Is Tokyo Friendly? What You NEED To Know Before Visiting

When visiting a new country, city or area, one of the first things that pops into mind is ‘safety’. The level of friendliness from the residents that live in the area, greatly affects how safe your visit will be. After all, having friendly people, most of the time, means a safe and easy stay; while having unfriendly people will lead to a trip full of risks and avoiding social contact. No one wants that, right? So, how about the capital city of Japan? I searched the internet for different articles, interviews and statements about the level of friendliness of the Tokyo residents. Not only did I research the friendliness of the residents in general, but also in terms of tourists and foreigners; and how the residents react to them.  With that being said, is Tokyo friendly?

Tokyo is a very friendly city. With the city having a NUMBEO crime level of just 15.41 out of 100, and being rated the 5th safest city in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit; it is safe to say that the people of Tokyo are friendly, welcoming and safe to be around. 

With this being said, just like any other city; there are things to take into account with the Japanese residents. There is a lot more to the situation than just ‘Tokyo residents are friendly’, which I will go over now in this article. Read on to learn more about the public of Tokyo and why their safety and friendliness levels are so high. 

Is Tokyo A Friendly City?

As the stats have shown us, Tokyo is more than deserving of being called a ‘friendly city’. With the highest population of any other city in the world, it is quite remarkable to think that Tokyo’s crime levels are so low.

However, once you have been to Japan once or twice, you learn to realise that based on how Japanese people act and believe in traditions and etiquette; it’s not that surprising at all!

The public of Japan’s capital city is always busy and never really sleeping. In a city that is so busy, no one has the time to focus on other people or commit crimes against them. The Japanese people really just do not see the need to do this. Of course, you will always get a small minority of criminals in the city, that can be said about anywhere in the world.

The main reason for the residents of Tokyo being so friendly and law-abiding is simply the fact of hope they were raised and the Japanese mannerisms and etiquette that they grow up with learning. You are taught from a very young age how you should act, how you should respond and even how low or high you should bow when greeting someone. 

In a place with so many social rules, it is very rare to find or come across people that break the law or have enjoyment out of being unfriendly.

Is Tokyo English Friendly?

Now that we know Tokyo, in general, is deserving of the title of a ‘friendly city’, it’s time to look at how the public of Japan treats people who speak English. This really begs the question, is Tokyo English friendly? Tokyo is definitely English-friendly. Despite the majority of tourists who visit Tokyo being from other Asian countries, the majority of the Japanese public is still respectable enough towards English-speaking tourists to make sure that you are treated fairly and not discriminated against when visiting Tokyo. 

However, this does not mean that discrimination doesn’t exist within Tokyo. A survey was sent out to many foreigners who live in Tokyo and asked them if they have ever received any racial comments or discriminatory acts while living in the city. Unfortunately, 30% of the people replied saying that they had been discriminated against at least once.

Despite the surprising percentage of people who did receive acts of discrimination against them, there are a few important things to note:

  • Tokyo is seeing more and more tourists each year
  • Japan is a very homogenous society
  • The sheer size of the city along with its population makes it so easy for the residents to not see a single English tourist in a matter of years

Every city has a percentage of people who carry out discriminatory acts. Luckily, with Tokyo, most of these acts are just sly comments or something verbal. While other countries and cities, some tourists can actually receive physical violence from these small minorities.

Is Tokyo Foreigner Friendly?

For those of you wanting to visit Tokyo who wouldn’t necessarily class yourself as English-speaking, this section of the article is for you. So, we know that although Tokyo is friendly, there is still a fair minority of people who have received at least one act of discrimination against them. But, does this make Tokyo unfriendly to foreigners? No, not at all

The residents of Tokyo are always so busy, that in all honesty, 7 times out of 10 they will not even notice that you exist. Japan has a homogenous society of people that like to go about their day, and follow their social rules; that is simply how they enjoy living life. 

Tokyo is foreigner friendly. The public does not expect foreigners to know their social rules and etiquette and are more than forgiving if you do not know how to ‘act or respond properly’ when in Japan. 


Despite the Japanese public not being as knowledgable about other ethnicities as some other communities out there, they are still very friendly and respectable towards their foreign visitors. Every city has a minority of people who aren’t friendly, but, that does not make the city as a whole unfriendly. Tokyo is one of the safest cities in the world and has one of the lowest crime rates. 

You can rest assured that when visiting Tokyo, you will be safe. 

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