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5 Most Popular Municipalities for the Hometown Tax Program

By Staff Writer
December 26, 2022
Japan has an unusual feature in its inhabitant tax system called the “Hometown Tax.” However, the reality is more similar to donation.

It is a system under which, in principle, the full amount of a donation exceeding 2,000 yen can be deducted from income tax and inhabitant tax (subject to certain limits) when the donation is made to a municipality of choice, which could be the payers’ hometown (though it does not have to be).

The reason behind the program was that, as many young people move to major cities for school or work, smaller communities are not only losing population, but also much-needed local tax income. This program allows people to direct part of their tax payment to providing funds to participating communities.
A selection of fresh vegetables in a wooden box
To receive as much Hometown Tax funding as possible, many municipalities try their best to entice donors, often by sending them gifts of local produce and other goods to show their gratitude.

Here are the 5 Most Popular Municipalities for Hometown Tax, based on the Survey on Hometown Tax in FY2022, from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications website.
5. Izumisano, Osaka
An aerial photo of Kansai International Airport
Kansai international Airport
Izumisano city includes the recently completed Kansai international Airport. In 1954, five villages (Minaminakadori, Hineno, Nagataki, Kaminogo, and Odo) were merged to form the current city area. Izumisano offers 2829 kinds of diverse gifts.

4. Shiranukacho, Hokkaido
A selection of uncooked lamb chops on a cutting board
In the southeast of Hokkaido, there is Shiranukacho. Shiranukacho offers various kinds of food that are no often found in major cities, such as venison, lamb, and seafoods such as shishamo smelt and whelk.

3. Nemuro, Hokkaido
A tray of sea urchin meat
Nemuro is the easternmost city in Hokkaido, and produces the most mackerel pike in Japan. It is also known for cod roe and sea urchin, which are included among the local gifts from Nemuro.

2. Miyakonojo, Miyazaki
Cooked chicken legs on a wooden board
Miyakonojo is a city in Miyazaki prefecture in Kyushu. Its nickname is "meat town," boasting the highest output of beef cattle, pigs, and chickens in Japan. These meats are of course included as local gifts. Miyazaki prefecture was hit by storms and torrential rains this year brought by Typhoon No. 14 from September 17th to 24th and Miyakonojo suffered severe damage. Miyakonojo is now also receiving Hometown tax as a donation to recover from the aftermath of Typhoon No. 14.

1. Mombetsu, Hokkaido
Salmon roe being spooned out of a glass cup

The most popular community in the survey was Mombetsu, a city that lies in the northeast Hokkaido, the biggest prefecture in Japan. The local gifts from Mombetsu are seafoods such as crabs, salmon roe and scallops, rice, and dairy products such as butter.
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