You may want to consider one of these wards chosen by Japanese survey takers if you’re planning on settling in Tokyo during your golden years.

Tokyo’s 23 special wards, known as “ku” (区) in Japanese, function more or less on an equivalent level to a municipality. They make up the entire eastern part of Tokyo Prefecture and form the “heart” of the city, while the western part of the prefecture is composed of other municipalities, including Mitaka (home of the popular Ghibli Museum), Kokubunji, and Hachioji.

Generally speaking, a select few of the 23 special wards, such as Chuo Ward, Sumida Ward, and Shinjuku Ward, house the most famous visitor attractions in the entire city. They can also be popular neighborhoods for the younger generations to live in, as evidenced by surveys of young people who picked the top places they’d want to live in the Tokyo area.

Conversely, where would the older generations prefer to settle down within the 23 special wards? Japanese trends research site Nexer, in collaboration with housing management company Tochi Katsuyo, asked 500 men and women in their 60s and younger who have lived in Tokyo for their thoughts via an online survey. Let’s see which ten wards rated the highest in their minds.

▼ The top ten results

The Top Ten Most Appealing Tokyo Special Wards to Live in Post-Retirement

9 [tie]. Meguro Ward (目黒区)
9 [tie]. Kita Ward (北区)
8. Bunkyo Ward (文京区)
7. Katsushika Ward (葛飾区)
6. Minato Ward (港区)
5. Nakano Ward (中野区)
4. Edogawa Ward (江戸川区)

3. Nerima Ward (練馬区)

Coming in at third place is Nerima Ward, the most northwestern of Tokyo’s 23 special wards. Common reasons why survey takers identified this as a great place to live when older is an abundance of green, due to its many parks, as well as plenty of convenient transportation options (one person cited how easy it is to reach Ikebukuro, a major Tokyo district, via just one train line). Interestingly, many respondents also noted Nerima as being the special ward safest in the event of a natural disaster such as a big earthquake. We’d also like to humbly add that older folks can find some Showa era (1926-1989) pudding perfection as well as prolific manga creator Rumiko Takahashi‘s abode and inspiration for many of her works in Nerima. If that all doesn’t sound like a sweet deal, then we don’t know what is.

▼ Retired couples with magical tendencies can also enjoy regular dates at the newly opened Warner Brothers Studio Tokyo Making of Harry Potter walk-through museum.


2. Suginami Ward (杉並区)

Second place goes to Suginami Ward, which is interestingly located right below Nerima Ward. Survey takers noted its relaxed atmosphere, with one respondent calling it the perfect balance of city and residential areas with large supermarkets and hospitals. They also pointed to the quality of public facilities and social services provided by the ward to care for elderly residents versus those of the other wards. Therefore, having all of these resources to support a fulfilling senior lifestyle made it an easy choice for many survey takers. Plus, who wouldn’t want to be entertained close to home at the famous Koenji Awaodori festival every summer in Suginami’s Koenji neighborhood?

▼ For a free and interesting attraction in Suginami Ward, our reporter recommends stopping by the Za-Koenji Public Theatre with the cool stairs.


1. Setagaya Ward (世田谷区)

Finally, just to the south of second-place Suginami Ward is overall winner Setagaya Ward. This most populous of all special wards was the most appealing choice for a place to enjoy retirement because it gives the impression of a high-end yet unpretentious neighborhood. In fact, many Japanese celebrities are known to reside in affluent areas of the ward. Despite the quieter local vibe, transportation via the Keio Line and more provides easy access to the center of the city. Retirees may also delight in riding the retro Setagaya Tram Line, one of the last of its kind in the Tokyo area. To quote the words of one survey taker, Setagaya Ward feels like an “elegant shitamachi [traditional downtown areas of Edo, Tokyo’s name prior to 1868].”

▼ Bonus reason: Setagaya is also home to Gotokuji, the temple overflowing with lucky cat figures.


In summary, the top three special wards of Tokyo where Japanese people would like to live after retiring are all adjoining and form the westernmost border of all special wards. Important selection factors noted by survey takers are that these places offer ample green spaces, public facilities, and a peaceful atmosphere for a relaxed peace of mind. Who knows–if his job doesn’t kill him first, maybe our very own Japanese-language reporter extraordinaire Mr. Sato would also like to set up shop in one of these special wards in the next few years to finally get some peace and quiet for once.

Source, top image: PR Times
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