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Most Foreigner-Friendly City in Japan  

CharmingAsianCY 39M
197 posts
12/23/2018 12:26 pm

Last Read:
2/18/2019 12:06 am

Most Foreigner-Friendly City in Japan

Based on your travel experience or your perception, which city in Japan is known for its great friendliness toward foreigners? Please explain a reason for your choice by writing it on the comment box below.
Niigata (Niigata prefecture)
Hakodate (Hokkaido prefecture)
Osaka (Osaka Prefecture)
Hiroshima (Hiroshima Prefecture)
Nagoya (Aichi Prefecture)
Yokohama (Kanagawa Prefecture)
Kobe (Hyogo Prefecture)
Sapporo (Hokkaido Prefecture)
Nagasaki (Nagasaki prefecture)
other (please specify)

CharmingAsianCY 39M
130 posts
12/23/2018 1:01 pm

If you ask me which city in Japan is more receptive to foreigners, it would have to be Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture. Yokohama has been an international port since June 2nd, 1859, and many foreigners from many different countries live and work there for business opportunities. The Japanese people who live there (called Hamakko, which literally means sons of Yokohama) are more exposed to foreign cultures than those living in Tokyo, which is only separated by Kawasaki city and Tama River, so they are naturally more accustomed to meeting with foreigners, unlike the Japanese people in rural areas, where they would more likely to be surprised when they are greeted by foreigners. While the percentage of all Japanese people with proficiency in at least one foreign language is about 1% (which is national average in Japan), the percentage of Japanese people in Yokohama with proficiency in at least one foreign language is probably higher, like between 3% and 10%, partly due to the language environment and partly due to the presence of former Japanese expatriates who returned from foreign countries. Many Japanese expatriates who live in Yokohama have parents who live and work in foreign countries for years, and many of them lived in foreign countries as either children or teenagers, and so they have had constant contact with foreigners and ended up having many foreign friends and, most importantly, foreign language skills, which is a very important asset for Japanese companies that are struggling to expand their opportunities overseas. When they returned to Japan, many felt a bit detached from their homeland, especially those originally from rural prefectures, so they ended up living in international port cities like Yokohama where, one, they can remain in Japanese soil, and, two, they can get something to eat at a foreign restaurant like in foreign country where they once resided. For example, if a Japanese woman has lived in mainland China for years as a child and a teenager and then return to Japan as adult, and she feels a bit homesick on Chinese food, she can go with her friends to a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown to satisfy her Chinese appetite. (Yes, Yokohama does have a Chinatown where many Chinese people live and work, and it offers many things from Chinese food to even things that are only found in mainland China.)

If my friends want to go to a place in Japan where they would feel more welcomed in Japan, I would recommend Yokohama as the top tourist destination in Japan. (On a side note, if they want to go to the western part of Japan, Kobe would be the second best choice for tourists.)

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