The pros and cons of living on Tokyo’s outskirts

When we first found our previous apartment in Minami Asagaya, my partner and I were thrilled. It was near a lovely park and gave us an easy commute to work. And then the coronavirus pandemic hit. Suddenly the apartment felt very, very small. Both of us were working from home and neither one could get space away from the other.

After a year of making do, our lease came up for renewal. A few months later, we finally found the perfect house for rent and moved from urban Tokyo to a semi-agricultural area located a 25-minute walk from Mitaka station in the western region of the city.

This has improved our lives, and I highly recommend it for folks who can work from home. Like everything, there are pros and cons, although I personally feel the benefits have very much outweighed the downsides.

More space

While still cheap compared to cities like New York or Singapore, getting a 3LDK within the main 23 wards of Tokyo can be expensive. Moving to the outskirts has allowed us to go from a 42-square-meter apartment with paper-thin walls to a two-story 110 square-meter house for just ¥40,000 more per month.

Innumerable little daily stressors disappeared: we can both work in the kitchen simultaneously, don’t need to fight for closet space and can keep our individual workspaces how we like them. This has improved our relationship, as we both have the space we need and can work without getting in each other’s way.

Peace and quiet

Until moving to the boonies, I didn’t realize how much the constant noise drained my mind. In the evening it is easy to fall asleep, as there are no loud cars, music playing in shops, or rowdy passersby chatting loudly after a night out.

The lack of crowds also makes walking around, shopping and other daily chores so much more pleasant. Walking home at the end of a long day rushing around the city is a pleasure, as just a few minutes from the station the main sounds transition to bird song, chirping insects and the wind through the trees.

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