Are you considering a move to Japan? Feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the information out there and not sure which city is the right fit for you? There are loads of gorgeous and lively cities across Japan, each with its own charm. Let’s break down the best cities to live in Japan and explore why you might fancy calling one of them your future home.

Best Cities in Japan to Call Home

1. Yokohama 

Best cities to live in Japan: Yokohama

Not only is Yokohama one of the most popular day trip destinations for people living in the Kanto region, but it’s also a top choice for residents. With its rank as one of the 12 largest cities in Japan, Yokohama brims with attractions, including museums, shopping malls, amusement parks, Chinatown, and many historical and cultural spots.

One area, in particular, that draws crowds is Minatomirai, with its iconic red brick warehouse, an amusement park, multiple shopping centres, and stunning bay views. But beyond Minatomirai, there are numerous neighbouring and peaceful residential areas.

With Yokohama Station being one of the busiest in the world, numerous train lines are at your disposal. This provides easy access to neighbouring areas in Tokyo, Saitama, and Chiba. Even within Yokohama itself, there are plenty of places to explore. A host of international and domestic companies have offices here, and with many districts developing in recent years, it’s undoubtedly one of the best cities to live in Japan.

2. Sapporo

City to live in Japan 2022 Sapporo

Sapporo ranks among the best cities to live in Japan. It has drawn numerous residents thanks to its palpable embrace of the distinct Japanese seasons. Here, you can fully immerse yourself in seasonal delights. Whether it’s cherry blossom viewing in Spring, fruit picking and enjoying seasonal flowers in Summer, relishing in autumn leaves and fruits in Autumn, or hitting the slopes for skiing and snowboarding in Winter, Sapporo offers it all.

As Hokkaido’s largest city, Sapporo boasts a plethora of corporate offices and commercial facilities. Yet, beyond its commercial appeal, it’s home to 2,741 city parks, the most abundant among Japan’s cities. One standout is Odori Park, sprawling from east to west in the city centre. Here, expansive lawns, verdant trees, exquisite flower beds, and bubbling fountains create an urban oasis bustling with regular visitors. Alongside nature, the city hosts a diverse array of seasonal events celebrating its stunning natural surroundings.

From Sapporo, venturing to other picturesque spots in Hokkaido like Otaru, Noboribetsu, Hakodate, Furano, and Niseko is a breeze. Sapporo also earns acclaim for its delectable gourmet offerings, including seafood delicacies, fresh sashimi, flavourful miso ramen, and aromatic soup curry. If you’re a culinary enthusiast who relishes nature and seeks to savour Japan’s distinct seasons, Sapporo presents an enticing option for you.

3. Minato, Tokyo

City to live in Japan 2022 Minato, Tokyo

Minato stands out as one of the best districts to reside in Tokyo, renowned for its touch of luxury within the city. Popular spots within Minato include Roppongi, Akasaka, Shinagawa, Odaiba, and Shirokane. It’s hailed as one of Japan’s premier business hubs, boasting around 35,000 business establishments. Moreover, with a plethora of embassies and international corporations, Minato is equipped with various international schools and support networks tailored for foreigners.

This area is also known as a haven for celebrities, including entertainers and financial moguls. Brimming with luxury brands, fine dining establishments, and chic boutiques, Minato offers an array of upscale experiences. Situated in central Tokyo, it enjoys excellent connectivity to different parts of the city. With the highest average annual income in Japan, it’s often dubbed as a city for the successful elite.

4. Setagaya, Tokyo

City to live in Japan 2022 Setagaya, Tokyo

Setagaya Ward in Tokyo stands out as one of the best cities to live in Japan, particularly appealing to young families with children. It’s notably popular among women due to its strong sense of security. Within Setagaya Ward, you’ll find vibrant neighbourhoods like Futakotamagawa, Sangenjaya, Seijo Gakuen, and Shimokitazawa, each with its own distinct character and charm. Many of these areas have undergone recent development, boasting new facilities and modern buildings.

As these neighbourhoods have surged in popularity, local restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues have experienced a boom in visitors. Moreover, new malls, entertainment facilities, and stores continue to spring up, enhancing the area’s allure. Setagaya offers convenience at your doorstep, ensuring you’re never far from the entertainment you desire.

With multiple train lines connecting to the city centre, including the Keio Main Line, Keio Inokashira Line, Odakyu Line, and Tokyu Denentoshi Line, commuting to school or work is a breeze. When contemplating life in Tokyo, Setagaya Ward emerges as a prime location to pursue your ideal lifestyle.

5. Fukuoka 

City to live in Japan 2022 Fukuoka

Fukuoka City emerges as one of the best cities to live in Japan, serving as the bustling business hub of the Kyushu region. With an average commuting time of just 29 minutes, you can enjoy the convenience of living close to both work and home. As one of Japan’s largest cities, Fukuoka boasts vibrant downtown areas like Tenjin and Hakata, catering to your every need.

Despite its urban sprawl, Fukuoka boasts stunning natural landscapes, seamlessly blending ocean views with majestic mountains. The city’s growth is evident with the influx of companies and startups, leading to the development of various facilities and support systems. Moreover, neighbouring cities such as Beppu, renowned for its onsen, Dazaifu with its iconic shrine, and Yanagawa, adorned with picturesque canals, offer diverse experiences.

One of the undeniable highlights of Fukuoka City is its mouth-watering cuisine, which never fails to impress. Prices here are more budget-friendly compared to many other major cities, and the city boasts a vibrant food stall culture unique to the area.

With its harmonious blend of nature and urban conveniences, Fukuoka City continues to attract newcomers seeking an exceptional living environment. It’s no wonder it remains a top choice for those considering a move.

6. Osaka

City to live in Japan 2022 Osaka

There’s no denying Osaka’s status as one of the best cities to live in Japan. Boasting a prominent position as one of the country’s largest cities, Osaka is renowned for its extensive transportation network spanning north, south, east, and west, ensuring unparalleled convenience for residents. Situated within easy reach of tourist hotspots like Kyoto and Nara, Osaka offers seamless accessibility via local train services.

At the heart of the action, Osaka pulsates with energy, offering a vibrant mix of entertainment, shopping, and business opportunities. The city’s social scene is unmatched, with its lively locals dominating Japan’s street food scene, ensuring a good time is always on the cards.

With a plethora of corporate companies and offices, Osaka emerges as a favoured destination for expatriates seeking to live and work in Japan. Despite its bustling urban atmosphere, Osaka retains its local charm, fostering a welcoming environment that beckons visitors and encourages everyone to join in the fun.

7. Nagoya

City to live in Japan 2022 Nagoya

Another contender among the best cities to live in Japan is Nagoya. Positioned between Osaka and Tokyo, Nagoya may not boast the same size or popularity as its counterparts, but recent developments have put it on the map. Residents of Nagoya enjoy a plethora of conveniences and entertainment options.

Thanks to its smaller scale compared to Japan’s major cities, Nagoya tends to offer a more affordable cost of living. Moreover, there’s a thriving foreign community here, supported by international schools and assistance networks. Beyond the urban hub of Nagoya, the city is home to numerous cultural and historical landmarks, including the iconic Nagoya Castle and Atsuta Shrine. Local museums provide opportunities to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Japanese culture.

Exploring Your Options: Choosing the Right City to Live in Japan

What constitutes the “best” city varies from person to person, but I hope this blog has assisted you in narrowing down your options and sparked some ideas about where to reside in Japan. Before making a final decision to relocate, it’s advisable to visit the city and spend some time there. If you find that the city isn’t to your liking, remember that you always have the option to move and seek out other opportunities.