10 Reasons Why 1/3 of Japanese Population Live In Tokyo Metro Area

With over 40 million residents, the Tokyo metro area is home to an astounding one third of Japan’s total population of 125 million. This massive urban area exerts an almost magnetic pull on people across Japan.

Here are 10 reasons why so many Japanese choose to live in and around Tokyo:

More Job Opportunities

As Japan’s economic and governmental hub, Tokyo offers the widest variety and sheer number of jobs from entry-level positions to executive suites. Major domestic and international companies base their headquarters in Tokyo, concentrating jobs but also enhancing opportunities. With jobs spanning fields from finance and law to technology and media, ambitious Japanese job-seekers flock to Tokyo.

Higher Salaries

The abundance of top-tier global companies and concentration of elite talent drives up wages for qualified personnel in Tokyo. Large firms in banking, tech, healthcare and other industries lure top candidates with salary offers far surpassing national averages. Even employees in non-specialist roles like retail, food service and construction can earn more in Tokyo than elsewhere.

Transportation Hub

Home to the world’s busiest train stations, vast metro and JR rail networks, two international airports, and sprawling highways, Tokyo offers unmatched transportation infrastructure. Bullet trains, commuter lines, subways and buses provide comprehensive coverage for efficient movement within the metro area. Global air gateways like Haneda and Narita connect Tokyo domestically and internationally.

Cutting Edge Culture

As an enormous, sophisticated metropolis, Tokyo incubates and propagates the latest consumer trends across fashion, music, technology and media. Young shoppers worldwide emulate the distinctive styles pioneered by Harajuku youth. Japan’s prolific music scene centers on Tokyo. Electronics giants and anime studios base themselves in Tokyo.

World-Class Education

Students nationwide aspire to enter Tokyo’s elite universities like Tokyo University, Hitotsubashi and Waseda. Top medical and law schools also cluster in Tokyo. At the primary level, intense cram schools give Tokyo students an edge in academic achievement and career advancement.

Glamorous Dining

Beyond its esteemed high-end kaiseki restaurants, Tokyo offers an enormous diversity of dining. Foodies enjoy not only refined sushi and teppanyaki, but also hole-in-the wall ramen counters, convivial izakaya taverns and charming outdoor yatai stalls. Tokyo claims more Michelin stars than any other city.

Non-Stop Entertainment

When the sun sets, Tokyo transforms into a neon-lit wonderland offering every form of nightlife. Theater and dance performances entertain culture vultures while karaoke boxes welcome wannabe singers. Bars, clubs and game centers operate 24/7 to serve their devoted clientele.

Shopping Paradise

Shopaholics find boundless retail therapy in vast electronics and anime superstores plus tiny specialty shops. Fashion epicenters Shibuya and Harajuku set global style trends. Closeout bargains at posh Ginza department stores coexist with 100 yen and discount retailers.

Urban Anonymity

While urban loneliness afflicts some inhabitants, others relish Tokyo’s potential for anonymity. In this dense metropolis, retreating into solitude amidst immense crowds comes easily. For those exhausted by professional and social obligations, Tokyo allows escaping unwanted scrutiny.

Convenience and Comfort

Tokyo blends high-tech efficiency with comfort and livability. Even far-flung neighborhoods deliver every modern amenity thanks to ubiquitious konbini shops. Narrow alleys conceal cozy izakaya hideaways and charming cafes. Clean, safe and convenient, Tokyo offers streamlined urban living.


  1. There is also the Japanese “soto-uchi” mentality that assumes anyone living in a major urban area is superior to the inaka-mono (country bumpkins). When I was a Sophia University student in Tokyo in the early 1970s, I was regarded quite highly, so I sort of assumed that when I got my masters degree, I’d be regarded as the elite when I went to live in Obihiro, Hokkaido. Wrong! When I tried living in rural Japan, the reception I got was, “If you were any good at whatever you do, you wouldn’t be here. You be in Sapporo, if not Tokyo.” When I got a job in Sapporo and then made it clear I was only visiting Obihiro on business, I was revered.

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