Top 15 Places To Live In Japan That Aren’t Tokyo




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Now, I know what you’re thinking: Japan is expensive, crowded, and hard to live in unless you’ve spent some time here. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth considering as a place to live.

If you want a safe place with great food and culture and access to plenty of nature, then Japan might be proper for you! If so, then where should you go?

Here are my picks for the best places in Japan to live if you want safety and comfort while enjoying life here.

(I left Tokyo off the list because it is so well known, and I wanted to focus more on other cities at the end of the article).

1) Kagoshima


Kagoshima is located in the south of Japan, on Kyushu Island. It’s also a gateway to other parts of the island and even across Taiwan.

The weather is mild most of the year, with hot summers (but not too hot). There are plenty of festivals and events throughout the year that brings people out into public spaces.

The quality of life here is high because Kagoshima has some great restaurants, cafes, and drinking spots where you can get delicious food at reasonable prices, so there is no need to spend all your time cooking!

There’s also a lot to do outdoors, like hiking around volcanoes or swimming at beaches nearby.

Another thing I loved about Kagoshima was how safe it felt when walking around alone at night; I never had any issues feeling safe despite living alone without a car during my stay there!

Kagoshima is famous for its udon and tonkotsu ramen, so I highly recommend going to one of the many restaurants and trying them out. There are also plenty of other good restaurants that serve local food as well.

Kagoshima is a great place to visit if you are looking for somewhere with a lot of history and culture. There are many historical sites, including feudal lords’ castles, Sengan-en Garden, and many more!

2) Kanazawa


Kanazawa is a city in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. It is located on Honshu Island.

The city has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its well-preserved castle town with over 200 structures dating back to the Edo Period.

Kanazawa is also famous for its cuisine, which features many local specialties, including fugu shabu and unagi don. There are plenty of things to do in this city if you are traveling with kids.

There are also several amusement parks and water parks in Kanazawa, such as Aqua World, which features a variety of rides for kids of all ages.

Kanazawa is also a great place to visit if you are interested in Japanese culture or history.

The city has many museums and art galleries, including the Kenrokuen Garden and Za-Koenji Temple. The Kenrokuen Garden features over 100,000 plants and trees of various species, while the temple offers a glimpse into Buddhist culture.

3) Kumamoto City

Kumamoto City is the capital of Kumamoto Prefecture and one of the largest cities in Japan. It’s known for its castle and has been designated an important historical site by UNESCO.

The city also features beautiful cherry blossoms that bloom every year in April, making it a popular tourist destination.

The quality of life in Kumamoto City is excellent; according to Numbeo data, the city has some of the lowest crime rates anywhere in Japan.

The cost of living is not too high compared to other places on this list; however, you will still need about $1,000 per month for rent if your source language skills are strong enough to get a job right away.

If you’re looking for an affordable place where your worth as a human being won’t be questioned at every turn because of where you were born, consider moving here!

Kumamoto City is a great place for students, especially those who want to learn Japanese.

There are many language schools in the area and private tutors, so you can find a method that works best for you. If you’re interested in studying abroad but don’t know where to start, consider taking advantage of this opportunity!

4) Yokohama


Yokohama is a city in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. It’s the second largest city in Japan by population, after Tokyo, and also one of the country’s largest ports.

In addition to its vibrant downtown area, Yokohama has several attractive suburbs where ex-pats can find quality apartments at affordable prices.

For many years, Yokohama has enjoyed a reputation as one of the most livable cities in Asia.

The city offers a wide variety of amenities, including shopping malls and cinemas, as well as parks and beaches nearby for residents who love spending time outdoors.

Yokohama’s public transport system is also one of the best in Japan, making it easy for residents to get around.

For ex-pats with children, there are many international schools nearby where they can receive an education in English.

In addition, Yokohama has many facilities that cater specifically to families, including play areas and a zoo.

The city is also home to many international companies, including Nissan and Mitsubishi. As a result, there are numerous job opportunities for ex-pats in Yokohama.

5) Fukuoka City


Fukuoka is the capital of Fukuoka Prefecture and is located on the northern shore of Japan’s largest island, Kyushu. The city has a humid subtropical climate with hot summers and mild winters.

The city is one of the most important cities in Japan; it’s second only to Kitakyushu’s population size on Kyushu Island.

Fukuoka has been designated as an EPA Green City for its efforts to protect its environment, including recycling programs and green buildings (such as a baseball stadium built using recycled wood).

It also has many museums, parks, and open gardens year-round, making it easy to enjoy nature even during Japan’s colder months!

Fukuoka offers a variety of housing options: apartments near work/school, townhouses close to downtown attractions, and large apartment buildings at affordable prices. Or tiny single-family homes, perfect for families with children.

Fukuoka is a great place to live in Japan, not just because of its location.

The city has many things to offer, including excellent weather (no humidity), a large shopping district with everything from clothing stores to food markets, and even some western-style restaurants if you’re craving something new!

6) Nagoya City


There’s plenty to do in Nagoya, which is an excellent base for exploring Japan. If you’re looking to experience the culture of Japan without breaking the bank, Nagoya is a perfect choice.

The city also has some historical sites, so visit them there!

Nagoya has a lot of charm, but one of its best features is its location within Japan. This will make it an ideal place to live if you want to explore other parts of this country or even move around (which shouldn’t be hard given how easy it is).

The city is also close to other places in Japan, making it easy to visit them if you want. Nagoya is a great place to live, but there are some downsides.

One of the main issues people have with living in Nagoya is that it can be challenging to find an apartment.

This is especially true if you’re looking for affordable housing options, which may require more time and effort than you’d like.

7) Matsuyama City

Matsuyama City is located in Ehime Prefecture, on the west coast of Japan. The city has a humid subtropical climate with hot summers and mild winters.

Matsuyama City can be reached by plane or train within an hour from Fukuoka Airport and Kyoto Station.

The quality of life in Matsuyama is very high due to its many attractions, like the famous Dogo Onsen hot spring resort area, which is known for its natural beauty and healing properties.

There are many other places worth visiting, such as the Nogeyama Zoo, Kinpu-zan Mountain Park, and Kamoiwa Hot Spring Resort, where you can enjoy hiking or relax in hot springs after visiting one of these attractions during your vacation time!

The cost of living in Matsuyama City is lower than in other cities such as Tokyo or Osaka, making it an ideal place for ex-pats who want a more affordable lifestyle but still have access to everything they need!

8) Sapporo City


Sapporo is the fifth-largest city in Japan, with a population of 1.9 million people. It’s also the capital of Hokkaido Prefecture, founded in 1868 and has since become known as one of Japan’s most northern regions.

Sapporo is known for its famously cold winters (often reaching -10 degrees Celsius). Still, it also experiences warm summers perfect for long walks along the coast or hiking through mountainside forests. 

The city has a rich history as a busy port town since early times when its economy revolved around fishing and trade with Korea and China.

Sapporo offers many opportunities for a good time: you can enjoy festivals, nightlife, and great food in Odori Park or Susukino Street or participate in one of the city’s famous events, such as the Snow Festival or Tanabata.

The Snow Festival takes place every February when the city hosts a variety of winter activities and events, while Tanabata celebrates a tale from Japanese folklore where two stars who fell in love were separated by the Milky Way and could only meet once a year on July 7th.

9) Nagasaki City


Nagasaki is a welcoming city where residents enjoy all four seasons. It’s located in the southwestern part of Japan and has a long history, making it famous for its scenic beauty.

With access to many tourist attractions like Mount Inasa, Peace Park Museum, Fujisakidai Park, and many other sights in Nagasaki City, there’s no shortage of places to explore!

The locals are known to be friendly and helpful toward visitors. With access to many tourist attractions like Mount Inasa, Peace Park Museum, Fujisakidai Park, and many other sights in Nagasaki City, there’s no shortage of places to explore here!

10) Kobe City


Kobe is a port city on the coast of Japan. It’s the sixth-largest city in Japan, and it’s also the capital of Hyogo Prefecture.

The city is known for its beef, and with good reason: Kobe beef comes from Wagyu cattle raised on a special diet that makes their meat tender and delicious.

The high quality of life in Kobe also means that you can enjoy some great food without spending too much money; this is why it’s ranked as one of the most livable cities in Asia by Mercer Consulting Group.

Even though it’s one of Japan’s most livable cities, safety is still an issue: there have been several earthquakes over time due to volcanoes nearby (like Mount Rokko), so you may want to be prepared if you plan on living there long term!

Kobe is a great city to live in. It’s one of the most livable cities in Japan and has a high quality of life.

11) Osaka City


Osaka is one of the three prefectures that make up Japan’s second-largest metropolitan area. It is also the economic center of Japan, with a population of around 2.7 million people and an area of 225 square kilometers.

It boasts many international companies and businesses that attract foreign workers to its shores. The city has been a hub for trade since ancient times and still plays a vital role in Japanese commerce today.

The quality of life in Osaka City can be described as good but not great; there are certainly better places if you’re seeking something more luxurious or upscale than what you’ll find here (especially if you’re looking for someplace closer to Tokyo).

Though this is one place where it’s possible to live comfortably without spending too much on rent or food expenses, living in Osaka can be expensive if you’re not careful with your money.

The people of Osaka are well known for their friendliness and warmth, despite being stereotyped as loud and boisterous.

This can be attributed to the fact that Osaka has always been a port city where many different cultures have come together over the years, creating a melting-pot environment where people from all walks of life live peacefully.

There’s a sense of community here that you won’t find in other places in Japan, so if you’re looking for somewhere where everyone knows each other, this is one place to consider!

12) Kyoto


Kyoto is a great city to live in, but it’s also one of the best places in Japan to visit. The town has many tourist attractions, including temples and shrines, museums, and art galleries.

Kyoto also boasts many parks and gardens, serving as an idyllic getaway for locals living in the city center. Plenty of Japanese restaurants cater to tourists looking for something traditional to eat or drink.

As for living quality: it’s high!

However, if you’re considering moving here (you should!), keep in mind that housing costs are also high.

But overall this is one of the best places in Japan to live because it’s so beautiful!

13) Nara


Nara is a city in the Kansai region of Japan. It’s famous for its large deer population and is home to several temples and shrines. Nara is an excellent place to live if you like nature, quality of life, and safety.

Nara has a low crime rate, and residents enjoy high living standards, with most people having access to good healthcare and education.

The city is relatively small and doesn’t have much nightlife, but it has a few fascinating museums and art galleries.

There are several restaurants in Nara where you can enjoy traditional Japanese cuisine and Western food. If you want something different from the usual, living here is a great choice too!

There’s not much nightlife here, though the city is small with few tourist attractions or shopping centers.

14) Sendai


Sendai is a city in northern Japan that was heavily damaged by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster. It’s known as the capital of the Tōhoku region and is home to more than 1 million people.

However, it has since recovered from those events and is now one of Japan’s most livable cities.

The quality of life here is high enough that many ex-pats have moved here permanently from other Japanese cities such as Tokyo or Osaka due to its affordability (especially when compared with other places on this list).

Sendai is a great place to live if you want to experience traditional Japan. The city has many temples, shrines, and beautiful gardens that are popular tourist destinations.

15) Okinawa


Okinawa is the southernmost prefecture of Japan, and because it’s composed of a tropical island (the largest in Japan), there are many beaches. It also has a rich history, culture, and food scene, making Okinawa one of Japan’s best places to live.

The local cuisine here is influenced by both China and Japan while maintaining its unique identity.

Some popular dishes include soki soba with shrimp tempura (a cold plate), tombochan mochi (sweet cakes made from glutinous rice flour), and chanpuru-yaki (a stir-fry dish mixed with vegetables).

There are many beaches in Okinawa and the surrounding islands, including some with black sand. The clear and clean water here makes it ideal for swimming, diving, or snorkeling.

If you are looking for a more adventurous experience, there are many outdoor activities, such as hiking and rock climbing. You can also visit one of the many caves or take a boat trip around the islands.

What part of Japan is the best to live in?

The best place to live in Japan is Tokyo. It’s the most populated city in the world, with over 14 million people living there. The city is also home to the most Michelin-starred restaurants and has some of the best shopping experiences you’ll ever have.

Tokyo is a vast city, so there’s plenty to do. You can visit the famous Tsukiji Fish Market, where tons of fish are sold at meager prices.

If you’re looking for a more laid-back experience, go to Kyoto. This city is known for its temples and shrines. You can also visit Nara Park or Himeji Castle while you’re there.

If you’re looking for something more modern, head over to Osaka. This city is known as a hub for fashion and music. It’s also home to Universal Studios Japan, a theme park based on Hollywood movies like Harry Potter and Jurassic Park.

Where do most foreigners in Japan live?

If you’re looking for a place to settle down, one of the first things you might want to consider is where other ex-pats live.

Not only can they tell you about their experiences there, but they can also give you tips on how to adapt and make friends.

When it comes time for your move, you must have a place where English people will be (especially if your Japanese isn’t excellent).

You should also remember that some parts of the country are more expensive, so if money matters are important, try looking at areas with lower living costs.

An excellent way to find places where many other ex-pats live is by using the internet.

Many websites can help you find good ex-pat communities where you can make friends and get advice on everything from what to buy at the market to how to go about finding a job.

These sites also allow you to see if there are other English speakers in your area before you move there so that it will be much easier for you when it comes time for your move.

What part of Japan is safest to live in?

Japan is a safe country overall. However, like any other country, some places are safer than others.

Below we have listed some of the most common questions asked by foreigners who want to move to Japan and live there permanently or on an extended temporary stay:

What are the safest cities in Japan? 

Tokyo is the safest city in Japan, followed by Yokohama and Kawasaki. Osaka is a close fourth. Safe other towns to live in are Sapporo, Kyoto, and Fukuoka. These places have low crime rates and rarely see violent crimes within their borders.

What are the safest towns in Japan? 

KamakuraHakone, and Matsumoto are considered some of the safest towns in Japan. They are small towns with low crime rates, and few violent crimes occur within their borders. These places have been popular tourist destinations for foreigners for many years because of their safety and beauty.

What are the safest suburbs in Japan? 

The safest suburbs in Japan are Chiba, Yokohama, and Kawasaki. These cities are located on the outskirts of Tokyo and have low crime rates, with few violent crimes occurring within their borders.


In conclusion, Japan is a great place to live. It’s safe and clean, and the people are friendly. The culture is rich and exciting.

There are many things to do here that you can’t do anywhere else in the world! If you’re thinking about moving here or just visiting for vacation, consider these cities on our list as possible destinations for your next trip!

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