Spotlight City: Tokyo, Japan

Spotlight City: Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, officially a metropolitan prefecture of Japan, is the capital and largest city of Japan. The Greater Tokyo Area is notable for being the most populous metropolitan area in the world, with a population of around 37,800,000.  The city’s urban density is extraordinarily high and has a significant effect on the way infrastructure is designed, resulting in many of Tokyo’s unique features. Tokyo, considered an alpha+ world city, hosts the greatest number of Fortune 500 companies in the world. The city is ranked first in the Global Economic Power Index and fourth in the Global Cities Index. Tokyo is incredibly safe, with low levels of crime.

Threats and Risks to Travelers in Tokyo

Tokyo is a safe city by international standards. While violent crime is rare, petty crime may present occasional issues for visitors to the city. Pickpocketing is perhaps the most prevalent form of petty crime in Tokyo. Pickpockets are most common on public transit and at tourist destinations. Be mindful of anyone roughly bumping into you or otherwise finding excuses to enter your personal space.

An unfortunate occurrence that is rather characteristic of Tokyo is sexual harassment in crowded areas, such as onboard trains. However, tourists are far less likely to experience this than locals. If you happen to encounter any incidents, yelling “chikaan” is a very effectively deterrent as the phrase is highly publicized in Japanese media, meaning “sexual harassment.”

Certain areas of Tokyo may put you at a higher security risk. Exercise caution in Shinjuku, especially in the areas of Kabuki-cho, Roppongi, Shibuya, and Ikebukuro. The risk of violent assault is higher in these districts, and they frequently attract druggies, thieves and other shady crowds. These areas represent red light and entertainment districts. Watch out for drink spiking and scam attempts.

Best Practices for Personal Security in Tokyo

Assume normal precautions in Tokyo. Maintain an awareness of your surroundings in Tokyo and always be conscious of your belongings in public. Keep valuables and bags within view. Be aware of locations and situations that could make you vulnerable to crime, such as lane ways, isolated parks and buildings, back streets and poorly lit parking lots.

Whenever possible, avoid side-alleys or isolated streets and stick to larger, well-lit roads, especially after dark. At night, it is best to remain in areas with lots of people.

What to Do in an Emergency

In the event of an emergency, dial 110 to access emergency fire, medical and police services. Contact the representation of your country in Tokyo as they may be able to provide further assistance. Tokyo’s non-emergency police number is 03-3814-4151, which usually has operators that speak English on duty.  Be aware that local policemen often do not speak fluent English.

Enjoy Your Trip!

Tokyo is one of the most iconic cities in Asia and indeed, the world. This immense, sprawling and captivating metropolis brings a forward-thinking vision of the future alongside glimpses of old Japan. From modern technology and massive skyscrapers to cherry blossoms and the Imperial Palace, this is a city that represents the full spectrum of Japanese history and culture. Whether your purpose here is to try authentic sushi, visit for business or tour the iconic landmarks of the prefecture, you are sure to enjoy your stay in Tokyo.


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