Tokyo skyline, Tokyo Tower
Photo: Riccardo Chiarini/Unsplash

11 quotes that sum up Tokyo and Japan perfectly

Highly relatable quotes about the amazing Tokyo from Anthony Bourdain, Kazuo Ishiguro, Tadao Ando, Banana Yoshimoto and more

Kit Kriewaldt
Written by
Kit Kriewaldt
Advertising

Tokyo has always been a source of inspiration to locals and visitors alike. This city has a special charm that draws people in from across Japan and around the world. There are those who come for Tokyo’s truly top-notch food and drink, the vibrant art scene, or just to soak up Japan’s unique culture.

These quotes from some of Tokyo’s most famous residents and visitors sum up what life in Tokyo and Japan is all about.

RECOMMENDED: Be inspired by the most beautiful places in Japan

Quotes about Tokyo and Japan

Anthony Bourdain (celebrity chef and author)
Photo: bantersnaps/Unsplash

Anthony Bourdain (celebrity chef and author)

'If I had to eat only in one city for the rest of my life, Tokyo would be it.'

Bourdain was famous for his writing and travel documentaries exploring international cuisine and culture.

Tadao Ando (architect)
Photo: Richie Chan/Dreamstime

Tadao Ando (architect)

'Working in Tokyo has convinced me that, contrary to what people think, it is actually one of the world's most beautiful cities.'

Ando’s most famous buildings include Omotesando Hills in Tokyo and the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in Missouri.

Advertising

Kazuo Ishiguro (novelist)

'If you go to Tokyo, I think it becomes very obvious that there's this almost seamless mixture of popular culture and Japanese traditional culture.'

Ishiguro is a Japanese-British author famous for ‘The Remains of the Day’ and ‘Never Let Me Go’.

Donald Richie (film historian)
Photo: Joseph Chan/Unsplash

Donald Richie (film historian)

'Tokyo seems the least designed of capitals, not so much contrived as naturally grown.'

Richie was an American-born writer, who helped to popularise Japanese cinema in the West.

Advertising

Toshiko Mori (architect)

'More than any other city, Tokyo demonstrates that "city" is a verb and not a noun.'

Mori is a Japan-born, US-based architect who worked on the New York University Master Plan.

Banana Yoshimoto (novelist)
Photo: Charles Deluvio/Unsplash

Banana Yoshimoto (novelist)

'When I considered the destruction of the earth, I felt I'd deal with it when I saw it happening, but when I thought of losing Shimokitazawa, I felt real fear.'

A quote from the English translation of Yoshimoto’s 2010 novel ‘Moshi-Moshi’.

Advertising

Rose George (journalist)

'What they have done in Japan, which I find so inspirational, is they've brought the toilet out from behind the locked door. They've made it conversational.'

George is a British journalist and advocate for improving sanitation around the world.

Karin Muller (filmmaker)
Photo: Pavlo Klein/Unsplash

Karin Muller (filmmaker)

'Japan is the only country I know where a flower can bring an entire nation to a state of near-sexual excitement.'

Muller is a Swiss writer and documentarian. This is a quote from her book ‘Japanland: A Year in Search of Wa’.

Advertising
Ryuichi Sakamoto (musician)
Photo: Hkyu Wu/Unsplash

Ryuichi Sakamoto (musician)

'In Japanese culture, there is a belief that God is everywhere – in mountains, trees, rocks, even in our sympathy for robots or Hello Kitty toys.'

Sakamoto is a Japanese composer and pianist, most famous as a member of electronic band Yellow Magic Orchestra.

Nick Wooster (fashion designer)

'There are so many more people in Tokyo than in New York, but it's pristine. It's so organized, and yet the address system is in complete chaos.'

Wooster is an American fashion designer and consultant who has worked with retail chain JCPenny and Italian fashion house Lardini.

Advertising
Yuko Tsushima (author)
Photo: Timo Volz/Unsplash

Yuko Tsushima (author)

'Living right in the heart of Tokyo itself is quite like living in the mountains – in the midst of so many people, one hardly sees anyone.'

A quote from the English translation of Tsushima’s celebrated short story ‘The Watery Realm’.

More from Time Out

Advertising
The best books set in Japan
  • Things to do

Explore postwar Nagasaki, go on road trip with a cat, and meet Japanese mythological creatures in these five books that take place in Japan

Recommended
    You may also like
      Advertising