Tokyo triumphs again in Monocle Quality of Life Survey

Shibuya, Tokyo

Monocle has announced its Quality of Life Survey for the 11th year running, in which 25 cities worldwide were ranked for liveability. For the third successive year, Tokyo was named most liveable city by the culture mag (here’s something for the conspiracy theorists: Tokyo-based Nikkei Group became a Monocle shareholder three years ago).

The list is a curious mix of hipster favourites such as Berlin and Portland and hyper-expensive sprawls like Hong Kong (ranked second by Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey) and of course Tokyo (ranked third in the same survey), making it a mashup that would likely appeal to both the monied elite and counterculturalists. Which begs the question: should it really be called a Quality of Life Survey?

The rundown in full:

1. Tokyo
2. Vienna
3. Berlin
4. Munich
5. Melbourne
6. Copenhagen
7. Sydney
8. Zurich
9. Hamburg
10. Madrid
11. Stockholm
12. Kyoto
13. Helsinki
14. Fukuoka
15. Hong Kong
16. Lisbon
17. Barcelona
18. Vancouver
19. Dusseldorf
20. Amsterdam
21. Singapore
22. Auckland
23. Brisbane
24. Portland
25. Oslo

Japan unsurprisingly dominates Monocle Quality of Life survey


Monocle magazine has announced its top 25 most liveable cities worldwide for the 10th year running. This year for the first time, the publication announced, its rankings took into account quality of nightlife (which makes sense to me – the world’s finest cities, in my experience, also have a thriving night scene):

We add to the metrics each year and this time we’ve measured cities’ nocturnal qualities too, from closing times to the places that still serve a good meal after 22.00. Despite these new metrics, when looking back over the previous surveys it’s striking to see how the fundamentals of what makes a liveable city have remained the same.

Monocle’s love affair with Japan continues, with the survey showing 3 Japanese cities in the top 10 – Fukuoka perhaps being the most surprising entry, sandwiched (or sushi rolled) in between usual favourites Melbourne and Sydney. Europe’s great capitals Berlin, Vienna and Copenhagen are also included in the top 10, and will likely feature for years to come.

Lower down the list, Asia’s world cities Hong Kong and Singapore are divided only by Barcelona. The top 25 in full:

  1. Tokyo
  2. Berlin
  3. Vienna
  4. Copenhagen
  5. Munich
  6. Melbourne
  7. Fukuoka
  8. Sydney
  9. Kyoto
  10. Stockholm
  11. Vancouver
  12. Helsinki
  13. Zurich
  14. Madrid
  15. Hamburg
  16. Lisbon
  17. Dusseldorf
  18. Hong Kong
  19. Barcelona
  20. Singapore
  21. Amsterdam
  22. Auckland
  23. Honolulu
  24. Portland
  25. Montreal