Are you thinking of moving outside Tokyo and if so, where? — Survey asks Tokyo residents

A survey conducted by Recruit, a Japanese human resources company, recently asked over 10,000 Tokyo residents whether they were considering moving outside of Tokyo amidst the COVID pandemic and if so, where.

The survey was conducted from January 29th to February 2nd, 2021, amidst the continuing COVID-19 situation.

The survey asked people if the spread of the coronavirus was a consideration in whether they were considering moving outside Tokyo; 16% said that they didn’t consider it before but were now; 12% said they were interested before and very interested now; 24% said they were interested before the start of the pandemic and are now a little more interested. So in total, 52% of respondents indicated that they are currently interested in migrating outside Tokyo.

Below are the top ten places where respondents said they wanted to move outside Tokyo.

#1 Tokyo – Hachioji / Western Tokyo suburban cities

How are the Tokyo western suburbs different than “Tokyo”?

“Tokyo” can refer to the greater Tokyo metro area, the city of Tokyo including the western suburbs, or the 23 Wards of Tokyo.

The Greater Tokyo Area is defined as the Tokyo 23 wards plus the Tokyo western suburbs and the surrounding prefectures of Chiba, Saitama, and Kanagawa.

In addition to the 23 Wards, Tokyo includes 26 more cities (市-shi), five towns ( -chō or machi), and eight villages ( -son or -mura), usually referred to as the okutama region or “western Tokyo”. The five biggest cities in the “western suburbs” are major cities in and of themselves: Hachioji, Machida, Fuchu, Chofu, and Nishi Tokyo. Hachioji, for example, has a population of over 577,000.

Learn more: Hachioji Area Guide

Property for sale in Hachioji

#2 Kanagawa – Kamakura / Miura


Kamakura is a coastal city in Kanagawa prefecture, about an hour south of Tokyo.

Yuigahama Beach in Kamakura. Photo: iStock

It is a popular tourist and day-trip destination from Tokyo. The city has many temples, shrines, and other historic monuments, including the Great Buddha of Kamakura, which is the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan at over 11-meters. Kamakura also has a number of sand beaches, which are very popular during the summer months.

Property for sale in Kamakura


Miura is a city on the southern tip of Kanagawa prefecture.

#3 Hokkaido – Ishikari area

#4 Okinawa – “Remote Islands of”

Okinawa is comprised of 150 islands in the East China Sea between Taiwan and Japan’s mainland. It’s known for its tropical climate, broad beaches and coral reefs. When survey respondents said that want to move to the “remote islands of Okinawa,” we’ll take it to mean one without any big developed cities! Please click over the listing pages and use the drop-down menu to explore the different residential offerings in Okinawa.

Okinawa properties for sale

#5 Fukuoka – Fukuoka City

Fukuoka, the capital of Fukuoka prefecture, is located on the northern shore of Kyushu. It has been one of Japan’s important harbor city for centuries because of its proximity to the Asian mainland. Flight time to Seoul is about 1.5 hours, to Taipei about 2.5 hours, and to Hong Kong about 3.5 hours.

In the last few years, Fukuoka has seen a surge in buyers from overseas and other parts of Japan looking for higher yields, as yields in Tokyo have declined.

#6 Kanagawa – Shonan area

Wikipedia tells us that: “Shonan is the name of a region along the coast of Sagami Bay in Kanagawa. Centered on Enoshima, an island about 50 kilometers southwest of Tokyo, the Shonan region stretches from Oiso in the west to Hayama in the east, including Hiratsuka, Chigasaki, Fujisawa, and Kamakura.” Shonan is one of the closest sandy beach areas near Tokyo.

#7 Shizuoka – Izu area

The Izu Peninsula, a resort area is located about 100-km southwest of Tokyo and a popular weekend getaway destination for Tokyo residents. Izu is known for its hot springs, beautiful coastlines, and gorgeous scenery. From the western coast of the peninsula you can see Mt. Fuji, which is about 50-km north.

Well-known cities in Izu include Atami, Ito, and Shimoda.

Atami, Shizuoka. Image: iStock

Property for sale in Izu

#8 Okinawa – Naha area

Naha is the capital of Okinawa prefecture and has a population of about 317,000. It is located on the southern part of Okinawa island.

Naha property for sale

#9 Chiba Imba area

#10 Chiba – Sotobo area

The Sotobo line is a JR line adjacent to the Pacific Ocean, on the eastern side of the Boso Peninsula.

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Source: Recruit survey, (PDF in Japanese)

Lead photo: Yuigahama Beach, Kamakura via iStock