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Tokyo is one of the top 10 best cities in the world right now

Here’s why Tokyo ranked tenth out of 37 major world cities, as revealed by the annual Time Out Index survey

Lim Chee Wah
Written by
Lim Chee Wah

Tokyo, home sweet home. Call us biased, but we already know Tokyo is the best, which is why we dedicated our most recent issue of the magazine to listing the 50 things that make Tokyo the greatest city in the world.

Even the world agrees, as you can see in the results of this year’s Time Out Index survey. The annual ranking has just been released and, out of 37 cities, Tokyo is the tenth best city in the world in 2021. Plus, it’s also the top city in Asia.

Here are the ten best cities in the world right now, starting at the top: San Francisco, Amsterdam, Manchester, Copenhagen, New York, Montreal, Prague, Tel Aviv, Porto, and Tokyo.

What’s the Time Out Index?

Earlier this year, Time Out polled 27,000 city dwellers around the world on life and living in their respective cities. We wanted to know everything about their cities’ food and drink as well as art and culture scenes. We also set questions about social life, sustainability and generally how optimistic people feel about the future of their city.

We crunched the data and ranked the 37 cities Time Out covers to determine the best one to live in in 2021. We also got unique insights into what makes each city great, what they excel at, and what we can learn from each other.

So why does Tokyo rank so highly?

An astonishing 82 percent of respondents said Tokyo is a great place to ‘discover new things’. In fact, Tokyo is the third best city in the world for doing so, right after London and New York, in that order.

Perhaps our super efficient public transport network has something to do with this, since 73 percent of the people we surveyed said Tokyo is a great place to get around without a car. When ranked against other cities in the world, Asia got a clean sweep for convenience – Singapore led the poll, followed by Hong Kong, with Tokyo coming in third.

But is there something Tokyo could improve on?

It wasn’t all good news, though. Only 31 percent of respondents commended Tokyo on its community spirit and – perhaps not exactly a surprise – only a mere 9 percent said Tokyo does well with sustainability.

While we agree that Tokyo is a tad late to the game on reducing plastic waste and carbon emissions compared to other major world cities, we have made great progress in recent times. There are an increasing number of initiatives popping up to encourage people to pick up more eco-conscious habits, such as Muji’s and MyMizu’s free water dispensers. Plus, Tokyo has made sustainability central to city planning, with the goal of drawing 30 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2030.

See the full list here for the 37 best cities in the world in 2021. Or, you can go straight to discovering the 101 things to do in the world’s tenth best city right now.

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