• Kyodo, JIJI


Tokyo has been chosen as the world’s best big city outside the United States for the third year in a row, the U.S. travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler said Tuesday.

Readers cast more than 420,000 votes for their favorite cities in the 2018 poll, the magazine said, with the ancient capital of Kyoto climbing the ranking to second from third the previous year.

“Topping our list of world cities yet again, Tokyo continues to thrill with its contradictions: ultramodern, neon-lit skyscrapers and tranquil temples, unmatchable street style and centuries-old etiquette,” it said, adding that the Japanese capital is also “one of the world’s best food destinations.”

Turning to Kyoto, the magazine said it is “still one of the most well-preserved cities in Japan” but pointed to new attractions.

“Now the city’s leafy, machiya-lined streets are draws for their specialty crafts shops and chic concept stores,” it said, referring to Kyoto’s traditional wooden townhouses.

Osaka, which did not make it in the previous year’s list, ranked 12th out of 20 cities listed this year. On Osaka, the magazine said “Japan’s second-largest city is often overshadowed by Tokyo and Kyoto, but there are plenty of reasons it’s become a destination in its own right.”

Osaka is “one of the best food cities in all of Japan — must-eat regional specialities include takoyaki (battered, fried octopus balls) and okonomiyaki (grilled savory pancakes with a variety of additions),” the magazine said.

Melbourne, Australia, was third, followed by Vienna, Austria, and Germany’s Hamburg. Other Asian cities that also made the list were Singapore at seventh and Seoul in 16th.

Naohito Ise, head of the Japan National Tourism Organization’s New York office, said, “U.S. travelers continue to have strong interest in Japan.”

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