Living In Aichi: Guide for Foreigners
Aichi Prefecture is located in central Japan. It is densely populated and has approximately 7.5 million residents, many of whom live in Nagoya, the prefecture's capital and the fourth largest city in Japan. Other large cities in Aichi are Toyota, Okazaki and Ichinomiya. Each city is focused on a specific industry, but also has its own unique culture and historical background. Despite being home to several large cities, nearly 30% of Aichi is designated as natural parks, so the prefecture offers an ideal balance of nature and urban life.
Aichi has recently launched financial incentives to motivate Tokyo locals to move there. It is also quite popular among foreigners, and it's estimated that around 150,000 foreigners have found their home in one of Aichi's towns.
How To Get There
Aichi was once a samurai hub and is now a center of industry. These important roles are the result of its central geographical location. This also allows the residents to easily reach both Tokyo and the western side of the country.
The most common mode of transport in Aichi, much like in all parts of Japan, is trains. The main station is JR Nagoya Station where you can catch the Tokaido Shinkansen and arrive at Tokyo Station in just over an hour and a half, or Kyoto Station in less than 40 minutes.
Other parts of Aichi Prefecture are connected with Nagoya Meitetsu and Kintetsu stations, which sit just next to the main station. This makes transfers to other parts of Japan quick and effortless, regardless of where you live in the prefecture.
Things To See and Do in Aichi
Aichi offers a healthy mix of natural and urban areas, and the most densely populated is the western region which is home to Nagoya. Nagoya is the capital of the prefecture and serves as its industrial, cultural, and entertainment center.
Production plants are scattered around the city, and it is also home to many large corporations, including Makita, Noritake and Brother. However, there are also many public parks and gardens, as well as museums such as the Tokugawa Art Museum and the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology. Modern entertainment venues stand side by side with ancient shrines and historic architecture. Samurai culture is an essential factor in Aichi's history, and the prefecture is home to several samurai-era castles, including Nagoya Castle and Inuyama Castle which are considered to be the most important today. Inuyama city is also known for the Meiji Mura open-air museum.
Tokoname is particularly loved among anime and manga lovers, as it's known as the main producer of the Maneki Neko beckoning cat sculptures that are now inspiring artists all over the world. Finally, Toyota City is best known as home to the headquarters of Toyota Motor Corp, and the car manufacturer sponsors the operation of several museums.
Finally, Aichi organizes countless festivals throughout the year, like the Nagoya Festival, Okazaki Fireworks Festival, Chiryu Festival and Shiohi Festival. Many of these festivals have run continuously for hundreds of years and offer a deep insight into Japan's history and culture.
The Price and Comfort of Living in Aichi
Aichi makes great efforts to attract new Japanese and foreign residents. The Aichi International Association and similar organizations offer consultation counters for foreigners who live or plan to live in the area. The government also lists relevant information for future residents online.
Aichi is home to many foreigners, and they have adapted their facilities towards them. Nagoya has an international school, which has been open for more than 50 years and serves children from kindergarten to high school.
Over 7,000 medical centers have foreign language speaking employees, striving to make life as comfortable for non-Japanese residents as possible.
Low rent prices are the final factor that make Aichi so attractive. You can easily find a comfortable 50 square meter apartment for 80,000 yen ($728), which is around 50,000 yen ($455) lower than a similar apartment in Tokyo.
Once a samurai stronghold, now a center of Japanese industry, Aichi is one of the best places for foreigners to live in Japan. It offers plenty of opportunities to work and grow, is adapted towards those who don't speak Japanese, and offers lively and always-evolving business, cultural, and entertainment scenes.
Sources: Japan Today, City Cost, Aichi Government Website, Jetro, Business Japan, Aichi Now, Japan Visitor
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