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The capital of Japan and the largest city in the world, Tokyo is the place to be if you love the big city life. There is always something to do, incredible festivals to attend, museums to visit and plenty of places to eat and drink (great for practising your Japanese and meeting new people!). And for such a large metropolis, there are many areas where it can feel surprisingly quiet and tranquil.

Its world-class public transport system will take you anywhere you want to go in the city, from the dazzling lights of Shinjuku to the serene mountain ranges in Okutama. Or, go a bit farther afield and make day trips to the famous Mt Fuji, the hot springs of Hakone or the sacred temples of Nikko. The possibilities for experiencing Japanese life, culture, entertainment, history, travel and food are limitless when you live in Tokyo.

Tokyo is also home to our largest selection of Japanese language schools so you’re bound to find one that fits your needs and goals. You’ll find opportunities to work part-time while studying and once you’re finished with language school, you’ll be well-positioned to continue with higher education or find full-time employment in Japan.

Yokohama is Japan’s second-largest city by population and just a stone’s throw away from Tokyo. It was the first port to open up to foreign trade after Japan ended its period of isolation and as such, it grew up with strong Western and Chinese influences.

Its proximity to Tokyo means Yokohama is the perfect place for those who prefer to live in a more laid-back city, but still be within reach of all the craziness and intensity that Tokyo can offer. Don’t think you’ll be bored living in Yokohama though – it hosts several significant events throughout the year including Chinese New Year celebrations, the Pikachu Festival, one of Japan’s largest jazz festivals, Oktoberfest and a Christmas market. Its streets are also full of fantastic eateries, cafes and bars.

When it comes to Japanese history and culture, you’re not going to find a place more significant than Kyoto. This city holds incredible cultural value as the former seat of the imperial court and has many temples, shrines, traditional gardens and palaces. Since it was spared from extensive damage during World War II, it is now one of Japan’s most well-preserved cities.

As another significant transport hub, it’s easy to get from Kyoto to other places in the region. It is also an especially pleasant city to cycle around, with its wide and mostly flat roads.

Kyoto is also home to one of the country’s top universities, Kyoto University, as well as several other top-ranking universities. Our language schools in Kyoto can help students with their higher education goals in Japan after they complete their language studies.

Vibrant and a little rough around the edges (but with a heart of gold), Osaka is what some people consider to be the more down-to-earth alternative to Tokyo. While Osaka is the second-largest metropolitan area in Japan and the economic powerhouse of the Kansai region, it is also described by many as friendlier and more easy-going than its eastern rival.

Foodies especially love Osaka because of the regional specialities, including okonomiyaki and takoyaki, and its lively downtown hub with its canal lined with places to eat and drink. It’s home to one of Japan’s most famous landmarks, Osaka Castle, as well as one of Japan’s oldest temples. Osaka is also a major transport hub and you can reach so many wonderful places like Kyoto, Nara, Kobe and more by just hopping on a train.

All regions in Japan have their own dialects and the Kansai dialect is one of the most famous. If you love Kansai-ben, or you want to pick it up, then living in Osaka is the best way to do that.

Kobe is located between the sea and the mountains and sits right across the bay from Osaka. Like Yokohama, it’s a major port city and was one of the first to open up to foreign trade following the end of Japan’s period of isolation.

While perhaps most famous for its Kobe beef, this compact city also boasts Japan’s most famous hot spring, a popular fashion week and a stylish mix of Japanese and Western culture. The port area is especially nice to spend time in, with plenty of cafes and public spaces to relax and study Japanese in.

Nagoya is the capital city of Aichi prefecture and is Japan’s fourth most populated city with more than two million people who call it home. Today, it’s known as Japan’s transport and industrial hub.

A major station on one of the country’s most heavily used shinkansen (bullet train) routes, Nagoya is often bypassed by people eager to explore nearby Kyoto or Osaka. But with all the conveniences of a major city – extensive public transport, lots of things to do, easy access to food and entertainment – without the big city price tag, Nagoya is easily one of the best cities in Japan to learn Japanese. 

Okayama is located right between the popular cities of Osaka and Hiroshima and offers similarly breathtaking coastal scenes. One of Japan’s most beautiful castles is right in the city center in close proximity to the Korakuen gardens. The famous art island Naoshima and historical town of Kurashiki are just outside of Okayama City and the Shikoku region is just one bridge away!

When asking any Japanese person about the most popular folk tale, they will undoubtedly respond “Momotarou!” The famous tale of the boy born from a peach and defeating demons with his animal friends originated right here, in Okayama city.

Live near the foot of the sacred Mt Fuji and get in touch with Japan’s nature by studying in Kofu. This city of less than 200,000 people is the capital of the Yamanashi Prefecture and attracts visitors for its nature, local fruit, wine and onsen. Go camping and hiking in the nearby Fuji Five Lakes district in summer and warm up in a local onsen with views of Mt Fuji during winter.

Since Kofu is a smaller city in a less urban location, students can benefit from a much lower cost of living while enjoying great quality of life. If you love nature and living a more local life, then why not consider studying in Kofu?

Oita City is the capital of Oita prefecture, located on Kyushu, the third-largest of Japan’s five main islands. Oita prefecture, much like the rest of Kyushu, is famous for its sweeping nature and its close proximity to both mountain and sea. It’s also famous for onsen and is known as the onsen prefecture.

Oita is blessed with a temperate climate, with easy access to fresh produce. Those who enjoy the outdoors will love the beaches, hiking trails, waterfalls and of course, the natural hot springs.

Located on the coast and closer to mainland Asia than Tokyo, Fukuoka has been an important and influential city for a long time. It was chosen as a landing point during the Mongol invasions of the 13th Century and its port is now a major transport hub for nearby islands and Busan in South Korea.

It’s also Japan’s largest startup city, so those with entrepreneurial ambitions might do well to live in Fukuoka. Additionally, it is a fast-growing, but highly liveable, city due to its lower cost of living, space and close proximity to nature.

Sapporo is the largest city in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost prefecture, but most people might recognise it as the home of Japan’s oldest beer brand. It’s one of Japan’s youngest cities, with 1868 recognised as its official birth year and a population of just 7 people in 1857.

Sapporo came to the world’s attention when it hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics and is now famous for its beer, ramen and its annual snow festival, which first began in 1950. If you enjoy the outdoors, like the idea of living in a young city and don’t mind the cold, then Sapporo could be the place for you.

Naha is the capital city of Okinawa Prefecture and the most populated city on Okinawa Island, the largest of the prefecture’s 160 islands. Between the 15th and 17th centuries, Okinawa was its own kingdom and experienced flourishing trade with other nearby countries, leading to a unique culture that you won’t find anywhere else in Japan. You can experience remnants of this time through the many castle ruins that are scattered around Okinawa Island and are easily accessed from Naha.

With its subtropical climate, Okinawa Prefecture is the perfect place to be if you enjoy the beach and water activities such as snorkeling and diving. Naha’s own Naminoue Beach stretches out underneath Naminoue Shrine, which is perched on top of a cliff. You can easily travel from Naha to other more remote islands and beaches in the area if you prefer somewhere more serene. Go from sand to pavement as you explore Kokusaidōri, the lively main street with shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars.

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