As Japan’s major metropolitan areas grow in size and absorb an ever greater percentage of the country’s population, there is an increasingly strong impetus for moving to the country.
According to a Cabinet Office survey, the percentage of respondents in the Tokyo area expressing interest in relocating stood at around 25% in December 2019. By June 2022, this figure had risen to 34.2%.
Urban-rural migration isn't a new phenomenon in Japan. In the 1980s, the term “U-turn” was used to describe leaving one’s rural hometown for big cities, only to return later in life. The recent spread of remote work has definitely facilitated a move from densely populated areas to picturesque rural places. Still, the usual problems of living in the countryside remain: an aging society, and access to high-quality education and medical services, for example. Yet some people who move back to cities after a taste of rural living find it hard to connect with the community.