Voices | VIEWS FROM THE STREET

Views from Tokyo and Osaka: Is Tokyo really the most livable city in the world?

by Tom Law and Mark Buckton

Lifestyle magazine Monocle recently named Tokyo as the world’s most livable city, but do residents and visitors in the capital and Japan’s second city agree?

Del Cielo Falcotelo (in Osaka)
Accountant, 24 (Filipino)
I agree Tokyo is No. 1. Public transport is fast and convenient so commuting is easy, although the subway is very busy at rush hour. The food in Tokyo is great too — I love the ramen and tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlets)! Also, the people in Tokyo are very kind and helpful.

Kevin Fontes (in Tokyo)
Hiring manager, 43 (Canadian)
I believe Tokyo is one of the best cities in the world. World-class food, nice people, music, art, wonderful parks and transport. The one thing it is in dire need of is restaurants with non-smoking areas. Hopefully they will sort this out before 2020, when the eyes of the world will be on us.

Anna Parks (in Osaka)
Mother of two, 28 (Ukrainian)
I would choose Osaka over Tokyo. I like Tokyo — it doesn’t have too many traffic problems, there’s a lot going on, and you can find whatever you want whether you’re a local or a tourist. But Osaka is more my kind of place. It’s not as hectic as Tokyo, and more laid back.

Saki Mori (in Tokyo)
Office worker, 25 (Japanese)
My co-worker from England said that London is great but it’s so expensive that it’s not easy to live there, so Tokyo is better. There are lots of foreign people and international events here, so we can learn about the rest of the world without leaving the city, so I guess the answer is yes.

Takayuki Kohno (in Osaka)
Office worker, 48 (Japanese)
I’m happy Tokyo came top. It’s a very livable city, but so is Osaka. Both cities are very safe, especially when compared to other world cities. Of the two, I prefer Osaka. It’s more affordable and the people are friendlier. People in Tokyo tend to be a little stand-offish.

Julie Fleck-Kubota (in Tokyo)
English teacher, 26 (American)
Tokyo is livable in that you don’t need to be fluent in Japanese to live here. Everything’s convenient, bar the bureaucracy, which can be annoying. You can go anywhere from here by train, too. But people are reserved so deep friendships are hard to make. And I miss housing insulation.

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