Living in Fussa (Tokyo's Little America): Guide For Foreigners
Fussa is a small town located on the western edge of Tokyo Metropolis. Though it occupies only 10.16 square kilometers, it has eight-times the population density than other surrounding towns in the area. That is primarily due to the United States' Yokota Air Base, which is located here and is responsible for giving the town a reputation of being Tokyo's "Little America."
The Closest You Can Get to The U.S. in Tokyo
Fussa is a multicultural and densely populated town. It serves as a home to the U.S. Air Force's Yokota Air Base but also functions as a commuter town for those working in central Tokyo.
The prevalent American population can be recognized not only in and around the airbase but also in the town's dining and shopping scene. Surrounding the base, you can find tons of restaurants and shops that cater to American clientele. Demode Diner, for example, serves burgers, and Big Dip serves deliciously decadent ice cream. There are also shops where you can buy western groceries, toys, and clothes, as well as the popular 'Big Mama' boutique that offers a choice of American antiques.
Japanese Tradition Is Still Preserved
Though Fussa is largely influenced by American culture, the healthy balance with Japanese lifestyle and traditions still remain.
"Airmen from Yokota AB during the Fussa Tanabata Festival" by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is licensed under CC BY 2.0
The town has several shrines, of which Shinmei is the closest to Fussa station, while the 800-year-old Seigan Temple offers beautiful gardens, streams, ponds, and Japanese sculptures.
Also impressive is the Seishu Kasen Sake Brewery, where you can join a small tour, learn about the sake-making process, and of course, try out their famous drink. After that, you can enjoy quiet woodlands and walking trails nearby, such as Tamagawa Jusui and Naka-Fussa Park. There are also small shops that offer Japanese goods and local restaurants for those who would prefer enjoying a traditional Japanese dish.
Benefits Of Living In Fussa For Foreigners
Fussa is a popular choice among foreigners and is quite lively and eventful. The use of English is widespread, which helps foreigners overcome language barriers if their Japanese is still in the beginning phase.
Besides trendy restaurants and bars, Fussa offers other facilities needed for a comfortable life. If you're coming with your family, you will be happy to know that there are several primary, middle, and high schools. There are several medical facilities in Fussa, though those in the neighboring Hachioji (read about life in Hachioji here) have more English-speaking doctors.
Concerning the rent prices, Fussa is quite standard and comparable to other towns in the western portion of Tokyo Metropolis. A general price for a single-bed apartment is ¥50,000 ($456) though the cost can vary based on location. Most apartments sit in small two, or three-story buildings.
Moving to a new country is hard, and Fussa is a place where adapting to your new life in Japan might be a little bit easier. It offers a healthy balance between American influence and Japanese tradition and is also only an hour away from central Tokyo.
Sources: Japan Visitor, TokyoCheapo, TripMondo, ReThinkTokyo
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