Japan is the world’s 61st largest country in terms of land area. It may appear to be a little country, but it actually has 47 provinces. That means you have a lot of options when it comes to settling down.
Japan is a stunning Pacific Ocean island country in eastern Asia. There are 6,852 islands in the territory. Japan has a lengthy and illustrious cultural heritage. The country is a famous tourist destination due to its moderate climate, stunning mountains, seaside beaches, and rich plains, but which are the best places to live in Japan?
The country’s biggest cities, on the other hand, are noted for their cleanliness, sound economy, gorgeous architecture, cultural attractions, delectable cuisine, ample green space, and fascinating shopping, dining, and recreation. Many Japanese cities provide the best of both worlds: serenity, tranquillity, and convenience while still being only a train ride away from a major city.
It can be difficult to relocate to Japan. Even so, once you’ve identified your interests and taken into account your budget, you can figure out where you should reside in Japan. Do you find the hustle and bustle of city life to be the most exciting? Or are you aiming for a more relaxed way of life? You can start over somewhere in Japan. In Tokyo or Osaka, you can achieve success, or in Fukuoka or Kyoto, you can fulfill your dreams!
Tokyo is the place to be if you want to immerse yourself in Japanese culture and live in a city that never rests. It is also ideal for expats seeking employment other than teaching English.
Nevertheless, coming to Osaka is the correct choice for modern Japanese life with a touch of heritage. Your passion for Japanese food and entertainment will find a home in the city as well!
Kyoto is the place to go if you want to live a more traditional Asian life with a stronger connection to nature. It is, without a doubt, the finest alternative for immigrants seeking a peaceful and tranquil stay in the country.
However, if you enjoy cold winters, intriguing history, and convenience, you might consider relocating to Sapporo. Keep in mind the origins of the well-known Sapporo beer!
Finally, if you relocate to Fukuoka, you may be able to live in the countryside. If you want to start a business, while also enjoying a slower pace of life, this is the place for you.
When deciding where to reside, there are a few factors to consider. Continue reading to discover some of the best places to live in Japan’s and the culture you should expect:
Despite its reputation for being congested and expensive, Tokyo remains one of the best places to live in Japan. Tokyo is one of the most convenient cities to reside in for immigrants with limited Japanese skills. Many subway stations, hospitals, administrative buildings, and other organizations have at least one English-speaking employee.
You can nearly always find what you’re looking for if you live in Tokyo. There are numerous boutiques, restaurants, nightclubs, and other entertainment options. Furthermore, there are many more job chances in Tokyo, particularly if you want to employ your English or other communication talents.
Most people now first think of Tokyo, when they make a list of the best places to live in Japan. It’s the world’s most populated metropolitan region, and with 14 million residents, it’s easy to see why. It has been regarded as the safest city in the world for the past three years, in addition to being the capital of Japan. It reported the lowest number of crimes since World War I, in 2017. However, it is still a huge metropolis, so if you choose to live in Tokyo, you must exercise caution.
Even though Tokyo is a densely populated city, you don’t have to forego appreciating nature entirely. Near Tokyo, there are a plethora of excellent hiking paths. In addition, you may enjoy a variety of parks throughout the city. If you’re relocating to Tokyo, keep in mind that apartments, particularly in the city center, can be rather costly. However, when compared to other worldwide cities, finding accommodation in Tokyo at a reasonable price is surprisingly straightforward.
- Estimated Cost of Living – 205,000 Yen per Month
Moving to Kyoto is the ideal option if you want to engage with Japan’s history and culture. Kyoto is one of the best places to live in Japan, which is still connected with its ancient heritage since it flaunts the largest percentage of cultural treasures in the country. From 749 to 1896, it served as the Emperor’s residence and Japan’s capital. For visitors, visiting Kyoto is similar to visiting old Japan. However, what would it be like to dwell in Kyoto?
Living in Kyoto means being in close proximity to cultural and natural heritage. Kyoto has its own dialect, which is a more distinct and poetic variation of the conventional Japanese spoken in Tokyo. Geishas, ancient inns, Buddhist temples, and Shinto shrines are all part of the past.
There are numerous historic locations that have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Because of their distance from the city center, some parts of Kyoto are relatively cheap. You’ll also be closer to the hills, which means you’ll be spending your time in the countryside in beautiful locations.
Kyoto is just over 50 kilometers northeast of Osaka, a nearby city. The bullet trains can take you between these two cities in just 13 minutes, but the cost of living is nearly identical, so you might as well choose the one that interests you the most.
Kyoto will appeal to individuals seeking a slightly less chaotic lifestyle, despite the fact that it is still a huge city with a population of roughly 1.5 million people. It’s also a must-see for history buffs, as Kyoto was the seat of Japanese emperors for eleven centuries before power was relocated to Tokyo in 1869. With a slew of Shinto and Buddhist temples, as well as historic buildings like the Kyoto Imperial Palace, it’s perhaps Japan’s cultural hub.
In terms of living there, you’ll find Kyoto to be a cosmopolitan city with a rich history and a wealth of stories to share, stories that extend far beyond the prominent tourist attractions. One of the best places to live in Japan, it is a striking contrast to Tokyo, with scorching summers but colder winters and a bicycle-friendly street design.
- Estimated Cost of Living – 170,000 Yen per Month
Osaka is Japan’s second-largest metropolitan city. The surrounding port town is a major trading center, making it even another important city in the country. With Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s reign in the late 1500s, it may have been a political capital. Tokugawa Ieyasu founded a new administration in Edo instead in 1603, creating Tokyo the modern capital of Japan. Despite this, Osaka’s expansion has established it as a unique prefecture in Japan.
In comparison to Tokyo, Osaka has a lower cost of living. It also features the famous Osaka Station, which was renovated extensively between 2007 and 2011. In terms of culture and temperament, the Osakan established themselves apart from the rest of Japan. They consider themselves to be more open and down to earth. Osaka is especially proud of its distinct culinary style, which it describes as “full, excellent, and economical”, making the city one of the best places to live in Japan.
Despite the fact that foreigners have fewer career options in Osaka, the quality of life there is still great. People have kept Osaka’s heritage despite the fact that the area has undergone various changes over time. Temples and the famed Osaka Castle provide endless opportunities for locals and travelers to learn about it.
After Tokyo, Osaka is probably the most well-known Japanese city. It’s also a fantastic area to reside in Japan. Living in Osaka with low Japanese abilities is a little more difficult than living in Tokyo, so you’ll have lots of chances to improve your language skills. Osaka’s nightlife, like its shopping, rivals that of Tokyo.
You can also visit a variety of wonderful eateries and cafes. Local delicacies such as okonomiyaki and takoyaki put Osaka on the map, but the city offers a wide variety of cuisines. If you live in Osaka, you’re certain to discover a restaurant that you adore, whether it’s Indian, French, or Thai. While the winters in Osaka are pleasant, the summers are scorching, so it’s not the ideal place to visit if you can’t tolerate the heat. However, if you don’t mind high heat and humidity, Osaka could be the perfect new home for you.
- Estimated Cost of Living – 170,000 Yen per Month
The Mongol invasion troops chose Fukuoka as a landing location in the 13th century, turning it into an international hub in Japan. In 1889, the port city of Hakata and the castle town of Fukuoka merged to form what is now known as Fukuoka city. It is a significant seaport town since it is near to the Asian mainland while maintaining the open-mindedness of the people. Fukuoka, with a populace of over 5 million people, could be the perfect place for you to settle down!
Because it is renowned as Japan’s “startup city,” Fukuoka is one of the best places to live in Japan if you want to start your own business when you relocate there. In terms of organizational success, this area has made a substantial contribution to the economy.
It was conceived as a port city and was completed in 1972. Its ports contribute to the economy by attracting cruise ships and visitors. Fukuoka Castle, a zoo, galleries, gardens, and beaches are popular with visitors and inhabitants alike. Several enterprises in Fukuoka provide services and support to new businesses. In Fukuoka, there are numerous international students. The city boasts a fantastic culinary scene, with dishes like spicy cod roe and pork broth ramen.
When you stay in Fukuoka, you will be able to live in a lot cheaper urban metropolis. The cost of living is lower, and public transit is less congested. The commutes are much shorter and there’s also a fantastic mix of lifestyle and natural beauty! Take a tranquil stroll in gardens, chapels, and temple grounds as well as relax at karaoke bars, izakayas, clubs, and shopping centers.
- Estimated Cost of Living – 190,000 Yen per Month
Sendai is the capital of Miyagi Prefecture and the largest city in the Tohoku region, ranking second only to Tokyo in terms of population which, is estimated to be around 1 million. Sendai was the epicenter of Japan’s 2011 tsunami, which was one of the country’s worst natural catastrophes. The city itself is extremely safe; only 11,000 crimes were recorded out of a population of one million. Resulting in a ratio of 0.96.
If you don’t like the hot, humid summers in Japan, relocating north may provide some relief. Sendai, the Tohoku region’s main city, is one of the best places to live in Japan for you. Sendai is sometimes characterized as a “city that feels like a little town,” with many of the amenities found in bigger cities such as Tokyo and Osaka.
Even so, there are fewer people and a stronger community spirit. Sendai’s winters are cold and snowy, making it an ideal location for those who prefer winter outdoor sports. Sendai’s public transit is adequate, although not as extensive as in larger cities. Because there aren’t many railway lines in Sendai, it’s more customary to take buses than trains.
- Estimated Cost of Living – 190,000 Yen per Month
Hokkaido is Japan’s northernmost and second-largest island, and its largest town, Sapporo, is definitely one of the best places to live in Japan. It is an excellent location for anyone searching for a little diverse background from life on Honshu, which is home to almost all of the other major cities, and the majority of Japanese people.
Sapporo is the cultural, administrative, and financial heart of Hokkaido, having evolved from a little village of a few thousand inhabitants at the end of the nineteenth century to Japan’s fifth-largest city today. Because of its northerly location, it is one of the oldest cities in the world, with sub-zero temperatures almost every day during the winters.
Sapporo, on the other hand, has used its frigid climate to its benefit. The annual Sapporo Snow Festival attracts over two million international tourists, and the city is also a popular winter venue, with its hilly backdrop offering a variety of ski and snowboarding slopes. Sapporo is a fantastic winter sports destination, having hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics. Sapporo has also played home to three FIFA World Cups.
The city of Sapporo is primarily renowned for its brewery. Trade, production, tech, commerce, and tourism are all part of the economy. Many parks, museums, and shrines make this lovely city one of the best places to live in Japan.
- Estimated Cost of Living – 160,000 Yen per Month
Nagoya is a Japanese city located between Osaka and Tokyo that is often overlooked. Nagoya, while not as well-known as those two enormous cities, provides all of the benefits and pleasures of living in a big city. Even better, Nagoya is a reason to live in. While there aren’t as many immigrants in Nagoya as there are in Tokyo, there is a sizable foreign community. If you have children and are an expat, you can expect to locate an international school for them to attend. Nagoya, despite its size, has made an effort to maintain numerous cultural heritage locations, allowing you to experience both history and modern amenities.
Nagoya is the country’s fourth most populous city, with a density of over two million people and one of the best places to live in Japan. It is the capital of Aichi Prefecture and the largest city on the Nobi Plain, which is one of Honshu’s three great plains and a major urban and commercial center.
The climate of Nagoya fluctuates dramatically throughout the year, with average temperatures ranging from 4°C (39.2°F) in January to 35°C (95°F) in August.
During the Edo Period, Nagoya flourished as the castle town of the Owari, one of the three branches of the ruling Tokugawa family. The airstrikes of 1945 wrecked much of the city, particularly most of its historic buildings. Toyota Motor Corporation’s headquarters are located just outside of Nagoya.
People choose to live in Nagoya because the name itself means “calm.” It is regarded as a center of financial and political progress. Nagoya Castle was built in the seventeenth century and flourished in the nineteenth century as a result of modernization. Its rich Isa Bay and Nobi plain contribute to the growth of vegetation. Festivals, theatres, and museums are all popular in Nagoya. Nagoya’s economy is fuelled by businesses in aviation, technology, ceramics, and retail.
- Estimated Cost of Living – 130,000 Yen per Month
If you want a taste of Tokyo but can’t afford the high living expenses or deal with the throngs in the city, Kawasaki or another town in the metropolitan area can be a decent alternative.
We come across a city called Kawasaki in Kanagawa region as we move closer to the safest city to live in Japan. It is Japan’s eighth most populous city and one of the major cities in the Greater Tokyo Area. Kawasaki has a population of 1.5 million people is regarded as the second safest city in Japan, with only 0.78 crimes per 100 people.
While it may not top the list of the best places to live in Japan, the riverfront city of Kawasaki is not without its pleasures. Kawasaki isn’t all industry and hard work, with a huge canal network and a variety of monasteries and museums, but those are two characteristics that clearly played a major role in its expansion over the twentieth century. Both are still fairly visible today.
Rent prices in Tokyo are nearly 50% higher than in Kawasaki, thus you are most likely to get a better quality of lodging for the same money in the latter. Transport services will take you to the center of the Japanese capital in around an hour.
- Estimated Cost of Living – 165,000 Yen per Month
Where are the Best Places to Live in Japan – Cityside or Countryside?
Would you prefer to live in the city or in the country? Depending on your interests, there are a few things to keep in mind.
As previously said, residents of small towns have more trouble conversing in English than residents of large cities. Tokyo is touristy and English-friendly, as one might anticipate. Many of the city’s offices have English versions as well. So, if you have no knowledge of Japanese, it might be advisable to reside in the city. The countryside, on the other hand, is the greatest place to go if you are open to new experiences and want to fully immerse yourself in the Japanese way of life.
The public transportation systems in major cities such as Osaka and Tokyo are well-established and reliable. In addition to its dozen subway lines and train systems, Tokyo boasts a large bus network. If you own a car, the major issue you’ll face when getting around town is traffic and parking. In reality, before you can own a car in Tokyo, you must show proof of a fixed parking space.
Cars, on the other hand, maybe required in rural locations. Even ordinary daily activities like traveling to the grocery store or the railway station necessitate the use of an automobile. The countryside is not the place for you if you do not enjoy driving. If you prefer taking road drives while taking in beautiful sights, the countryside may appeal to you.
Way of Life
In the end, your choice of residence is determined by your personality. Rural locations may be the greatest choice if you enjoy a place’s solitude and peace. Cities are densely populated and, along with their fast-paced culture, can be daunting. Even using a train at rush hour might cause stress and worry. Walking in the city may also be claustrophobic, with too many people going to work and visitors crowding the streets and sidewalks.
Living in a small town is also conducive to forming social bonds. Many expats who live in rural areas value the sense of belongingness. In a city where people are too busy, this form of relationship may be difficult to discover.
Life in Japan is fantastic because of the food, culture, and safety. Consider a Village House apartment for reduced upfront expenditures if you’re moving within Japan!
When deciding on the best places to live in Japan, keep in mind the region’s overall safety as well as your budget. Despite disparities in population and area of residence, many of these destinations are economical and safe for anyone looking for an adventure outside of the comforts of their own country.