Tokyo Named World’s Most “Liveable” City


Many of the world’s most exciting metropolises suffer a downside to all that hustle and bustle. But Tokyo deftly avoids such drawbacks, according to Monocle magazine’s recent quality of life survey.

By Kyle Mullin

In fact, that annual poll from the British lifestyle publication named Japan’s capital the world’s most “liveable” city, thanks to its “defining paradox of heart-stopping size and concurrent feeling of peace and quiet.”

Part of Tokyo’s success may be attributed to the new survey’s overhauled criteria. Monocle calls it the “the biggest shake-up of [its] annual Quality of Life list since it launched in 2007,” noting that 22 new criteria have caused “old favorites” to slip down the list. The Japan Times says those new metrics include the price of a cup of coffee and a glass of wine at local outlets, the price of a three-bedroom house, and access to green space, along with the survey’s more conventional “back bone” criteria like crime rates, environmental well being, and infrastructure, along with “intangibles” like the commitment to culture and the closing times of bars.

Even without those new criteria, Tokyo still made a strong showing on the survey last year, placing second behind three-time winner Copenhagen. But this year the Danish capital tumbled to tenth place. Other formerly strong performers like Helsinki, Munich and Zurich also slipped in the ranking, while rising contenders like Vienna and Berlin vaulted over them—placing second and third, respectively, with Berlin taking an astounding leap to that bronze finish from its measly fourteenth showing in 2014. Sydney also had a surprising upswing from eleventh to fifth.

Japanese readers will also be pleased to see two other additions to the list: Fukuoka and Kyoto, placing twelfth and fourteenth respectively.

Tyler Brule, Monocle’s editor in chief, said in a statement:

“We’ve tried to give value to places where there’s something else we know is vital: freedom, grit, independence, a joy with life… We’re frustrated with city councils that are too quick to say no, places where parents never let their children run free and capitals that seem opposed to the odd late night out.”

Many social media users praised the new list. One netizen, with the handle @katsuyadebari, Tweeted: “@raytkelly Monocle editor-in-chief Tyler Brûlé loves Tokyo. For sure, Tokyo is one of the most livable cities in the world, if not THE best.” Another user with the handle @drpersuasion concurred, Tweeting: “But of course I already knew this…Tokyo is world’s most livable city” One user, however—@redhero—noted Tokyo’s chief flaw amongst all those successes, with the caveat: “… unless you like to buy cheese RT @TokyoJapanRR: Tokyo is world’s most livable city: Monocle magazine”

Readers will be able to see the list in its entirety when Monocle’s new issue is published on June 18.

Image: tetedelart1855/Flickr, via CC

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