Everyone who has been to Tokyo knows that the city is full of people wherever you go, plus the common size of living space for an individual or a family gets a new meaning. Surprisingly Japan’s population density overall does not look so bad with 336 persons per square kilometer (United Nations World Populations Prospects Report 2005), which shows Japan as 32nd, directly above India (336 per km²) and directly below Belgium (341 per km²).
But let’s have a closer look at the reality in the main city: Tokyo. According to the Tokyo Metropolitan government website as of October 1, 2009 the population of the capital is estimated to be 12.989 million, or about 10% of Japan’s total population. Now consider that the size of Tokyo with 2,188 square kilometers equals just 0.6% of the total area of Japan! With this perspective the population density rises to 5,937 persons per square kilometer. For sure Tokyo is the most densely populated area in Japan, but if you go a bit outside to areas like Okutama, then very lush green and forests are the major sight.
Yes, living in Tokyo is a major contrast to my upbringing in the country side of Switzerland, but I love this city with its charm, convenience, friendliness towards foreigners that does not become annoying or then the high-speed of every day life. Of course every place has its disadvantages (long working hours, pressure to conform, concrete jungle…), but for me Tokyo is still the best place on this planet to lead a happy life.
Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤).