Azabu-Juban Uncovered: Experience Expat Paradise in the Heart of Minato-ku

There are many reasons why Azabu-Juban is one of the best neighborhoods in Tokyo, an area that is often the go-to paradise for expats and affluent Japanese living in Japan’s leading metropolis. Chief among them are its cozy mix of tradition and modernity, robust real estate market, family-friendly attractions and amenities, and eclectic dining and entertainment.

Indeed, Azabu-Juban feels more like a community than merely a neighborhood, a place where people not only have the chance to mingle, but to really know each other.

Why Azabu-Juban

For generations, cosmopolitan people from industries as diverse as diplomacy, finance, and technology have called Azabu-Juban home. They are attracted by the village-like charm of the area which, at the same time, is replete with high-end, global offerings. In Azabu-Juban, traditional businesses offering local fare stand shoulder to shoulder with brands catering to international tastes.

That’s why you can shop at a generations-old family business such as Naniwaya Sohoten, a retailer of fish-shaped cakes, yakisoba and more, and international supermarkets, such as  Nissin World Delicatessen, located around the corner in Higashi-Azabu.

And that’s not to mention National Azabu, an international supermarket located only minutes away in Hiroo, a magnet for diplomats, international businesspeople, and well-heeled Japanese.

Family Friendly 

Unassuming by nature, Azabu-Juban has carved out a reputation as one of Tokyo’s most family-friendly neighborhoods. The area hosts a number of international schools catering to students of all ages, and is surrounded by an even greater number of such institutions in adjoining areas, including Moto-Azabu.

In addition to hosting parks like Amishiro Park, Azabu-Juban is a stone’s throw away from Arisugawa no Mori Park, a green oasis—and the location, too, of the Tokyo Metropolitan Library.

It is common for families to gather at the park during seasonal occasions such as hanami, or flower viewing, or for children and adults to read at leisure inside the library, which also has a cafe with expansive views of the park.

Real Estate Market 

In Azabu-Juban, the traditional and the modern cross paths at every turn, and the real estate market is no different. Here, high-end properties worth millions of dollars can be found adjacent to mid-market ones, the housing market offering a luxurious experience suitable for a wide range of professionals.

Indeed, many of them work in the area, as diplomats in the myriad embassies located in the neighborhood, or in surrounding locations such as Roppongi Hills, where global professionals in banking, technology, and other fields are based.

So it’s not surprising for CEOs of global firms to rub shoulders with heads of regional offices or mid-career professionals at international corporations on Azabu-Juban’s cozy—and often quaint—streets.

Attractions and Amenities 

Unlike many neighborhoods in Tokyo, Azabu-Juban actually feels like a village within a city, a place where neighbors actually can know each other. Indeed, between Zoshiki Street and Mishiro Street, and just around the corner from Amishiro Park, stands what can only be described as the town square.

The space acts as an impromptu gathering spot, attracting everyone in the neighborhood to its stone steps shaded from the elements by tree canopies.

It is the center of the annual local street festival, a place where traditional festival music sets, such as taiko drums, alternate with international music including jazz and rock. 

During the festival, local stores, which close their regular operations, create food and drink stands along the parade route, offering kimono-clad revelers a taste of Japanese street fare.


Unsurprisingly, Azabu-Juban has a robust dining and entertainment sector, with a myriad offering of cozy, domestic cafe and restaurants brands as well as globally recognized ones, such as Starbucks and Dean and Deluca.

Cafe La Boheme, for instance, is a domestic brand with international appeal, their menu offering a mouth-watering array of cuisine—from pasta and pizza to chicken and steak dishes.

The much-loved craft coffee brand Streamer Coffee recently opened up in Azabu-Juban, expanding premium coffee experiences in the neighborhood.

Further up the road, the Tsutaya and Starbucks partnership has attracted book and coffee lovers for years, and became a melting pot for locals and expats.


Diving beneath the surface, Azabu-Juban offers hidden gems at every turn. Often nestled on the upper floors of nondescript buildings, one can find a network of bespoke wine bars, cigar bars, and cocktail bars.

Above The Lively, a boutique hotel, for instance, you’ll find a luxurious bar with one of the best selections of premium Japanese whisky. This little-known gem has excellent views of Tokyo Tower, making for an exquisite place for late-night entertainment. 

At street level, right on the corner of Cafe La Boheme, you’d find a local favorite: Bistro Awa, a standing bar serving wines and beers and local fare such as yakitori, karaage, and other finger foods. 

Because the bar overlooks the local square, it is an ideal location not just to relax with friends and colleagues, but to have your finger on the pulse of the neighborhood.

Expat Community 

International and family friendly, Azabu-Juban is conveniently located close to Tokyo’s expat hotspots, namely Moto-Azabu, Nishi-Azabu, Minami-Azabu, Hiroo, and Roppongi.

What’s more, expats in the area are not far removed from locals—indeed, they are an integral part of the community, making Azabu-Juban one of the most desired neighborhoods in the city.

Enrich your life in Japan with GoConnect’s curated content. Sign up here to get the latest articles and campaigns.

Recommended: Stepping Into the World of Tokyo Real Estate and Build Your Network at Foreign Chambers of Commerce Events in Tokyo, Kyoto and Tochigi

Share this Story