Ten Best Places in Japan to Live

Good morning everyone,

We are lucky here in Hiroshima-if you watched the news last night, it seems like we are the only place in Japan NOT expected to get snow today...ha ha! It will be chilly though-the high today will only be 6C and tomorrow won't be much better, with a high of 8C. After that, it'll get up to 11C on Thursday and be in the mid-teens from Friday and through the weekend. If I can think that today and tomorrow will be the last two cold days of winter, I can put up with them. Actually, to be honest, this winter hasn't seemed that cold to me. I'm not sick of winter at all...I will still be happy to see spring though!

When chatting with my students, we all agree that Hiroshima is a pretty good place to live. Sure, it's not perfect. It's lacking a few of the popular shops and stores that you can find in the larger cities and it's a bit of a hike to get to a hot spring...or anywhere due to the world's most inconvenient airport...ha ha! How does it measure up in Japan?

Japanese housewives were asked by the magazine Aene which town they’d be happiest living in. Central Tokyo failed to crack the top 10, although the number-one pick isn’t too far away from the capital.

When asked what specifically made a place convenient to live in, the second-most common response was proximity to a train or subway station, which was given by 28.9 percent of the women in the study. Far surpassing this, though, was the 47.8 percent who answered that what they really wanted was a large mall, supermarket, or shopping street.

So, which towns in Japan ranked the highest in the survey? Let’s start with number 10.

10. Hiroshima City (Hiroshima Prefecture)

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Respondents were impressed by the kind and friendly attitude of Hiroshima’s citizens. Being the prefectural capital means it’s a developed city, but not nearly as crowded as Tokyo.

9. Nihama (Ehime Prefecture)

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The first of two towns on the island of Shikoku to make the list, Nihama offers both job opportunities with local industry and proximity to the Inland Sea and its delicious seafood.

8. Moriya (Ibaraki Prefecture)

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Moriya was popular with women in the survey across the board, with special mention given to its modern shopping facilities.

7. Ikoma (Nara Prefecture)

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Ikoma is essentially a suburb of Nara City, being just 30 minutes away by train. Its high ranking was due in no small part to its proximity to the many culturally and historically important temples of Japan’s former capital.

6. Fukuoka City (Fukuoka)

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One of the most populous cities in the top 10, Fukuoka got a boost from its local food scene which includes delicacies such as spicy cod roe, hot-pot, and pork stock ramen.

5. Matsuyama (Ehime Prefecture)

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Back in Ehime again, living in the relatively cozy prefectural capital still provides for a laid-back lifestyle, plus proximity to some of Japan’s best citrus fruit and one of its oldest hot springs, Dogo Onsen.

4. Mitaka City (Tokyo)

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Technically still part of Tokyo, Mitaka lies outside the metropolis’ 23 main wards. Easy access to central Tokyo, the lush greenery of Inokashira Park, and the nearby Ghibli Museum all contribute to Mitaka’s elegant and sophisticated vibe.

3. Nishinomiya (Hyogo Prefecture)

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Situated between the much larger cities of Kobe and Osaka, Nishinomiya lets residents enjoy the fantastic food of each, including Kobe beef, takoyaki, kushi katsu, and the wonders of Kobe’s Chinatown. It’s also the home of Koshien, Japan’s most storied baseball stadium that hosts both Osaka’s professional team, the Hanshin Tigers, and the country’s twice-annual high school tournament championships. It’s also become a bit of a shopper’s paradise due to its numerous malls.

2. Inagi City (Tokyo)

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Lying just outside the 23 wards, Inagi has a shocking amount of greenery if your only image of Tokyo is the Shibuya Scramble intersection. It isn’t limited to parks, either, as the town is also where you’ll find the Otsuka Farm. Life in Inagi isn’t completely bucolic, though, as the town also has its own branches of Costco and Ikea.

1. Fujisawa (Kanagawa Prefecture)

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Taking home the top spot is Fujisawa, the coastal city in Kanagawa which includes Enoshima Island. Fujisawa combines the relaxed atmosphere you’d expect from a beach town with extremely convenient public transportation, as a train ride from Enoshima Station to Shinjuku, in the heart of Tokyo, will take you less than 30 minutes. Add in centuries-old temples, colorful local legends about fearsome dragons falling in love with beautiful princesses, and breathtaking sunset views of Mount Fuji, and it’s easy to see why Fujisawa is loved not just by housewives, but by anyone who can appreciate nature, history, or just the relaxing sound of the waves.

Any of these towns take your fancy?

Have a great day!

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