For Employees

Living in Japan



There are numerous hotel options in Tokyo, and depending on various factors such as what part of the city you would like to stay, what your budget is, and how familiar you are with the city, the accommodation recommendation would be different.

We have therefore compiled a limited hotel list which focuses on 1) relatively convenient access from airport -> hotel -> ELSI, and 2) reasonable in cost while providing quality for value. If you experience difficulty booking a room, please contact us and we will assist you.

Please also note that hotel room rates in Japan are often based on per person, not by room. (For example, a twin room booked by a single person will be cheaper than when the same room is reserved for two.) We also advise you to specify whether you would like a smoking or non-smoking room, especially if you are sensitive to the residual smell of cigarettes.

Coming from Narita Airport, Shinagawa is a good area to stay as it is conveniently accessible by a direct train (Narita Express; see Access) and is also an easy commuting distance to ELSI.

Coming from Haneda Airport, Oimachi Station area may be ideal as it is accessible by direct Limousine Bus from the airport (bus boarding area #4.) Oimachi is also the starting station of the Tokyu Oimachi train line that runs to Ookayama station where ELSI is located.

If you are coming from Narita Airport and are willing to transfer at Shinagawa station for a short train ride (one stop on the Keihin Tohoku Line) to Oimachi, the following hotels are also good options which offer compact, clean rooms at reasonable prices. Rates fluctuate depending on season and range from 6,000 yen to 9,000 yen. As mentioned above, getting to Ookayama station -where ELSI is located- from Oimachi is a direct ride on the Tokyu Oimachi Line.

If you would like to use your own hotel booking sites, key words for searching would be "Shinagawa" or "Oimachi" and you can find a hotel that is within easy walking distance to those respective stations.

Tokyo Tech International House

Tokyo Tech has an International House for foreign faculty, researchers, and employees. The maximum time of stay for ELSI researchers is 1 year without any extension.

We will reserve your room. Please contact us as soon as you have some idea of when you would fly to Japan and be able to check-in to the International House. Because the couple rooms and family rooms in particular are often occupied, we need to contact the International Office in advance and see how we can make your reservation.

You can send your packages directly to the International House. Your room number is not necessary. International House staff will be able to keep them in their office until you arrive there.

International House Administration Office
International House Main Building 2nd floor
1-1-18 Ishikawa-cho,
Ota-ku, Tokyo 145-0061 JAPAN

You will be able to check into your room from 9:00 am - 4:30 pm on Monday-Friday. The front desk is not open during weekends and national holidays. You will need to stay in a hotel if you will not make the open hours of the front desk to check in.

Tokyo International Exchange Center in Odaiba

Tokyo International Exchange Center in Odaiba is also an option for foreign researchers. Please visit the Japan Student Services Organization for the information below.




Tokyo Tech Apartments

Tokyo Tech owns apartments at a variety of locations for employees. There is a men's dormitory and others are only for married couples. Those apartments tend to be rather old and small, but really affordable. You need to follow a lot of specific application steps. We will help you fill out application forms and communicate with the department in charge of those apartments.

Detailed description can be found in ELSI Redmine.

Renting a Regular Apartment


Basic terms used in renting a place in Japan: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) "Guide to Living in Japan"

Official real estate agencies

One potential problem a foreigner might have when he/she tries to rent a place to live in Japan is finding a guarantor. Tokyo Tech officially introduces foreign students and researchers to some agencies which will be able to handle the issue if you pay a service fee and they can introduce you to available rooms in English.

Detailed description can be found in ELSI Redmine.


Bank Account

You have to open a Japanese bank account as soon as you arrive in Japan in order to receive your salary on time. ELSI recommends that our researchers open a bank account at one of the three banks below. Mizuho Bank and Japan Post Bank have a branch and ATMs really close to our campus and they are convenient in most big cities.

Detailed description can be found in ELSI Redmine.

Overseas Remittance

Credit Card

Japanese banks

Credit card companies conduct a screening process at the time of application and their methods of screening are not disclosed. Japanese banks seem to have stricter screening compared to other places where you could make your credit card.

University Co-op

Researchers whose applications for a credit card were rejected by a Japanese bank have applied for a card from the University Co-op successfully. If you become a member of the Co-op, you will receive a discount on most books and magazines at our university bookstore. You can also place orders for items at the store or even online. Your membership charge will be refunded to you when you leave Tokyo Tech.

Detailed description can be found in ELSI Redmine.

Currency Exchange

Getting Yen

The recommended way of getting Japanese yen is at Narita or Haneda Airport. You can do it in two ways: either at an ATM with the PLUS or CIRRUS signs or through the bank window and change your home currency into yen.

The reason why we suggest getting yen cash at the airport is because regular Japanese bank ATMs do not accept foreign bank cards. The only ATMs that accept foreign bank cards in 2014 are (1) Japan Post Bank, (2) inside Seven-Eleven convenience stores, and (3) Citibank Japan. All ATM machines will have an option for English instruction.

Your bank may have limits on how much money you can withdraw. If your first attempt does not work, please try requesting a small amount to see if the ATM will accept the transaction.

Also important to keep in mind is that Japan remains a cash-based society. Many of the smaller restaurants and shops will not accept credit cards or traveler's checks. There is no system of using personal checks. Debit cards are not accepted at Japanese stores most of the time.

Selling Yen

The best cash exchange rates are available at an airport, where an exchange incurs ~1% loss in value, which is far better than rates in other airports. This rate is regulated by the government, it is unlikely that you will find better rates elsewhere. Furthermore, selling your Yen only requires a few minutes time just before your departure from Japan, and therefore involves very little inconvenience.

Public Transportation and Train Pass

Public Transportation

It is useful to buy and use a chargeable public transportation card which allows you to conveniently pay fares on public transportation and to make payments at a rapidly increasing number of vending machines and convenience stores by simply touching the card on a reader. It is now possible to travel on almost all trains, subways, and buses in most of Japan's largest cities with just one of these cards. Suica and PASMO are purchasable in the Tokyo area.

Train Pass

You can make your chargeable card a 1-month/ 3-month / 6-month train pass for your commute at a ticket machine at a station. A machine which has the pass system should show "Pass" after you press "English" so please follow its English instructions.

You can use the Jorudan website to calculate your pass.

1) You can type using letters from the alphabet such as Ookayama, Ichikawacho, etc. in the box of 出発地-Place of departure- and 到着地-Place of arrival-
2) Choices of kanji will appear. Please choose the right kanji for your stations and select 検索-Search-.


Bicycle Theft Prevention Registration at Police Department

You are required to register your bike to the Police Department's bicycle registration system. When you buy a new bicycle at a bike store, the store will offer to register your bicycle for an additional 500 yen fee. If you are thinking of buying a new or used bicycle online or from someone else, please contact us and find out about additional procedures in order to register the bicycle in good order. We can provide documents to help you certify the transaction. There is something which you need to ask the former possessor to do/ fill out for you.

Tokyo Tech

Your bicycle must be registered at Tokyo Tech if you park it on campus. Please bring your official receipt of your bicycle theft prevention registration.

Policy and Procedure (Intranet)

Driving in Japan

Please directly contact us.

Hospitals and Language Support

Life Insurance

The MEXT Kyosai, the organization which Tokyo Tech joined with regards to employees' benefits and welfare, offers reasonable insurance packages for employees. The Co-op also offers reasonable and practical insurance packages. Please contact us if you are interested in having life insurance in Japan.

Child Allowance

There are two kinds of child allowance from the government. We will help you fill out your child's application forms once s/he will arrive in Japan. It has to be sent in 15 days after her/his arrival if s/he wants to receive the allowances from the first month in Japan.

The figures below are from Ota city as of 2015.

1) A certain amount of money will be sent to your bank account as child allowance from the government. The price and age are slightly different in each city. You will follow the rules of the city you will live in.

◇Under 3 years old: 15,000 yen/month
◇From the next month of your child's 3-year-old birthday to 12 years old: 10,000 yen/month
◇In middle school: 10,000 yen/month

You will need to submit some documents which show how much you earn in your first year in Japan when your city hall will contact you probably at the beginning of next year or the next fiscal year. If you earn more than a certain amount of money, you will not be able to receive the price above. It looks like you will still be able to receive "5,000 yen per month for a while" even if you earn a lot. However, it is not clear what "for a while" means. We can clear up the explanation next year.

2) Children can take medical treatment at no charge up to the first March 31 after your child's 15-year-old birthday.

Vaccination/Immunization for Your Child

If you have an extended visit (3 months or more) and your child will need an immunization around your arrival time, it might be best to negotiate with your current care provider to get the immunization early before you leave. The travel and new environment can make the kids sick with colds for weeks or months at a time which can make it difficult to stay on the original immunization schedule.

Please ask your child's doctor to make a list of vaccination and immunizations s/he has received. Please also bring all of the documents with regards to her/his health checkups, vaccinations/immunizations, and medical treatment. You can find more details of necessary documents for your child and the most recent chart of immunizations that babies are required to have in Japan in ELSI Redmine.

In Japan a special handbook is given to all babies from the government and all health checkups, vaccinations/immunizations, and treatments should be written down in the handbook by a doctor. There are a few good pediatric clinics for foreigners which are walking distance from our school. You can ask a Japanese doctor to fill out your child's book while looking at documents from the US.

You will be able to take all of the immunizations on the chart there. Please let us know if you are planning to take your baby to a clinic in order to receive an immunization. Usually you need to fill out a specific form for each immunization in order to make the cost free.

Daycare and Preschool


Preschool is available for half-days for four and five year olds of families where a parent stays at home or works part time. These are usually accessible without long wait lists.


For categories of Japanese Daycares, please visit the Gender Equality Center, Tokyo Tech.

Please note that this information applies to situations where both parents are working full time. It is more difficult to find part-time or short-term care. For part-time care it would probably be necessary to find an unsubsidized private daycare. We will assist with this process if necessary, but please let us know as soon as possible due to the long wait lists.

A. Subsidized Daycare (officially called "Licensed Daycare"):

◇Daycares which have met the government criteria and are subsidized by the local ward, for example Ota city.

◇Usually these are cheaper and bigger. The maximum fee depending on your salary will be around 63,500 yen/month (0-2 year olds), 28,600 yen/month (3 year olds), and 24,000 yen/month (4-5 year olds). Please be aware that it may be impossible to get into these daycares depending on your time scale. There are tons of children who are already on waiting lists.

◇It is best to apply for a subsidized daycare at least 4 months before actually needing it. You may have to use an unsubsidized daycare before a subsidized daycare becomes available. Their selection method is not based on how long you have been waiting for it.

◇The best time to apply is to submit an application for the December deadline at which time the city ranks applicants and places children for the start of the next school year (April 1st). The ranking is a point system that is based on parent working hours, location of grandparents, salary, location of work and daycare (just for a few examples and not necessarily in that order). The applicant submits their top daycare choices and those with the highest rank get the available spots. There are far fewer spots than applicants, so it is common to expect to wait. Families often get their children into the daycare system early (at one or two years old) in order to secure a spot by the time the child is three to five years old.

◇There are actually 3 options within this system: public, public-private, and fully private. All three cost the same. The public, subsidized daycares are considered reliable and high quality since they are held to the high standards of the city for child care philosophy, educational program, food nutrition, cleanliness, and physical activity. There are a few public-private options which subscribe to most of the regulations of the city, but have more flexibility (for example: extra art or fitness classes). The private subsidized daycares may sound confusing at first, but they are the city's way of subsidizing daycare for families at facilities that are not held to all of the standards set by the city. They can vary a lot by size, building facilities, philosophy, educational program, and the extra services provided (for example: washing futon sheets or cloth diapers). With more options comes more confusion, but the system does provide a good deal of flexibility. If a small class size or specific philosophy is most important, then private subsidized may be the preferred choice. If the city standards are appealing, then the public daycare is a desirable option.

B. Certified Daycare Centers in Tokyo:

◇Daycares which have met Tokyo's criteria and are subsidized by Tokyo (under the category of Local-government-supported facilities, Unlicensed daycare facilities, on the online chart)

◇These are also cheaper than unsubsidized private daycares (see D below). It looks like around 70,000 yen/month but depends on the daycare.

◇After you come to Japan we can start calling each daycare to see if they have an opening. Unfortunately these daycares may also be difficult to get in to since they only accept citizens who have registered their address in a city before being allowed on the wait list.

C. Tanpopo (Dandelion) Daycare:

◇This daycare has been used by ELSI scientists. It is about two minutes from ELSI and costs around 54,000 yen/month. They have had children from Tokyo Tech and they understand Tokyo Tech researchers well.

◇This daycare accepts children from 57 days old until the end of the first March after their 3rd birthday. However, most children are 2 years old or under.

◇There could be a few children who are on the waiting list, but they will accept putting your child on their list through ELSI before you arrive in Japan.

◇This daycare is subsidized by Ota city.

D. Unsubsidized Private Daycare:

◇If your child is not accepted to A, B, or C, you may need to apply for an unsubsidized private daycare. There are a few daycares which are one or two stops from Tokyo Tech by train.

◇To find an unsubsidized private daycare, you would want to arrive and interview the daycare staff. It costs 130,000 yen/month, which is considered expensive here, hence the huge demand for subsidized care.

Official Documents Before You Leave

Please directly contact us if you are interested in facilities besides subsidized daycares and want to know what kind of official document you need to get for your application.

If you are thinking of applying for subsidized daycare, please get official documents below before you leave your country. Please visit ELSI Redmine for more details of each document.

1) List of vaccinations and immunizations your child has received
2) Documents (print outs) from health checks
3) Doctor's direction about any food allergies.
4) Income Verification

Income Verification is also required for your application for subsidized daycare. Please certify your and your spouse's (if you have one) income from the previous year. English is fine. In case you worked in the U.S., a W2 from your employer(s) for the previous year is an acceptable document and usually the easiest to provide.


Tokyo Tech will cover a portion of the babysitting fees for employees or students whose primary child caregiver is unable to provide childcare services at a time requiring them to work or study at Tokyo Tech, with on- and off-campus childcare services through a designated babysitter dispatching service.

Tokyo Tech Gender Equality Center
Childcare Support (Intranet)

The service is only provided (1) when it is necessary for the user to work or study at Tokyo Tech, and (2) the primary caregiver is unable to provide childcare services at that time because:

a) the childcare facility/school is closed
b) the child's condition prevents the child from attending the childcare facility/school
c) the primary caregiver (grandparent, parent, etc.) is unable to provide childcare due to personal injury, illness or other condition
d) the work/study time requiring childcare falls outside the regular hours of the user's regular childcare service or caregiver.

We recommend that our researchers take an orientation and do registration and paperwork even though they are not sure whether or not they would use the service. The procedure may take a little bit long and it is better to set up everything before you will suddenly need the service.


Please directly contact us.

Where to Eat

Ookayama Campus

Please check the links below for restaurants and shops in and near Ookayama campus where ELSI is located. There are also numerous casual and reasonably priced eateries in the neighborhood around Ookayama campus.

On Ookayama campus
Near Ookayama campus

For Vegetarians

Please note that despite the attention given to fresh and seasonal vegetables, Japanese by and large do not comprehend the full meaning of what constitutes a vegetarian meal unless you are eating at a vegetarian restaurant. On many occasions, dishes of vegetables or tofu will be served with a little bit of seafood or meat topping so it is worth specifying very clearly for no meat or fish.

Cell Phone and SIM Card

Cell Phone

The biggest Japanese mobile phone companies are Docomo, au, and Softbank. There are also a few smaller carriers which are often cheaper than the big companies' plans and Y!mobile (used to be EMOBILE) would be a representative example. You need to sign a 2-year-contract with a lot of mobile companies in Japan unless you get a prepaid phone.

Detailed description can be found in ELSI Redmine.

SIM -Purchase-

Detailed description can be found in ELSI Redmine with regards to SIM cards which allow you to use the Internet and voice. Your purchase may require payment only by credit card.

One possible problem is that your foreign phone might not be able to read a Japanese SIM card correctly. It could happen with cell phones from any country outside Japan. Please be aware of the risk.

SIM -Rent-

ELSI researchers and visitors seem to be interested in the companies below so far with regards to renting a cell phone and/or SIM card. Please visit ELSI Redmine and contact us for details and the latest information.

A rental company recommends you to order it online ahead since a store at an airport stocks only a few cards right now and may be sold out by the time you arrive. Please be aware that any cancellations after the designated time will be charged.

One possible problem is that your phone might not be able to read that SIM card correctly. They say that it could happen with foreign cell phones. If you do not want to risk paying the cancellation fee, you could just go to the store at your airport.

Campus Facilities

Please visit ELSI Redmine for detailed information about CO-OP, Health Service Center, HUB-International communications Space (ICS), Library, Pool, and Weight Training Room.

Japanese Class

There are various levels and types of Japanese classes at Tokyo Tech, which foreign students and researchers can take.

You will be also able to study Japanese with volunteers in a small group or even one-on-one. They are open twice a week for Tokyo Tech students and faculties. There is also a different volunteer group who teaches Japanese for your family members.

ELSI also runs our own in-house Japanese language classes for ELSI researchers and their family. Our class is also twice a week. You can join the class anytime you come to ELSI.

Please contact us for more details such as each latest schedule, registration procedures, etc.

Moving out

Please directly contact us.