There are a number of organisations that have been created to assist non-Japanese mothers and parents find babysitters and carers for their children. The most popular are Tokyo with Kids:
And Field of Mugi:
There is great demand for day-care (hoikuen) and kindergarten (yochien) places so you should try and secure a place at least six months before the new school year begins. In any case you should go to your local ward office to apply. You can also look in the Yellow Pages under hoikuen, baby hotel or takujisho. A trip to your ward office is important since they will be able to advise you on a range of issues and not all public day-care facilities advertise in the Yellow Pages.
Private day-care costs in the region of 65,000 yen per month, fees for public day-care depend on parents’ income. Some expat families hire live-in or live-out nannies or maids. Visa complications make hiring a foreign nanny difficult. As anywhere, networking is important: internet mothers’ groups such as those mentioned above will be useful, but try and get to know working mothers in your area, in the park etc.
Here is some useful vocabulary: