Tokyo No 1 in Monocle Quality of Life Survey for Third Year Running

Tokyo city view

Monocle has announced its ranking of the 25 most liveable cities in the world, and Japan’s Tokyo has come out on top (for the third year in a row!)

Rather than going for a bog-standard, ‘how much is a pint of beer?’ method of evaluation, Monocle’s survey looks in depth at issues currently facing the residents of global cities. How affordable are these cities for the younger generation, who face a lifetime of being labelled ‘generation rent’ and what housing policies are they instigating to tackle the housing crisis? How many terrorist attacks have affected these cities, and what does this mean for its liveability? The survey also considers the aspects which make cities blossom; how many design schools and business ventures have been launched this year, and what kind of atmosphere does this cultivate for local people?


In total, Monocle’s team of editors, researchers and correspondents looked at more than 60 metrics to thoroughly determine 2017’s most liveable city. And, we’re delighted to announce, that for the third year in a row they have voted for Tokyo. The Japanese capital is the only city to have clinched the top spot from Monocle three times back-to-back. A further two Japanese cities – the ancient capital of Kyoto, and the southern city of Fukuoka – have also been included in their top 25 line-up, whilst the UK’s capital hasn’t got a look in…

Here’s what the experts have to say about life in Tokyo:

Living in Japan can sometimes feel like inhabiting a very safe, impossibly polite bubble, detached from the strife, intolerance and ugly rhetoric that seem to be so prevalent in many other parts of the world. Of course, other places are not always so bad and Japan is not perfect but, as far as large-scale cities go, Tokyo has got urban living down to a fine art. Primary school children walk to school unaccompanied as a matter of course and the streets are safe, even at night. Good service is expected and received in every situation. In fact, the level of civility is so universal, and everyone so attuned to it, that any deviation from acceptable standards – a mildly sullen waiter or inattentive shop staff – causes disproportionate outrage… There’s an unspoken agreement among Tokyo’s citizens that whatever the situation – a crowded train, a busy bus or an airport security queue – it will be much easier if everyone thinks of others and not just themselves.

Monocle - cherry blossoms

With flights to Tokyo more affordable than ever before (they’re frequently around the £500 mark for indirect flights via France, Helsinki or Amsterdam, where connections barely add on any additional time) now is the time to visit! You’ll be amazed that you haven’t visited before!

About Monocle:

Monocle was launched in 2007 as a monthly magazine tackling global issues and affairs, alongside design, business, culture and more. These days, Monocle is a complete media brand and produces a selection of guide books, a 24-hour radio station, a website and global cafes in Tokyo and London.

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