A surprising number of young adults are considering trading the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and other cities for a slow-paced rural lifestyle.

Tokyo and Japan’s other large cities are, in many ways, awesome places to live. They’re where you’ll find the majority of the country’s academic and professional opportunities, and also the wealth of its cultural and entertainment options.

But life in Japan’s neon-soaked concrete jungles isn’t for everyone. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport recently released the result of a 5,000-person study in which they asked participants if they want the government to put greater effort into programs helping urban residents of Japan relocate to rural areas, and it got the biggest call to action from respondents in the 20-29 age bracket.

23 percent of participants in their 20s said they wanted greater government promotion for relocation to the countryside, which was five percent more than any other group. That number was even higher among young people living in our around Japan’s three largest metropolitan areas, specifically those centered in Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, where 25 percent of people in the 20-29 demographic said they hoped for more programs to help those looking to move out of the big city.

As to why, experts say a number of young people have become dissatisfied with the ironic isolation that can come with living in a population-dense area. City folk tend to lead busy lives with little interaction with their neighbors, and this lack of a sense of community and personal connections, and in some cases the resultant lack of trust, is commonly cited as a factor by those considering moving out of Tokyo and other major cities. However, the poll’s statistics don’t cover whether respondents envisioning a more interpersonal lifestyle in the countryside are basing such expectations on personal experience living in less populated towns, or simply on beautifully relaxing YouTube montages.

▼ Before you quit your job and start a farm, remember that getting to this…

▼ …requires a lot of time spent doing this.

There are already organizations, with offices set up in major metropolitan areas, that offer advice and assistance to people looking to move to less populous parts of Japan. Local municipalities have also tried such tactics as covering the dating expenses of newly arrived residents or giving them a free house. Still, the young survey respondents want to see even more done, and it’s not just young people living in large cities who feel that way either. 25 percent of respondents aged 20-29 who live in towns with populations under 50,000 also said they want to see more programs to make such moves easier, as did roughly 27 percent of those between the ages of 60 and 79, with such support likely stemming from a desire to prevent rural communities with dwindling populations from becoming too small to sustain themselves.

Of course, if too many people dreaming of small town life move to the same place, it stops being a small town, so while the survey gives the ministry an idea of what people want, it also gives it a tricky tightrope to walk.

Source: Nihon Keizai Shimbun via Otakomu
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