It turns out that a lot of Japanese people can stand the cold, after all!

Though the bustling, metropolitan cities of Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, and more offer an attractively active lifestyle for young people trying to build a career, many Japanese people think differently when it comes to settling down.

For the second year in a row, Japan’s northern region of Hokkaido was ranked as the most desirable prefecture to settle down in. 84.9 percent of respondents to the Japanese Prefectural SDGs Survey 2020 picked the snowy region as their top spot, followed closely by tropical Okinawa. Fukuoka, Ishikawa, and Osaka rounding out the top five.

Hokkaido has a ton to offer in terms of food, travel, nature, and more (squirrel hotpot, anyone?). Though there are a few densely populated cities like Sapporo, Japan’s largest prefecture has a ton of natural wonders to offer.

▼ Take, for example, this insanely blue lake in the Hokkaido town of Biei.

On the flip side, you may hear a lot of Japanese people talking about how cold it is–cold enough to create an entire frozen village during the winter months–and the amount of annual snowfall this northern region accumulates. Apparently, though, that wasn’t enough to stop people from wanting to settle down there! Here’s what netizens had to say when they heard the results of the survey:

“Haha, it’d be impossible for me with all of the snow.”
“Hokkaido is like some wintry Hell, though! Heating costs are crazy. It’s not a place where people can live.”
“If you live in an apartment complex, you don’t need to worry about snow removal. You do need to have some good driving skills, though…”
“It wouldn’t be so hard to live in Sapporo. I wonder how Uber Eats does there, though…”

Since Hokkaido is so spread out and it snows so much, you’ll have to be used to driving in order to survive there – that is, unless you live in a place like Sapporo, where they have a pretty awesome public transportation system.

More surprising findings, when compared to last year’s results, were the ranking of Japan’s eastern Kanto region. Likely due to the spread and reaction to coronavirus, Tokyo fell a whopping 29 spots from 4th place to 33rd place. Bordering Kanagawa, Chiba, and Saitama prefectures all fell at least ten spots as well. Ouch.

▼ When you’re up against the open blue skies and wide lavender fields of Hokkaido, though, Kanto doesn’t stand a chance.

On the bright side, this shift gives Japan’s more rural regions a chance to shine. Shimane prefecture jumped from 43rd place all the way up to 11th place, for example, and Toyama made a similar climb. According to another survey, people from Shimane are pretty friendly!

It doesn’t look like Hokkaido’s top spot is budging anytime soon despite naysayers. You might want to be careful if you play Pokémon GO there, though.

Sources: Livedoor News via Otakomu
Featured image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso (1, 2)
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