Tokyo

Okay, I have to say I’m super happy about this particular story! Why? Because guess which city was recently ranked number one in a world-wide survey of what people thought about 40 key tourist destinations around the world — that’s right, none other than my home city of Tokyo!

And this wasn’t just any ordinary survey; it was a survey conducted by TripAdvisor, the well-known international travel site, and based on more than 75,000 responses sent in by people who had recently reviewed on the website the cities featured in the survey. I’m pretty sure it was no mean feat to be ranked first among 40 popular tourist cities in this survey, so I’m very happy indeed that the Japanese capital earned top honors.

I, for one, love to travel and I’m always dreaming about going away on vacation somewhere, but I guess I need to appreciate how lucky I am to be living in what people rated the nicest city in the world. So, what did people find appealing about Tokyo, and which other cities received high marks? We thought you might be interested in learning the details of the survey results, which were as follows:

People taking the survey were asked to rate the cities they visited on a scale of 1 to 10 in the following ten categories: friendliness of locals, friendliness of taxi drivers, quality of taxi service, cleanliness of streets, ease of getting around, quality of public transport, value for money, shopping, underratedness as a tourist destination and safety.

An overall assessment of the cities’ scores in all ten categories resulted in the following general rankings, in which Tokyo came first with a score of 7.92, and Singapore and Munich following close in second and third place.

1 Tokyo (Japan) 7.92 21 London (United Kingdom) 7.05
2 Singapore 7.73 22 Paris (France) 7.00
3 Munich (Germany) 7.56 23 Toronto (Canada) 6.99
4 Vienna (Austria) 7.48 24 Rome (Italy) 6.83
5 Stockholm (Sweden) 7.46 25 Oslo (Norway) 6.81
6 Dubrovnik (Croatia) 7.38 26 Bangkok (Thailand) 6.79
7 Seoul (South Korea) 7.35 27 Cape Town (South Africa) 6.79
8 Dubai (United Arab Emirates) 7.33 28 Athens (Greece) 6.71
9 Zurich (Switzerland) 7.32 29 Sydney (Australia) 6.69
10 Copenhagen (Denmark) 7.29 30 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) 6.55
11 Cancun (Mexico) 7.27 31 Buenos Aires (Argentina) 6.47
12 Dublin (Ireland) 7.25 32 Brussels (Belgium) 6.43
13 Lisbon (Portugal) 7.22 33 Beijing (China) 6.33
14 Barcelona (Spain) 7.21 34 Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) 6.29
15 Amsterdam (Netherlands) 7.19 35 Hanoi (Vietnam) 6.17
16 Hong Kong 7.15 36 Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt) 6.06
17 Budapest (Hungary) 7.11 37 Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) 6.02
18 Istanbul (Turkey) 7.10 38 Marrakech (Morocco) 6.01
19 Prague (Czech Republic) 7.09 39 Mumbai (India) 5.81
20 New York (USA) 7.05 40 Moscow (Russia) 5.80

Now, let’s see the results of the individual category rankings.

1. Friendliest locals

1 Cancun (Mexico) 8.47 21 Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt) 7.63
2 Tokyo (Japan) 8.32 22 Rome (Italy) 7.59
3 Lisbon (Portugal) 8.32 23 Toronto (Canada) 7.55
4 Istanbul (Turkey) 8.29 24 New York (USA) 7.53
5 Cape Town (South Africa) 8.17 25 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) 7.52
6 Dubrovnik (Croatia) 8.11 26 Prague (Czech Republic) 7.49
7 Bangkok (Thailand) 8.10 27 Vienna (Austria) 7.48
8 Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) 8.08 28 Singapore 7.47
9 Amsterdam (Netherlands) 8.08 29 Sydney (Australia) 7.43
10 Copenhagen (Denmark) 7.98 30 Oslo (Norway) 7.41
11 Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) 7.98 31 Mumbai (India) 7.28
12 Athens (Greece) 7.93 32 Marrakech (Morocco) 7.22
13 Stockholm (Sweden) 7.89 33 Paris (France) 7.10
14 Munich (Germany) 7.88 34 Zurich (Switzerland) 7.10
15 Dublin (Ireland) 7.85 35 Brussels (Belgium) 6.96
16 Buenos Aires (Argentina) 7.70 36 Dubai (United Arab Emirates) 6.92
17 Seoul (South Korea) 7.66 37 Beijing (China) 6.77
18 Hanoi (Vietnam) 7.64 38 Hong Kong 6.75
19 Budapest (Hungary) 7.64 39 London (United Kingdom) 6.74
20 Barcelona (Spain) 7.64 40 Moscow (Russia) 5.74

Cancun was rated the city with the friendliest locals, followed by Tokyo and Lisbon. Yup, a vacation on the beaches in Cancun surrounded by friendly Mexican people definitely sounds nice!

Cancun


2. Friendliest taxi drivers

1 Tokyo (Japan) 7.71 21 Budapest (Hungary) 6.76
2 Cancun (Mexico) 7.69 22 Rome (Italy) 6.73
3 Singapore 7.58 23 Istanbul (Turkey) 6.71
4 Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) 7.46 24 Bangkok (Thailand) 6.65
5 Dublin (Ireland) 7.45 25 Toronto (Canada) 6.62
6 Dubrovnik (Croatia) 7.42 26 Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt) 6.57
7 Cape Town (South Africa) 7.36 27 Prague (Czech Republic) 6.52
8 Lisbon (Portugal) 7.14 28 Marrakech (Morocco) 6.50
9 Barcelona (Spain) 7.08 29 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) 6.34
10 Munich (Germany) 7.06 30 Paris (France) 6.33
11 Copenhagen (Denmark) 7.05 31 Oslo (Norway) 6.28
12 London (United Kingdom) 7.05 32 Hanoi (Vietnam) 6.21
13 Stockholm (Sweden) 7.04 33 Hong Kong 6.20
14 Dubai (United Arab Emirates) 7.01 34 Sydney (Australia) 6.19
15 Athens (Greece) 6.91 35 New York (USA) 6.19
16 Vienna (Austria) 6.89 36 Zurich (Switzerland) 6.17
17 Seoul (South Korea) 6.86 37 Mumbai (India) 6.16
18 Buenos Aires (Argentina) 6.81 38 Brussels (Belgium) 5.89
19 Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) 6.81 39 Beijing (China) 5.41
20 Amsterdam (Netherlands) 6.77 40 Moscow (Russia) 5.16

Tokyo ranked highest in this category, with Cancun and Singapore second and third. I think you can generally count on taxi drivers in Tokyo to be polite and courteous, and I’m certainly glad visitors from other countries tended to agree.

3. Best taxi service

1 Tokyo (Japan) 8.18 21 Cape Town (South Africa) 6.88
2 Singapore 8.12 22 Budapest (Hungary) 6.82
3 Dubai (United Arab Emirates) 7.84 23 Bangkok (Thailand) 6.78
4 Dublin (Ireland) 7.70 24 Amsterdam (Netherlands) 6.73
5 London (United Kingdom) 7.61 25 Rome (Italy) 6.68
6 Cancun (Mexico) 7.56 26 Zurich (Switzerland) 6.67
7 Munich (Germany) 7.40 27 Istanbul (Turkey) 6.66
8 Seoul (South Korea) 7.39 28 Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) 6.58
9 Dubrovnik (Croatia) 7.39 29 Paris (France) 6.49
10 Barcelona (Spain) 7.37 30 Oslo (Norway) 6.42
11 Copenhagen (Denmark) 7.36 31 Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt) 6.38
12 Lisbon (Portugal) 7.32 32 Prague (Czech Republic) 6.38
13 Vienna (Austria) 7.26 33 Sydney (Australia) 6.21
14 Hong Kong 7.25 34 Hanoi (Vietnam) 6.20
15 Stockholm (Sweden) 7.23 35 Marrakech (Morocco) 6.16
16 New York (USA) 7.09 36 Mumbai (India) 6.14
17 Buenos Aires (Argentina) 6.95 37 Brussels (Belgium) 6.12
18 Toronto (Canada) 6.91 38 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) 6.06
19 Athens (Greece) 6.86 39 Beijing (China) 5.60
20 Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) 6.88 40 Moscow (Russia) 4.79

Again, Tokyo came in first in this category to be rated as having the best overall taxi service. Kudos to our taxi drivers! Singapore and Dubai taxi drivers were rated second and third.

4. Cleanest streets

1 Tokyo (Japan) 9.31 21 Sydney (Australia) 7.22
2 Singapore 9.22 22 Lisbon (Portugal) 7.22
3 Zurich (Switzerland) 8.91 23 Hong Kong 7.08
4 Vienna (Austria) 8.70 24 Paris (France) 7.03
5 Stockholm (Sweden) 8.66 25 Rome (Italy) 6.84
6 Dubai (United Arab Emirates) 8.64 26 London (United Kingdom) 6.70
7 Dubrovnik (Croatia) 8.64 27 Beijing (China) 6.57
8 Munich (Germany) 8.58 28 New York (USA) 6.54
9 Copenhagen (Denmark) 7.97 29 Moscow (Russia) 6.50
10 Prague (Czech Republic) 7.87 30 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) 6.26
11 Seoul (South Korea) 7.84 31 Brussels (Belgium) 6.21
12 Dublin (Ireland) 7.84 32 Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) 6.06
13 Barcelona (Spain) 7.68 33 Athens (Greece) 5.89
14 Toronto (Canada) 7.63 34 Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt) 5.66
15 Oslo (Norway) 7.61 35 Buenos Aires (Argentina) 5.45
16 Budapest (Hungary) 7.55 36 Hanoi (Vietnam) 5.43
17 Cape Town (South Africa) 7.55 37 Bangkok (Thailand) 5.39
18 Cancun (Mexico) 7.45 38 Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) 5.36
19 Amsterdam (Netherlands) 7.44 39 Marrakech (Morocco) 4.92
20 Istanbul (Turkey) 7.23 40 Mumbai (India) 3.57

Another top ranking for Tokyo in this category. Actually, this is something that many foreign visitors I’ve met have commented on, that Tokyo is very clean. I guess we can thank the hard-working and efficient garbage collecting staff of the city for that. Singapore, which has strict laws against littering, came in second, followed by Zurich.

5. Ease of getting around

1 Zurich (Switzerland) 9.03 21 Dublin (Ireland) 7.99
2 Vienna (Austria) 8.99 22 Dubai (United Arab Emirates) 7.97
3 Singapore 8.97 23 Rome (Italy) 7.83
4 Munich (Germany) 8.92 24 Istanbul (Turkey) 7.81
5 Stockholm (Sweden) 8.80 25 Brussels (Belgium) 7.56
6 Amsterdam (Netherlands) 8.66 26 Toronto (Canada) 7.55
7 Tokyo (Japan) 8.65 27 Athens (Greece) 7.52
8 Prague (Czech Republic) 8.64 28 Sydney (Australia) 7.51
9 Hong Kong 8.60 29 Cape Town (South Africa) 7.44
10 Barcelona (Spain) 8.58 30 Buenos Aires (Argentina) 7.43
11 Paris (France) 8.56 31 Bangkok (Thailand) 7.16
12 Budapest (Hungary) 8.48 32 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) 7.09
13 Dubrovnik (Croatia) 8.48 33 Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt) 6.77
14 Copenhagen (Denmark) 8.47 34 Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) 6.64
15 New York (USA) 8.30 35 Beijing (China) 6.59
16 Seoul (South Korea) 8.28 36 Hanoi (Vietnam) 6.57
17 London (United Kingdom) 8.27 37 Marrakech (Morocco) 6.39
18 Lisbon (Portugal) 8.27 38 Moscow (Russia) 6.31
19 Oslo (Norway) 8.25 39 Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) 5.81
20 Cancun (Mexico) 8.24 40 Mumbai (India) 5.37

Zurich ranked the highest here as the only city to earn a rating above 9 in the category. Vienna and Singapore were rated second and third, respectively. Tokyo came in 7th in this category, perhaps because of difficulty caused by signs and posts being mostly in Japanese.

6. Best public transport

1 Tokyo (Japan) 9.33 21 Istanbul (Turkey) 7.87
2 Zurich (Switzerland) 9.20 22 Dublin (Ireland) 7.60
3 Munich (Germany) 8.97 23 Dubai (United Arab Emirates) 7.53
4 Vienna (Austria) 8.93 24 Toronto (Canada) 7.53
5 Singapore 8.84 25 Brussels (Belgium) 7.47
6 Hong Kong 8.82 26 Bangkok (Thailand) 7.43
7 Stockholm (Sweden) 8.70 27 Athens (Greece) 7.41
8 Amsterdam (Netherlands) 8.70 28 Moscow (Russia) 7.34
9 Seoul (South Korea) 8.62 29 Sydney (Australia) 7.32
10 Paris (France) 8.57 30 Rome (Italy) 7.32
11 Barcelona (Spain) 8.46 31 Beijing (China) 6.94
12 Prague (Czech Republic) 8.36 32 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) 6.79
13 Copenhagen (Denmark) 8.32 33 Buenos Aires (Argentina) 6.56
14 Oslo (Norway) 8.29 34 Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) 6.09
15 London (United Kingdom) 8.28 35 Cape Town (South Africa) 5.68
16 New York (USA) 8.17 36 Mumbai (India) 5.12
17 Lisbon (Portugal) 8.17 37 Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) 4.95
18 Budapest (Hungary) 8.20 38 Marrakech (Morocco) 4.81
19 Dubrovnik (Croatia) 8.03 39 Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt) 4.78
20 Cancun (Mexico) 7.96 40 Hanoi (Vietnam) 4.66

Tokyo climbed back up to first place in this category, which is not too surprising considering the extensive train and subway system we have. Even Tokyo locals who sometimes take the service for granted acknowledge and appreciate the efficiency and punctuality of the city’s public transport system (although we really could do without the murderous crowds on the trains in the morning). Just a few days ago on my way to work, I heard the train driver make the following announcement over the loudspeaker on the subway: “Ladies and gentlemen, due to heavy rush-hour passenger traffic, we are arriving at “so-and so” station 6 minutes behind schedule. We sincerely apologize for the delay and any inconvenience caused.” Yes, the driver made an apology announcement for a — gasp! — 6 minute delay; only in Japan, right?

7. Best value for money

1 Lisbon (Portugal) 8.39 21 Hong Kong 6.97
2 Budapest (Hungary) 8.38 22 Amsterdam (Netherlands) 6.97
3 Bangkok (Thailand) 8.33 23 Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) 6.88
4 Hanoi (Vietnam) 8.20 24 Toronto (Canada) 6.78
5 Prague (Czech Republic) 8.08 25 Rome (Italy) 6.73
6 Istanbul (Turkey) 8.01 26 Tokyo (Japan) 6.59
7 Cancun (Mexico) 7.80 27 Dublin (Ireland) 6.53
8 Cape Town (South Africa) 7.75 28 Singapore 6.53
9 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) 7.63 29 Dubai (United Arab Emirates) 6.50
10 Munich (Germany) 7.40 30 Brussels (Belgium) 6.43
11 Barcelona (Spain) 7.39 31 Paris (France) 6.35
12 Dubrovnik (Croatia) 7.33 32 New York (USA) 6.26
13 Seoul (South Korea) 7.33 33 Mumbai (India) 6.07
14 Marrakech (Morocco) 7.31 34 Sydney (Australia) 5.81
15 Athens (Greece) 7.29 35 London (United Kingdom) 5.77
16 Beijing (China) 7.28 36 Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) 5.76
17 Vienna (Austria) 7.21 37 Copenhagen (Denmark) 5.75
18 Stockholm (Sweden) 7.10 38 Zurich (Switzerland) 5.28
19 Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt) 7.07 39 Moscow (Russia) 4.85
20 Buenos Aires (Argentina) 7.07 40 Oslo (Norway) 4.11

Lisbon, Budapest and Bangkok placed in the top three for this category, with Tokyo taking a plunge to 26th place. Yes, Tokyo is not a cheap place to live, and although there are some other cities that are probably just as expensive, the currently strong Japanese yen likely made everything in Japan somewhat pricey for foreign visitors. Even so, Tokyo ranked higher in cost performance than cities such as Singapore, Dubai, Sydney and Rio de Janeiro, in addition to the usual “expensive” cities like New York, Paris, London and Zurich.

8. Best for shopping

1 New York (USA) 8.62 21 Prague (Czech Republic) 7.37
2 Bangkok (Thailand) 8.52 22 Amsterdam (Netherlands) 7.32
3 Dubai (United Arab Emirates) 8.42 23 Sydney (Australia) 7.30
4 London (United Kingdom) 8.22 24 Budapest (Hungary) 7.30
5 Tokyo (Japan) 8.16 25 Marrakech (Morocco) 7.27
6 Hong Kong 8.14 26 Stockholm (Sweden) 7.22
7 Istanbul (Turkey) 8.14 27 Mumbai (India) 7.20
8 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) 8.11 28 Beijing (China) 7.17
9 Toronto (Canada) 7.97 29 Buenos Aires (Argentina) 7.12
10 Barcelona (Spain) 7.93 30 Hanoi (Vietnam) 7.11
11 Paris (France) 7.92 31 Athens (Greece) 7.05
12 Seoul (South Korea) 7.89 32 Zurich (Switzerland) 6.98
13 Munich (Germany) 7.87 33 Copenhagen (Denmark) 6.97
14 Singapore 7.81 34 Brussels (Belgium) 6.81
15 Dublin (Ireland) 7.75 35 Dubrovnik (Croatia) 6.54
16 Cape Town (South Africa) 7.73 36 Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) 6.40
17 Vienna (Austria) 7.52 37 Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt) 6.31
18 Cancun (Mexico) 7.50 38 Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) 5.56
19 Lisbon (Portugal) 7.46 39 Oslo (Norway) 5.52
20 Rome (Italy) 7.45 40 Moscow (Russia) 5.43

The top honors in this category went to New York, and I have to wholeheartedly agree on this one. Believe me, you can have the time of your life shopping in New York. (It’ll definitely cost you, though. It’s been almost three years since I last visited New York, and it still scares me to think about how much money you can spend in New York.) Bangkok and Dubai were rated second and third as shopping destinations. Tokyo ranked fifth, after London — there certainly is no lack of shops in either of those cities. Paris placed a bit lower than one might expect at 11th place, and I thought Singapore at 14th place also didn’t rank as high as I thought it might, since the whole city is like one huge shopping center (at least it seemed that way to me). But you know what? The truth is, if you like shopping, you’ll find things to buy regardless of wherever you happen to be.

9. Exceeded expectations

1 Budapest (Hungary) 3.78 21 Bangkok (Thailand) 4.72
2 Lisbon (Portugal) 3.84 22 Toronto (Canada) 4.75
3 Cape Town (South Africa) 3.97 23 London (United Kingdom) 4.75
4 Istanbul (Turkey) 4.00 24 Paris (France) 4.78
5 Dubrovnik (Croatia) 4.18 25 Brussels (Belgium) 4.81
6 Stockholm (Sweden) 4.24 26 Oslo (Norway) 4.82
7 Hanoi (Vietnam) 4.29 27 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) 4.83
8 Prague (Czech Republic) 4.30 28 Marrakech (Morocco) 4.86
9 Munich (Germany) 4.31 29 Dublin (Ireland) 4.87
10 Tokyo (Japan) 4.36 30 Buenos Aires (Argentina) 4.88
11 Seoul (South Korea) 4.46 31 Zurich (Switzerland) 4.93
12 Athens (Greece) 4.52 32 Hong Kong 4.94
13 Barcelona (Spain) 4.53 33 Sydney (Australia) 4.95
14 Rome (Italy) 4.55 34 Cancun (Mexico) 4.96
15 New York (USA) 4.56 35 Singapore 5.06
16 Moscow (Russia) 4.62 36 Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) 5.20
17 Amsterdam (Netherlands) 4.64 37 Mumbai (India) 5.30
18 Beijing (China) 4.66 38 Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt) 5.40
19 Vienna (Austria) 4.66 39 Dubai (United Arab Emirates) 5.42
20 Copenhagen (Denmark) 4.69 40 Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) 5.46

The survey participants thought Budapest was the most underrated tourist city, followed by Lisbon and Cape Town in second and third place — very interesting and useful input from tourists who actually visited these places. Tokyo just barely made it into the top ten in this category. For this one category, the rating scale was such that lower points signified a more favorable rating.

▼Budapest

Budapest


10. Safest city

1 Tokyo (Japan) 9.51 21 New York (USA) 8.09
2 Singapore 9.33 22 Paris (France) 7.95
3 Dubrovnik (Croatia) 9.16 23 Bangkok (Thailand) 7.89
4 Zurich (Switzerland) 9.12 24 Hanoi (Vietnam) 7.86
5 Vienna (Austria) 9.04 25 Cancun (Mexico) 7.85
6 Stockholm (Sweden) 9.02 26 Rome (Italy) 7.85
7 Dubai (United Arab Emirates) 9.00 27 Sydney (Australia) 7.71
8 Seoul (South Korea) 8.95 28 London (United Kingdom) 7.64
9 Munich (Germany) 8.88 29 Athens (Greece) 7.50
10 Copenhagen (Denmark) 8.81 30 Barcelona (Spain) 7.37
11 Hong Kong 8.61 31 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) 7.33
12 Oslo (Norway) 8.32 32 Brussels (Belgium) 7.30
13 Dublin (Ireland) 8.32 33 Mumbai (India) 7.24
14 Budapest (Hungary) 8.31 34 Cape Town (South Africa) 7.10
15 Prague (Czech Republic) 8.29 35 Marrakech (Morocco) 6.78
16 Istanbul (Turkey) 8.27 36 Moscow (Russia) 6.77
17 Lisbon (Portugal) 8.26 37 Buenos Aires (Argentina) 6.69
18 Amsterdam (Netherlands) 8.23 38 Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt) 6.48
19 Beijing (China) 8.20 39 Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) 6.29
20 Toronto (Canada) 8.16 40 Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) 6.06

Tokyo nailed the top spot in this category with a very high 9.51 mark, and I think that’s something we in Japan can really be proud of. Considering all the crime and violence that unfortunately exist in the world, we truly are lucky that our city is relatively crime-free, and safety is a precious commodity that can’t be bought. Singapore ranked second, followed by Dubrovnik.

▼Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik

So, how did your favorite cities rate? I’m pleased to say that Tokyo ranked first in five of the ten categories — so you can understand why I would be so happy about the results of this survey. It was certainly interesting to learn what people thought about various cities, some that I’ve been to and many others that I haven’t.

If you’re wondering where to go on your next vacation, maybe these results will give you some hints. Wherever you go, we hope you travel safe and have a good time!

By the way, whatever happened to Hawaii, the tropical paradise? I wonder why it’s not on the list…

Hawaii

Source: TripAdvisor Japan Press Release (Japanese) via Gigazine (Japanese)

Top Image: Kentaro Ohno
Cancun photo: Nicolas Karim
Budapest photo: Miroslav Petrasko
Dubrovnik photo: Michael Cavén
Hawaii photo: Rocketnews24