I've wanted to write about this for a long time, but other things just kept creeping up.
*For the record I do NOT support pet stores and neither should you. There are many shelter dogs all over the world in need of homes, but because of the 2011 earthquake many dogs in Japan were displaced and lost their former homes, and even today shelters still remain full of them.*
I want to say if you're a foreigner, forget it. What I mean to say is forget adopting from an entirely Japanese rescue organization. Even with my Japanese boyfriend speaking to the organizations entirely in Japanese, as soon as they found out a foreigner wanted to adopt the dog, any dog I was interested in was immediately adopted by some kind loving Japanese family. Shelters in Japan are wary of foreigners because some foreigners have left Japan and left their adopted animal behind. Thus, Japanese shelters are left with a bad taste in their mouth for foreigners looking to adopt. It didn't matter to them how many times I swore up and down that I want to stay here. I had the scarlet "F" on my chest.
Despite all these heartbreaks, there are some organizations that will work with foreigners, and I'd like to recommend them to you.
First, I recommend ARK. They do not have a shelter in Tokyo but they will transport your new adopted family member to you.
The other organization is Animal Friends Niigata. Their shelter is in Niigata but they will also transport your new adopted family member to you.
Animal Friends Niigata frequently does adoption events at Aoyama Farmer's Market. You can volunteer there if you want.
If you're looking to give an animal a forever home, these are my suggestions. If you aren't long term and can foster an animal, ARK would be happy to help you with that.
Here's my baby and me: