Shirokane: Tokyo's most international neighborhood
Home to embassies and multinational headquarters, Shirokane is a foreigner-friendly enclave in Tokyo's most affluent district.
Japan is aiming for 40 million international visitors during its landmark Olympics year in 2020, but the extensive regeneration projects transforming its capital have longer term goals in mind. Part of the incentive behind the US$28 billion regeneration of Tokyo's CBDs is to attract more international businesses, professionals and investors to the city's best-connected districts.
Faced with a shrinking population, aging workforce and widening labor gap, Japan is opening up to world more than ever before in its bid to overtake China and reclaim the title of East Asia's powerhouse. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's establishment of Special Economic Zones have made it easier for foreigners to live, work and invest in Tokyo, enjoying low corporate tax, relaxed visa rules and lighter regulations on property ownership compared to other global cities such as Hong Kong, London and Shanghai.
Combined with the heavy investment in business facilities and infrastructure, demand for property in central Tokyo is at an all-time high among buyers and renters. A particular favorite of expats is Minato, the wealthiest ward in Tokyo and the local home of global companies such as Apple, Google and Goldman Sachs. It's also where some of the city's most ambitious regeneration activity is taking place.
Home of the rich
Minato has the highest average income of Tokyo's 23 wards and prices to match. While Japan's population may be in decline, urban centers are on the rise as young Japanese professionals migrate from regional cities to the metropolis. Minato's population is growing by 1.8 percent per year and demand is highest for property near Shinagawa Station, one of the busiest train stations in Tokyo.
The area between Shinagawa and Tamachi rail stations is currently in the midst of one of the city's largest redevelopment projects. Covering almost 34 acres, it will see the construction of seven residential and office buildings, a new train station, eight million square feet of retail space and improvements to existing stations and transport infrastructure. Designated a Special Zone for Asian Headquarters, the revitalized Shinagawa will be marketed as Tokyo's 'reception area to the world.'
Construction on the new station began last year and is expected to be partly operational in time for the 2020 Olympics. The launch of a new maglev train from Shinagawa Station and expansion of nearby Haneda Airport in the next few years will make Minato even more enticing for companies and professionals, driving up residential demand and prices.
Life in the Platinum District
Neighborhoods close to the train stations and amenities are the biggest draws in Minato, and Shirokane is one of the fastest growing. Just 15 minutes from Shinagawa by metro and less than 30 minutes from other major stations such as Tokyo Station and Shinjuku, living in Shirokane offers prime access to the sights and sounds of Tokyo while remaining a peaceful green suburb.
Formerly a factory district, long-term redevelopment has gentrified Shirokane to become one of Tokyo's most upper-class districts, comparable to Chelsea in New York. As well as multinational headquarters, Shirokane is also home to a number of embassies, enhancing its international credentials further, though the presence of traditional temples, shops and restaurants means it hasn't lost touch with its cultural roots.
Shirokane means 'platinum' in Japanese, and historic Platinum Street itself is a popular dining and shopping destination. Boutiques along the tree-lined avenue sell everything from antiques to handmade chocolates, while local gourmet restaurants offer Japanese, Cantonese and Western favorites. Families with children are well catered for with several highly-regarded kindergartens, schools and universities in the local area, including Keio University and Sacred Heart International School.
Scheduled for completion this December, The Parkhouse Urbance Shirokane is a new luxury condominium by Mitsubishi Jisho Residence offering 45 luxury apartments within walking distance of Shirokane-Takanawa Station. For more information about this investment opportunity and other residential properties in Tokyo, click here or contact JLL International Properties at +852 3759 0909 or [email protected].