Hokkaido remained comfortably on top as Japan’s most attractive prefecture in the Local Brand Survey 2021, conducted by the Brand Research Institute. It has been number one every year since the survey started covering prefectures in 2009. Hokkaidō also came highest in categories on tourism and brand recall for regional food products. Meanwhile, Kyoto has been in second place for 13 consecutive years. The ranking saw little change at the top in 2021, although Osaka leapfrogged Kanagawa to move into fifth place, and Nagasaki rose to enter the top 10.
The three lowest prefectures were Saitama at 45, Saga at 46, and Ibaraki at 47, the last place in terms of attractiveness. Ibaraki had risen from the bottom to forty-second place in 2020, but dropped again this year. Tochigi, the least popular prefecture in 2020, climbed to forty-first in 2021.
In the list of most attractive municipalities, Sapporo rose back to the top spot for the first time since 2012, and the seventh time overall. It was just ahead of Hakodate, another city in the prefecture, and with Otaru and Furano also in the top 10, Hokkaidō’s brand power is clear. Increasingly attractive as a place to live, Karuizawa leapt up from twentieth in 2020 to eighth position in 2021. The Brand Research Institute also points to the Nagano Prefecture town’s potential as a spot for workcations.
The Local Brand Survey has been conducted every year since 2006. It tallies and quantifies the responses of 35,000 people to questions regarding 1,000 municipalities in all 47 of Japan’s prefectures, gauging their awareness of the places, their motivation to visit them, their desire to reside there, and their evaluation of regional resources.