Home > My Opinons > Why I Live Here

Why I Live Here

February 3, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

I am often asked what I like about living in Osaka. And because I have also lived in Tokyo, I am also asked whether I prefer Osaka or Tokyo. Besides the fact that my job and life are here, there are four primary reasons I prefer to live in Osaka over any other place in Japan:

1. The People
This is the number one reason Osaka is the most livable place I have found in Japan. People here are the most open-minded (including their attitudes toward foreign residents), are willing to help out strangers, and are basically warm and approachable. It is easy to strike up a conversation with a stranger almost anywhere you go, and if you need help because you are lost or unsure of something, just ask someone nearby and you will almost never be ignored. The “people” factor is not only my top reason for staying here; ask anyone here and you will likely hear the same thing.

2. Livability
With a metropolitan population of approximately 3 million, Osaka City is big but not too big, and despite the tri-city metro area population of approximately 20 million, it does not (for the most part) have the hellish commutes, snail-like traffic and infuriating crowds of cities like Tokyo or Seoul. There are many of small shops and businesses mixed in with department stores and chain stores, so you can easily find something that suites your tastes — the inexhaustible number of hidden places to explore is one of the city’s best features. Unlike its historical rival, Tokyo, Osaka is planned well, so you won’t get lost wondering the streets (I dare you to try explaining the order behind the urban planning and subway system of the capital). The cost of living is also more than reasonable in comparison. Finally, Osaka has many well-designed parks and waterfront spots, making for a pleasant urban environment. Despite its past reputation as a dirty, industrial city, Osaka has become a massive commercial center and one of the cleanest and most livable cities you will find.

3. Rich Culture and History
Osaka has played many roles throughout its history, including that of the imperial capital (as Naniwa-kyo), an important trade port and point for importing cultural innovations, a diplomatic host for Chinese and Korean visitors when the capital moved first to Nara and then Kyoto, the base of Toyotomi military power, the prime economic center and site of the world’s first futures market during the Edo Period, a major manufacturing center during the early modern period and period of high-speed growth, a temporary capital when Tokyo was burned to the ground in the fires of the 1923 earthquake, a primary commercial and trade center since the postwar period, and now an increasingly international city and central hub for Japan and East Asia. This rich history has given rise to a unique culture and a number of rich, deep-rooted traditions. Osaka is also the transportation hub of Kansai, the cultural center and birthplace of Japanese civilization, so you can reach places such as Nara, Kyoto, and Himeji in no time.

4. The Food
Osaka is historically known as “the nation’s kitchen” for its role in supplying and acting as a hub for the food industry. It is also famous for its cuisine — not luxury cuisine, mind you, but “B-level” (B-kyu) cuisine. The quality of okonomiyaki, takoyaki, ramen, soba, kushikatsu, sushi, and other foods people eat on a regular basis is outstanding. In addition, the large number of non-Japanese living in the city means there is a huge selection of international cuisine, too — Korean food in Tsuruhashi, for example. Delicious food at surprisingly low prices is definitely one of the city’s strongest points.

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  1. christian oliff
    February 3, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    I moved to live in Osaka from London in September and really love it here. I really enjoy your blog. Thanks for posting! :-)

  2. Mike
    February 4, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Hey. I don’t normally leave comments, but I just wanted to say thanks for the great information. I have a blog too, though
    I don’t write as good as you do, but if you want to check it out here it is. Thanks again and have a great day!

    Fire Mage PvP

  3. February 6, 2010 at 8:25 am

    I agree! I was just thinking yesterday how even when Umeda is busy and I’m commuting to or from work, it’s not really that busy, very pleasant by comparison to Tokyo.
    Oh, and thanks for linking my blog too!

  4. February 7, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Christian – I hope you are liking it here! If you’re around Namba we should grab a beer sometime, I’d love to hear your impressions about Osaka and Kansai.

    Mike – Thanks for commenting! :) I’ll check out your blog now.

    Jeremy – I’m glad to see another Osaka blog! :D

  5. RIE
    February 24, 2010 at 10:45 am

    I found this blog today and loved your postings.
    I grew up in Osaka so I’m glad that you like it here and our Naniwa spirit.
    Also, it’s interesting to know how people from different country see us, too.
    I used to live in Tokyo and couldn’t completely blend into their culture, especially food.
    I’ll be looking forward to your next article!
    Arigato!

  6. Brian Tanner
    August 11, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    I had to post a comment on this one because I had a different experience than yours. I have been living in Japan for many years, including Osaka and Tokyo, and I must say that the people in Tokyo are a lot nicer than the people in Osaka. Just an example in Tokyo, older people will chat up with you if you follow them in a dark allay at night on your way to your mansion they will even hold the door for you, in Osaka people fear foreigners, I cannot count how many time I get that “omg a foreigner”/”I am scared” look. Now if you are an English teacher it might be another story with your students, as for in a bar or a club, but as far as everyday life is concerned you have more chance to feel unwelcome and sometimes insulted (they cannot imagine you can understand Japanese) by the locals in Osaka.

  1. February 9, 2010 at 6:01 am

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