If it’s not Tokyo, can you guess which city made the list?

There are thousands of cities in the world, and each one has its own charms, benefits, and challenges for the people that live in them. And as it turns out, there’s a rating for that. Designed by U.S. magazine Economist Intelligence, the Global Livability Index analyzes the challenges people face in 173 cities of the world and assigns each one a rating based on five factors: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and social infrastructure.

Due to a tie, this year eleven cities made the top ten, and in tenth place, tied with Melbourne, Australia, is one Japanese city that not many Japanese people expected to be the highest ranked for the country: Osaka.

The announcement came as a shock to many since a lot of Japanese people regard Osaka as a city that’s rough around the edges, compared to Japan’s other major metropolises. Though by international standards a relatively safe place, by Japanese standards Osaka has a reputation for more aggressive personalities, and dirtier streets, than other cities in Japan, and with Tokyo deemed the most livable city in the world in 2020 by a different organization, many were surprised to see Osaka ranked higher than the nation’s capital, and Japanese Netizens turned to Twitter to express their surprise.

“What is so livable about Osaka?”
“Even though it’s [often] where the most murders happen in Japan?”
“Personally I think Sapporo and Sendai are easy to live in. It doesn’t snow that much there and the summers are cooler than Tokyo or Osaka.”
“Is Osaka really more livable than Tokyo?”
“I would have thought it was Yokohama. Osaka doesn’t have a good reputation.”

But many other netizens came to Osaka’s defense.

“For some reason they never have any major natural disasters, like earthquakes, tsunami, heavy rains, and flooding.”
“I’ve heard Osaka is really welcoming to outsiders. It might be natural they’d make the list.”
“As an Osaka resident, I’m happy. It’s easy to get to sightseeing spots, the big city, and even natural environments. It really is easy to live here.”
“Rent in Kansai is cheaper than in Kanto, so economically speaking it’s probably more livable. And since safety was considered from an international perspective it’s probably about the same as Tokyo.”

The cost of living isn’t a factor included in the Global Livability Index scoring, so the comparatively inexpensive rent in Osaka probably didn’t play a role in its win over Tokyo or Yokohama, but many other factors likely did. For one, the index’s definition of “stability” includes more than just safety. Though crime rates are considered to be higher in Osaka than in other parts of Japan, it must have enough going for it in other categories–general stability, education, medical care, culture, and social infrastructure–to put it ahead of the rest of the country. After all, Osaka has just about everything Tokyo has, just with a bit more character.

▼ The Osaka Castle Park area, for example, is a really nice shopping area that has a hidden tourist attraction.

The full ranking, by the way, is as follows:

1. Vienna, Austria
2. Copenhagen, Denmark
3. Zurich, Switzerland
4. Calgary, Canada
5. Vancouver Canada
6. Geneva, Switzerland
7. Frankfurt, Germany
8. Toronto, Canada
9. Amsterdam, Holland
10. Osaka, Japan / Melbourne, Australia

With so many European countries dominating the list, Japan should be proud to have a city that made it to the top 10…and to be the only Asian city on the list, to boot!

Source: Economist Intelligence via Yurukuyaru via My Game News Flash, Twitter (1, 2)
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