10 Biggest Cities In Japan

The Tokyo-Kanto Metropolitan Area is home to 37 million people, equal to around 29% of the entire Japanese population.

Japan is one of the most populated countries in the world with a population of approximately 127 million people. The area of Japan is comprised by over 6,000 different islands in the Pacific Ocean. Although this nation is made up of so many islands, only 430 of these islands are inhabited. Out of these 430 islands, the majority of the population live in four islands, which are Honshu, Hokkaido, Shikoku, and Kyushu.

Major Urban Area of Japan

Tokyo and Other Major Cities of Honshu Island

Tokyo is the capital city of Japan and it is by far the most populated city in the country. In fact, it is the most populous metropolitan area in the world. Almost 37 million people live in the Greater Tokyo-Kanto which is made up of Tokyo and the areas that are surrounding the city. This city is on Honshu island which is the biggest island in Japan. 103 million people reside on this island which is a considerable fraction of the population of Japan. Other big cities that are on this island include Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya, Kobe and Hiroshima. From this we can see that the second, third, fifth, seventh and tenth most populated cities in Japan are also in Honshu island. The main reason for this is because the majority of Japan’s industry is set on this island and also since other three main islands of Japan are linked to Honshu island. In addition to that, Honshu island is also the historical center of Japanese culture and political power.


Outside of Honshu island, Fukuoka is the most populated city. This city has approximately 5.5 million residents and it is located on Kyushu island. A large amount of agricultural cultivation takes place on this island, with tea, sweet potato, rice, tobacco, and soy being widely grown there. Other than Fukuoka, the other remaining cities on this island are not very populated, with Kitakyushu being the second most populated city on the island with a population less than 1 million people.


Another major city in Japan is Sapporo. This city is located in the island of Hokkaido and it is famous for its beet, skiing due its mountainous location. This city has a colder climate in comparison to many other parts of Japan and as a result many tourists travel here in order to part take in winter sports. The snowfall is good for such activities and as a result the 1972 Winter Olympics also took place in Sapporo.

The Future of Japan's Population

Japan has a population which is decreasing in size with an annual growth rate of -0.2%. This is due to factors such as an aging population and part of the population migration away from the country. That being said, it is unlikely these cities will drop in population since more and more Japanese people are moving to the cities. About 200 rural communities have become extinct since the turn of the century, and in addition to that almost 10% of towns are at risk of a similar fate with 50% of the population of these places expected to move to the larger cities. As a result, we can expect the population of cities to still increase, and the effects of the population declines will be most visible in the smaller towns and outlying rural areas.

The 10 Biggest Cities In Japan

RankCityMetro Population
1Greater Tokyo-Kanto36.9 Million
2Keihanshin (Kobe-Kyoto-Osaka)19.3 Million
3Nagoya9.1 Million
4Fukuoka5.5 Million
5Shizuoka2.7 Million
6Sapporo2.6 Million
7Sendai2.2 Million
8Hiroshima2.1 Million
9Utsunomiya1.7 Million
10Okayama1.6 Million

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