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Living in Tokyo

Japan Travel Tips for Women - Image of Women's Only Train Car

Are you a solo female traveler planning on visiting or living in Tokyo in the near future? Here are a few tips will make your life easier here.

Be alert on busy trains

For such a safe and polite country, it can come as a surprise that Japan has a big problem with groping. Strange men will sometimes seize opportunities on jam-packed trains to touch women inappropriately. For this reason, many trains have implemented women-only cars during rush hour. If available, it’s always a good option to ride in these cars. If anyone does grope you, be sure to shout out and/or grab his arm to make him stop and then report him.

Pack toiletry essentials

Even if you understand Japanese, toiletries in Japan can still be confusing and very different from home. For this reason, I highly recommend packing enough deodorant, sanitary products and face wash to last you your stay. Or if you`re planning on staying long-term, pack enough to last you until you find Japanese versions you like, or can have some mailed to you from home. If, like me, you live here long-term and don`t manage to find Japanese brands of toiletries you like, don`t despair! Amazon.co.jp and Ebay also mean you can import products at a low-cost. If you need something right away, you can also find imported toiletry items at stores like Loft and Tokyu Hands, though they can be a bit pricey.

Japan isn’t 100% safe

Japan is relatively safe compared to most of the world, but it still isn’t completely crime free, so please use common sense. Keep possessions close in crowded areas and don`t go walking through dark areas by yourself at night. If you are ever followed or touched inappropriately, don`t be afraid to shout-out. Most of the time this will scare the creep away immediately.

Big Luggage

If you`re in Japan for a while and have big and heavy luggage, the best tip I can give you is to ship your luggage straight from the airport using a delivery (takuhaibin) service. It can be the best 1800 yen you will ever spend, especially when you take into consideration that many stations are vast and/or don’t have elevators. Also, men in Japan don’t generally help women who are dragging heavy bags stairs like they do in the UK and many other countries. I made the mistake of hauling my big bags across Tokyo`s train and subway system, taking several hours of sweating, awkwardness and very painful hands. Once was enough! You can also select a pickup time to have your bags shipped back to the airport free of charge using English-friendly services like Yamato.

May 8, 2014 0 comment
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Image Source: Coins coins coins by chichacha

Want to send some money back home? Or want to receive some? Here`s some helpful information to help you navigate the confusing waters of overseas transfers…

Western Union (Seven Eleven and Family Mart)

The great thing about Western Union is that the money is available almost instantly. So if you have someone who is available to pick it up, money can be received overseas in a matter of minutes. They charge a set fee of 990 yen for sending 10,000 yen or less, or 1500 yen for sending 50,000 yen or less.

More information at:





If you have an account with Citibank in Japan, it is relatively easy and quick to send money home. There are a few options to choose from, you can send money in-branch or you can register a payee and send online. However, all these options cost a sizeable fixed fee of around 3500 yen. This means it`s only really worth it if you`re sending a relatively large amount, or if you already have a Citibank account and want to transfer money quite quickly.

More information at:



One of the cheaper money transfer options (depending on how much you send) SBI lets you choose from a wide variety of sending/receiving options, including at your local convenience store. The application process can be a little annoying and will take around a week.

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Another relatively reasonable and convenient option, but with a similarly time-consuming application process to SBI. The best thing about GoLloyds is that if you send your money before 3pm, they guarantee it will arrive on the same day.

More information at:


Post Office

With Japan Post Bank, there are options to send money overseas either by paper money order or electronic transfer. It is a little expensive though and can be a bit of a hassle to do if you don`t know Japanese.

More information at:


Travelers Checks

Probably the cheapest way to send small amount of money, American Express travelers checks only cost a 2% fee and are available at most major post offices.

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– See more at: http://dev.enablejapan.com/page/article/transfer-money-to-and-from-japan/14#sthash.2ckY0XXc.dpuf

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Babysitting Services Tokyo Japan

If you’re in Tokyo with your family but need a little grown-up time, there are many English-speaking babysitting services to choose from. Some companies offer additional services, such as housekeeping and handyman work.

Please note that all of the babysitting companies listed below have a registration fee and prices vary depending on your specific requirements, so please see their websites for comprehensive pricing information.

Alpha Kid’s Club

Locations Served: Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe), and Fukuoka

Website | Price List

Alpha Kid’s Club offer babysitting, post-natal, tutoring, sick child care, and other related services.


Locations Served: Tokyo and Yokohama
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Price List

Babysitters provide international babysitters to suit any needs. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and will even come to your hotel to babysit. The service also has babysitters available who speak languages other than English, so please let them know if you have specific requirements.

Chez Vous

Locations Served: Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama

Website (babysitting section) | Price List: Regular Service (weekly or more) | Spot (1-2 times / month)

Chez Vous offers English- and Japanese-speaking babysitters and nannies, as well as a full-time housekeeping and other domestic services.

Honey Clover

Locations Served: Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa and Chiba

Website | Price List

Honey Clover provides babysitting in English, Japanese, French, Korean, and Chinese.the service works by membership, though non-members can also use the services (at higher prices) for short-term emergencies such as sick children.


Locations Served: Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, and Kansai area

Website | Price List

Poppins provides babysitting services (newborns on up), tutoring (up through entrance exam coaching!), and even trip accompaniment services. They can also care for sick children, if needed.


Looking for a school for your children? Check out our International Schools Listing.

Need an easy day out with your children? Check out our guide to the Ueno Zoo and our 36 Hours in Tokyo: Kids in Tow article.




May 8, 2014 0 comment
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tokyo food delivery

Living in Tokyo and feel like a lazy night in with some good food delivered straight to your door? Even if you don’t speak Japanese there are still several options available to you, covering everything from sushi to pizza to curry.

Tokyo Food Delivery : English Options

1. Maishoku: Maishoku is the easiest food delivery service for English-speaking foreigners in Tokyo. It’s perfect for the newly-arrived expat or long-term resident and lets you eat great Tokyo food in the comfort of your own room. Delivery options include hundreds of restaurants in Tokyo, and Maishoku allows you to receive your order ASAP or in the future, like when you’re coming home from a long day out.

2. Rakuten (Google Translated, but it works): Rakuten’s website offers food delivery via neighborhood links. That way, no matter where you live, you can browse their options before deciding on what you want to eat. Categories offered include sushi, pizza, bento, fried chicken and a plethora of others, delivered to your doorstep.

3. Premium Delivery: Premium Delivery is another online service that allows you to order food in English. Currently, their delivery area is limited to Minato ward in Tokyo.

4. Domino’s Pizza: Domino’s has an English website that lets you to order pizza and sides wherever you live in Japan (as long as you live near a Domino’s store, of course). They often have coupons available too, so check to see if you’re eligible for a discount on your order. And if you go and pick up your order, you’ll get a second pizza of equal or lesser value for free!

5. Kiwi Kitchen: If you’re looking for something a bit more homely, then Kiwi Kitchen can satisfy your desires. Kiwi Kitchen offers catering and delivery of various foods like lasagna and curry rice to either your workplace or home. The website is in both English and Japanese and Kiwi Kitchen will delivery in and around the Minato-ku area.

6. UberEats: “Get the food you want, from the Tokyo restaurants you love, delivered at Uber speed.” A great motto for a great new service! UberEats is working with over a hundred of the best spots in Tokyo to bring their great dishes to your front door. UberEats is currently limited in the number of locations they serve in Tokyo, but they’re expanding rapidly. Order through the Uber app (iTunes store or Google Play) or online (English instructions on their website).

Japanese Options

As indicated, these sites are only in Japanese and don’t necessarily cater to English speakers, so you may want to get help from a Japanese friend to place an order. However, I have not found any them to be especially difficult to use, even with less-than-perfect Japanese. Give it a try, you might surprise yourself!

1. Demae-can: Demae-can is the biggest and best food delivery in Japan and has a huge variety of food to choose from. There is no English site though, but if you have basic Japanese knowledge it is fairly easy to navigate their site and make an order.

2. fineDine: fineDine offers food delivery from some of the best restaurants in central Tokyo. Most of the restaurants are a little pricey, but top quality is guaranteed. Again, they don’t have an English website but their site is pretty easy to navigate with basic Japanese knowledge.

3. CoCo Curry House: If you’re craving curry, then the popular CoCo Curry house is the place for you. They offer delivery and since they have so many locations in Tokyo, there’s a good chance they can bring some hot curry to your doorstep. Their website also offers a multilingual menu, which you can use to help place your order.

4. Faith: Hamburgers are pretty popular in Tokyo, so it would only make sense for a delivery hamburger joint to pop up and offer delivery to multiple wards. Faith hamburger is a “gourmet” burger restaurant located in Shinjuku that offers at least 12 different kinds of burgers and party plates that will fulfill your craving for a good burger.

5. Bento.jp: Bento.jp is actually a smartphone application, available in the iTunes store and on Google Play. With just the touch of a button, you can have a bento lunches delivered in 20 minutes for 800 yen each. Currently, bento.jp only delivers in Shibuya, Minato, and Chiyoda.

May 8, 2014 0 comment
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