most sophisticated neighborhoods in the capital, with numerous entertainment establishments, luxury grand hotels, restaurants, concert halls, embassies and much more catering to people looking for a high-end city experience.
At the same time, the area remains extremely foreigner and family-friendly with many quiet and secluded neighborhoods of mansions and residences nestled among the 25+ hills of the Akasaka area. This creates a pleasant undulating panorama full of beautifully landscaped estates, charming architecture and a uniquely tranquil atmosphere — all within the affluent inner-city area of Tokyo that sits apart from the noise and crowds of other locations.
Admittedly, a big draw for many expats is the fact that most services in the area are English-friendly, including many hospitals, schools, and administrative and police services. Combined with the easy access to great entertainment options on your doorstep and quick transport links to other important Tokyo locations, it’s a faithful choice for many newcomers to the country.
Akasaka mansions carefully balance luxury and entertainment with accessibility and practicality — all in the heart of Tokyo.
Factors contributing to the development and popularity of Akasaka over the years include:
- Relocation of Tokyo Broadcasting System Television (TBS TV) to Akasaka
- Establishment of several grand hotels in the area, such as The Grand Hyatt and The Ritz-Carlton
- Location of numerous government facilities and foreign embassies
- Proximity to other famous areas like Roppongi, Azabu, and Aoyama
Akasaka Mansions — Accessibility
Akasaka is located in the north of the Minato ward, one of the five central wards in Tokyo. Due to efficient transport links, it offers convenient access to all major areas of the capital. With the Chiyoda line of Tokyo metro, you can reach the following popular locations in under 20 minutes:
- Tokyo central station
Akasaka can also be accessed from the following subway stations:
|Akasaka-mitsuke||Marunouchi and Ginza|
|Nagatacho||Yurakucho, Nanboku, and Hanzomon|
|Tameike-Sannō||Marunouchi and Chiyoda|
|Kokkaigijidomae||Marunouchi and Chiyoda|
For those who like to walk, many famous landmarks and entertainment facilities can be easily reached by foot, including the building complexes of Tokyo Midtown and Akasaka Sacas.
Famous Locations Around Akasaka Mansions
The Geihinkan (Akasaka Palace) is a grand Neo-Baroque style building that is one of two state guest houses of the Japanese government. Occupying an impressive expanse of land in the north of Akasaka, it is classified as a national treasure and has been an important landmark in modern Japanese history since its establishment.
Originally built in 1909 as the imperial residence, it functioned as a state guest house and housed a number of public institutions. The palace is open to the public and can easily be accessed by visitors from Yotsuya Station. Today, the wider palace grounds, known as Akasaka Goyochi, is home to the current Emperor of Japan, Naruhito and his wife Masako, who occupy one of the non-public palaces on the premises: Togu Palace.
Akasaka is not only home to important Japanese government facilities, but it is also the location of nine national embassies.
Akasaka Sacas is another impressive “city within a city” in the heart of Tokyo. Located right in front of the Akasaka subway station, it features the TBS Broadcasting Center, ACT Theater, Akasaka Biz Tower as well as a luxurious residential complex. There have been similar development projects owned by leading TV corporations, but Akasaka Sacas exceeds Odaiba and Shiodome in its central location and plentiful entertainment options.
Akasaka Biz Tower offers a sophisticated range of dining and leisure opportunities, including restaurants, bars, bakeries, and cafes as well as a vast shopping center with boutiques and clinics. Meanwhile, Akasaka ACT Theater is an upscale venue hosting a variety of performances ranging from ballet, musicals, drama, and live bands.
This redevelopment in the middle of Akasaka has significantly boosted the overall appeal of the surrounding neighborhood. It not only attracts new businesses and commercial facilities but also tourists and entertainment seekers looking to spend an evening in this exciting location, which makes it easy to enjoy the wonders of Tokyo without having to go very far at all.
We’re seeing consistent growth of interest in residential properties in this area in general, but most significantly among foreigners from Europe, North America and other parts of Asia who have chosen Japan as one of the safest places in Asia to invest and relocate.
Tokyo Midtown is another astonishing building complex, located in the south-eastern corner of the Akasaka area on the border with Roppongi. It is home to the international headquarters of well-known companies like UNIQLO, Yahoo! Japan, and Fujifilm and offers a huge array of dining options to add to the already impressive mix of eateries in the area.
The complex also offers an attractively landscaped park that provides visitors with a calm and tranquil respite from city living, bringing with it added bonuses of seasonal events such as outdoor beer gardens in summer and ice skating in winter.
Overall, Tokyo Midtown is a lively place, perfect for shopping, eating out, relaxing in the park or having a drink. Widely considered a family-friendly paradise, its short distance to Akasaka makes it a perfect day out for the family or a sophisticated dinner evening with friends.
Despite being an older commercial complex, Ark Hills continues to offer a popular mix of great dining, entertainment, art, and culture options. With the very name “ARK” derived from the location of the complex at the intersection of the Akasaka, Roppongi, and Kasumigaseki districts, it’s no surprise that Ark Hills offers exceptional convenience as a centrally located hive of activity.
The Ark Hills complex is comprised of three main buildings:
- Ark Mori Building
- Suntory Hall
- ANA InterContinental Tokyo Hotel
Ark Mori Building is the centerpiece of the ARK complex, containing the offices of numerous trading and finance corporations; retail outlets and luxury restaurants, all in a 37-story tower.
The famous Suntory Hall can also be found within the complex, offering a world-class venue, facilities and rich acoustics that comes critically acclaimed by several maestros in the music world, including Herbert von Karajan who was involved in the actual design of the hall itself.
Last but not least, the ANA InterContinental Tokyo Hotel offers unbeatable luxury accommodation famous for its mirroring of the rich diversity of Tokyo city itself, housing twelve individual restaurants (some honoured with Michelin stars), upscale bars, cafes, shops, and boutiques across its six impressive floors.
Livability in Akasaka Mansions
Akasaka is a foreigner-friendly neighbourhood, perfect for both families and single professionals who appreciate quality, variety, and convenience. The easy access to commercial facilities located within major business complexes in the area like Akasaka Sacas makes it ideal for anyone working in the area, but it also offers great transportation options for anyone who may have to travel further afield as part of their daily commute.
The sheer number of available restaurants, bars, boutiques, and other amenities makes it a place you might not want to leave. Whether you’re looking for fun or relaxation, everything you need is on your doorstep, with the excellent nightlife and art scene in Roppongi just minutes away, and the impressive shopping options found in the many nearby retail complexes in Tokyo Midtown and Ark Hills.
Importantly, the residential pockets of Akasaka are extremely safe and quiet, with unique landscaping and green spaces that complement the luxury architecture of the surrounding estates, mansions and apartment complexes.
The proximity to international offices and corporate venues combined with foreigner-friendly services and facilities makes Akasaka the perfect choice for many expats moving to Tokyo.
A Family-Friendly Neighborhood
If you have a family, there are some important factors that take priority when you’re choosing a place to live. And there are a few more considerations if you’re a foreigner. While Akasaka is known for its vibrancy and entertainment options, it also comes out looking strong when you examine it for its ability to cater to foreign families. Major reasons families with children love Akasaka include:
- Plentiful dining and shopping options for all tastes in local complexes (Akasaka Sacas or Tokyo Midtown)
- Several parks and playgrounds for kids, such as Hinokicho and Hitotsugi Parks
- Spacious pedestrian-friendly areas
- An extensive range of imported goods in local supermarkets that cater to the preferences of international customers
There are also multiple international schools located in the neighboring Roppongi and Hiroo areas along with one of the most well-known, foreigner-friendly hospitals in the whole of Tokyo: Sanno Hospital.
Due to the high number of foreign embassies, Akasaka has become highly geared towards foreign individuals and their families who reside in the area, with multiple language options and services that understand international preferences. Many local restaurants, shops, medical services, government administrative facilities, and police staff offer support in English.
Entertainment & Leisure in Akasaka
Akasaka offers a variety of entertainment and leisure options, including gyms, parks, language schools, concert halls and much more. While you’ll never be at a loss to find new and exciting activities and venues in Tokyo, the Akasaka area is particularly good at providing a variety of exceptional options within close proximity to each other.
When you combine the diversity of bars and pubs around Akasaka with the vibrant nightlife and clubs in the neighboring Roppongi, the entire area can be considered as one all-encompassing and unrivaled location for partying in Tokyo.
Moving to Akasaka Mansions
Regardless of whether you are looking for a detached property among the hilly neighborhoods of Akasaka mansions and residences, or a luxury apartment in one of the building complexes of Akasaka Sacas or Tokyo Midtown, prices in this area are considerably higher than the rest of Tokyo.
Akasaka is considered to be one of the most desirable areas in Tokyo, next only to places like Aoyama and Azabu, known together as the much-desired “3As”. The area offers a range of low and high-rise apartments, making it a magnet for wealthy individuals and entire families — also creating a constant demand for residences in the area and a fast-paced property market.
Akasaka Park Mansion was the first condominium in Japan where all apartments were priced over 100 million yen.
Not surprisingly, it is expected that the 3As and the Minato ward itself will experience one of the biggest increases in total residential population throughout Tokyo, rising by up to 34.4% by 2045, according to Nomura Institute.
There are still many available rental apartments in Akasaka for those who are willing to pay the price for convenience and quality, including many upscale residential units in complexes like Prudential Tower Residence, Akasaka The Residence, and Mori Tower.
To learn more about these options, you can search our listings for a more extensive list of potential apartments and price ranges. Keep in mind though that according to recent market analysis, including the Nomura Institute’s report, rental prices in the entire Minato ward have been steadily increasing since 2013. Second, only to the Chiyoda central ward, this area likely has the highest rental rates in the whole of Tokyo.
Buying Property in Akasaka Mansions
Before buying any type of residence in Akasaka, or anywhere else in Japan for that matter, we would highly encourage you to read our article about buying a house in Japan as a foreigner.
While Japan is arguably the most foreigner-friendly location for property investment in the entire region, it will help you to avoid potential mistakes and pitfalls that many foreigners fall prey to, especially those who don’t use an experienced and trustworthy real estate agency that can help guide them through the unique requirements of the Japanese property market.
If you’re still keen to pursue your dream of buying a property in the Akasaka area or other parts of this diverse and vibrant city, we’d love to hear from you and offer any support we can in such an exciting venture.
Get in touch with us at Housing Japan if you need some added support, advice or just want to take a look at what’s currently on the market in our latest property listings.