Spoiler: the most popular prefecture is also the largest.

Japan has 47 prefectures that boast individual characteristics and lifestyles. Though the default is usually Tokyo, you may or may not be surprised to find that not everyone wants to live there.

Yahoo! Japan recently wrote about the results of a survey conducted in 2019 that asked citizens which of Japan’s 47 prefectures they would like to continue living in the most. About 340 people living in each prefecture were surveyed for a total of close to 16,000 participants.

The nuance of the survey title itself may be what makes all the difference, as it’s not about which prefecture people would like to move to, but rather which prefecture they would like to continue living in. Here are the top 10 results that may or may not shock you.

10. Miyazaki

9. Tokyo (shocking? Maybe not so much for Tokyo-ites.)


8. Aichi


7. Hyogo

6. Kyoto

Now let’s look at the top five in a little more detail…

5. Kanagawa

Kanagawa squeaked its way into the top 5 of the survey, and we’re not really surprised. Its bustling city of Yokohama has consistently ranked as the most desirable city for living in Japan’s Kanto region. The area boasts a bayside view, fashionable stores and eateries, and it’s within commuting distance to the heart of Tokyo with slightly lower living costs. And even though it has a bad rep in terms of crime sometimes, it’s also proving to be a great place for families to live and tourists to visit.

4. Okinawa

Why would you ever want to leave paradise? Many Japanese people (and Okinawans themselves) claim that Okinawa and Japan are almost entirely separate nations. At over 700 kilometers from the mainland of Japan, we can’t really blame them for thinking this way. Yet even Okinawans never get tired of the tropical weather, delicious food, and endless island-hopping opportunities. Maybe that’s why they live so long?

3. Osaka

Many Osakans have great pride in their region, so we’re not too surprised by this one. Osaka boasts a bustling culture and nightlife similar to Tokyo without the steep prices, and their public transportation is pretty extensive as well. Osaka is home to great food like takoyaki and okonomiyaki as well as one of the top 20 buildings in the world, Umeda Sky Building.

2. Fukuoka

Over 80% of respondents from Fukuoka said they’d like to continue living in the region. You may have heard of its up-and-coming downtown area of Fukuoka City, or you might know about how accessible it is to other regions of Asia (perfect for travel!). They have gorgeous nature spots and many delicacies, including some serious strawberries. The best part: it’s totally affordable for both singles and families to live in.

1. Hokkaido


Rounding off the top of the list is Hokkaido, also known as Japan’s largest and northernmost region. Though it can get pretty darn cold, they have affordable housing, a lot of beautiful nature, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re one of Japan’s main sources of agriculture and dairy (why wouldn’t you love a place that produces cheese?)

Though it’s separated from the main Honshu Island of Japan, there’s an underwater bullet train that can get you there in a jiffy. It seems like that’s not a concern for Hokkaido citizens, though, whose lifestyle is so different that they experience culture shock in their own capital.

And that’s the top 10, folks. Oh, and in case you’re wondering which prefecture was in last place, it was Japan’s northern region of Akita — only 60% of participants said they’d like to continue living there (we’d highly recommend at least a visit, though).

Top image: Flickr/Sendai Blog
Sources: Yahoo! Japan via Otaku.com
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