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What’s Japan’s least appealing big city, and why did it get stuck with that title?

22 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews4

Despite Japan’s compact geographic dimensions, there’s actually quite a bit of variation in the local character and customs between its various cities. Bustling Tokyo, for example, can feel very different from Kyoto, the unhurried former capital of the country,

But even if each town has its respective charms, some are bound to be seen as more charming than others. The results of a recent survey asked participants which of Japan’s eight largest cities is the most appealing, and which is the least. Responses were gathered from 3,344 participants ranging in age from of 20 and 64 (all of whom had lived in one of the cities for at least five years), and they were particularly harsh regarding one town.

● Most appealing city:

  1. Sapporo (chosen by 22.8 percent of respondents)

  2. Tokyo (22.4 percent)

  3. Kyoto (18.1percent)

  4. Yokohama (10.8 percent)

  5. Fukuoka (9.5 percent)

  6. Kobe (7.6 percent)

  7. Osaka (5.3 percent)

  8. Nagoya (3.5 percent)

Despite being Japan’s fourth-largest city in terms of population, with more residents than anyplace besides Tokyo, Yokohama, and Osaka, Nagoya finished at the bottom of the list, repeating its basement-level result from 2016, the last time the survey was conducted.

Nagoya did, however, make the top of another ranking compiled from the data (also mirroring its 2016 standing).

● Least appealing city:

  1. Nagoya (chosen by 31.9 percent of respondents)

  2. Fukuoka (15.7 percent)

  3. Osaka (14.4 percent)

  4. Tokyo (14.3 percent)

  5. Sapporo (7.6 percent)

  6. Kobe (6.2 percent)

  7. Yokohama (5.3 percent)

  8. Kyoto (4.7 percent)

So what makes Nagoya so unpopular among the respondents? Honestly, nothing in particular…but unfortunately “nothing in particular” sort of applies to their image of Nagoya as a whole. When asked specifically what they found appealing about Nagoya, the most common response, given by 33.1 percent of the respondents, replied “Nagoya Castle.” The second-most common answer, though, from 28.1 percent, was “I can’t really think of anything.”

▼ Nagoya Castle

na-3.png

Just about every other city on the list can boast multiple nationally famous landmarks and tourist-drawing events. Tokyo has the Skytree, Tokyo Tower, and the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival. Headed to Kyoto? You’ll want to check out Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kiyomizu Temple, and take in a performance of Geisha arts. And of course, you haven’t really seen Yokohama until you’ve ridden its iconic seaside Ferris wheel, walked along the harbor at Yamashita Park, and been surrounded by Pokémon at the annual Pikachu Outbreak. But much of Japan simply sees Nagoya, if they bother to look at it, as just a large but nondescript city.

This is kind of unfair, since Nagoya has some awesome things going for it. In addition to its beautiful castle right in downtown (which is being restored to its authentically historical glory), Nagoya is arguably the best place in all of Japan to eat if you like hearty fare. Local culinary specialties include mouth-watering tebasaki chicken wings with a delicious sweet sesame glaze, tonkatsu pork cutlets slathered with miso, and bite-sized rice balls stuffed with tempura shrimp. It’s also the only major city in Japan where it’s normal to have breakfast out, with coffee shops across the city offering morning sets with pastries, salad, fruit, and coffee, often in unlimited quantities, for about the same price as you’d pay procuring breakfast at a convenience store.

And while they’re all outside of Nagoya itself, the city also makes a great base for forays into rural Gifu and Nagano prefectures, allowing you to spend the day enjoying anime Your Name inspiration Takayama and the preserved post towns of the Kiso Valley before heading back to for a night of big-city creature comforts. The highly-acclaimed Toyota Museum, in the city of Nagakute, is also just over a half hour from Nagoya Station, which means Nagoya will also be the most convenient large city from which to visit the Studio Ghibli anime theme park, which is projected to open in Nagakute in 2022.

So if you’re a “glass-is-half-full” kind of person, maybe the best way to think of Nagoya isn’t as “Japan’s least appealing large city,” but as “the Japanese city with the most appeal that a lot of people don’t know about.” Still probably best to think long and hard about whether you really need to visit Lego Land while you’re there, though.

Source: YouTube/ANNnewsCH via TV Asahi via Hachima Kiko. Sankei West

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© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

22 Comments
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I like Nagoya a lot especially the city center and Sakae.

I think one thing that I think makes it ranked the least appealing of these eight cities is that a lot times you need a car to get around. The other cities have more convenient public transportation. It's also a flat sprawled out city so it's not as picturesque as the other seven.

But overall, I like the people in Nagoya and usually have a good time when I'm there.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I guess given these cities to pick from, I would rank them the lowest as well. Unless you had Chiba or Saitama on the list.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Aren’t they all the same?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I think one thing that I think makes it ranked the least appealing of these eight cities is that a lot times you need a car to get around. The other cities have more convenient public transportation. It's also a flat sprawled out city so it's not as picturesque as the other seven.

I agree about it being a flat, sprawled out city that isn’t very picturesque (though Osaka and Tokyo are too), but disagree about public transit. The subway and rail network is about as extensive and well developed in Nagoya as it is in Osaka, a similarily sized city.

The problem with cars is that the central part of town was redesigned after the war with a grid system with huge streets cutting it up. This makes most of central Nagoya both unpleasant to navigate on foot and choked with cars. But public transit is fine.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

So what makes Nagoya so unpopular among the respondents? Honestly, nothing in particular…but unfortunately “nothing in particular” sort of applies to their image of Nagoya as a whole.

I lived in Nagoya, and this is spot on. I actually enjoy visiting the city, because I know the places I want to eat, and have friends to visit. And Sakae is pretty cool, as well as Central Park. But that said, there is nothing particularly striking about the city, and the quote above really hits home as to why it's at the bottom. Every other city on that list has something attractive about it, which is missing from Nagoya.

Absolutely nothing wrong with Nagoya, but also nothing particularly great about it either. Good food though.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

rainyday: The subway and rail network is about as extensive and well developed in Nagoya as it is in Osaka, a similarily sized city.

Yeah, I looked a bit closer at the transpo grid and I think you're right, it's more extensive than I thought.

You're also right about those big-wide roads. It feels a bit like driving on US roads so Nagoya has more of that automobile type city atmosphere.

I often get around by car when I'm in Nagoya rather than walk or take trains like I do when I'm in the other seven cities on this list (aside from Sapporo).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Great article--the most and least appealing cities are largely the same. Thanks. Ignoring the big-city rule, cities I like the most:

Kobe (my home), Nara, Hakodate, Nagasaki, Matsumoto, Kochi

If forced to live in a different big city: Sapporo or Yokohama

Placed I wouldn't want to live: Kyoto, too many tourists, Tokyo, too crowded, Osaka, almost entirely without greenery

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Nagoya

what makes Nagoya so unpopular among the respondents? Honestly, nothing in particular…but unfortunately “nothing in particular” sort of applies to their image of Nagoya as a whole.*

I lived in Nagoya, and this is spot on.

I only visited for a couple of days and also have the same opinon. One thing I experienced was that Nagoya residents were extremely unfriendly. When I asked my friend who is a native of Nagoya he did say that Nagoya residents are that way. That was my experience. That's all. I don't mean to harp on Nagoya people or those who like the city, but to each his own. Nagoya is just not for me.

Fukuoka

Never been. Don't know.

Osaka

LOVE the people there, but HATE it in the summer. Very hot..

Tokyo

Hate it. I've never lived in Tokyo-to but had to work in it for years. Thank god I don't have to commute into the city now, and havent had to for years. I avoid Tokyo like the plague. but like i said to each his own.

Sapporo

My favorite city by far in Japan. By FAR! Loved it! People were lovely! Food AMAZING! Also my good bud Debito was showing us around so it was even more amazing. LOVE LOVE LOVE Sapporo!

Like Osaka- loved the people there.

Yokohama (5.3 percent)

Good chinese food, that's it.

Kyoto

Absolutely HATE this city. Maybe the only city I disliked more than Nagoya. Stiflingly touristy. I get shocked stares when I tell people this, but I genuinly dislike this city. Sorry. Its just not for me.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

sorry forgot Kobe. Same opinion as Osaka. The 2 things that stick out for me about these two cities is how friendly and extroverted the people are there, which is the exact opposite of the Tokyo losers . Love the 2 cities, but would prefer to visit anytime besides summer.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I just realized that my posts on this thread seem to be a bit negative and I apologize. Its just that I really don't like big cities, and not a huge fan of the sea. I LOVE mountain villages and the INAKA of Japan, so apologies to the posters who view my posts as negative. not my intention.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The 2 things that stick out for me about these two cities is how friendly and extroverted the people are there, which is the exact opposite of the Tokyo losers

Tokyo gets a bad rep for people being unfriendly or unfeeling. My opinion is that most people in Tokyo don't seem to be from Tokyo, and therefore everyone is just a little shy as it were. The city being so massive, it's possible to feel alone even when surrounded by a mass of humanity. But if/when you talk to people in Tokyo, they are as friendly and fun as people anywhere, because they are from everywhere. It's just that they aren't as outgoing by default.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yokohama (5.3 percent)

Good chinese food, that's it.

Yokohama has some GREAT Chinese food, but not in Chinatown. For the most part, the Chinese food in Chinatown is not bad, but nothing special. However, if you can find the restaurants where the Chinese people eat, outside Chinatown, they can be excellent. Real Chinese food, with the quality of Japanese ingredients, makes for some excellent places to eat. Chinatown is just a tourist trip though, and the food reflects that. I have Chinese business associate who has taken me to a few places there, and some of the places are amazing.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In the list of least appealing cities, I actually agree with the top three. Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka was just plain boring. But the others shouldn't even be in the top ten. I quite like the ports of Japan - Yokohama, Kobe, Nagasaki and Hakodate. They have scenic spots, a lot of history.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Tokyo gets a bad rep for people being unfriendly or unfeeling. My opinion is that most people in Tokyo don't seem to be from Tokyo, and therefore everyone is just a little shy as it were. The city being so massive, it's possible to feel alone even when surrounded by a mass of humanity. But if/when you talk to people in Tokyo, they are as friendly and fun as people anywhere, because they are from everywhere. It's just that they aren't as outgoing by default.

Fair point. The fact is, its the biggest city on the planet. My experience is different from yours as my opinion is that Tokyoites are not friendly, but here is the beauty of it: we as foreigners all have different experiences and different views on Japan. SL, I will make the assumption (please correct me if I'm wrong) that you have a fondness for the Urban Jungle? For me, going into Tokyo is just something I want to avoid. But let me say this- there are places in Tokyo where the residents are really friendly- Takenostuka and Akihabara being the main two that come to mind.

Yokohama has some GREAT Chinese food, but not in Chinatown. For the most part, the Chinese food in Chinatown is not bad, but nothing special. However, if you can find the restaurants where the Chinese people eat, outside Chinatown, they can be excellent. Real Chinese food, with the quality of Japanese ingredients, makes for some excellent places to eat. Chinatown is just a tourist trip though, and the food reflects that. I have Chinese business associate who has taken me to a few places there, and some of the places are amazing.

Thanks for the feedback. By the way, if you are ever in saitama city, higashi iwatsuki has a large chinese diaspora as well and they have some amazing chinese restaurants at very affordable prices. Let me know if you would like to know more.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You're also right about those big-wide roads. It feels a bit like driving on US roads so Nagoya has more of that automobile type city atmosphere.

Yeah, it is the main thing that detracts from Nagoya in comparison to Osaka IMHO. Osaka is full of chaotic streets, many of them narrow and winding. It makes it less easy to navigate by car, but much more interesting and fun to explore on foot/bicycle/public transit.

And Sakae is pretty cool, as well as Central Park. 

I lived just a short walk from Central Park for 4 years and strongly feel it is Nagoya’s most enjoyable and pleasant site. It is a pity that nobody outside of Nagoya has ever heard of it as it really should be the main drawing card of the city, along with the surrounding area down to Osu.

I think one drawback is poor planning. The castle is not far from Central Park, but the two are separated by that area around city hall with all the boring administrative offices. If they moved those and redeveloped that area to make a continuous, walkable sightseeing area from the castle to Sakae, Nagoya would probably become one of the top cities on the list.

It is probably never going to happen, but thepotential is there and it bugs me to see it wasted like that.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I will make the assumption (please correct me if I'm wrong) that you have a fondness for the Urban Jungle?

I do love cities, and in particular Tokyo. I also love rural areas though, and I've lived in places where the nearest neighbor was a 20 minute walk up the road. They both have their appeal.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I also love rural areas though,

Ok. Allow me to recommend the following places: Togakushi Nagano, Nakanojo Gunma, and my favorite- all of Mie prefecture, especially Iga

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sendai is an entirely pleasant place to live, with its many trees, compact city layout and enjoyable festivals, but sadly it is otherwise a bit lacking in landmarks and urban diversity, and the weather is often poor. And despite its million-plus population, it tends to overlooked in Japan, as in both of these polls.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

jcapan

Great article--the most and least appealing cities are largely the same. Thanks. Ignoring the big-city rule, cities I like the most:

Kobe (my home), Nara, Hakodate, Nagasaki, Matsumoto, Kochi

If forced to live in a different big city: Sapporo or Yokohama

Placed I wouldn't want to live: Kyoto, too many tourists, Tokyo, too crowded, Osaka, almost entirely without greenery

Surprised you have Nara on your list, apart from Todaiji and the deer, there isn't anything

else I can think of Nara.

Must be the second boring city in Kansai after Wakayama

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Kobe is great; it has character, decent public transport, more greenery than your average Japanese city and the central part is very walkable.

Osaka has great nightlife but is grey and monotonous to look at, they see a tree and they chop it down.

Nagoya suffers from poor town planning, it seems to care about cars more than people.

I'm from a big city, but I find much of Tokyo a sprawling mess with few decent green spaces.

I agree that Nara is quite dull.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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