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Japan home to 3 of world's 10 best largest cities: U.S. magazine

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Tokyo is All Rounder Entertainment city like no other in the world. Just talking about the entertainment.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Good for Japan. Great free publicity for Japan Tourism, and if this further boosts tourism then Win-Win! The only disappointment is Sapporo absolutely should also be in world Top 10.

-16 ( +9 / -25 )

No japanese city would be anywhere near the top 50 if the quality of building were taken into account. No insulation, horrible HVAC, etc.

17 ( +27 / -10 )

Nice to see Taipei in there, too. A fascinating city to visit.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Finally, something the world media gets right about Japan.

It is nice that 600,000 people cast their vote.

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

Japanese people want to live in more spacious houses and want to drive their cars on wider roads. Also they want to live and work summer more comfortably. Like Germany, they have to disperse offices and industries in wider areas of the country. I recommend they move to Tohoku where summer is cool and land is spacious. This also helps people from natural disasters. In Kanto and in Kansai where natural disasters attack them every year as a result they have to live closer to rivers and mountains due to lack of spaces.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Surprised? Nah. Japan is one of the prettiest places in the world and that's facts.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

The thing with so many of these lists, including this one from Conde Naste Traveler is that it is really based on the experiences of those travel the globe. Meaning a "traveler" and a relatively well-off one at that (or with a really good expense account).

The experiences of a traveler and a resident, other than a well-off resident, are significantly different, as are the measures for trying to rate cities.

Not a criticism, just an observation.

24 ( +24 / -0 )

People should really stop using the word "best" as an objective criteria. Likes and Dislikes are entirely subjective.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

While I can understand Tokyo, i can't understand how Osaka and Kyoto are on this list.

When it comes to using modern things, Osaka and Kyoto lag behind. It took me asking 13 taxis yesterday just to find one that finally accepted credit card. I went out to eat at a nice italian restaurant and the bill came in over ¥30,000. They didn't accept credit card.

I have a smart icoca and its worthless for my monthly tickets aside from JR. It can be cumbersome to find out which train company allows you to mix their passes with another train company.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

@zone2surf - yes exactly - the expense account types! They parachute from business class into the big city, stay in the 4-5 star hotels, take taxis everywhere, call in to a few embassy cocktail parties, are surrounded by interpreters and fawning staff eager to do business with them. A trip to a safe Roppongi bar completes their travel experience! Totally different to living in the place.

Always surprised that Fukuoka never gets a mention in these polls, it it highly regarded in Asian surveys.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Yes, I was also pleasantly surprised to see Taipei in the top 10. I've been visiting there since the 1960s --- when pedicabs outnumbered taxis and people cooked atop charcoal briquettes. They've cleaned up the air and planted greenery everywhere. If the ranking were based on friendliness it might be number 1.

As for Japan, low crime rates, decent sanitation and general honesty of taxi drivers and shopkeepers makes for satisfied visitors. Biggest complaint I've heard from people who have come for a visit is the tiny size of rooms in budget hotels. Six-foot tall westerners barely have space to turn around!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I wonder how much advertising or advertorial Japan buys in "Conde Nast Traveler". I doubt a publication like that will pay for anything it reports on.

fwiw, I think Japanese cities work pretty well, but this award is pretty much meaningless to most people.

(give me a bottomless expense account and I'll go around historical European cities thank you)

9 ( +10 / -1 )

600,000 readers voted, which I would have thought is enough to make a whole lot of subjective opinions into one objective result. For me, ever since I first visited it in 2012 Tokyo has been my No.1 city in the world, and I'll keep going back there until I'm too old to travel. Same applies to Japan generally. True, hotel room sizes can be small, but I'm a tall guy, and my much shorter wife and I manage OK.

Readers comments about Taipei have got me interested, though.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Tokyo is great. Osaka is very interesting to walk around. Kyoto, no. Fukuoka, YES.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

They never spent June or summer here. Come live here for a year -- please!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Tokyo is all good except if you are trying to take trains in the morning up to 10 and evenings after 6PM. Then you’ll see how ‘beautiful’ it is...

7 ( +8 / -1 )

A survey of 600,000 people, most of whom are probably Americans, does not seem the best way to judge the size of cities. How is city size judged anyway? Is it judged on size of the actual legal city or the conurbation, on area or population?

I thought Yokohama was the second largest city in Japan. Am I wrong? Perhaps, Yokohama is considered along with Kawasaki, Chiba and Saitama part of Tokyo, which extends beyond rural Okutama and legally happens to include the Ogasawara Islands.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The experiences of a traveler and a resident, other than a well-off resident, are significantly different, as are the measures for trying to rate cities.

Yes, the experiences of Taro Suzuki, trapped on the Saikyo Line at 8am every day, and the Fortune 500 executives spending a weekend in their Nihonbashi hotel and Ginza restaurants do tend to be rather different.

I wonder how much advertising or advertorial Japan buys in "Conde Nast Traveler". I doubt a publication like that will pay for anything it reports on.

It's all sponcon. Don't worry though, Monocle magazine will be along next to tell us yet again Tokyo is the greatest place ever, in the history of the world.

As a Tokyo resident I find the place ugly and gritty, which is a lot of its charm to me. How anyone can seriously claim it's "pretty" is unbelievable; it looks better at night, hardly something you can say for really beautiful cities.

Also, what on earth is Osaka doing on that list? A bankrupt, treeless concrete wasteland where a pint of ethyl alcohol and a burnt squid on a stick is a gourmet meal?

Finally, something the world media gets right about Japan.

What a bizarre comment. Could we have some examples of what the world media gets wrong. Or are you just playing the victim card?

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Best for what, exactly?

The experiences of a traveler and a resident, other than a well-off resident, are significantly different, as are the measures for trying to rate cities

Quite right. And while Kyoto was very nice to visit a few (or several) years ago, I understand that it is quite overrun now, and the residents are not enjoying it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The only disappointment is Sapporo absolutely should also be in world Top 10.

How much travel have you done outside Japan? Sapporo? Top 10 in the world (outside USA)? You have to be kidding me.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

How do they measure a “good” big city?

Sure Tokyo is convenient, has shopping , restaurants, and entertainment by the bucketload but its hardly beautiful. Especially compared to literally any big city in Europe.

Tokyo people have the reputation of being polite and honest which is undoubtably true, but outgoing? Friendly? I’ve always found the people of Tokyo to be the coldest in Japan. In my opinion this is due to the stress and pressure of living in Tokyo. Something, a voting visitor is not likely to experience.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Lots of negative comments above.

And yet people keep coming, in greater and greater numbers, and the vast majority of them, including me, aren't Conde Nast 1%ers. I agree that part of Tokyo's charm is its grittiness. Same goes for Osaka. Personally I like that in a city, and I've had arguments with Japanese posters on JT on the charms of very gritty ol' Ikebukuro, for example. Night-time Tokyo is a full-on sensory experience, noise, lights, people. You get there, you know you're not in Kansas. Dotonbori in Osaka is like Shinjuku, but with water. It's a wonderland. And then there's the tourist stuff, like in the brochures. Temples, shrines, traditional houses, food, etcetera. Visitors like that kind of thing.

This is a travellers survey, not a residents one. It's irrelevant you residents applying your point of view and your experiences to how visitors to Japan feel about the country. Everyone knows that living in a place is not the same as visiting it. Visitors don't have the time (or the inclination) to look for what's wrong with a place they're only going to be in for two or three weeks.

I do agree with the reservations people have about the sheer number of tourists coming to Japan. Places like Kyoto particularly I think are in danger of losing their charm, swamped by sheer numbers. And unlike Tokyo, it's a relatively small city - which begs the question of how "largest cities" is defined in this survey.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Many if not most of these cities are really no surprise to me. Japan is known for having great quality of life and their people live some of the longest lives. But I must digress with Singapore. That city-state is run by a dystopian totalitarian regime with the highest corruption, extreme human rights violations and a personality cult based on the founder of that nation. Prisoners are detained in offshore island prisons in horrible conditions and one can get arrested and beaten for spitting on the street or walking in the grass. It sounds too much like some dystopia city like the one in 'Logan's Run'. No freedom. No thanks.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I can see how Tokyo would rank so highly from a visitor’s perspective. I live in Nagoya, which is a massive city itself, but when I go to Tokyo I am always overwhelmed by how much it has crammed into it. Its really fascinating and makes Nagoya feel pretty bland in comparison.

In terms of a resident’s perspective though I can agree with the critical comments here. I would never want to live in Tokyo. While a lot of the critiques of Tokyo are equally applicable to Nagoya, the poster boy for ugly grey Japanese urban landscapes if there ever was one, at least here I can own a house that is reasonably convenient and not super cramped without breaking the bank.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Our 6LDK in a beach/countryside area of Tatsuno City cost less rent than a one room apartment in Tokyo.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Also, what on earth is Osaka doing on that list? A bankrupt, treeless concrete wasteland where a pint of ethyl alcohol and a burnt squid on a stick is a gourmet meal?

Haha Alfie you almost made me spit out my coffee LOL!! A bit harsh, but also a bit truthful, I have had a few sticks & drinks in Umeda area in places like that LOL!!!

Japans big cities are GREAT, but also awful at the same time, beautiful & UGLY, again at the same time, part of their charm!

But to REALLY enjoy life in BIG J-cities you need serious COIN to do so sadly!

I live in the sticks & LOVE going into the city when I can enjoy but I also LOVE getting back out!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

When you live in a beautiful beach place we have a saying, the best part of going out is getting home again.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I live and work in Tokyo and it is deeply exhausting. Weekend drives turn into 3 hour traffic jams. If I didn't have to work or commute it may change my feeling.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Before we go jumping with joy, let's keep it real that this is just a ranking from a tabloid magazine. Having a few good restaurants does not make a city a great city. The quality of life and economics are what creates a great city. People are working 12-16 hours a day, 6-7 days a week to survive in Tokyo and are paying 50% of their salary in taxes. There is only a very small percentage of people living in Tokyo who can actually enjoy their lifestyle. Most are slaves to a company and financial prisoners to taxes.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@Disillusioned

You are missing the big picture. That is what makes Tokyo great.

People are working 12-16 hours a day

That means the tourists can enjoy the sites without the waiting times being increased by the locals.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

I totally agree that these 'best' lists are formed from a monetary elite class, (including execs on business) whose experience is totally different from ordinary people.

I think there should be several levels of lists, like airline classes, all people may fly, say, JAL, Singapore, QANTAS, etc, but there is a HUGE difference between space, comfort and amenities, and, dare I say it, fellow traveller politeness...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

*Japan

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan has given home to Conde Nast's parent company's various publications and holds Conde Nast events often in the capital including a creative studio, video business, talent agency, and all sorts of GQ, Vogue, and other events and subsidiaries. And keep in mind, it is a "travel magazine". So, yes, while some of these cities are indeed a "fever dream you don't want to wake up from", as with all dreams and travel you DO have to wake up at one point and actually look around, and realise it was just a dream after all.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

They need some different metrics, like living space, cost of living, and quality of life. Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Taipei and Sydney are all more liveable.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Just as I thought. 

"A leopard can't change its spots."

Correct. The truth is the truth no matter how many times you complete lain that it is.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Correct. The truth is the truth no matter how many times you complete lain that it is.

Which has absolutely nothing to do with my original statement.

Like I said, a leopard can't change its spots.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yes, I agree. Japan overall, actually. Why? They are the most polite people in the world for a tourist like me. Most respectful. You never feel like they are looking down on you coz you have a different color than theirs or that you dress simplier than them. 100% for their good manners.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

More than 600,000 readers cast votes, which excludes cities in the United States, for which there is a separate list.

Why is there a separate list for the U.S.?

Tokyo was described as "a fever dream you don't want to wake up from" with its combination of the modern and traditional, and having the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world. It has 230 such establishments, of which 13 have three stars.

As if this makes a city great. If Tokyo's wheelchair accessibility was considered, it would rank lower than a lot of other cities.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Staying for a couple of days and living there for good is completely different.

And I am sure, when asking not just travelers, the results will be different, too.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Tokyo and Kyoto have a place on the list, but Osaka outside the downtown area is a big disappointment.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Are people in Tokyo unaware that it is rude to rip a big fart on a crowded train? On the subway home now and just got a toxic blast.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

All words must be clearly explained, For example best gourmet .e.t.c

0 ( +0 / -0 )

according to U.S. luxury and lifestyle travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler.

This publication is for travelers, not for settlers

Lol, as many travelers often say about places they visit: "It's a great place to visit, but I don't wanna live there."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

More than 600,000 readers cast votes, which excludes cities in the United States, for which there is a separate list.

Why is there a separate list for the U.S.?

Because it's publication for travelers

Traveling domestic is like visiting relatives you have some familiarity, while traveling abroad is like visiting strangers you're in a whole new world

0 ( +0 / -0 )

While I can understand Tokyo, i can't understand how Osaka and Kyoto are on this list.

I can't understand how Tokyo is on the list. Not only do I prefer Osaka and Kyoto, I also find Kobe and Yokahama to be preferable to Tokyo, as well.

When it comes to using modern things, Osaka and Kyoto lag behind. It took me asking 13 taxis yesterday just to find one that finally accepted credit card. I went out to eat at a nice italian restaurant and the bill came in over ¥30,000. They didn't accept credit card.

A. You're in Japan. Carry some cash.

B. I don't remember the last time I was in a taxi that didn't take CC.

C. ¥30,000 for an Italian meal??? Questo è pazzesco!

D. You should always check if a restaurant, or any business, accepts cards when you enter. There are many in the US that are cash-only, as well. I've learned to check, after getting burned the first time there.

I have a smart icoca and its worthless for my monthly tickets aside from JR. It can be cumbersome to find out which train company allows you to mix their passes with another train company.

Pitapa works on just about all train and bus lines in West Japan. Plus, if you link it to a bank account, it automatically re-charges. No need to manually add money. I have both icoca and Pitapa, and end up never using icoca.

Also, you should get the PayPay app, and tie it to a credit card. Most konbini and many other stores accept PayPay. It's like Apple Pay or Google Pay in the US. (Some places here take Apple Pay, as well. I haven't seen Google Pay, though, unfortunately.)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In terms of beauty these cities are not even close to cities in Europe and some cities in the Americas. If all you cared about was convenience then yeah, sure, go to Japan.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

meanwhile while everybody is wowing over Tokyo, here I am living in my rural area still with around 60,000 people. Live in a home that is 3~4 times bigger than your average Tokyo home/ apartment. have enough space to park 10 cars, I currently own 4. can drive to 4 supermarkets within 5 minutes, 2 shopping centers 15minutes all without any type of traffic jams. No huge crowds or busy trains to navigate everyday. It would take a very wealthy individual in Tokyo to be able to afford the lifestyle I have in my rural area, within Tokyo . My kids can rid their bikes around with their friends without the worry that thereis too much dangerous traffic to negotiate , my city requires all kids wear helmets while on their bikes and even though the law has changed still lets kids ride on the footpath. Everything I cant get in my area I buy online and Im only about 50 minutes from the city center which I only need to go to once a week for my business anyways.

Too many people think that convenience = quality lifestyle, ive learnt that its far from the truth even for Japan

2 ( +2 / -0 )

50 minutes from Tokyo by Shinkansen?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

50 minutes from Tokyo by Shinkansen?

50 minutes from Osaka by car 40 minutes by motorbike. train and bus actually take longer . I havent taken a train or bus in Japan for years far quicker for me to drive myself especially all the stuff I need to carry around with me. On weekends if Im taking the family to the city then by car is also quicker and cheaper as I dont need to pay tickets for 4 people

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nice. Having lived in Kobe before Tokyo, life was better and more relaxed for me but Tokyo has a lot of job opportunities. Good point is Tokyoites are completely used to foreigners and there is almost no staring or pointing nonsense. All in all I look forward to leaving Tokyo.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nice. Having lived in Kobe before Tokyo

yeah Kobe is also pretty common with foreigners go there sometimes with the family. but its also very cramped and expensive like Tokyo/Osaka. I dont live in Kobe or Osaka. You need to get out of the cities to get the best lifestyle. My area certainly isnt unique in Japan but you need to find somewhere thats not too crowded but not too rural also, take your time looking at used real estate as I did there are some real bargains to be found if youve got the patients. I timed it perfectly as when I purchased my building it was primarily a elderly area, with retirees. Since I bought 3 yrs ago the area has turned into a real family area with lots of newer homes built and older ones demolished.

IF i tried and purchase my building now instead of 3 yrs ago Id say Id have to pay 5~8 million yen more than I paid for it. I viewed dozens of different building over about 18months, I knew within 10 minutes of seeing mine it was the one I had to have and i did.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I also find Kobe and Yokahama to be preferable to Tokyo, as well.

Agree ...my 2 favorite cities.

wtf Japan -fully agree with you...living in a non crowded place but still being within an hour or so from center of Osaka you have the best of both worlds. Well chosen.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

We moved out of Kobe end of last year after 16 years there because we couldn't find a house rental large enough for our needs except in very isolated locations. But great place to live.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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