A two-dimensional individual-based fish movement model coupled with fish bioenergetics was developed to simulate the observed migration and growth of Japanese sardine (Sardinops melanostictus) in the western North Pacific. In the model, derived from the observed ocean–environmental data as the driving force, fish movement was adapted as a kinesis behavior. The model successfully simulated the observed transport patterns during the egg and larval stages and the northward migrations during the juvenile stage in 2005, 2006 and 2007. The model results showed that both temperature during the larval stage in the Kuroshio Extension and the prey availability during the early juvenile stage in the Kuroshio–Oyashio transitional area are important factors for growth of Japanese sardine. In autumn, the observed juvenile sardine were mainly distributed in the subarctic water region off the Kuril Islands, which is an area (158–165°E, 43–47°N) with a high chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) concentration. The model reproduced the fish distribution, which has a high density in this region. The high Chl-a concentration area in autumn may contribute to increasing the survival rate of Japanese sardine by cascading up the food chain, from the high primary production, and is an important habitat for recruitment success of Japanese sardine.