When the coronavirus outbreak caused rice and instant noodles to disappear from supermarket shelves in Tokyo this year, Kaoru Okada, 36, decided to leave the capital because he was worried about food security.

Okada settled in the city of Saku, Nagano Prefecture, about 160 kilometers northwest of Tokyo, maintaining his online retail and export business while growing vegetables in shared farms and threshing rice.

“I moved out of Tokyo in June as soon as the domestic travel ban was lifted, thinking now is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Okada said. “Living close to a food-producing center and connections with farmers give me a sense of security.”