From modern Tokyo to traditional Kyoto, stylish Kobe to the flavoury Osaka!! Japan is a country of contrasts, learn a bit more about the cities and pick the right one for you.
Image by Genki JACS
THE CULTURAL CAPITAL
Kyoto (京都) served as Japan's capital and the emperor's residence from 794 until 1868. It is considered as the cultural capital of Japan and a major tourist destination.
It is home to numerous Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, palaces and gardens, many of which are listed collectively by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
1 out of 10 people in the Kyoto city area is actually a university student (approximately 150,000 students), by far the highest in Japan in terms of the proportion of students in its population. There are also about 12,000 students from all over the world who are studying in Kyoto. The city is extremely convenient for students, with many restaurants and stores for students throughout the entire area.
A FRIENDLY CITY
Osaka (大阪) is Japan's second largest metropolitan area after Tokyo Located in the center of Kansai Region. It's close to Kyoto, Nara and Kobe. It's quite convenient. You can also travel to Tokyo easily!
It has been the economic powerhouse of the Kansai Region for many centuries and Is one of the most underrated locations of Japan, it really is one of the best cities to live in. People from Osaka are said to be the most outgoing in Japan. Many famous Japanese comedians come from Osaka, and many say that Osaka feels more friendly and down to earth than other major Japanese cities.
Tokyo (東京) is Japan’s capital and the world’s most populous metropolis, prior to 1868 it was known as Edo, a small castle town in the 16th century it was renamed as Tokyo, meaning “eastern capital” and became the capital in 1,603.
The city offers a uniquely eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary attractions such as unlimited choice of shopping, entertainment, culture and dining. You could explore Tokyo for years and not uncover all there is to offer, the city is just to big and with so many things to do that I can assure you will never get bored and the best part is that Tokyo has one of the best transportation systems on the planet, and its timeliness, speed and conveniences you can get anywhere anytime in no time!
Nagoya (名古屋市) Located in the centre of Japan, Nagoya is the capital of the Aichi prefecture. Nagoya was proclaimed a city in 1889, during the Meiji Restoration, and became a major industrial hub for Japan.
The traditional manufactures of timepieces, bicycles, and sewing machines were followed by the production of special steels, chemicals, oil, and petrochemicals, as the area's automobile, aviation, and shipbuilding industries flourished. Nagoya's main industry is automotive. Toyota's luxury brand Lexus, Denso, Aisin Seiki Co., Toyota Industries, JTEKT and Toyota Boshoku have their headquarters in or near Nagoya.
Kobe (神戸) is home to dozens of foreign companies, including Nestlé, Procter & Gamble and Eli Lilly, as well as a thriving biomedical industry. The Kobe Biomedical Innovation Cluster is Japan’s largest biotech centre.
As the sixth-largest city in the country, it’s still very much a city but it’s significantly less crowded compared to Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto in particular. This means you get all the benefits of city life but for a more affordable price. European architecture is combined with traditional Japanese homes in Kitano district, where foreign diplomats and traders established. Now the city has about 42000 foreign residents from 123 different countries and a good environment where foreigners find it easy to live.
Ueda (上田市) is a city located in Nagano Prefecture and is something of a hidden gem one of those places that has a little bit of everything. It’s known for its deep samurai history and folklore.
Although you may encounter a few festivals honoring its heritage, the city holds other various charms and pleasures that maintain a small-town, low-key feel that massages the senses. During the rainy season you can feel the underrated scene or natural mysticism that you see in Hayao Miyazaki movies with the countless rice fields tended to for the season's potential harvest. As the rain comes, the fields are flooded and out come the tadpoles, frogs, dragonflies, and whatever aquatic life exists in those paddies during the summer months.
GATEWAY TO ASIA
Fukuoka (福岡市) is the capital city of Fukuoka Prefecture, situated on the northern shore of the Japanese island of Kyushu. In 1889, two cities were fused together to create what we now know as Fukuoka.
Since then, the city has grown to become one of Japan’s most vibrant cities. Continuously ranked amongst the most livable cities in the world, Fukuoka is loved by Japanese residents and foreign visitors alike for its relaxed atmosphere, friendly people, great food and bustling nightlife. Because of its proximity to South Korea, China, and Taiwan, Fukuoka is known as Japan’s gateway to Asia.
JAPAN'S NORTHERN ISLAND
Hokkaido is famous for its beautiful wilderness, world class powder snow, delicious seafood and fascinating indigenous culture. Just a short flight from Tokyo, Hokkaido is the perfect escape in all seasons.
Hokkaido experiences mild summers, with low levels of humidity. Winter brings heavy snowfall and average temperatures of below zero degrees Celsius. Autumn comes to Hokkaido earlier than anywhere else in Japan, and brings with it a tapestry of colorful leaves. On the other hand, spring comes late, offering views of cherry blossoms long after they’ve disappeared from other regions. Each season brings new and delightful natural wonders for visitors to explore, from walkable frozen drift ice and snow-capped peaks, to fields upon fields of multicolored flowers.