lifestyle

As Japan moves to revive its countryside, pandemic chases many from cities

20 Comments
By Tetsushi Kajimoto

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That's really great news. Very optimistic article in these pessimistic times. Its really nice to see the Pandemic have a positive effect on Japan for a change. My company allowed us to work from home for 2 months. After that, it was back to the office. I have a good job which is why I'm not looking for something else, but man would I kill to be able to work from home full time. I'd also be able to move out a little further into the sticks, which is something I would have done in a heartbeat if I could work permanently from home. I'd love an old house with a big garden for the wife and kids. Space space space is paramount for me.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

"There's no point of clinging to Tokyo, where there are crowds and many people commit suicide."

I couldn't agree more

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Japan is much bigger than just Tokyo.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I have moved out of big city some 15 years ago.

Yes from start was harsh,income less but we came over that.

Now 15 years later income higher than while lived in big city,living conditions much better/dont need to mention fresh air and nature around/.

I have never regretted that move 15 years ago...

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Land and housing are actually very cheap in rural areas compared to cities but I reckon most foreigners wouldn't be able to make much use of it... unless they fancy farming. Of course, if you just telework it'd be great, but the only teachers doing that full-time now are in the Philippines

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

These are trends to be encouraged. That said, if you are a foreigner living in the Japanese countryside for an extended period of time can be quite draining and emotionally taxing. Also, if you're a foreigner with young children, you will have way more educational options in Tokyo and its suburbs than out in the boonies.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That said, if you are a foreigner living in the Japanese countryside for an extended period of time can be quite draining and emotionally taxing

Never so for us. Being a painter I prefer living in the sticks. I can walk to the beach in about 20 minutes. Surrounded by farming fields. Great neighbours and community with people of all ages.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

if you are a foreigner living in the Japanese countryside for an extended period of time can be quite draining and emotionally taxing.

Far from it. Fresh air, open spaces, no crowds. Great.

Also, if you're a foreigner with young children, you will have way more educational options in Tokyo

Again, no. Our kids got a decent school education plus opportunities mostly denied to metropolitan kids, to play with their friends in the streets, go fishing in the stream running through the fields opposite the house, make and fly kites, etc., etc. They had much more freedom. The 'educational options' open to our friends and relatives in Tokyo seem to have consisted mainly of a wider choice of juku, which didn't affect us at all since neither kid went to juku.

Education is more than just blackboards and textbooks.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@Cleo,

Of course there are way more educational opportunities in the cities.

If you are satisfied having your kid going through the local school system then fair enough.

However,if you want your kid to really have an international outlook and high level education the only way to go is the city.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I wonder who is moving out, because residential real estate prices is rising in Tokyo compared to last year and supply is very limited. A 65-70M area is now seeing prices well above 100M for the similar location, size, and year built.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Would never ever live in the countryside in Japan. The locals are far too insular and xenophobic, even by Japanese standards which is saying a lot.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

My company allowed us to work from home for 2 months. After that, it was back to the office.

I assume this is a Japanese company?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

but the only teachers doing that full-time now are in the Philippines

Not every foreigner is a teacher here... Well, actually most are, or a recruiter. You got a point.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A 65-70M area is now seeing prices well above 100M for the similar location, size, and year built.

No, it's not. Proof?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

However,if you want your kid to really have an international outlook and high level education the only way to go is the city.

Sorry, I can't agree.

My son went to local schools (with his Mum teaching him English, which I would have done wherever we had been living), followed by a degree in International Studies at a prestigious national university and a post-grad at Todai (Yeah, that's Tokyo - but by that time he wasn't a kid, and our input in his upbringing was basically finished) and now works using Japanese, English and Russian language on a daily basis, and, before Covid, with frequent trips abroad. Also earning way more than our friends' kids who lived and went to school in Tokyo, though of course money isn't everything.

And he had a way better childhood than any of them.

If I had had to live in Tokyo when I first came to Japan I would probably have gone home after a year. If I had to live in Tokyo now, I would simply refuse. It holds no charms at all for me, apart from that shop near my MiL's house that sells cheese and crumpets.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Where my wife is from, it is 30 minutes to the mountains and 15 minutes to the beach, and a 15 minute train ride to the centre of the biggest regional city which has enough bars and restaurants to keep most people happy.

Property cheap and the lifestyle good. The only drawback is the limited employment opportunities for me (possibly less so for my wife given her local connections). That said I do most of my work remotely these days anyway.

I made my money in Tokyo, but there's no way I'd ever go back to live there now at my stage of life.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If I had to live in Tokyo now, I would simply refuse. It holds no charms at all for me

No interest in museums, galleries, exhibitions, expos, restaurants, eateries, international supermarkets, bars, live music venues, shops, markets etc. No charms at all?

Would never ever live in the countryside in Japan. The locals are far too insular and xenophobic

To be fair, I encountered that in the countryside in my home country of the UK ( Scots and English worst - Welsh and Irish much better ), China and Japan. The saddest one was when my brother and his wife ( both polite and personable types ) visited Japan and had a bit of an unpleasant time with the locals up in grimmest Tohoku concerning accommodation after having a wonderful time in Kyoto and Tokyo. Left a bad taste. I’ve got no idea why they went up there in the first place.

The only exception to this I’ve had regarding country folk was in the US. I spent a few weeks in pretty rural Texas for work, and I’ve never been so welcomed and well treated in my life by the people I met who had nothing to do with the factory. The local people in Louisiana and Missouri were great too. Maybe the southern hospitality thing.

The countryside in Japan is generally a write-off in my experience although I did find Kyushu people a little better.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan could do with the work and wealth being spread around more, so I'll say this is a good thing.

fwiw, I don't think 3,500 more people than a normal month leaving Tokyo during the biggest pandemic in 100 years is much to get excited about.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No interest in museums, galleries, exhibitions, expos, restaurants, eateries, international supermarkets, bars, live music venues, shops, markets etc. No charms at all?

I wouldn’t say no interest at all, but certainly not enough to put up with living in the concrete jungle. I’m very happy where I am.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No interest in museums, galleries, exhibitions, expos, restaurants,

Art exhibitions are important and part of our life. We are willing to travel to attend one. Kyoto is about 2 hours by train. Osaka about 60 minutes. Kobe about 40 minutes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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