Fukuoka world’s best shopping city: Monocle magazine survey

Kyodo

Fukuoka has been voted the best place in the world for shopping and one of the most livable locations, according to a survey by a leading international culture and design magazine.

The latest edition of London-based Monocle ranks Tokyo as the third-most livable city in the world, behind Copenhagen in first place and Munich in second. Fukuoka comes in 14th place and Kyoto at 20th in a shortlist of 25.

New York and London are not included in the quality-of-life ranking, while Japan and Germany have the most cities — three each — on the list.

The magazine assessed cities according to a wide variety of criteria, including urban planning, transport connections, crime rates and environmental initiatives. But it also took into consideration a whole host of less obvious factors, like how many cinema screens are on offer and how easy it would be to hop on a bike.

Fukuoka is a new entry from last year’s list, but Monocle judged that the city lives up to the media-generated hype. Fukuoka also picked up the award for “best retail city” in the shortlist.

The magazine said, “It has all the advantages of a big city — excellent shopping, outstanding food, good transport links — with all the coziness of a smaller, provincial town.

“Friendly, safe and clean, its proximity to East Asia — Shanghai is closer than Tokyo — Fukuoka is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Japan,” the magazine said. In terms of “Monocle Fix,” the magazine would like to see a route to the West Coast of the United States.

The magazine said the compact shopping district of Tenjin in downtown Fukuoka features all the big labels and attracts visitors from South Korea and China.

Tokyo came third on this year’s list, moving up one place. Monocle commented that while it is a big city with no obvious center, it gets the basics right.

“Public transport runs with digital precision, people are mindful of others, and the crime rate is low.”