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Thread: London vs Tokyo

  1. #1
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    Arrow London vs Tokyo

    Having lived in both cities, I can't help but compare them. Capitals of two islands countries where people drive on the left and are known for their politeness (or hypocrisy), both have a similar population (centre/+suburbs 8/11 million for Tokyo and 7/12 million for London). It is difficult to say which one I prefer as both have their advantages and inconvenients. Here is a short summary.

    Transports

    London (4/5) : Legendary underground and doubledeckers. It has more atmosphere than almost anywhere else. Even the taxis are part of the decor. Some trains and buses are a bit old though. London taxi drivers are famous around the world for knowing every nooks and crannies of their city.
    Tokyo (3/5) : Clean, bright and spacious trains/metro, but buses tend to be too small (and too low for tall people), too few (once every 15-20min, as opposed to 3-8 min in London), too slow (no bus lane like in London) and often late. One more thing, there are no night buses in Tokyo. Taxis are overpriced and don't know their way around.

    Public Parks

    London (4/5) : Lots of big and beautiful parks, lots of "wooded squares"
    Tokyo (3/5) : Parks are less beautiful and smaller than in London, but there are a few nice traditional gardens.

    Streets

    London (3/5) : Reasonably clean and wide, except in some areas. Still too much traffic even after the new congestion tax.
    Tokyo (5/5) : Cleaner and wider pavements than London. Quiet residential backstreets and few traffic jams on big avenues.

    Architecture

    London (5/5) : Central London is as good as it gets for architectural beauty. No place in the world can rival Westminster, St James, Regent Street or the core of the City. The suburbs can be ugly though.
    Tokyo (2/5) : Apart from a few nice skyscrapers built recently in Shiodome and around Otemachi, and those of West Shinjuku, most of the city is an architectural chaos of concrete only worsened by electric lines and cheap plastic and neons signs.

    Food

    London (4/5) : With the avent of "new British" food and all can of food the world can offer, London is (surprisingly to some) a paradise for gourmets. The main drawback are the prices to pay for good food, much too high compared to Tokyo. Indian food is especially great.
    Tokyo (4/5) : One of the city's claim of fame is the quality of its food, especially Japanese, Korean and Italian (French is variable). Chinese food is not as good as in Europe though, and can be overpriced. It's sometime hard to find other ethnic food, even Mexican, Turkish or Indian. The big plus are the cheap bento and "Japanese fastfood" chains (tendon, ramen, udon, soba, gyudon, karee, etc.)

    Shopping

    London (4/5) : A capital of fashion in itself. Great for boutiques, chains and luxury department stores (no need to introduce Harrods or Selfridges anymore). Not so good when it comes to electronic.
    Tokyo (4/5) : Excellent for electronics and brand clothes. Full of department stores. Foreign brand clothes are however overpriced compared to the US and Europe. Everyday imported food (cheese, wine, chocolates, jam, cereals...) is also overpriced and can be hard to find outside specialised shops.

    Climate

    London (3/5) : Too cloudy and rainy, but not that bad. Winters not much colder than Tokyo eventhough London is 2000 km more north. Pleasant summer.
    Tokyo (3/5) : Too hot, humid and rainy in summer with numerous typhoons. Mild and dry season (Nov-March) is not bad. The humidity makes it always feel too hot or too cold almost anytime of the year.

    Safety & discrimination

    London (4/5) : Very safe, although many not as much as Tokyo for petty crimes. Little racism and discrimination considering the huge ethnic mix-up.
    Tokyo (4/5) : Very safe city apart from some yakuza activity. Risk of earthquakes. Rampant discrimination against women at work and sometimes against foreigners (esp. real estate companies and the police).

    Accommodation

    London (3/5) : Too overpriced at the moment, but great buildings in some central districts. Wins for beauty and quality but not price. The suburbs are still mostly ugly.
    Tokyo (3/5) : Much cheaper than 15 years ago, but constructions are usually poor quality, typically with no insulation and no central heating. New "mansions" are getting a bit better though. The "reikin" system (key money) in addition to the deposit is hard to accept.

    Total

    London : 34/45
    Tokyo : 31/45
    Last edited by Maciamo; 24-06-05 at 15:24.

  2. #2
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    Wow, I found that really fascinating. Living in London but longing to visit Tokyo, it depicted my main curiosities and gave a clear impression of some differences/similarities between the two cities.


    Thanks for writing it! Very helpful to me.

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    Very well written.


    Im on this site where there is a 'City V City' section.


    In the next London V Tokyo discussion, I will bring up some of your points.

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    Wow it would take too long time to compare this much.

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    London will totally destroy Tokyo!

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    Smile London is Royal but Tokyo is Hi-Tech

    Well I never feel like that way,I think London is a city if classic and royal heritage and when you walking in the streets of London,you must feel a royal walk and on the other hand Tokyo is the city of the fun and some high technology so both are good at there own ends and not fair enough to compare them.

    Regards:Bebo Kobo

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricjoseph96 View Post
    Well I never feel like that way,I think London is a city if classic and royal heritage and when you walking in the streets of London,you must feel a royal walk and on the other hand Tokyo is the city of the fun and some high technology so both are good at there own ends and not fair enough to compare them.

    Regards:Bebo Kobo
    Both great cities, but it's like comparing apples and oranges.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricjoseph96 View Post
    Well I never feel like that way,I think London is a city if classic and royal heritage and when you walking in the streets of London,you must feel a royal walk and on the other hand Tokyo is the city of the fun and some high technology so both are good at there own ends and not fair enough to compare them.

    Regards:Bebo Kobo
    Tokyo is the seat of the Japanese Imperial family, the world's last imperial monarchy. Although the court used to be in Kyoto until 1867, the Imperial Palace dates from 1457 and was the former the residence of the shogun (so the actual seat of political power). In that way Tokyo is certainly as "Royal" as London, and in fact the Imperial Palace is far more conspicuous in Tokyo than Buckingham is in London. The whole Japanese capital revolves around the palace grounds.

    As for technology, I have lived in both cities and the high-tech isn't more obvious in the streets of Tokyo as it is in London. And the products available in electronic shops are basically the same.

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    London seems to gloomy for me, I'd take Tokyo!

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