The Top 5 Largest Cities in Japan You Must Visit

largest cities in japan
Tokyo Skyline

Planning a trip to Japan can be overwhelming with so many incredible cities to choose from. Japan is a country of contrasts, blending ancient traditions and cutting-edge technology seamlessly. However, if you’re looking for the ultimate Japanese experience, you can’t miss visiting its largest cities.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to the top 5 largest cities in Japan that you absolutely must visit. From Tokyo’s bustling streets to Sapporo’s snowy wonderland, we’ll give you a taste of what makes each of these cities unique.

Our goal is to provide you with a comprehensive guide that will help you plan your visit to these cities. We’ll cover everything from each city’s population size and geographic location to the cultural attractions and must-see landmarks.

So, whether you’re planning a solo trip or a family vacation, get ready to explore the largest cities in Japan and experience all that this amazing country has to offer. Let’s dive in!

Why You Should Visit Japan’s Largest Cities

Japan is a country of contrasts, blending ancient traditions and modern technology seamlessly. Visiting Japan’s largest cities is an experience that’s unlike any other, and it’s one that you definitely shouldn’t miss out on.

In this section, we’ll discuss the appeal of visiting the largest cities in Japan, including their cultural and historical significance, modern amenities, and entertainment options. We’ll also explain how these cities are different from other destinations in Japan.

1. Cultural Significance

The largest cities in Japan are home to some of the country’s most iconic cultural landmarks. From Tokyo’s ancient temples and shrines to Osaka’s traditional food markets, these cities offer visitors a glimpse into Japan’s rich cultural heritage. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about traditional Japanese arts, crafts, and customs and experience them firsthand.

2. Modern Amenities

Japan is known for its cutting-edge technology, and the country’s largest cities are at the forefront of innovation. From state-of-the-art transportation systems to high-tech shopping districts, these cities have all the modern amenities you could ever need. You’ll be able to experience the latest in Japanese technology and see how it shapes daily life in the country.

3. Entertainment Options

The largest cities in Japan offer an unparalleled range of entertainment options, from traditional Japanese theater to modern-day anime and gaming. You’ll have the opportunity to see world-renowned performers and artists, attend festivals and events, and explore the unique entertainment districts that make each city so special.

4. Different from Other Destinations

While Japan has many incredible destinations to explore, visiting its largest cities offers a completely different experience. These cities are hubs of activity, culture, and entertainment, and they’re unlike any other place in Japan. Visiting Japan’s largest cities will give you a chance to see a side of the country that you won’t find anywhere else.

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So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable experience in Japan, make sure to visit its largest cities. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the country’s cultural significance, modern amenities, and unique entertainment options, all while experiencing the hustle and bustle of Japan’s urban centers.

The Top 5 Largest Cities in Japan: Population, Location, and Unique Features

Japan is home to many vibrant and exciting cities, but its largest cities stand out for their size, diversity, and cultural significance. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the top 5 largest cities in Japan and what makes each one so special.

1. Tokyo: Japan’s Dynamic Capital City

Population: 13.96 million
Location: Eastern Japan

Tokyo is not only the largest city in Japan but also one of the largest cities in the world. It’s a bustling metropolis with a rich cultural heritage and cutting-edge technology. Tokyo is home to iconic landmarks like the Tokyo Tower and the Meiji Shrine, as well as the famous shopping district of Ginza and the anime hub of Akihabara.

Cultural and Historical Significance

Despite its modern reputation, Tokyo is also steeped in history and culture. The city is home to numerous museums, temples, and shrines, including the famous Meiji Shrine, which pays homage to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Visitors can also explore the Imperial Palace, the official residence of the Emperor of Japan.

Unique Features and Attractions

Tokyo is renowned for its unique blend of old and new. From the towering skyscrapers of Shinjuku and the trendy fashion boutiques of Harajuku to the tranquil gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo offers something for every type of traveler.

Don’t miss out on Tokyo’s iconic landmarks, such as the Tokyo Tower, an Eiffel Tower-inspired structure that offers breathtaking views of the city, and the Shibuya Crossing, one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections.

Culinary Delights

Tokyo is a foodie’s paradise, with countless dining options to suit every taste and budget. Sample traditional Japanese cuisine like sushi and ramen, or indulge in international fare from around the world.

Don’t forget to explore the city’s vibrant street food scene, where you can try local favorites like takoyaki (octopus balls) and yakitori (grilled chicken skewers).

As one of the largest cities in Japan, Tokyo is an essential destination for any traveler looking to experience the country’s unique blend of tradition and modernity.

2. Yokohama: A Coastal City Near Tokyo

Population: 3.77 million
Location: Eastern Japan

Located just south of Tokyo, the second largest city in Japan, Yokohama is a vibrant coastal city known for its beautiful harbor views and international atmosphere. It’s home to the famous Yokohama Chinatown, a bustling shopping and dining district that’s a must-visit for foodies.

Yokohama also has several scenic parks, including Yamashita Park and the Sankeien Garden.

Cultural and Historical Significance

Yokohama is a vibrant port city situated south of Tokyo, making it an easy destination to access from the capital. As the second-largest city in Japan, it has a rich history as a center of trade and commerce, evident in its numerous museums and galleries. But what sets Yokohama apart from other Japanese cities is its charming blend of old and new, with historical buildings and modern architecture coexisting in harmony.

Unique Features and Attractions

Yokohama’s attractions include the Minato Mirai 21 waterfront district, where visitors can enjoy shopping, dining, and entertainment while taking in stunning views of the bay.

One of the most popular attractions in Yokohama is the Cup Noodle Museum, where you can learn about the history of instant ramen noodles and even create your own custom cup noodles to take home as a souvenir.

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Culinary Delights

Whether you’re a history buff or a foodie, Yokohama has something to offer everyone. Its proximity to Tokyo also makes it an ideal day trip destination or a great addition to your itinerary when exploring Japan’s largest cities.

3. Osaka: The Kitchen of Japan

Population: 2.69 million
Location: Western Japan

Osaka is the third largest city in Japan, located on the island of Honshu, the main island of Japan, and is situated on the eastern coast of the island. It is located approximately 400 kilometers (250 miles) west of Tokyo and about 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Kyoto.

Osaka is a dynamic city with a unique atmosphere that sets it apart from Tokyo and other cities in Japan. Osaka is a city with a rich culinary heritage and a vibrant nightlife. It’s known as the “kitchen of Japan” because of its delicious street food and world-renowned restaurants.

Osaka is also home to iconic landmarks like the Osaka Castle and the Umeda Sky Building, as well as the famous entertainment district of Dotonbori.


Osaka is famous for its street food and local specialties, such as takoyaki (octopus balls) and okonomiyaki (savory pancakes). These dishes can be found all over the city, especially in the bustling Dotonbori district.

Visitors can also explore the Kuromon Ichiba Market, a lively market where they can sample local delicacies and fresh seafood.

Osaka is a must-visit destination for foodies and anyone interested in experiencing the heart of Japanese culinary culture.


Osaka Castle is a must-visit attraction, a symbol of the city’s rich history and culture. The castle grounds offer beautiful views of the city, and visitors can learn about Osaka’s past at the museum inside.

Other popular spots include the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, which offers a stunning view of Osaka Bay, and the vibrant Shinsekai district, known for its lively atmosphere and delicious street food.

With its unique blend of culture, cuisine, and attractions, Osaka is a top destination for anyone visiting Japan’s largest cities. Don’t miss out on the chance to explore this vibrant and exciting city.

4. Nagoya: A City of Industry and Tradition

Population: 2.32 million
Location: Central Japan

Nagoya is the fourth largest city in Japan, located in the central region of Honshu island. Nagoya is a city that blends traditional Japanese culture with modern industrial innovation. It’s home to the famous Nagoya Castle and Atsuta Shrine, as well as the Toyota Automobile Museum and the Nagoya Science Museum. Nagoya is also a great place to try regional specialties like miso katsu and hitsumabushi.

Cultural and Historical Significance

Nagoya is home to many historical landmarks, including Nagoya Castle, which was built in the 17th century and has been beautifully restored. The castle is surrounded by picturesque gardens and is a popular spot for cherry blossom viewing in the spring.

Another famous landmark is Atsuta Shrine, one of the most important Shinto shrines in Japan, housing the sacred sword Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, one of the three imperial regalia of Japan.

City of Industry

Nagoya is also known for its industrial prowess and is home to many automobile manufacturers, including Toyota, which has its headquarters located in the city. Visitors can tour the Toyota factory and museum, learning about the history and innovation of Japan’s automobile industry.

Unique Features and Attractions

One of the unique features of Nagoya is the Nagoya City Science Museum, which houses one of the world’s largest planetariums. The museum has many interactive exhibits, making it a fun and educational destination for all ages.

Nagoya Cuisine

Nagoya is famous for its cuisine, including hitsumabushi, a dish made with grilled eel and rice, and miso katsu, a breaded and fried pork cutlet served with miso sauce. Visitors can also try local favorites like tenmusu, a rice ball filled with shrimp tempura, and misonikomi udon, a hearty noodle dish made with miso soup and vegetables.

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Nagoya is a city that offers a unique blend of tradition and modernity, making it a must-visit destination for travelers interested in both Japanese history and industry. With its rich cultural heritage, delicious cuisine, and modern attractions, Nagoya is definitely one of the must-see largest cities in Japan.

5. Sapporo: A City of Snow and Ice

Population: 1.96 million
Location: Northern Japan

Sapporo is the fourth largest city in Japan, located in the northernmost island of Hokkaido. It is known for its stunning natural landscapes and unique cultural traditions. In this section, we’ll explore some of Sapporo’s cultural and historical significance, as well as its unique features and attractions.

Cultural and Historical Significance

Sapporo is home to several historical landmarks, including the Hokkaido Shrine, which was built in 1869 and is dedicated to the deities who protect Hokkaido. Another important landmark is the Sapporo Clock Tower, which was built in 1878 and is one of the oldest structures in the city. The tower now serves as a museum showcasing the history of Sapporo.

Unique Features and Attractions

One of Sapporo’s most famous attractions is the annual Sapporo Snow Festival, which takes place every February. The festival features elaborate snow and ice sculptures, concerts, and a variety of food stalls. The city’s Odori Park is transformed into a winter wonderland during the festival, attracting visitors from all over the world.

Sapporo is also home to several beer breweries, including the famous Sapporo Brewery. The brewery offers tours and tastings, where visitors can sample some of the city’s finest brews. Sapporo’s cuisine is also notable, with popular dishes like Genghis Khan, a lamb barbecue, and soup curry, a curry-based soup with various ingredients.

In addition to its cultural attractions and food, Sapporo also boasts stunning natural landscapes. Visitors can take a stroll through Maruyama Park, a beautiful park with a pond and hiking trails. Or, take a cable car up to the top of Mt. Moiwa for breathtaking views of the city.

Sapporo is a unique and vibrant city with a rich cultural heritage and a variety of attractions to offer. Whether you’re interested in history, food, or nature, Sapporo has something for everyone to enjoy. So, if you’re planning a trip to Japan, be sure to add Sapporo to your itinerary and experience all this city has to offer.


In this article, we discussed the top five largest cities in Japan, including Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, and Sapporo. We highlighted each city’s unique features, such as Tokyo’s iconic landmarks and Yokohama’s historical significance as a port city.

We also discussed Osaka’s famous foods and Nagoya’s mix of modern amenities and historical landmarks. Lastly, we touched on Sapporo’s unique culture and annual snow festival.

As you can see, the largest cities in Japan are diverse, vibrant, and full of unique features and attractions. Whether you’re interested in traditional culture, modern technology, delicious food, or natural beauty, there’s something for everyone in these largest cities in Japan.

If you’re planning a trip to Japan, we highly recommend visiting one or more of these cities to experience their unique culture and attractions.

You can find more information and resources for planning your trip on the official Japan tourism website, as well as other travel resources online. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore some of Japan’s most vibrant and exciting cities!