Japan is a captivating nation with a multifaceted chronicle and customs, and it is unsurprising that a myriad of individuals yearn to reside there. Nevertheless, with an extensive selection of urban and rural areas to choose from, determining the impeccable place to establish a home can be an arduous task. Fortunately, there are ample superb alternatives for both inhabitants and foreigners. This composition scrutinizes several of the preeminent locales to inhabit in Japan.
From Tokyo’s thriving metropolis to the idyllic hinterlands of Hokkaido, the land of the rising sun is a cornucopia of alternatives. Whether an individual is pursuing a metropolitan area with boundless prospects for pastime and employment or a peaceful retreat that enables one to connect with nature and unwind, there is a part of Japan that perfectly suits their predilections. The following paragraphs about the best places to live in Japan explicate several of the foremost destinations and emphasize the characteristics that render each location distinct. Our article will aid those who are currently residing in Japan or those planning to relocate by assisting them in identifying the most fitting place to prosper and relish in this incredible country. Read out list of the best areas to live and best cities in Japan making it a great place and a popular destination for a large number of foreigners.
The best places to live in Japan: Hiroshima
Hiroshima is deemed as one of the most optimal destinations to reside in Japan, predominantly because of its robust economic situation, stunning cultural sites, and its tranquil natural surroundings. With a population of over 1.1 million inhabitants, the area presents low rates of criminal activity, economical schooling, medical care, and housing expenses, in conjunction with superior job prospects. Hiroshima’s gastronomic delights and lively night scene only add to its attractiveness, attracting both tourists and locals alike.
Miyajima Island, a World Heritage Site, is among the most popular tourist destinations in Hiroshima, best known for the Itsukushima Shrine and the floating torii gate, and it is only a short ferry ride away from the city. The Atomic Bomb Dome, an iconic landmark in the city, stands as a poignant tribute to those who perished during the atomic bombing incident that took place during World War II. Hiroshima is also acknowledged for its picturesque parks and gardens, notably the Shukkeien Garden, which is furnished with a stunning pond and traditional teahouses. Lastly, Hiroshima’s impressive transportation infrastructure simplifies travel, both within the city and to other locations across Japan. In summary, Hiroshima provides a high standard of living and a distinctive cultural experience to those in pursuit of work and residency opportunities in Japan.
The best cities to live in Japan: Nihama
Nihama, an exquisite seaside municipality situated in the Ehime Prefecture of Japan, is renowned for its breathtaking coastal panoramas, ancient shrines, and delectable seafood. With a mere populace of around 30,000 residents, the town exudes a serene and tranquil ambiance, providing a haven of reposeful solitude. Its well-developed transportation infrastructure facilitates easy accessibility to major Japanese cities such as Osaka and Hiroshima, rendering it a connected and convenient location. The city’s enviable public transport system contributes significantly to the expediency of commuting and intra-city travel.
The neighboring mountains and beautiful beaches provide ample opportunities for nature lovers to indulge in outdoor pursuits like hiking, cycling, and fishing. Local community centers also offer avenues for cultural enrichment, including the Japanese art of tea ceremonies, calligraphy, and flower arrangement. The cost of living in Nihama is relatively affordable when compared to other major metropolises in Japan. In essence, Nihama provides an exemplary standard of living, combining contemporary amenities and traditional Japanese culture in perfect harmony.
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The best places to live in Japan: Moriya
Moriya, a city located in the northeastern section of the Kanto region, boasts a tranquil and pacific lifestyle. Ibaraki Prefecture is where this delightful city is situated, and it is inhabited by around 150,000 individuals. Its low rate of criminality, superior education system, and stable economy establish Moriya as one of the most exceptional places to reside in Japan. The luscious foliage and innate beauty of Moriya serve as its most attractive aspects.
The numerous parks and gardens present in the city offer a serene escape from the bustling city life. Moreover, the cultural richness of Moriya is heightened by the historic temples and shrines, some of which date back to the Edo era. As an added bonus, Moriya has the added advantage of granting simple access to Tokyo and other significant cities in the Kanto region, with proficient transport systems such as the Tokyo Metro Tōzai Line and a multitude of bus services. Moriya, if one seeks a peaceful, yet convenient locale to reside in Japan, is an exemplary destination.
The best cities to live in Japan: Ikoma
Ikoma, situated in the Nara Prefecture of Japan, stands out as one of the most remarkable cities to reside in. This thriving metropolis boasts of splendid vistas of the encompassing mountains, woodlands, and valleys, making it a haven for nature aficionados. Additionally, it boasts of a vast repertoire of temples, shrines, and historical sites that resonate with its profound cultural heritage and deep roots in Japanese history. Besides its charming cultural allure, Ikoma also guarantees its residents a high quality of life by providing state-of-the-art amenities, first-rate healthcare services, and an efficient public transportation system.
The city’s economy is solidly built around its bustling industries such as manufacturing, retail, and tourism, providing ample job opportunities to its inhabitants. Moreover, the cost of living in Ikoma is relatively affordable compared to other major Japanese cities, making it an ideal option for families and individuals alike. By and large, Ikoma’s amalgamation of natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, modernity, and cost-effectiveness cements its place as one of the top cities to live in Japan.
The best places to live in Japan: Fukuoka
Fukuoka is a city in Japan that proffers its inhabitants an exquisite standard of living. This metropolis, teeming with a population of over 1.5 million people, is renowned as the entrance to Asia. It renders effortless admission to other regions of Japan and its neighboring Asian countries, thereby rendering it a principal destination for those who relish traveling. Fukuoka boasts of its delectable cuisine, which enjoys a sterling reputation across Japan as being the epitome of excellence. It shelters a plethora of parks and beaches, including Ohori Park, where visitors can behold the gorgeous lake and botanical gardens.
The nightlife in Fukuoka is effervescent, thriving with a multitude of clubs and bars to patronize. Residents of Fukuoka usually inhabit contemporary apartment edifices, encircled by a fusion of traditional and contemporary Japanese architecture. This city has a robust economy with myriad job opportunities in sectors such as technology, healthcare, and tourism, rendering it an alluring haven for professionals. For anyone who relishes a vivacious city lifestyle, excellent food, modern amenities, and a rich cultural experience, Fukuoka is an unparalleled locale to reside in Japan.
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The best cities to live in Japan: Matsuyama
Matsuyama (literally Pine Mountain) is among the top places to live in Japan for several reasons. Here stands the Matsuyamajo, a castle built on a hill 132 meters high. This is one of the rare castles to have been preserved in its original condition, although some parts of it were rebuilt in the middle of the 19th century.
From the donjon visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the town and the islands of the Inner Sea of Seto. It is also home to the Dogo Onsen, one of the oldest thermal springs in Japan. The present building for the public bath is made of wood, built on three levels in 1894. There is also a special bath reserved for the imperial family and it is called Yushinden: it is no longer used, but you can visit it.
The entire complex is classified as an important cultural heritage. Finally here is the temple of Ishite-ji the No. 51 in the pilgrimage to the 88 temples of the Shingon school of Shikoku, known under the name of O-Henro. Some buildings are classified as National Treasures and Important Cultural Property.
But it is also an important city in the world of Japanese literature, as Masaoka Shiki, the father of modern haiku, and the famous novelist Natsume Soseki, who even set the story of one of his most famous novels, Botchan, stayed there. In his honor, therefore, the city of Matsuyama has put in place an old-fashioned tramway line, called “Botchan’s Train”, which allows you to visit the city in a very pleasant way.
The best places to live in Japan: Mitaka
Mitaka, located in the western outskirts of Tokyo, is a superb locale to reside in Japan. This city is frequently disregarded by foreigners, thereby endowing a truly genuine Japanese experience. It is a tranquil and secure residential area that confers facile entry to Tokyo’s attractions, encompassing the lively Shinjuku district, a mere 10-minute train ride away. The Ghibli Museum, a must-visit destination for Studio Ghibli aficionados, is situated in Mitaka. Furthermore, the city is well-known for its picturesque parks such as Inokashira Park, which provides a placid respite from the frenetic Tokyo lifestyle.
Another benefit of dwelling in Mitaka is the cost of living, which is relatively lower in contrast to other Tokyo neighborhoods. There are abundant restaurants with delectable cuisines, supermarkets, and shopping centers, with everything you need within walking distance. Additionally, Mitaka is a family-oriented city, replete with exceptional schools and childcare facilities. All in all, Mitaka is an idyllic destination for those who crave a peaceful and genuine Japanese experience while remaining in close proximity to Tokyo’s vivacious lifestyle.
Moving to Japan: Nishinomiya
Moving to Japan can be a gratifying and fulfilling experience, particularly when contemplating a metropolis like Nishinomiya. Positioned betwixt Kobe and Osaka, it proposes a fusion of rustic and metropolitan ways of life. The municipality is reputed for its elevated quality of living, making it a flawless destination for expatriates. There is an extensive spectrum of abodes to opt from, ranging from state-of-the-art apartments to customary residences, thus discovering a dwelling that complements your lifestyle should not pose a substantial challenge.
Nishinomiya is also the residence of multiple international schools, which is a consummate selection for families with offspring. Although the cost of subsistence surpasses that of other Japanese cities by a margin, the profits unquestionably validate the expenditure. The town boasts outstanding transportation links, encompassing rail and bus amenities, rendering it simple to traverse the region. The inhabitants are amiable and hospitable, and a colossal variety of gastronomic, emporium, and leisure activities await, including the distinguished Rokko Mountain, a favorite destination for outdoor devotees. Altogether, Nishinomiya is an impeccable choice for those who are striving for a more well-balanced and serene way of life in Japan.
The best places to live in Japan: Inagi
In the western region of Tokyo lies Inagi, a highly coveted residential area renowned for its scenic blend of city life and nature, appealing to both family-oriented and environmentally conscious individuals. Its picturesque parks, gardens, and forests offer an exceptional escape from the city’s fast-paced lifestyle, providing a serene atmosphere to unwind. In addition to Inagi’s natural allure, the region boasts an outstanding education system, which includes numerous distinguished schools and universities. As a bonus, Inagi’s safety record is impressive, and its local populace is notably friendly. If you seek an authentic Japanese experience, Inagi delivers with its regular traditional festivals throughout the year, like the Cherry Blossom and Tenjin Matsuri festivities. In conclusion, Inagi presents an optimal option for individuals desiring a peaceful, family-oriented, and secure residential area while retaining close proximity to Tokyo’s excitement.
The best place in Japan to live: Fujisawa
Fujisawa, located in the Kanagawa Prefecture of Japan, is deemed one of the most desirable cities to dwell in the nation. Boasting a populace of approximately 450,000, the metropolis teems with expats and many foreigners. The city provides a superior quality of life in a secure and hygienic milieu. Rich cultural ancestry, ample verdant zones, and a scenic shoreline adorn the urban landscape. The local government dedicates its focus to dispensing top-notch healthcare, education, and infrastructure to its citizens.
What sets Fujisawa apart and piques the interest of expats is the city’s harmonious blend of Japanese traditions with western comforts. International schools and numerous establishments catering to foreigners, such as restaurants and shops, abound in the locale. A plethora of reasonably-priced housing options facilitate the ease with which expats and many foreigners can secure accommodations tailored to their preferences. In sum, Fujisawa is a superlative choice for individuals seeking a fusion of cultural diversity and a high standard of living in Japan.
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The best places to live in Japan: Tokyo
Tokyo, the cosmopolitan metropolis, ranks high among the most sought-after tourist destinations in Japan, as well as a coveted place of habitation. The amalgamation of the classical Japanese culture and the ultramodern technology sets the capital of Japan apart as a unique city. Its pulsating streets teem with over 13 million souls, offering an array of options to satiate every taste. The capital city has also been recognized for being one of the safest big cities on the globe. Furthermore, navigating the city is a breeze, thanks to the first-rate public transport system that is in place.
Though the living costs are relatively steep in Tokyo, the quality of life is excellent, with first-class healthcare facilities and a robust educational system that boasts some of the finest schools and universities in the land. Tokyo plays host to a vast array of multinational firms, offering ample job opportunities for individuals from diverse backgrounds. For those seeking a plethora of cultural experiences, the city has an abundance of options ranging from delectable cuisine, awe-inspiring art galleries, riveting museums, to age-old traditional festivities.
Besides the many things you can do in Tokyo with your kids, the largest city in Japan offers ample green spaces where body and mind can be refreshed. A stage for musical tours of all the most famous groups, it offers entertainment at all hours of the day and night. It is equipped with an efficient transport network and holds the record for punctuality and any other Asian metropolis, which is not bad since you will have to go from home to school every day during your Japanese course. Without a shadow of a doubt, the city of Tokyo is an exceptional pick for anyone in search of a dynamic and exhilarating city to call home.
One of the best cities: Yokohama
Yokohama is home to one of Japan’s most futuristic cities to live in: the port of the future in Minato Mirai, where the heart of a city that is in some ways more liveable than nearby Tokyo beats. The two cities are part of the same conurbation and getting to the capital from Yokohama is as easy as it gets: it only takes thirty minutes by train to get to Shibuya.
In addition to one of the country’s main ports, the city boasts a wide and relaxed promenade for a stroll between historic Akarenga buildings (赤煉瓦 a complex of former red brick customs offices now used as a shopping mall) and charming green spaces (such as Yamashita Park). In addition, Chinatown is located in the city center, and Yokohama is one of the largest Chinese neighborhoods in Japan, with many restaurants where you can taste typical Chinese dishes in Japan as a foreigner.
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The best places to live in Japan: Osaka
We’re moving west to a modern city that doesn’t monkey Tokyo. Osaka maintains a strong identity as demonstrated by the daily use of the typical dialect of the Kansai region (used mostly among friends and relatives) and the proverbial loquacity of its inhabitants.
The city is located near other larger cities such as Kyoto, Nara and Kobe which are easy to reach and are a diversion for those who want to leave the metropolitan fabric. With only 30 minutes by train you can reach these traditional tourist destinations, to spend pleasant weekends.
Osaka’s food is also renowned and very characteristic: the local cuisine offers takoyaki octopus meatballs and “Japanese pizza” okonomiyaki, delicacies that go well with the jovial and familiar atmosphere of the city.
Osaka, like Tokyo, is a great place to live and also offers a lot of entertainment and fun, especially the Namba district is very lively, and is even more crowded in the evening. It’s the best way to have fun after a long day of studying Japanese in school.
The best cities to live in Japan: Kobe
Kobe, nestled in the Hyogo Prefecture, stands among the most livable cities in Japan, celebrated for its thriving culture, alluring edifices, and metropolitan lifestyle. With over 1.5 million inhabitants, Kobe holds the sixth populous city in Japan. The marine proximity of Kobe bestows an enchanting backdrop and serves as a cornucopia of fresh seafood for the locals. Its Kobe beef, which ranks among the world’s finest meat, is also an attraction. Compared to other major cities in Japan, the cost of living in Kobe is relatively low, catering to both the natives and expats.
Moreover, Kobe boasts a well-connected transportation system, encompassing an interlinked railway system, bus services, and an efficient subway network. It is worth noting that Kobe features outstanding educational and healthcare facilities, a low incidence of criminal activity, and numerous recreational options, ensuring an excellent standard of living for its residents. In Kobe there is one of the oldest harbors built in Japan, whose purpose was to entertain trade relations with China, and it was also one of the first points of contact with the outside world in the 19th century. Along the harbor is Chinatown, in the Nankinmachi district (南京町), as well as Western-style brick buildings, very similar to Yokohama.
The safest place to live in Japan: Kyoto
The pearl of Japan Kyoto, is the city where the ancient still prevails over the modern. Kyoto stands as one of the most coveted habitation sites in Japan. This endearing city boasts an extensive and distinguished cultural ancestry that continues to bewitch millions of sightseers worldwide annually. Kyoto is revered by both locals and foreigners alike, as it manifests an unrivaled synthesis of customary mores and contemporary inclinations. The region proudly displays eminent historical assets such as timeworn temples, shrines, and fortresses that constantly serve as a reminiscence of Japan’s intricate and illustrious past. Kyoto flourishes as a contemporary metropolis, that holds an array of opportunities in education, vocation, and amusement.
The municipality bears excellent public transportation networks that provide unhampered mobility, allowing individuals to explore the diversity of Kyoto with ease. Although living expenses in Kyoto might be slightly elevated compared to other regions in Japan, the quality of living is unparalleled. Inhabitants relish in Japan’s renowned four seasons and partake in their extravagant cuisines, jubilees, and awe-inspiring ecological landscapes. Kyoto’s resplendent cultural legacy, majestic landmarks, and state-of-the-art infrastructure establish it as one of Japan’s most prime cities to inhabit.
The best cities to live in Japan: Sapporo
Sapporo is a city that offers many attractions despite being located on Japan’s northernmost and consequently coldest island, Hokkaido. For those who are not intimidated by the harsh winter climate and love skiing, spas and snow, good food and nature, Sapporo is your top place to live in Japan. There are certainly fewer job opportunities than in Tokyo, but you are also lucky enough to avoid the humid heat that hits the capital in summer.
There are also many more opportunities to come into contact with unspoilt and lush nature that offers seasonal produce and fresh fish from the sea.
From Sapporo you can visit other areas, during the day, such as Otaru, a very suggestive port city, or Noboribetsu, characteristic for its spas and autumn landscape.
And now the word to you: do you like the place where you live or you would go to one of the best places to live in Japan? Would you recommend it? Or would you like to live somewhere else? If so, where? Let us know…
The cities that are often ranked highly in terms of livability include Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Fukuoka.
Kyoto and Kawasaki are among the cheapest places to rent in Japan, and Tsushima city and Fukuoka boast some of the lowest living costs for utilities, groceries, and eating out.
Yes, Japan can be a good place to live for foreigners. It has a rich culture, a high standard of living, and one of the lowest crime rates in the world.
In order to move to Japan, you will typically need to have a valid visa, which can require meeting certain requirements such as having a job offer, being enrolled in a Japanese school, or being married to a Japanese citizen.
It’s possible to live in Japan without knowing Japanese, but it can be challenging. Basic knowledge of the language can greatly improve daily life and job prospects.
Yes, Japan allows foreigners to become citizens, but the process is generally lengthy and requires meeting certain criteria, such as residing in Japan for a specified period of time and passing a citizenship test.