Advantages and disadvantages of living on a remote island in Japan

Advantages and disadvantages of living on a remote island in Japan Japan

In addition to the main islands of Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and Okinawa, there are many remote islands in Japan. Of these, more than 400 are inhabited islands, from north to south, with a variety of climates, landscapes, and town development characteristics.

While some islands are mainly engaged in the tourism industry, others have strong urban ties due to their location and means of transportation, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to living on a remote island. In this section, we are introducing the conditions and basic information about living on remote islands, as well as recommended islands to relocate to.


  • Many people may visit remote islands for sightseeing and become fascinated by their nature and culture. Living on a remote island has a deep appeal that is different from that of a country town on the mainland.
  • Discover nature of ocean and mountains within walking distance.
  • Surrounded by the sea and pristine mountains and rivers, remote islands allow you to enjoy the great outdoors. This is perfect for people who like natural scenery and leisure activities and who want to raise their children in nature. The ocean and mountains are just a short walk away, and the clean air and beautiful starry skies make life on the islands a charm you can never find in the city.
  • Time passes slowly.
  • One of the most common characteristics of island life is the slow and leisurely flow of time. You may also hear the term “island time”. 
  • You can enjoy your leisure time without being rushed by commuting, work, and schedules.
  • Commuting is fun, too!
  • Many people living on the islands commute to work by car, but it is nothing compared to the tedious commute in the city.
  • You can enjoy the beautiful scenery from the car window on your way to work every day, and on your way back home. Also, you can easily stop off at a spot with a spectacular view.
  • Fresh local products.
  • Most of the remote islands have thriving primary industries such as fishing and agriculture. In addition to direct sales, there are many places in the countryside where the culture of sharing is deeply rooted, and you are blessed with the opportunity to obtain fresh, local products.
  • Encountering Unknown Ingredients.
  • The best part of living on an island is that you may encounter local specialties, some of which are only available on that island.
  • You can raise your children on the island safely.
  • In an environment where all residents know each other, the small community creates warm human relationships. In particular, it is reassuring to know that children are cared for not only at home and at school, but also in the community as a whole.
  • In a depopulated and aging town, children are the community’s treasure. For the children themselves, having many people in the community who can relate to various generations and watch over them will provide them with a rich source of nourishment for their growth.
  • There is a strong sense of solidarity among the islanders.
  • At times, it may feel suffocating to live a life where you have to be careful about your neighborly relations and be aware of what others think of you. However, a strong sense of solidarity with a strong local self-governing system is an advantage in terms of crime and accident prevention and convenience in daily life. Working together on events and helping each other in small ways on a daily basis will nurture relationships and lead to a richer immigrant lifestyle.
  • Surprisingly, there are jobs and opportunities.
  • One may be concerned that there are not many jobs in a sparsely populated area, but in fact, it is precisely because of this that there is a demand for workers in such areas. With the aging of the population, there is a serious shortage of workers in the countryside.
  • In addition to primary industries such as agriculture and fisheries, which are rooted in the land, there are also many job openings in nursing care, medical care, and other industries that are essential to the daily lives of residents, as well as in construction.
  • For those who are considering starting a business, the lack of competition may be a major advantage. Some municipalities have established business start-up support programs for immigrants, making it a challenging environment.


Of course, living on a remote island is not all advantages. The following are some of the inconveniences that people may experience when living on a remote island.

  • Lack of a personal car makes transportation difficult. Basically, a car is a necessity. Even on islands where buses are available, they are often infrequent, so there may be cases where you are stuck without your own car.
  • Low minimum wage. Local wages tend to be lower than those in urban areas. However, the cost of living is lower than in the city in many areas, so you will have to make a living while balancing your income and expenses.
  • Isolation when ships are cancelled. On remote islands, except for those connected by bridges, communication with the mainland is by ship or plane. It is important to be aware that weather and sea conditions can cause cancellations of voyages. In addition to human traffic, there is also the risk that logistics will be affected by the continued cancellation of flights, resulting in a shortage of daily commodities.
  • Lack of road maintenance. Road maintenance projects on remote islands are a challenge for many municipalities. Driving may be stressful in some areas because the roads are too rough or the topography is too restrictive to allow for wide roads.
  • Lack of supermarkets and pharmacies. While there is an abundance of local foodstuffs, there is not a full range of general distribution products available at supermarkets and other retail stores. Limited stores, small selection, and high prices due to transportation costs are often cited as inconveniences of living on an island. Many people find online shopping convenient, but shipping costs are often high on remote islands.
  • Stores close early. Stores close early in the countryside, which may be confusing to those accustomed to 24-hour convenience stores and supermarkets, and restaurants that stay open until the wee hours of the morning in the city.
  • Rumors spread faster than the Internet. This is the negative side of a close-knit community. It is important to be aware of the fact that you are always under the watchful eye of local people, and that rumors, including misunderstandings, can spread easily.