It was another mixed session for the Australian and New Zealand dollars last week amid some disappointing economic data.
Located on the coast of Japan’s south-western Kyushu Island, Fukuoka is drawing expats, investors and companies from across the globe thanks to the perfect cocktail of low prices, excellent opportunities, and its proximity to some of the nation’s most important tourist and commercial centres.
Intrigued? Read on to find out just why this historic port city is garnering attention from all over the world.
Small population, low costs, big opportunities
By being bigger in terms of area than other urban centres such as Osaka and Tokyo, but having a much smaller population, Fukuoka offers the bustle of city living without the claustrophobia associated with some of Japan’s other cities.
Rent and property here can be up to 50% cheaper than in Tokyo, although the influx of eager Japanese and international residents is pushing values up as the city gains in popularity.
Because of the large number of local and international businesses attracted to the area, career options are plentiful – the city has been poaching skilled workers from other areas of Japan for many years now.
Settling in is becoming increasingly easy as local businesses recognise the potential of the expat market. Earlier this year it was reported that Japanese banks in Fukuoka were expanding their range of services targeted towards English-speaking residents of the city, in response to the growth in the number of expats moving to the region.
Things to do in Fukuoka
There’s plenty to do in Fukuoka, such as visiting the historic Fukuoka Castle and its grounds. This remarkable building, dating back to 1601, lies in ruins today, but is still an impressive site, especially when the cherry trees in the surrounding Maizuru Park are in full blossom.
Other historic sites in the city include the Kushida Shrine and the Shingon temple of Tōchō-ji, complete with the largest seated Buddha statue in Japan; a 10.8 metre, 30-tonne exhibit completed in 1992 that took four years to carve.
On the more modern end of the spectrum, the Canal City Hakata shopping mall offers a huge range of brand and speciality stalls, along with dining areas and fountain shows.
Fukuoka Tower offers an observation deck, dining area and lounge for enjoying the sights, and the Marine World Uminonakamichi boasts 20,000 animals of 350 different species.
Endless travel possibilities
Fukuoka offers a lot within itself, but its geography adds yet another arrow to its quiver.
The city is just a short drive away from both beaches and mountains, so whether you want to spend some time relaxing by the sea or rigorously hiking at altitude, you’re sure to find the local landscape to your liking.
Osaka is just a 70-minute flight away, while it only takes 1 hour 50 minutes to fly to Tokyo. It’s not just some of Japan’s best places that are within easy reach: Shanghai is just 1 hour 25 minutes away by plane and a ferry can get you to South Korea in under three hours.
Clearly, Fukuoka is the perfect hub from which to explore much of what this part of Asia has to offer.
With affordable property, great things to do locally, and easy connections to other parts of Japan and Asia, Fukuoka is the perfect hub for expats looking for an Asian adventure.
A great mixture of scenery, history and contemporary developments, this is a city looking to a bright future in the domestic and international spotlights, and you can be a part of it.
Currencies Direct is one of Europe's leading non-bank providers of currency exchange and international payment services. Since we were formed in 1996, we've maintained our focus on providing innovative foreign exchange and international currency transfer services to corporations of all sizes, online sellers and private individuals. We have also expanded our services to provide dynamic and pioneering "business to business" solutions to help companies, tier 2/3 banks and other non-bank financial institutions to process their international payments. Our headquarters are in the City of London (United Kingdom) and we have operations in continental Europe, Africa, Asia, and the United States. Currencies Direct is jointly owned by private equity firms Palamon Capital Partners and Corsair Capital.