Living in Waseda: Guide For Foreigners

  • Advice

Located in Shinjuku Ward is the university district of Waseda. It is the home to one of Japan’s most prestigious universities, Waseda University, and Gakushuin Women’s College.

While it is lively in the area near the campuses and station, walk a few minutes and you will encounter a quiet residential neighborhood with families and students.

Want to find out more about what makes this university district special? Read further.

Waseda - The university district in the heart of Shinjuku

When one talks about Waseda, the first thing that comes to mind is Waseda University. Established for more than 1882, it continues to be one of Japan’s prestigious universities, comprising of more than 50,000 students scattered in 3 campuses in the area and even more in various parts of Japan. The establishment is nearby Gakushuin Women’s College as well.

Thus, the large number of students in the area make Waseda a lively university district. There are affordable apartments, shops, and restaurants that people on a budget absolutely adore.

Additionally, as Shinjuku is Japan’s international district, and Waseda accepts hundreds of international students yearly, you can expect cuisine from all parts of the world in this one area.

Although Waseda may seem oriented to students, it is also an appealing place for families to live in. Just minutes from Waseda Station is a quiet residential neighborhood complete with a large supermarket, drugstore, and other essential stores. Also, the nearby Toyama Park is an ideal location to spend an afternoon with your child.

Waseda is a combination of liveliness and a laid-back atmosphere, suitable for young and old generations, and Japanese and foreigners alike.


  • From Tokyo Station, walk to Otemachi Station (via underground passage), and take the Tozai Line to Waseda Station (approx. 10 minutes)
  • From Shibuya Station, take the Yamanote Line to Takadanobaba Station, and transfer to the Tozai Line to Waseda Station (approx. 23 minutes), or take the Hanzomon Line to Kudanshita Station, and transfer to the Tozai Line to Waseda Station (approx. 25 minutes)
  • From Shinjuku Station, take the Yamanote Line to Takadanobaba Station, and transfer to the Tozai Line to Waseda Station (approx. 15 minutes)

Famous Locations

Waseda University

Arguably the landmark of Waseda, Waseda University was established in 1882 by Shigenobu Okuma, a former prime minister of Japan known for supporting the study of Western teachings in Japanese institutions.

Previously known as “Tokyo Senmon Gakko,” the institution conducts 13 undergraduate programs, ranging from political science and economics to fundamental science and engineering, which combined has over 42,000 students. There are also graduate programs which range from various areas.

Apart from the buildings where lessons are held, there is the historic Okuma Theater, where renowned politicians and public figures deliver talks. It is beside the cozy Okuma Garden, a place where locals and students alike come for a moment of relaxation.


  • Address: 1-6-104 Totsukamachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
  • Directions: 5-min walk from Waseda Station


Twenty minutes away from Waseda University is Takadanobaba, where the university students and business people of the area go to hang out after school or work.

The options for dining are endless and suited for all types of events. For instance, there are Japanese-style pubs (izakaya), cozy cafe-like shops that operate from lunch until late at night, and an array of international restaurants.

You can also enjoy an old movie in the Waseda Shochiku, or even watch two back-to-back, for a reasonable price.

When in Takadanobaba, no moment is dull.


  • Address: 1-35 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
  • Directions: Take the Tozai Line, Yamanote Line, or Seibu-Shinjuku Line to Takadanobaba Station

Chinzanso Garden

Located beside Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo is Chinzanso Garden, a traditional and picturesque garden in the residential area of Bunkyo Ward. Local residents of Waseda can go here easily, as it is only a few minutes walk from the back of the Okuma Garden.

Unlike the huge Yoyogi Park and Shinjuku Gyoen, Chinzanso Garden is smaller but more peaceful and quiet. You can enjoy a stroll in the walking path, and go to the hotel for a meal afterwards.


  • Address: 2-2-10-8 Sekiguchi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
  • Directions: From Edogawabashi Station, exit from exit 1a, pass the Kanda River, and turn left when you reach the first stoplight.

Why foreigners live in Waseda

Affordable shopping and dining options

Living in a university district means affordable shops and eateries are scattered everywhere. Waseda is not an exception. With 100-yen shops, grocery stores, and convenience stores just around the corner, the area is very supportive of people on a budget.


The convenient area of Waseda has four train stations that provide direct access to various places in areas of Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, and other prefectures.

The main station is Waseda Station, which is connected to the Tozai Line. This railway leads to areas such as Otemachi, Japan’s busiest business district, Mitaka, home of the famous Ghibli Museum, and other places of Tokyo and Chiba.

Nishi-Waseda Station, which is near the Riko Campus of Waseda, is connected to the Fukutoshin Line. You will be able to travel to Shibuya, Yokohama, and other places of Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture.

Takadanobaba Station is connected to the Yamanote Line, Tozai Line, and the Seibu Shinjuku Line. This will take you to the central areas of Tokyo and even parts of Saitama Prefecture.

There is also the Waseda Station of the Toden Arakawa Line, which takes you to the quiet residential areas of Tokyo.

International Community

Shinjuku Ward, which Waseda is located in, is famous for being an international neighborhood. Indeed, when walking around you will encounter people from various nations, and there are an impressive number of international restaurants in the area.

The diversity of Waseda will help you get settled in the area with ease.


The lively and cozy sides of Waseda combine to make a distinct atmosphere that doesn’t fail to impress. There are endless options of entertainment, dining, and leisure options that will satisfy people of all backgrounds.

If you want to live in a quiet residential neighborhood just a few minutes away from a lively street, look no further than Waseda.

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