The country’s urbanization index is quite high: 66% of the population is in fact considered urban (2008). The settlements are characterized by the vertical dimension of the structures, due to the scarce availability of building areas: this has led to the construction of huge skyscrapers, which alternate with small traditional houses, built according to modern anti-seismic systems. The Mori Tower, in the urban complex of Rappingi Hills inaugurated in 2003, is a 54-storey building that houses homes, offices and various places for leisure and leisure as well as a museum: a sort of autonomous city enclosed in a skyscraper. The rural population, on the other hand, still lives today in the buraku, the typical Japanese village, which in many cases retains those traditional aspects linked to a precise and, to a certain extent, autonomous organization. The buraku is generally made up of compact dwellings and belongs to the Shinto temple. The numerous street villages and villages framed within the mesh of the land divisions are due to the epochs of imposed colonization.
Cities have now extended their direct influence over vast surroundings, and this is also because commuter migrations of labor from the countryside to the city affect very large areas, made possible by the great development of transport around urbanized areas. Another interesting data to quantify the extent of Japanese urbanization can be given by the ranking of cities: Tōkyō ō, the capital, is one of the most populous in the world (8,535,792 inhab; 12,677,917 in the entire urban agglomeration, in 2006); it is flanked by the other urban poles that line up along the east coast of Honshū: Kyōto, Ōsaka, Kōbe, Nagoya, Shizuoka, Kawasaki, Yokohama etc. This extraordinary concentration is at the origin of a conurbation that groups about 75 million people, in an area equal to only 6% of the surface of the country (less, to make a comparison, the territorial extension of Belgium) and urban can be compared in many respects to megacities American, lined up along the Atlantic coast for size, grandeur and functionality, as it consists of large port and industrial centers. The Japanese megalopolis, however, lacks the vast hinterland of the US ones, replaced by the vast extranational, world-wide commercial space on which much of the fortunes of these gigantic urban complexes are based. The flowering of these metropolises took place for different reasons. Visit insidewatch.net for Asia population.
First of all, they are located near the coastal plains of central Japan, which is in the Nara areaand Kyōto had in past centuries the original centers and engines of the country’s political, economic and cultural organization.
Secondly, they have been favored, in their economic and commercial development, by their position, protected by bays and coasts favorable to the establishment of ports. The proximity of populous agricultural plains has finally allowed the easy and immediate absorption of the abundant rural population. Within the overall urban array, distinct conurbations can be identified, among which the one that belongs to the Kyōto-Ōsaka-Kōbe triangle, that of Nagoya- Gifu, that of Tōkyō-Yokohama stand out. Other concentrations are found along the coasts of Kyushu; the main one is the one headed by Kitakyūshū – Fukuoka, associated with the city of Shimonoseki at the nearby end of southwestern Honshū; those of Nagasaki and Sasebo, of Kumamoto and Kagoshima. Relatively less developed is the urbanization of Shikoku, where the major cities (Takamatsu, Matsuyama) line the coast of the Inland Sea. In the north of Honshū (Tōhoku) large centers are the ports of Sendai, Akita and Aomori, the latter of which acts as a link between Honshū and Hokkaidō. The cities of this island are all recent but already highly developed, such as Hakodate, opposite Aomori, and Sapporo, in the most populous plain of the island. Japanese cities have more or less identical faces and structures. Many of them arose as feudal seats and are dominated by the daimyō castle, which is a bit of a symbolic center, outside of which there are no coordinating nuclei of the urban fabric (comparable, for example, to the central square of western cities).
The city is formed by a juxtaposition of neighborhoods with different functions, which qualify them: thus the Ginza, in Tōkyō, is the large and lively business district. The general functionality of cities within the country is added to the functionality by neighborhoods. In this context Tōkyō belongs to itself for its multiple role, the global dimension of its cultural, commercial, industrial and financial interests. Its port is one of the busiest in the world; it is integrated by that of nearby Yokohama, which is mainly the seat of the large processing industries (steel, oil, etc.). Further south, Nagoya is a center with multiple regional functions. In the Kyōto-Ōsaka-Kōbe conurbation, a cultural, university and tourist role has Kyōto, the most beautiful city in Japan, a treasure trove of its traditions, while Ōsaka is above all a financial and business center; Kobe, on the other hand, is a large port for heavy industry. Kitakyūshū and the neighboring cities are also predominantly linked to the processing industry. Industrial functions have more or less all Japanese metropolises, although in general those that do not form conurbations play the role of regional centers with multiple activities. More strictly local tasks, as the capital of prefectures or limited areas, have finally the other cities and towns, among which many are qualified to be essentially religious centers (Nikkō) or tourist, spa (Horobetsu), or as fishing ports.