Living in the city can be very different than living in the countryside. If you are curious about the differences between the two, check out our article on living in the city vs living in the countryside.
When people think of Japan it is rarely the countryside that will come to mind. Most people will picture cities like Tokyo or Osaka and think of the urban areas instead of its beautiful countryside. Even though the city has its own allure and conveniences the countryside has its own sites and sounds that most people have never experienced before. Depending on where you live you will experience an almost completely different kind of Japan. Knowing some things may help you when going to the country.
You can find lots of things in all of Japan’s major cities. It is even more convenient for visitors in that they have more English than usual in more places. Many of the restaurants have menus in English with full-color pictures of their food, the train and bus stations have everything in English, the escalators play messages in multiple languages to help visitors find their way around, and most of the people that live there are comfortable when dealing with foreign visitors. They try to make every visitor feel as comfortable as possible.
Since the cities see far more people and businesses, they will naturally have access to more import items than other places in the country. There are a lot of stores that specialize in selling foods and other items from other countries, and they can easily be found. There are even a few chain stores that can be found all over the country that give a wide selection of import items.
A greater concentration of people will lead to more opportunities for people to find employment. This is not only true for the native Japanese but also for the foreign population. There aren’t going to be many lucrative positions available to non-Japanese workers, but you will have a much easier time finding something in a field you are interested in. There are even many international corporations that use the cities as their extended company homes, and they have all their workers live in the city.
City life is never going to be the cheapest way to live, but there is a large selection of apartments and houses that you can choose from to ensure your living area fits all your needs.
Getting around the cities of Japan is a breeze, and everyone has public transport that runs as close to on time as possible. You can count on the buses and trains to run on time, and the taxis are always near the station.
Even though there are a lot of choices when looking for a place to live, they are usually going to be much smaller than what most western foreigners are accustomed to. You will have to rethink how you usually deal with your living situation, and most people see it as a major problem while others learn to deal with it.
Living in the city is never cheap and Japan is no different. The major cities see a sizable increase in the cost of food, living, and other facets of life. You will need to be able to budget well and try to keep your spending in check or you may end up in a bad situation.
Noise and Pollution
Since there are so many people living in close quarters it is easy to see where there would be extra noise for the people living there. Not only that, but there are all kinds of construction happening at any given time. You may end up with an apartment that is next to a major roadway too. If you find that you are a light sleeper the city may not be the place for you. There is also a larger amount of air pollution since all the cars going in and out of the city leave plenty behind in their travel.
Transportation Time Only
If you don’t have a car or a bike, then you will be at the timetable of the trains and buses. You will have to adjust your travel to fit their operation times which will result in you having to leave events or friends earlier than you may like. If you miss the last train or bus you will have to find a place to stay or pay for a taxi to get home.
Living in the countryside brings the great benefit of having quiet surroundings. The most noise you may hear will be the cinquedeas during the summer. It can be very relaxing and allow you to fall asleep in no time.
Since there is more room and not as many people living in the areas, the housing is generally cheaper and larger. You can find a house for rent that could give you two to four times more room than in the city. You can really get a feel for old Japan and can even experience the traditional side of Japan as well.
Nature and Scenery
Japan has so much natural beauty that you may miss out if you only stick to the cities. There are big forests, tall mountains, huge lakes, Mt. Fuji, and other kinds of places to see.
You will be sure to come across traditional aspects of Japan when living or visiting its most precious sites. Almost all of its natural landmarks are open to the public and it would be beneficial to anyone who visits them. You will get a true view of what Japan is.
Since there aren’t more people out in the country the job opportunities are going to be smaller. You can still find work, but it takes a little more work to find it. There won’t be much, and everyone will be competing for the same jobs.
Less Foreign Language
Even though the stations and main buildings will have some, there are many places that will be only Japanese. There will be even fewer amounts of people who could speak anything other than Japanese. This is good for practice purposes but can be a major hurdle when first learning the areas.
If you want to find things from your home country, you will have a much harder time getting any items you’re looking for. You can simply find the Japanese equivalent, but if you want the actual thing from home you will need to pay extra for it or get it directly from home.
It is a tough decision trying to find out which one will benefit you the most. Some people want the urban setting and love busy city streets, while others will want the quiet slow pace of the countryside. They will give you a different view of the country and each one will be a great experience on its own.