Many people may be gathering information about Japan through TV, magazines and websites. Japan is a long island nation that stretches from north to south. The big cities like Tokyo and Osaka are well known, but there are some amazing cities and sightseeing spots in rural areas as well. Also, since Japan’s cities are surrounded by the sea and mountains, you can enjoy delicious fish and local specialties if you go to different regions. You may be thinking about going to work in a big city in Japan, but this time we asked some foreigners who worked in Japan about the appeal of Japan’s remote cities.
Geography of Japan, stretching from north to south
Japan’s terrain is long, stretching from north to south. Surprisingly, the southern region belongs to the subtropical zone and the northern region belongs to the subarctic zone. The average annual temperatures in Okinawa, the warmest region, and the coldest inland region of Hokkaido differ by more than 15 degrees. You can enjoy skiing in the north and tropical beaches in the south. Furthermore, Japan is surrounded by the ocean but there are a few regions with plains, and about two-thirds of the country is covered by forest. Big cities are concentrated in the plains, so when you go to rural areas, you can really enjoy the food and a lot of leisure activities related to the sea and mountains.
If you’re interested in being a care worker in Japan, why not do a little research into the geography of Japan?
Quiz: Japan has 4 large islands, but how many islands are there in total, including the uninhabited ones?
Answer: 6,852 (from the 2015 Census results)
 一般財団法人 国土技術研究センター「国土を知る / 意外と知らない日本の国土」Japan Institute of Country-ology and Engineering “Know the Land/The Unexpected and Unknown of Japan’s Land”
Relative to its economic scale, Japan is a small country. For that reason, the domestic transportation network is well developed and you can easily move around by airplane, train, car and bus. Even if you work in a remote city, you can travel all over the country and enjoy shopping in the big city nearby on your days off. Also, you might be surprised to know that there are many services in Japan where you can buy items online and have them delivered the next day. Even living in rural areas, there is hardly any trouble with daily necessities.
When it comes to the attraction of rural areas in Japan, nothing beats its natural beauty. There are a lot of really scenic remote cities with the ocean, mountains and rivers nearby. You can also enjoy the culture and food unique to the region. Annie from the Philippines working in Japan told us, “The scenery in the countryside is so beautiful. There are many natural treasures to enjoy. There are few mountainous forests or fields in the big cities and there aren’t many hot springs. In the rural areas, there are all kinds of local specialties, like food, traditional crafts, and festivals. I like the tofu skin (yuba) in Nikko and Okinawan food.”
Working in a remote city
Whether you will work in a big city or in a remote city depends on your mindset. Living in a big city is exciting, but it is also crowded with people and the cost of living is high. On the other hand, rural areas typically have a good natural environment and costs like rent are cheaper. Mr. Mani Gyawali from Nepal worked in Oita, a remote city in Japan, and said, “For a number of reasons, I’ve lived in both Tokyo and Osaka. Both are big cities and very nice places, but personally, I prefer rural areas because the working environment and relationships between people there are good. I think that unlike in big cities, in rural areas human relations such as communication and the culture of helping each other out, is valued. I feel like people in rural areas seem to be more willing to help others who are in trouble, even if they don’t know them. Also, you can get everything you need in a remote city just like you would in a big city, so you can enjoy working in a more relaxed environment.”
Japan, prone to natural disasters
Finally, let’s talk about natural disasters in Japan. Some people may be concerned about natural disasters in rural areas due to the proximity of the ocean and mountains. It is important to prepare for natural disasters in almost every region of Japan, regardless of whether you are in a big or small city. There are natural disasters such as typhoons, heavy rainfall, heavy snowfall, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. You all may have heard about the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku from the news. Subsequently, we are preparing for natural disasters on national, municipal and corporate levels. If you work in Japan, you will experience evacuation drills on a regular basis.
When you experience something like an earthquake for the first time, it may seem very scary. It would be wise to read up on natural disasters in Japan from sources such as the links below.
Cabinet Office Japan: http://www.bousai.go.jp/index-e.html
JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organization): https://www.jnto.go.jp/safety-tips/eng/index.html