With two major city centres, Osaka's unusual layout lends the city an interesting structure. Progressively quieter areas fan out from this vibrant centres. Thanks to Osaka's excellent transport system, it isn't necessary to live right on the doorstep of major employment sectors to get to work within a reasonable commute time.
Osaka holds plenty of fantastic areas and suburbs for expats looking for a new place to call home, each with its own personality and quirks.
Recommended expat areas in Osaka
Umeda and Namba
Umeda and Namba, Osaka's two city centres, are 15 minutes apart, but both are high-energy business and entertainment areas buzzing with activity. Most accommodation in both areas is in the form of high-rise apartments, with the result that these areas are especially popular with young professionals or couples. Shopping and dining opportunities abound. Umeda and Namba are both major transport hubs, making travelling around the rest of Osaka a breeze.
Close to the airport and conveniently located just a short train trip away from Umeda, Toyonaka is often referred to as the 'gate to Osaka'. High-quality accommodation in the form of houses and apartments, along with plenty of amenities like shopping malls, make this a popular choice among expats. Much of Toyonaka's population is made up of foreigners.
Home to Toyonaka International Center, this area is an excellent place for expats to begin their journey as new arrivals in Osaka. Here, numerous resources are available to meet the needs of foreigners. This includes adult Japanese classes, multilingual consultation services and child-centred programmes for all age groups that teach Japanese in a fun and social setting.
Ashiya is a wealthy area known for its stunning view over Osaka Bay. For those who can afford it, this is a lovely place to settle down and has been home to numerous big names over the years, from Nobel prize winners to revered writers.
Wide, tree-lined streets, hillside homes and large properties with amenities such as tennis courts and swimming pools create a sense of luxury. Expat families, in particular, favour Ashiya for its location midway between Osaka and Kobe, both of which have prestigious international schools easily reachable by bus.