Working in rural area far more spiritually enriching, say couple who moved out of Tokyo

As the trend of moving out of Tokyo gains pace, Japan Correspondent Walter Sim speaks to some of those who have moved out of the capital in recent months.

Mr Tomokazu Okada and his family moved to Awaji island in Hyogo prefecture in August. He was born in Chiba, just outside Tokyo, and has never lived outside of the Greater Tokyo region before. PHOTO: PASONA GROUP

MR TOMOKAZU OKADA, 38

Moved in: August

Moved to: Awaji Island, Hyogo. Located in the Seto Inland Sea, it is an hour from five Unesco World Heritage Sites, four airports, and near the cities of Osaka and Kobe.

Occupation: General manager, corporate planning, staffing firm Pasona Group

"I have never lived outside the Tokyo region all my life. I was born in Chiba (east of Tokyo) and have lived in Tokyo since university.

My wife, who works in (the company's) subsidiary, Pasona Agri-Partners, was born and raised in Aomori prefecture and has been enthusiastic about a move to the countryside.

The Covid-19 pandemic made me realise I could work anywhere smoothly. I felt that working in a rural area would be far more spiritually enriching than in Tokyo.

We have a two-year-old girl, whom we want to raise in an environment steeped in nature.

Many may be worried about education opportunities but near the new company premises are classrooms where children can learn activities like ballet, karate or piano for free.

Telecommunications in Tokyo are admittedly better than in Awaji, but I think it is only a matter of time before the infrastructure improves as the population grows."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 11, 2020, with the headline Working in rural area far more spiritually enriching, say couple who moved out of Tokyo. Subscribe