10 Biggest Cities In Japan

The Greater Tokyo (Kanto) area is the largest metropolitan area in Japan. Editorial credit: Tupungato / Shutterstock.com.
The Greater Tokyo (Kanto) area is the largest metropolitan area in Japan. Editorial credit: Tupungato / Shutterstock.com.

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

1. Tokyo - 8,956,000

Tokyo is the capital city of Japan and it is by far the most populated city in the country. In fact, it is one of the most populous metropolitan areas 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.

2. Yokohama - 3,690,000

Yokohama is the second-largest city in Japan. Yokohama is located nearby Tokyo, but is considered to be a city of its own. Transit connections between Tokyo and Yokohama are very convenient, as travel between the two is common.

3. Osaka - 2,670,000

Osaka is the third-largest city in Japan. Formerly a famous city at the center of the rice trade, Osaka today is known for being a vibrant city. Osaka is well-connected to other places in Japan by rail, and to other international cities by ferry.

4. Nagoya - 2,266,000

Nagoya is Japan's fourth-largest urban area. It is well known for hosting one of the most important ports in the country. Nagoya is also home to a major automotive industry. Nagoya is home to 2,266,000 residents in its urban area.

5. Sapporo - 1,906,000

Another major city in Japan is Sapporo. This city is located in the island of Hokkaido and is a famous skiing destination. 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. The 1972 Winter Olympics were held in Sapporo.

6. Kobe - 1,544,000

Kobe is a large city located on Honshu. It has a population of 1,544,000 individuals. Located midway between Osaka and Kyoto, Kobe is a major financial center within the country.

7. Fukuoka - 1,482,000

Fukuoka is the seventh largest city in Japan, with a total population of 1,482,000. It is found on Kyushu. The population of Fukuoka has been growing at a steady rate.

8. Kyoto - 1,470,000

Kyoto is Japan's eighth largest city, as well as one of its most famous. Around 1,470,000 people live in Kyoto. Throughout history, Kyoto was one of the most important as well as the largest cultural centers of Japan.

9. Kawasaki - 1,413,000

Kawasaki is the ninth largest urban area in Japan. It is considered to be part of the Greater Tokyo Area. Around 1,413,000 people live in Kawasaki.

10. Saitama - 1,230,000

Saitama, like Kawasaki, is also a part of the Greater Tokyo Area. The city is densely populated, with a total of 1,230,000 individuals and an average population density of 5,830 people per square km.

The Future of Japan's Population

Japan has a population that 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

RankCity Population
1Tokyo 8,956,000

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