10 Most Popular Japanese Prefectures To Live In

We have curated a list of the most popular Japanese prefectures to live in. Check it out!

The allure of Japan extends far beyond its bustling metropolises. In recent years, a growing trend has seen individuals seeking a different pace of life, opting for the charm and tranquility of Japan’s diverse prefectures. 

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a foodie, or a remote worker seeking solace, Japan has a prefecture perfectly suited to your desires. 

Let’s delve into the top 10 most popular prefectures to live in 2024, helping you navigate the factors like cost of living, job opportunities, and the unique character of each region.

Which Is The Most Popular Japanese Prefectures To Live In ?

According to a survey conducted by Sony Life Insurance Co., Ltd, it was revealed that Fukuoka, Okinawa and Miyagi are the three most preferred prefectures to live in. The reason behind this could be the lower living costs and slower pace and nature. 

Tokyo Prefecture

Tokyo Prefecture, also known as Tokyo Metropolis, is the capital and largest metropolitan area in Japan. It’s a vibrant and bustling city with a unique blend of tradition and modernity. 

Tokyo Prefecture

Here’s some information on living in Tokyo Prefecture:

  • Population and Size: Tokyo Prefecture is the most populous prefecture in Japan, with over 14 million residents. The Greater Tokyo Area, which includes surrounding prefectures, has a population of over 37 million people. Despite its dense population, Tokyo is well-organized and efficient.
  • Climate: Tokyo has a humid subtropical climate with four distinct seasons. Summers are hot and humid, with temperatures often exceeding 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). Winters are relatively mild, with temperatures rarely dropping below freezing. Spring and autumn are pleasant with mild temperatures and colorful foliage.
  • Transportation: Tokyo has an extensive and efficient public transportation system. The city is served by an extensive network of trains, including the iconic Yamanote Line, which loops around central Tokyo. The subway system is also well-developed, making it easy to navigate the city. Additionally, buses and taxis are readily available.
  • Housing: Tokyo offers a wide range of housing options, including apartments, condominiums, and single-family homes. Rental prices can be high, especially in central areas like Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Ginza. It’s advisable to consider proximity to public transportation, as commuting can be a significant factor in daily life.
  • Cost of Living: Tokyo is known for being one of the most expensive cities in the world. The cost of living, including accommodation, food, transportation, and entertainment, can be quite high. However, there are also options for more affordable living, depending on the neighborhood and lifestyle choices.
  • Employment Opportunities: Tokyo is the economic center of Japan and offers a wide range of job opportunities across various industries. The city is home to numerous multinational corporations, financial institutions, tech companies, and creative industries. It’s essential to consider language requirements and cultural expectations when seeking employment.
  • Education: Tokyo has a robust education system, including public, private, and international schools. There are several renowned universities and research institutions, attracting students from around the world.
  • Safety: Tokyo is generally considered a safe city, with low crime rates compared to many other major cities worldwide. However, as with any large city, it’s always advisable to remain cautious and aware of your surroundings.

Kanagawa Prefecture

Living in Kanagawa Prefecture, located just south of Tokyo, offers a slightly different experience compared to the bustling metropolis of Tokyo. 

Here’s some information about living in Kanagawa Prefecture:

  • Proximity to Tokyo: Kanagawa Prefecture is adjacent to Tokyo, making it a convenient place to live for those who work or study in the capital city. Many people choose to live in Kanagawa and commute to Tokyo, taking advantage of the relatively shorter travel distances and potentially lower living costs.
  • Yokohama: The largest city in Kanagawa Prefecture is Yokohama, which is known for its cosmopolitan atmosphere and beautiful waterfront area. Yokohama offers a mix of modern urban developments, historic sites, and cultural attractions. It has a vibrant international community and hosts events such as the annual Yokohama Jazz Promenade and the Yokohama International Film Festival.
  • Residential Areas: Kanagawa Prefecture has a variety of residential areas to suit different preferences. From urban centers like Yokohama and Kawasaki to quieter suburban neighborhoods, you can find a range of housing options including apartments, detached houses, and townhouses. Some popular residential areas include Yokohama Station, Kawasaki Station, and Kamakura.
  • Cost of Living: The cost of living in Kanagawa Prefecture can vary depending on the specific location. While some areas may have high living costs, especially in central Yokohama, there are also more affordable options available in suburban areas. Generally, living costs in Kanagawa Prefecture are slightly lower than in central Tokyo.
  • Transportation: Kanagawa Prefecture is well-connected to Tokyo and other neighboring prefectures through an extensive transportation network. Yokohama and Kawasaki have their own subway systems, and the JR East railway lines provide convenient access to various destinations. Additionally, buses and private railway lines complement the public transportation options.
  • Education: Kanagawa Prefecture offers a range of educational institutions, including public and private schools at all levels. Yokohama, in particular, has several international schools catering to the expatriate community. Kanagawa is also home to prestigious universities, such as Keio University and Yokohama National University.
  • Quality of Life: Living in Kanagawa Prefecture provides a balance between urban conveniences and natural beauty. It offers a relatively quieter lifestyle compared to Tokyo while still providing access to various amenities and cultural experiences. The prefecture has a reputation for cleanliness and safety, contributing to a high quality of life for its residents.

 Fukuoka 

When it comes to finding the best prefectures to reside in Japan, the beautiful and vibrant Fukuoka should always be at the top of the list. 

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fukuoka

With its stunning scenery, diverse culture, vibrant nightlife, and modern city life, Fukuoka is an ideal destination for anyone looking to start life in Japan.

Information to know: 

  • The cost of living in Fukuoka may pleasantly surprise you, as it is one of the more affordable prefectures to live in. 
  • Accommodation and food costs tend to be lower than in other major cities, making it a great choice for expats on a budget. 
  • In addition to its affordability, Fukuoka has a fantastic climate. With warm and sunny summers, mild winters, and no monsoon season, it is an excellent place to enjoy all four seasons throughout the year.
  • Fukuoka is also a great place for career seekers as it is home to numerous companies, industries, and highly-regarded universities. 
  • There are a variety of different job opportunities in the area, from traditional blue and white-collar positions to more contemporary tech and startup jobs. 
  • The educational opportunities available in the prefecture make it a great place to learn and develop skills that can be applied in a variety of career paths.

Okinawa

Located in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean, Okinawa prefecture is an ideal destination for those looking for vibrant island life with beautiful beaches, enticing culture, and plenty of outdoor activities.

Okinawa prefecture

With its idyllic weather and cost of living, Okinawa is an attractive area to settle in, especially for those searching for a more relaxed lifestyle. 

Information about Living in Okinawa

  • Okinawa boasts warmer temperatures than much of Japan and has what many consider to be some of the best weather year-round.
  • Summers are mild and humid at this location, while winters are milder than the rest of the nation. This means that no matter the time of year, the citizens of Okinawa enjoy warm weather, sunshine, and moderate temperatures.
  • The cost of living in Okinawa is lower than in other locations in Japan.
  • In terms of job opportunities, the Okinawa prefecture has a varied economy which consists of tourism, military-related activities, as well as light manufacturing and other types of businesses.
  • Additionally, there is an agriculturally based industry with a focus on manufacturing and sales of vegetables, fruits, and livestock.
  • Life in Okinawa offers many activities for the entire family such as museums, monuments, shrines, and the Okinawan World Heritage site.
  • Nature lovers can enjoy the white beaches that boast crystal clear waters and coral reefs, as well as the pristine hiking and biking trails throughout the region.
  • Okinawa is also home to a large number of festivals in addition to shopping and restaurant opportunities.

Miyagi

Miyagi, a prefecture located in the Tōhoku region, is definitely one of the top choices to live in Japan.

It has a mild climate that ranges from cooling summers to mild winters and breathtaking scenery with rural and coastal views, making it ideal for anyone looking to enjoy life while experiencing the culture of Japan. 

Information to know about Miyagi

  • Miyagi enjoys a relatively low cost of living, making it attractive to expats and visitors looking to enjoy all that Japan has to offer without breaking the bank. 
  • Housing costs are low compared to some other prefectures and it offers a variety of affordable amenities such as affordable rental cars and convenient transportation options. 
  • The job market in Miyagi is solid, and there are ample job opportunities for foreign workers and expats. 
  • The region is known for its agricultural industry and is home to the leading manufacturer of ramen, KIRIN. The focus on the nation’s agricultural industry also means that the prefecture benefits from the many high-tech sectors of the agricultural industry, providing plenty of jobs. 
  • The climate in Miyagi is mild, with hot and humid summers, but generally cool and comfortable temperatures in the winter. It’s worth noting that the winters can be chilly, so if you’re looking for a prefecture to move to with warmer climates year round, there are other better options. 
  • For people looking for a smaller, rural city vibe, Miyagi has much to offer, from its coastal views and traditional festivals to its cozy fishing villages. 
  • It’s perfect for anyone looking for the quaint experience of living in a smaller city in Japan, along with the comforts of modern urban living. 
  • While it’s not an especially large prefecture, Miyagi offers plenty of sights and activities, such as the Unesco-listed Sendai Castle, beautiful gardens, hot springs and a range of temples. 

Hokkaido

On the northernmost of Japan’s major islands, there is a prefecture and a region called Hokkaido.

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Hokkaido

Information to know: 

  • This is a great place for those who love to travel, especially to the hilly or volcanic landscapes. Because of this, this 83,454 km2 prefecture is surrounded by breathtaking ski resorts and natural hot springs: Mount Rishiri, Mount Meakan (last eruption in 2006), Mount Daisetsuzan (1939), Mount Tarumae (last eruption in 1981), and Mount Usu (2000 last eruption). 
  • Food, transportation, rent, and utilities are not prohibitively expensive in comparison to other prefectures and cities in Japan where I previously resided.
  • It is known that the cold waters covering Japan’s northernmost prefecture are preferable for fish and sea vegetation. It is also known for the high quality and characteristics of its seafood.

Honestly, I had toured 3 out of 35 cities in Hokkaido. Three cities are Sapporo (capital), Asahiwaka, and Hakodate.

These three cities are known for their prominent locations and are among the most populated cities in the prefecture of Hokkaido. 

During my stay, I also had the opportunity to participate in their various lively festivals from July to August. One of them is the Toyohira River fireworks display in Sapporo City, which is a loud and colorful sight in the night sky.

One of the best views, in my opinion, is from a nearby hotel with a parabolic glass window for the best view and a warm feeling for the view.

Aomori 

Located in the Tohoku region, this prefecture faces with north and the Hokkoda Mountains at the south.

Aomori

This prefecture, which is a part of Tohoku, has the Hokkoda Mountains to its south and the north. The prefecture is well-known for its lush green valleys and verdant wooded landscapes. It is also one of the world’s snowiest regions, with an average annual snowfall of 26 feet.

The native language of this place is called the Tsugaru dialect.

Things to know

  • The most offered jobs in this prefecture are sales and restaurant jobs, which mainly offer a great number of salaries. 
  • I also considered this prefecture a quality standard for living, which would not cost me as much as I expected. One thing that I am grateful for is that the monthly salary after tax ranges from an average fare.
  • Something that you should do when you are living in this prefecture is travel. Surprisingly, there are lots of historical and scenic spots in this area (e.g., Shirakami Sanchi, Hirosaki Castle, Rice Field Art, etc.)

The cost of living in the prefecture is adequate for a family or an individual with an average income. The most expensive items in the budget are transportation and the salary tax.

Mie

A rural prefecture in the Kansai area, especially on the boundary between Gifu and Shiga prefectures to the north and Shiga and Kyoto prefectures to the northwest. The four provinces that comprise the prefecture are Ise, Iga, Shima, and Kii.

Mie

The prefecture consists of 14 cities, 29 municipalities, and 15 towns. The Kishu dialect is used in this place. 

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Things to know:

  • 36% of the total area in this prefecture was designated by 9 natural parks.
  • The northern part of Mei is the economic sector for manufacturing industries, companies for transporting machinery, as well as the oil industry. One of the industries located in this area is the Honda Motor Company. 
  • What I love the most in this prefecture is its tourism, as I have been to its numerous notable places. One of them is the Suzuka Circuit, the most popular motor racetrack.

The average land price in this area was around 41.49 thousand yen per square meter as of 2020. While the cost of living in the Mie prefecture is costly for some kinds of people who have decided to live in residential areas, as for me, the cost of living in this prefecture ranges from the average cost of quality living.

Okayama 

A prefecture situated in the Chugoku region and the southern part of Japan’s Honshu islands. The prefecture was divided into three provinces: Bizen, Bitchu, and Mimasaka. 

Okayama

There are fifteen cities, ten districts, and twenty-seven municipalities located in the prefecture. 

The prefecture is known for its delicious fruit and landscape gardens.

Information to know:

  • The education sector has a large number of universities and school establishments compared to other prefectures, which is an advantage for those families who have children.
  • In one of the excellent performances for the economic status, Okayama ranked in 13th place as the largest exporter out of the 41 exporters in Japan, while they imported about 2.07 trillion yen in 2021. 
  • Okayama is one of Japan’s most attractive prefectures because its landscapes have drawn a large number of visitors and individuals interested in relocating there. One of the tourist attractions is the Bitchu-Matsuyama castle, where I felt like a bird and mystical at the same time due to the cloud-covered mountains and calming perspective.

Ehime 

is part of the region of Shinkoku and is situated to the southwest of Japan’s mainland. 

Ehime 

There are eleven cities that can be found in this area, and the capital of it is Matsuyama. You can consider living in the 9 towns and villages that are found in different districts within the city. 

The dialect used in this place is called the Iyo dialect. 

Information to know: 

  • The economic areas within the prefecture are more focused on shipbuilding and industries (e.g., oil refining, chemical industries, and Imbari Shipbuilding) than on shipbuilding itself. This prefecture is known for being Japan’s largest shipbuilder. 
  • In my observation during a month of living in this prefecture, there are limited universities and schools within the prefect.
  • This prefecture embraces its culture, especially in novels and series. One of them is the Tokyo Love Story, with alluring and serene hot springs such as Dogo Onsen and Nibukawa onsen.

Popular Japanese Prefecture To Live In: FAQs

Which is the best prefecture to live in Japan?

One prefecture that is often highly regarded for its livability is Kanagawa Prefecture. It offers a desirable combination of proximity to Tokyo, diverse residential areas, access to beautiful coastal areas, and a range of cultural and recreational opportunities.

The prefecture’s largest city, Yokohama, provides a cosmopolitan atmosphere, while other areas such as Kamakura offer a more traditional and historical ambiance.

Kanagawa’s balance between urban conveniences and natural beauty makes it an attractive choice for many residents.

What is the most peaceful prefecture in Japan?

Shimane Prefecture offers a serene environment with unspoiled landscapes and a rich cultural heritage, including the historic Izumo Taisha shrine. Its relatively low population density contributes to a sense of peace and tranquility.

Similarly, Akita Prefecture is known for its pristine nature, featuring mountains, forests, and a picturesque coastline along the Sea of Japan.

The region’s abundance of hot springs adds to the overall peaceful ambiance. Both prefectures provide an escape from bustling urban areas and offer a slower-paced, more tranquil lifestyle.

Which Japanese prefecture is safest?

Yamaguchi has a reputation for being a peaceful and secure place to live, with low crime rates and a strong sense of community. Yamaguchi Prefecture’s commitment to safety contributes to its positive reputation among residents and visitors.

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