Overcrowding and growing urban population in Japan


Many imagine that houses and apartments in Japan are small due to lack of space. But in fact, this is because most people want to flock to big cities like Tokyo and Osaka. In Tokyo alone there are 13 million inhabitants, and its enlarged region exceeds 36 million (Chiba, Saitama, Kanagawa). What makes several people live in the same place?

While in Japan there are 336 inhabitants per km² in Tokyo there are 6,000 people per km². Despite this, Japan suffers from a major birth problem, where the government seriously needs to encourage the Japanese to have children, otherwise the population will decrease each time but, hindering economic growth and needing more and more labor.

Some imagine Japan as a cluster of cities, but in reality almost 80% of it are forests and mountains. Even though Japan is a small country, several cities are becoming deserted and abandoned because the majority of the interior population is migrating to Tokyo. The Japanese government has even offered free land of 300m² to encourage population growth in the Region. The government urgently needs, in addition to solving the problem of lack of children being born, but also to remove most of the people from Tokyo and encourage them to spread across the country.

Overcrowding and growing urban population in japan

This is not an easy task, more and more the population of Tokyo and other cities is increasing. That's because Tokyo is the city of opportunities, the desire of many young people and even foreigners. In Tokyo you have access to everything you need, although it is sometimes an illusion, since even small and remote cities you can find everything, including entertainment and tourism.

Overcrowding problems in Tokyo

Overcrowded trains and schools, long waiting lists for kindergartens and preschools, etc. The mayor of Tokyo has been fighting these problems, developing ties with rural areas and encouraging people to leave the city and start a life in the countryside. While Tokyo faces overcrowding problems, regional industries are breaking down and there are not enough people to farm in the fields.

Overcrowding influences even the low birth rate in the country, as most women in Tokyo have fewer children than in other regions. Although Japanese cities are planned to avoid traffic jams, this happens on trains, parks, swimming pools, especially on holidays or festivals. Thousands of people gathered in different situations. Even if the Japanese crowd in an organized manner, it can be uncomfortable for many.

Overcrowding and growing urban population in japan

The government has done the following things to avoid overcrowding in public places with high access:

  • Tour buses have restricted schedules;
  • Place limit of total capacity in the places;
  • Increase opening hours;
  • Higher taxes and entrance fees;
  • Minimum stays;

Japan's Population Density

The fact is that several cities in Japan suffer from overcrowding, while several cities are a desert without residents, without workers, without employees, without students, etc. See a demographic list of Japan with the most populated cities and their density.

City Population Density 1Km² Km² area
Tokyo 13.503.810 6000 2.189
Yokohama 3.555.473 8174 434
Osaka 2.643.805 11.893 222
Nagoya 2.258.804 6.919 326


Although Japan seems to be one of the most crowded countries in the world, with many people per km², there are another 17 countries that are ahead of Japan. Monaco, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vatican, Malta, Taiwan, South Korea, Puerto Rico, Belgium , Lebanon and several others. The difference is that these countries probably do not leave their abandoned areas to gather in one place, mainly because some are very small.

Overcrowding and growing urban population in japan - harajuku

Although Tokyo has a high density, with areas that reach 14,000 people per km². This is well below the density of cities like Manhattan (27,000) and Paris (21,000). One of the strategies to avoid overpopulation is to raise the high housing costs in Tokyo. The big problem is that this leads people to spend less choosing smaller apartment options. In other words, like all Japan, Tokyo still has a lot of living space, the fact that it is expensive ends up gathering even more people in small spaces.

Why are rentals, apartments and houses in Tokyo expensive? The simple fact that most of Tokyo is small buildings and houses, while waiting for gigantic skyscrapers. High prices also make people live a long way from work. Many of them still take the train on a very long journey, wasting precious time. If the Japanese focus on creating higher buildings, prices would be lower and perhaps even more space.

Building and transforming smart cities

Tokyo will always attract attention, which makes the city need to evolve in a way that makes life easier for those who live there. This way it avoids some of the problems caused by the overcrowding of people migrating to the city. Japan has transformed its cities in an intelligent way, with technologies that reduce energy costs, environmental pollution, etc. But this is not enough, the Japanese government needs to grow other cities and encourage people to live in them.

Overcrowding and growing urban population in japan - public japan trains

There is a concept called Smart City, Fujisawa was the first smart city within the concept where the focus is on reducing spending and creating something sustainable. But instead of creating smart cities, Japan has transformed existing cities to make life easier for citizens. There are several factors that make a city smart, such as:

  • Connectivity;
  • Integration;
  • Planning;
  • Accessibility;
  • Economy;
  • Sustainability;
  • Innovation;
  • Quality of life;
  • Interactivity;
  • Efficiency;
  • Intelligence;
  • Mobility;
  • Creativity;

Instead of creating smart cities, it is on these factors that Japan needs to think about developing in small towns in order to attract the population. Japan has done this work with its technology, transportation, facility, etc. What do you think about this subject? We would like to hear your opinion in the comments, and your sharing.

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