National

Kyoto again secures No. 1 spot for best city outside of Tokyo

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

Among Japan’s 72 major cities outside of Tokyo, Kyoto retained its top spot as the metropolis with the greatest strengths for the second consecutive year, thanks to its allure as a tourism destination, a Tokyo-based think tank said Tuesday.

The top three cities were unchanged from the previous year, with Fukuoka and Osaka taking second and third place, respectively, according to the Mori Memorial Foundation’s Institute for Urban Development.

The think tank analyzed each city’s characteristics and gave a score based on six criteria: economy and business, research and development, cultural interaction, daily life and livability, environment, and accessibility. It also ranked Tokyo’s 23 wards using the same criteria.

The former capital secured the No. 1 spot in the cultural interaction category, which includes the level of friendliness toward foreign travelers, as it scored highly on the preparation of tourist information centers and hospitals offering multilingual support, as well as the number of luxury hotels. The city also scored highest in the research and development category, which factors in the number of top colleges, submissions of research papers and the presence of global specialist firms.

Fukuoka and Osaka ran each other close, as both scored highly on economy and business, as well as accessibility. Osaka topped both categories but ranked at the bottom for environment and second worst for daily life and livability.

Yokohama and Nagoya saw their positions switch, with the former climbing to fourth and the latter moving down to fifth.

The think thank, run by Roppongi Hills developer Mori Building Co., started the domestic city evaluation last year with the aim of visualizing the characteristics of major cities so they can identify their strengths and weaknesses.

In the Tokyo ward ranking, Chiyoda Ward topped the other 22 wards for the second year in a row.

The ward hosts famous cultural and business landmarks such as the Imperial Palace and the Marunouchi district.

The remaining wards in the top six stayed the same: Minato, Chuo, Shinjuku, Shibuya and Bunkyo, respectively. However, Koto Ward jumped from tenth place to seventh, as it has built more office spaces.