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I couldn’t care less about the worst ranking. I would like local residents to be proud of Ibaraki and speak out about its wonderfulness.

28 Comments

Ibaraki Governor Kazuhiko Oigawa, shrugging off a recent survey by the Brand Research Institute that ranked his prefecture as the least attractive in all of Japan.

© Asahi Shimbun

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the implication being that the locals are not speaking about its "wonderfulness." Gee, I wonder wonder why not.

When we drove through that prefecture on our way to Oarai, my constantly thought was, "These people really don't care about how their environment looks."

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Don't know why Ibaraki has such low rankings. It is a nice place to live. Lots of space, which is something I value. I'm not much for big cities- I hate Tokyo and Kyoto, but Mito in Ibaraki has a real charm that I fell in love with. So yeah, I love Ibaraki.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I think the governor of Gunma went on TV and railed against his prefecture being in the bottom three and was pissed off about it. Made him look petty. I like this governor's attitude about it. Ibaraki has surf. Shouldn't be anywhere near the bottom.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

It’s Japan and ranking is important for Japanese, their whole lives are subject to ranking. If Ibaraki was ranked the second most dangerous place in Japan they would be upset it wasn’t ranked first.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If you are going to rank all the prefectures, then one of them will be deemed 'the worst'.

If all of them then improve 100% - one will still be the worst.

I don't get the point of these rankings.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I like Ibaraki. It's nice.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Don't know why Ibaraki has such low rankings

One of my coworkers, originally from Saitama, said the reason why Ibaraki, Saitama, Gunma and Tochigi get such low rankings is because of their proximity to Tokyo and Kanagawa - two of the most desirable places to live and so the comparison is starker. This doesn’t explain why Chiba does reasonably well, but it may be worth considering.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

One of my coworkers, originally from Saitama, said the reason why Ibaraki, Saitama, Gunma and Tochigi get such low rankings is because of their proximity to Tokyo and Kanagawa - two of the most desirable places to live and so the comparison is starker

Thanks for that.

Tokyo is a place I would never want to live. Ibaraki, Saitama, Gunma Chiba and Tochigi are far better places to live in my opinion

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Well, a few years ago I went to a little town in north Ibaraki to help out a friend with some work. On the road into the town everything was shuttered and abandoned: pachinko parlours, hair salons, nameless ugly buildings, small factories, distribution centres and the like. Only the used car lots showed any signs of life. In the town centre on the main drag there were many empty shops, low-rise apartment buildings half occupied, and office buildings with no tenants. The only people were milling around a supermarket. We got lost and drove around for a while, marveling at the lack of cars and people. Later we came across an old Bubble-era wedding palace with chains looped through its front doors; there was grass growing through the cracked asphalt in front and a municipal crew cutting the overgrown trees and bushes round the sides. There were many abandoned houses that had just collapsed on themselves.

The only people we saw who looked happy were some little kids playing at a kindergarten and a group of old dears laughing and joking at a trestle table selling vegetables. It was depressing beyond words. On the way back everyone in the car cheered when we crossed the border into Tokyo.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Alfie do you remember the name of the town?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Aly Rustom 11:48 am JST

Alfie do you remember the name of the town?

I couldn't remember the name of the place while we were actually there and had to ask twice. By the time I got home I'd forgotten it again. It's weird how the brain works.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

fair enough

1 ( +1 / -0 )

On the way back everyone in the car cheered when we crossed the border into Tokyo.

Alfie, Ibaraki doesn't border Tokyo. Are you sure you weren't crossing the Tone going into Chiba?

Otherwise you were dissing Saitama or Chiba, like smug metropolitans.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Ibaraki has its moments. There's the cosmopolitan Tsukuba science city, great cycling around Kasumigaura and up to Mt. Tsukuba, and that surf at comparatively uncongested beaches (population density is low for Kanto).

It's let down by its people though, who can be a sour lot.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Mickelicious 02:07 pm JST

On the way back everyone in the car cheered when we crossed the border into Tokyo.

Alfie, Ibaraki doesn't border Tokyo. Are you sure you weren't crossing the Tone going into Chiba?

Otherwise you were dissing Saitama or Chiba, like smug metropolitans.

You should change your name to Pickylicious. Yes, we actually breathed a sigh of relief as we crossed the Tone into Chiba, and then cheered as we crossed the border into Tokyo, like the callous sophisticates we are.

The driver is an architect. I asked him what he thought of Ibaraki. He just stared at me and didn't say anything for about ten minutes.

We also laughed at Judy's tiny head:

https://lgoldcommuter.blogspot.com/2012/04/callous-sophisticates-laughed-at-judys.html

3 ( +3 / -0 )

When I came to Japan back in 2004 I lived in Koga-shi (古河市) in Ibaragi-ken and loved the place. There are good places and lousy/boring places in Ibaragi, so what gives?

Less of a fan of Saitama though and pretty much agree with the 埼玉県のうた(Saitama Prefecture Song from 翔んで埼玉(Fly me to the Saitama) movie. lol

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvdQC7BvKks

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I remember reading on JT last year when Ibaraki went up by 3 or 4 places from the bottom , some prefectural officials actually complained to the tune of ' from marketing perspective its actually better to be last because most people know the last placed prefecture and you can run witty campaigns based on the " kawaisoo looser " angle whereas nobody knows who placed 45 or 46th. Makes sense. Tsukuba is a real nice, modern looking city btw.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Alfie: Got Kliban'S book on our coffee table.

Alfie NoakesToday  02:24 pm JST

> We also laughed at Judy's tiny head:

https://lgoldcommuter.blogspot.com/2012/04/callous-sophisticates-laughed-at-judys.html

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Short on brains but a terrific dancer.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I'll repeat what I said in the original news item- these rankings are basically heavily biased towards "where would I like to go on vacation", which puts far-away, seasonal destinations like Hokkaido and Okinawa high on the list.

As for a "place to actually live day in and day out year-round", that rarely seems to factor into the equation. But on that metric, a lot of places in Ibaraki would rank pretty highly. If you're looking for an environment to raise a family, convenience, and overall quality of life, anywhere on the Tsukuba Express line will compete with any other suburb in Japan. (IIRC, Moriya placed #1 in the Sumyasui Easy Place to Live category recently, so if you like rankings, here you go.)

As pointed out by others, there's plenty of outdoor activities at the beach, Lake Kasumigaura, Mt. Tsukuba, and Hitachi Kaihin Park. Tsukuba Circuit is a fantastic place for car lovers. Tsukuba city is quite a unique place in Japan with its high educational levels and somewhat international vibe. Soccer fans have Kashima. Definitely less crowded than other places in Kanto. Easy access to Narita airport.

That said, there's no doubt that the majority of the prefecture is stark, brutal inaka. As pointed out, the close proximity to Tokyo and Kanagawa only makes it more pronounced. And "a sour lot" is perhaps the best description I've heard for the locals- there are just a lot of unpleasant people there, for whatever reason. (And better hope that you don't have a problem with Yankee types.)

But overall, the pictures is a lot more mixed than this low ranking would lead many to believe. Nothing's that clear-cut.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ibaraki is like those ghost towns in westerns. Minus the busy saloon.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

What a difference a few years make. When the Tsukuba Express opened from Akihabara to Tsukuba in 2005, everywhere along the train line became a boom town. Moriya in Ibaraki was listed as the most desirable place to live in all of Japan - new houses, mansions, stations, shopping centers, Ikea, Costco, plenty of parks and golf courses, etc.

Sure, Mito is old, there are more than enough new and vibrant places throughout Ibaraki to tip the scales to the positive.

Tsukuba is like the Silicon Valley of Japan with lots of high tech companies, pharmaceuticals, state-of-the-art hospitals, JAXA (Japan Space Agency), etc.

I think the March 11, earthquake changed the image for Ibaraki, Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate prefectures, not the people or places. I spent over 12 years there and thoroughly enjoyed it, but March 11 made me move not just out of Ibaraki, but out of Japan.

I suspect it's a good thing to be last now, to keep people from moving to Ibaraki. For me, I think the most dreadful place in Japan is Saitama.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I really like the idea of 'wonderfulness'.

These surveys are subjective. Why not ask locals to rate their own prefectures on a wide variety of metrics and find the place in Japan with the happiest and most satisfied residents?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ibaraki is nice. Saitama and Aomori are not.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

what I really don't get is why everyone is dissing Saitama? Why does everyone hate it so much?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The best place to live is any place that I wake up for.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

what I really don't get is why everyone is dissing Saitama? Why does everyone hate it so much?

It's the Peterborough of England, the Logan of Australia, the Regina of Canada and the Mendota, California of the US combined into one.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's the Peterborough of England, the Logan of Australia, the Regina of Canada and the Mendota, California of the US combined into one.

I think if you were describing certain cities in Saitama I would agree with you, but to brand the whole prefecture that way is, in my opinion, unfair and inaccurate.

Certain cities there certainly fit that label like Yoshikawa, Misato, and Koshigaya. Absolute garbage places to live. But Kasukabe and Saitama city are nice, and the whole western part of Saitama Prefecture is just beautiful.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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