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COVID-era relocation trend may be fading despite work flexibility

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It would help if j-tv wouldnt broadcast "Tokyo" 24-7 as if it was the only functional society in the country.

I was fortunate enough to start out my life in Japan in a small/middle sized capital of half a million people, than moved to Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo. There is absolutely nothing in Tokyo you cant get in other capitals.

People come here with absolutely no dreams or plans, just to work part time at a chain restaurant or something, leaving their whole families and friends behind. Tokyo is seriously overrated.

9 ( +23 / -14 )

nonprofit organization in Tokyo assisting people considering relocating to rural areas said it received over 52,000 inquiries last year,

It's only inquiry not actual relocation. Check all facility, hospital, child care, school and transportation, people might have second thought after that.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

I lined in the countryside for almost two decades, I wouldn’t recommend it.

-12 ( +6 / -18 )

I lined in the countryside for almost two decades, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Me too, even though he countryside holds a special place at the heart of English life and culture. 

You should move to Japan. I hear Osaka is nice. Great nightlife.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

MOST People move to big cities for one simple reason "More Opportunities".

If the government wants to balance the population they first need to encourage businesses to move outwards and people will follow, NOT the other way round.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

Picture this, saturday night, the only big Don Quijote in town full of people getting their booze and snacks, parking filled with people and all kinds of weird cars, some 30-50 foreigners in the corner deciding where to go for the night while getting joined by other unknown japanese interested in the gathering.

I wouldn't stand a month in inaka but there are just so many things in the smaller prefecture capitals you would never see or experience in Tokyo or Osaka, truly fulfilling life every single month, tons of group trips, friends, events and home parties with virtually 0 effort.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Despite what some here would like us to believe, country life in Japan is not this clean easy going thing.

My wife's family and my children's mother side all live in rural areas, sure they have public transportation but far and few between and limited in time and service.

So while I could live fine in Tokyo without a car ( I only really need it for business I transport heavy things regularly) 90% of people in Tokyo can easily just walk to the grocery store.

All the rural family have cars yes car with an S as in multiple cars.

My city adult children don't even have a driver's licence aren't even interested in getting one.

Their rural cousins all not only drive but each have at least a "kei" car.

You have children in the rural areas, you need a car.

So the city person move to the countryside with children, realizes that on days off late night they have to use a car to go get their children from club activities or juku,

Need a litre of milk the car or bus.

As much as I like the countryside I prefer 5 minutes to the store, hospital, school train, without the need to drive, call a taxi wait for a bus and that is what most people I know that did leave realised after and are now returning to Tokyo

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Righteous

Today 09:12 am JST

When I left a small suburb in Osaka at least 100 students rented an auditorium for my farewell party. If I got run over by a truck in Tokyo where I live now I doubt even my neighbors would realize it.

Perhaps you live in the wrong area?

3 weeks ago I had a bad accident in my home, early morning caused some serious damage to myself.

My wife in a panic, my neighbours next door across the street 2 houses over all ran over to help while the ambulance was on its way.

Later the man across the street called my wife and as I had to remain in hospital for several days, he drove to bring things and picked her up.

But then I live in what is called shitamachi Tokyo.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

quote: We are planning to open a restaurant in Ehime because we could enjoy a stress-free lifestyle.

Running a restaurant is not stress free, wherever it is. It is unwise to invest in a fantasy.

Promote the suburban lifestyle. Not rural (or urban). Suburbia gives you the best of both worlds.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I moved to the countryside over 15 years ago. I don't regret it. It is far more convenient than living in Tokyo.

People in Tokyo get paid more, but they also pay more. Food and living costs are so much more expensive. In Tokyo most pay rent, some buy a mansion, few buy a house. When I moved to the country, I stopped paying rent. Instead I took out a loan from a bank and paid it off in ten years paying less than my previous rent every month.

The convenience of Tokyo is a myth. There may be many coffee shops, but they may be full and the tables tend to be undersized. There may be shops, but I have no interest in the upmarket designer brand shops and Uniqlo, Daiso and other popular chains have branches in the countryside, and the countryside branches all have large free car parks.

People tell me of the wonderful transport system in Tokyo, but if it takes over 45 minutes to get you to work in extremely unpleasant conditions, I don't see what is wonderful about it. If it takes 45 minutes to visit a friend, is it convenient? In the countryside we drive, we all have cars. It usually takes less than 15 mins to visit a friend.

There are things missing in the countryside. It doesn't have the nightlife, the pick-up places of Tokyo It doesn't have the international schools. Tokyo doesn't have such fresh vegetables and fruit, doesn't have the pleasures of country life, and there are many.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

We would not swap our seaside location for any city. We have everything we need on hand. Many young families with children are happy living here. 12 schools. Bigger houses, bigger gardens. Land for growing vegetables. Fresh fish. Hospital and cheap dentist five-minute walk, or a community taxi. Clean air. Good neighbors.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

gaijintraveller

Today 09:58 am JST

At least you admit you need a car to get around.

If I wanted to live needing a car to get everywhere, I would move back to Canada where the houses are bigger, better heated and cooled, the roads are larger, parking is even more available, and usually free outside the city.

Why would I want to trade the convenience of Tokyo for a poor version of country life on Japan when north america country life is ten times better than here.

No western cities are a disaster Japanese cities are great, but North American country living is far better than Japanese country living.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

You have children in the rural areas, you need a car.

So the city person move to the countryside with children, realizes that on days off late night they have to use a car to go get their children from club activities or juku

I beg to differ. Actually I have no clue how families with small children can survive in central Tokyo, much less without a car. In most areas supermarket options can be pretty limited (tiny My Basket and Maruetsu Petit stores) and virtually 0 baby retail chain stores nearby so how can someone buy the bulky and heavy diaper bags in the mall and carry all the way home in a train? I actually tried to enjoy the whole weekend solely by train once, surely they are less packed if compared to weekdays but sometimes it took up to 5-10 minutes for every lift ride inside the stations and pretty much anywhere as the lines of stroller carrying families were ridiculous. This experience alone made me value even more living in north/east Tokyo areas across the Arakawa river and almost never going to central Tokyo with my family on weekends.

In other capitals (not "inaka") you can have your car at your doorstep and go anywhere anytime with your family very easily, from grocery shopping to small trips to the unlimited options of nature.

Driver license is almost "mandatory" after you turn a certain age so everyone knows how the traffic work and how to be aware outside.

My city adult children don't even have a driver's licence aren't even interested in getting one.

Reason many people here in Tokyo (not talking about your children) are very selfish/self-absorbed while walking outside, no one has ever owned a license so they have no clue about how the traffic works. Worst thing about driving in Tokyo is having to deal with the hordes of clueless pedestrians/cyclists.

If it wasnt for my work, I'd be in Nagoya or any smaller capital right now, there is just no comparison in terms of quality of life.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I have lived in many countrysides for more than 30 years, including the very isolated alps but I have not owned a car since 1979. I run my own business without the need to use one. Use public transport when I can which includes the use of community buses and taxis, and private taxis when needed. We are given ¥15,000 of free taxi coupons.

I hire people to move my stuff around. I can hire a driver by picking up the phone.

On an electric bike, I can be in major shopping centers within 20 minutes. Internet shopping is very convenient with transport companies coming several times a day to our location.

Running a car costs about ¥500,000 pa. I spend much less than that on transport.

http://hanko-seal.com/archives/7538

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Running a car costs about ¥500,000 pa

I wonder where did you get this figure.

I bought my 1st car when I was single, a spacious and comfortable NBOX.

¥25.000 every 2 years for shaken. ¥5.000/month for parking. Fuel efficiency was great (around 20-25km/L) so fuel cost would be ¥5.000~ ¥10.000/month this travelling here and there. Total cost: under ¥15,000/month to have the freedom to go anywhere anytime at any weather.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

"I  wonder where did you get this figure."

From the link I posted.

But that does not mean you cannot do it for less. Averages and includes the cost of parking. Parking will depend on whether you have your own or rent. Parking when out is a cost.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

finally rich

Today 10:39 am JST

Wow that has to be the strangest twisted view on Tokyo and equating driving to being more responsible?

No idea where you have lived but "my basket" etc..are basically glorified convenience stores.

I have 3 supermarkets with 10 minutes walk, Itoyokado, Ichiba, Gyomu super, my previous home had also Itoyokado, Okasan, Daie, lumine Marui again all within 10 minutes walk.

Life, Seiyu, OK, itoyokado, Hanamasa, super value, etc... are just about everywhere in Tokyo,

Next station over has LIfe, Summit, etc...

The other direction Super value, Itoyokado.

3 stations Ario mall.

This experience alone made me value even more living in north/east Tokyo areas across the Arakawa river and almost never going to central Tokyo with my family on weekends.

Sorry but Adachi-ku on the other side of the Arakawa, never, I would rather live in Kawaguchi.

The otherside of the Arakawa in Tokyo is having the worst of both city and county life, poor train service contested roads need a car, but higher prices than the countryside.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I opted to live in an area that is not too urban and not too rural. I can still commute to my work in Tokyo, but I also have the peace and quietness of the rural life. Enjoying the natural sunlight without tall buildings creating shade everywhere. Have all the necessities within walking distance, but also have the option to drive if needed. It's a preferential thing, not saying what is better because I can see the benefits of both worlds.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

In my seaside location, I enjoy 360-degree views of the sky without a tall building in sight. I love being able to see the real horizon. The night skies are fantastic and not polluted by artificial light. I discovered many people who live here who are interested in astronomy and taking photos of the night skies.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

finally rich

Today 11:11 am JST

On this we agree.

I bought my car used, ¥1 million had it 10 years now still top condition.

2 Year maintenance plan ¥ 50,000 covers oil, brakes even windshield wipers twice a year and prep for shaken, tires every 3 or 4 years ¥40,000 fuel (hybrid) about ¥5,000 a month, insurance ¥50,000 a year, parking free I own my house with parking.

So ¥1 million over 10 years

¥ 100,000 a year maintenance ¥25,000 , insurance ¥50,000, tires ¥10,000 (that is a high estimate) fuel ¥60,000 (again on the high end) so including the cost of buying the car ¥245,000 a year

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The problem of Tokyo is where are all good jobs are At besides Singapore. No one can make a living in Shikoku unless you’re a farmer that loves the boondocks.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

http://hanko-seal.com/archives/7538

Obviously the guy who wrote this hasn't a clue and has been getting ripped off for years.

And why would a Kei car cost more in fuel than a full size car?

¥35,000 to ¥ 55,000 a year for parts? A year!!!!

Half the inspections he claims are mandatory aren't, the shaken inspection ¥100,000 I have never even come close to paying that not even at The Toyota dealership.

The gas station near my house does it for ¥25,000 Toyota dealership does everything including the shaken tax and insurance on my Prius for just under ¥100,000 everything and they throw in a free rental for the day while it is being done.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Cars in cities are a major source of air pollution. I think all private cars using fossil fuels should be banned from city centers. Cars are nearly 20% of total carbon dioxide emissions.

As much as 95 percent of all CO emissions in cities may come from motor vehicle exhaust. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) — when fuel burns, nitrogen and oxygen react with each other and form nitrogen oxides (NOx).

The Tokyo factories are causing even more pollution than cars.

I open my window and catch the sea breeze.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Sorry but Adachi-ku on the other side of the Arakawa, never, I would rather live in Kawaguchi.

The otherside of the Arakawa in Tokyo is having the worst of both city and county life, poor train service contested roads need a car, but higher prices than the countryside.

Actually pretty much the opposite, the 3 wards across the Arakawa river (Adachi, Katsushika and Edogawa) are like self-sufficient cities inside Tokyo, you can do everything in your own ward by car without ever using trains/bicycles.

Sunday early morning and you can leave everyone sleeping and drive to a big DIY store, a huge Daiso store, do the groceries at OK, buy stuff for your car at Yellow Hat, get some snacks at Mega Don Quijote, pick up a few diapers at one of the many big baby retail shop etc, do all this without even leaving your ward and be back home before 10-11am.

The problem of Tokyo is where are all good jobs are

Correction: all jobs are located in very central Tokyo.

Tokyo 23-ku is huge but most international companies are located in 3, 4 wards alone, hence the problem.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If your job just involves the use of the internet then you are not limited to living in urban centers provided there are fast-speed connections. We have 5G and 10GB speeds. I use a 1 GB connection which is usually about 500Mbps but the 5G is now spreading. If you are young and single you can even travel while you work. Many do these days.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Most who were considering it were probably thinking it would be a way to save money but quickly realized that to make it work in the sticks they’d have to spend a lot of money on a car - which they never needed to do before.. Not worth it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Cars in cities are a major source of air pollution.

Sorry I do have to intervene when false information is made.

Here are the cities top car ownership in Japan

Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture 1,111,839

Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture 1,050,451

Sapporo, Hokkaido Prefecture 839,526

Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture 616,929

Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 605,208

Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture 541,327

Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture 533,174

Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture 508,818

Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture 501,580

Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefectur

e 490,631

Notice Tokyo is not in the list!

https://stats-japan.com/t/kiji/10786

Use the map notice the further you get from Osaka city and Tokyo the more cars per capita there are.

More rural more cars.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Tokyo is literally just the secretary for the other 46 prefectures.!.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Car pollution in major cities is not easily dispersed because of narrow roads and thousands of skyscrapers. It just hangs there for days and months. Cars in urban cities are a source of major pollution. Place an air pump and clean filter at any major junction and return after a few hours to discover the filter is black.

When I was in London, UK I was a building engineer for BT. One job was to change the air filters weekly for the AC units. 2m x 2m filters cost a small fortune. They were full of soot and particles.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Not owning a car for 44 years has saved me more than ¥5 million.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Actually pretty much the opposite, the 3 wards across the Arakawa river (Adachi, Katsushika and Edogawa) are like self-sufficient cities inside Tokyo, you can do everything in your own ward by car without ever using trains/bicycles.

Lived in Adachi-ku for 27 years, never again.

You can do the same from Taito-ku, Arakawa-ku, Kita-ku, with the convenience of Tokyo living, the week days and out of the city on weekends.

Far more convenient

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

It's interesting how the Covid-19 pandemic can change how people (everywhere) live in revolutionary ways how we live, work, study, etc., and people are strongly against going back to the way things were done before.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

wallace

never owned or wanted to own a car myself old boy, ghastly things that have caused devastation to the environment and contributed to the obesity crisis.

I resided in the countryside in Hyogo prefecture for twenty years, never felt happy there to be honest. 1 bus a day to the center 8km away, only shops nearby were a Mini Stop and a little Co-Op. Far happier now I live in central Osaka. One minute walk to the subway, can access Kansai airport, Sannomiya and Kyoto within an hour by public transport. People are much friendlier too and don’t have to put out rubbish at set times or divide it for recycling.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Like it or not, if the environment really concerns people then living in a more compact city life, public transportation, less physical and carbon footprint is the future.

Leave the countryside for farming and wildlife.

If not we end up with urban sprawl like we see in North America.

It is all nice and sweet to have a big house and land in the country but if we all do that there will be no more countryside.

I know this simple reality upsets certain self-centered people, but efficient cities using less space fewer resources is the only real way to save the planet, environment and wildlife.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@wallace

Running a car costs about ¥500,000 pa. I spend much less than that on transport.

@finally rich

 ¥5.000/month for parking.

¥500,000 pa that's too much! In Japanese rural area people just don't have that much money however they still have car in order to survive. Even in cheaper apartment around rural area that heavily depend on private transport, parking spot already included, it doesn't matter if you want it or not. Unlike in big cities where parking spot it scarce, they have plenty space to park in rural area.

2 Year maintenance plan ¥ 50,000 covers oil, brakes even windshield wipers twice a year and prep for shaken, tires every 3 or 4 years ¥40,000 fuel (hybrid) about ¥5,000 a month, insurance ¥50,000 a year, parking free I own my house with parking.

So ¥1 million over 10 years

¥ 100,000 a year maintenance ¥25,000 , insurance ¥50,000, tires ¥10,000 (that is a high estimate) fuel ¥60,000 (again on the high end) so including the cost of buying the car ¥245,000 a year

@Antiquesaving's number got it correct way, it can cheaper than that since many people in rural area just choose non-hybrid kei car, also there are plenty second hand kei car. Beside that some people use their car for work commute so their gasoline will be covered by their company.

While on the route to their work, they can drop their kids to school especially for high school or junior high school which can take some distance compared. Also can drop to nursery too. Along the way they can get their groceries if needed. They only need to cover their personal trip during holiday or weekend.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And why would a Kei car cost more in fuel than a full size car?

¥35,000 to ¥ 55,000 a year for parts? A year!!!!

Half the inspections he claims are mandatory aren't, the shaken inspection ¥100,000 I have never even come close to paying that not even at The Toyota dealership.

Yes that's too much, shaken cost should be far less than that. Parts occasionally need to be replaced for example break pad but most part shouldn't need to repair unexpectedly especially if that car well maintain.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Lived in Adachi-ku for 27 years, never again.

You can do the same from Taito-ku, Arakawa-ku, Kita-ku, with the convenience of Tokyo living, the week days and out of the city on weekends.

Wow you just picked 3 of the tiniest wards in whole Tokyo! If you need anything, need to go to the next ward. No large, free parking anywhere to be seen!

What can be more convenient in Arakawa/Kita/Taito than in Adachi?

Besides, Adachi shares borders with all these tiny wards + a few Saitama cities so it has much more of "the convenience of Tokyo living, the week days and out of the city on weekends".

Adachi along with Edogawa (Katsushika in a smaller scale) are self-sufficient cities, you dont ever have to leave your ward regardless of what you want to do or buy. Everything is just a 5-20 min. max drive away and there is 0 stress finding somewhere to park your car for your shopping.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Rural/suburban living is a Anglospheric pastime and not so common in the rest of the world.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The constitution guarantees the right of citizens to live wherever they want. No one can be forced to live in a place they do not want to.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What can be more convenient in Arakawa/Kita/Taito than in Adachi?

Well for one, unless the part of Adachi-ku is Kita Senju, Trains, trains and trains, Adachi-ku does not have a lot of convenient trains north of Kita Senju.

Toneri liner, long small inconvenient, Sky tree line and joban. Everything else is bus.

I have 3 trains and metro, a tram, all with 6 minutes 2 more trains including Yamanote if I feel like walking a little over 15 minutes or one stop in the metro.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Tokyo consumes the most electricity. About one-third of the total generated in the country for a population of only 14 million and 7 million households.

It consumes 280TWh out of a total of about 800TWh. 35%.

The other part of the population of 113 million or 50 million households the other 65%.

Tokyo is not efficient when it comes to using energy.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I find it interesting how someone will criticize others for only a car complaining about the environment.

But when they are told that if they really care about the environment they would move to a more compact City instead of taking up more land to themselves and allowing nature to reclaim the land.

Funny how people are like that "I will criticize you but don't take what I have away because I like what I have."

I noticed that about a lot of environmentalists or so-called environmentalists they will talk about the guy needing to give up his truck or his car his gasoline engine.

But they are not going give up their large comfortable home for a more environmentally friendly small home in the city.

Again a do as I say not as I do and don't touch my things but give up yours

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

falseflagsteve

people should live where they want to and where it is best for their lives whether that is Osaka, Tokyo or somewhere else are all personal choices.

According to the National Census, as of October 1, 2015, the population of Tokyo was 13.515 million (Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications). This number was divided into three age categories: child population (ages 0 - 14) at 1.518 million; the working-age population (ages 15 - 64) at 8.734 million; and the aged population (ages 65 and over) at 3.006 million. These figures are 11.5%, 65.9%, and 22.7%, respectively, of the overall population.

The percentage of aged persons exceeded the United Nations standard of 14% for an “aged society” in 1998, and Tokyo is now a “super-aged society,” with senior citizens making up 21% or more of the population.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Most families where we live have two cars, or two cars and a kei truck, and will easily spend 50,000 yen a month on them. I doubt many ever add up how much their cars cost, because it gets very depressing very quickly. Its inaka, so no-one is paying for parking. My son goes to the closest school, but it's a 15km round trip with no school bus provided.

In most years, we do about 25000km total in two cars, which are 4wd and on snow tyres for half the year. Like every other family with kids, one car is a people carrier.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Many countries after the covid have looked at improving their cities with a decrease in car use and an increase in other modes of transport like bikes. Better public transport.

Many EU cities have redesigned their city centers to be more accommodating for bikes.

Many have also introduced or increased congestion charges for vehicles using city centers.

Cities without cars would be a great improvement in the quality of life in those cities.

The vast areas of cities like Tokyo are covered with concrete and tarmac increasing the temperatures. Sudden floods are not uncommon.

Tokyo can not cope with any great increase in numbers and is already splitting at the seams with governments looking for ways to move people out.

What is Tokyo going to be like if and when the predicted massive earthquake hits? I shudder to think after Kobe and Tohoku.

Urban areas like Tokyo are consuming vast amounts of energy and resources to keep it ticking over.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Antiquesaving

it is your choice if you want to live in Tokyo, I could not care less where you live. It's not my concern. But I and about 114 million other people do not want to live there.

If you are happy where you live, fine. I am happy where I live too.

There are many great places to live in Japan.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

As Is evident from the comments here, foreigners living in Japan see things quite differently than the Japanese. Especially the young Japanese, which is really what this article is about.

The average young Japanese person has no interest in outdoor activities, no desire to have a garden or maintain a house with a yard, no wish to own a car and explore surrounding areas, and definitely doesn’t want to join a neighborhood association where self sacrifice is required to live in harmony as a group.

And I say all of this as someone who loves living in the Japanese countryside but understands that all of the young Japanese I know will move from here as soon as they can. Most of them spend their free time indoors with some form of digital entertainment. Their desires are sadly limited so they will be quite happy living in Tokyo in a small room with few responsibilities and plenty of entertainment options nearby. This may not be a rosy picture but it is the reality.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

which is really what this article is about.

The nature of the article is given away in the first sentence.

Four years into the COVID-19 pandemic, more city dwellers, who entertained the idea of relocating to the countryside, may be giving it a second thought.

Essentially Covid got more folk "entertaining the idea" of moving out of Tokyo. The data says that hardly anyone actually did it during peak Covid, and even fewer did so last time the numbers were counted.

The press love to do write ups of people who move to the countryside and describe country life with glowing enthusiasm. This should not be mistaken for an actual desire by lots of actual people to move there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There's nowhere like Minato-ku, in the world. Take the plunge and get a car, and everywhere is accessible. Quality of life is unparalled.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Companies should be forced by government to move to rural areas, also offer some incentives at the same time. There are many benefits of reducing population in Tokyo and increasing population and jobs in other cities. You may get hit by a strong earthquake in Tokyo within few years. It’s better to distribute the population.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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