Facts about Okazaki
Location & Geography
Located in the eastern part of Aichi Prefecture in central
Japan about 40 kilometers from southeast of Nagoya. Okazaki is about halfway
between Tokyo and Osaka, halfway between Kyoto and Mount Fuji.
Population & People
In 2004, Okazaki's population is around 355,000. The demographic
center of the city has been gradually shifting south, with large shopping malls
such as AEON bringing the commercial heart of the city south as well. The population
density is fairly evenly distributed. A large proportion of the population work
in the city, though there are also many commuters. The foreign community is
also well established.
Okazaki has many parks and compared to other cities of its
size, a lot of greenery. Zoning is still problem, and it is not ususual to see
businesses (even factories) located to or inside residential areas, or rice
paddies next to medium-rise apartment buildings. There is plenty of breathing
space in Okazaki.
In Okazaki, winter is usually milder than in Tokyo or Kyoto,
with only occasional snow, though it can be cold if its windy. Summers in Okazaki
are hot and humid, but again, less so than Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka. The average
temperature in Okazaki rises and falls sharply during the course of the year.
Flora and Fauna
Due to the increasingly urban nature of Okazaki, large wild
fauna is pretty rare. If you're interested in seeing more than the specimens
couped up in the small zoo in Higashi Koen, head to the rural/urban fringes
east of the Tomei Expressway interchange and the valleys leading up to the towns
of Nukata and Shimoyama. Here it is possible to find wild monkeys (Japanese
macaques) and tanuki (a stout, short-legged creature with a small, bushy tail
- a member of the dog family).
Okazaki is a prosperous city. Unemployment is usually lower
than average and disposable incomes high. The services sector provides the bulk
of economic activity, followed by manufacturing. Apart from banking and retail,
education is a major contributer through the local universities and institutes.
The automobile (Toyota, Mitsubishi), machinery (Makita) and other knowledge
intensive industries have largely displaced the textile sector for which this
part of the Mikawa district was originally noted for.
As a general rule Okazaki is pretty safe. Although it is a safe
city, there are certain precautions that the local police advise.