Tokyo’s Safest Neighborhoods: Ranked by Crime Statistics (Part 1)

Japan is known for being one of the safest countries in the world, and Tokyo regularly ranks as the “safest city” in various worldwide rankings.

In this three-part series, we drill down below the headlines to find the safest neighborhoods in Tokyo, based on 2017 crime statistics as reported by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.

In today’s post, we zoom in on the stats to feature nine of the safest neighborhoods in the Tokyo 23 wards, based on the number of reported crimes in that particular neighborhood.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department keeps crime statistics on 3,112 individual neighborhoods in the 23 Wards of Tokyo. Crimes are categorized in five major categories:

  • Heinous violent crime (including rape, murder, arson, and armed robbery)
  • Violent crime (including conspiracy to commit a violent crime, assault, intimidation, extortion, etc.)
  • Breaking & entering – Theft
  • Theft without breaking & entering
  • Other crimes

In 2017, the population of the 23 Wards was about 9,500,000 and there were 93,745 crimes recorded, for an astoundingly low crime rate of 0.99%. We will break down this data in-depth in a follow up article, but just to put that number in further perspective, 29,856 (31.8%) of reported crimes were for bicycle theft. There were 543 reported in the heinous violent crime category; or 0.58% of all reported crimes.

One thing to note about the list of nine neighborhoods below is that it is not numbered (the first is not safer than the ninth). This is because in our ranking methodology, 27 neighborhoods tied for first place. There was no neighborhood in the 23 Wards that reported no crime in 2017, but 27 neighborhoods had a grand total of one crime reported for the entire year.

Below, then are nine of the safest 27 neighborhoods in the Tokyo 23 Wards, as ranked by number of reported crimes in 2017.

Katamachi, Shinjuku Ward

Number of recorded crimes in 2017: 1

Category: Theft (Not involving breaking & entering)

Headquarters of Japan’s Ministry of Defense. Katamachi, one of the safest neighborhoods in Tokyo, based on 2017 crime stats, is located nearby.

Notes: Perhaps not a coincidence in terms of safety, Katamachi is located just across the street from the Ministry of Defense! This is a family-friendly, upper-middle class neighborhood with nunerous mid-rise and high-rise condominiums.

The nearest station is Akebonobashi, which has a nice shopping street (shoutengai) and many great budget restaurants. There is also a sizable Korean community here, as it is not far from the Tokyo Korean School in Wakamatsu-cho. Akebonobashi is also just two stops from Shinjuku on the Toei Shinjuku line.

Closest Station: Akebonobashi, Toei Shinjuku line

Akebonobashi shoutengai (shopping street). Akebonobashi is the local station serving the Katamachi neighborhood.

Ichigaya Yatamachi 3-Chome, Shinjuku Ward

Number of recorded crimes in 2017: 1

Category: Theft (Not involving breaking & entering)

Notes: Located between Ichigaya and Iidabashi stations, bordering Sotobori Avenue and the Ichigaya Canal; and just across the water from Yasukuni Shrine. This is both a commercial and residential area.

Ichigaya and Iidabashi are upscale residential neighborhoods, offering relaxed city-center living, near many parks and universities, plus convenient access to transportation.

The French Institute Institut français du Japon) is also located nearby. It is an excellent resource for francophiles, offering language classes, a library, events, and a small restaurant/cafe.

Cherry blossoms along the Ichigaya canal. A favorite with locals is the Ichigaya Fishing Center, where urban anglers can pay to fish by the hour. Image: Wikimedia

Ichigaya Kagacho 1-Chome, Chiyoda Ward

Number of recorded crimes in 2017: 1

Category: Theft (Not involving breaking & entering)

Notes: This is a middle to upper-middle class residential neighborhood in central Shinjuku Ward, near Ichigaya Yatamachi 3-Chome (mentioned above) but a little further from the river.

A well-ranked public school, Ushigome Daisan Junior High School is located here. Convenient for commuting to Shinjuku (three to four stops depending on the line you take) and easily walkable to Kagurazaka (known for its small, highly regarded eateries and traditional Japanese craft shops).

Fans of anime will also want to know that nearby is the Tokyo Anime Center, located in DNP Plaza.

Tokyo Anime Center in DNP Plaza. Image: Wikimedia

The closest stations are: Uchigome Yanagicho and Ushigome Kagurazaka on the Toei Oedo line.

Nakazatocho, Shinjuku Ward

Number of recorded crimes in 2017: 1

Category: Theft (Not involving breaking & entering)

Notes: Nakazatocho is a neighborhood in central Shinjuku Ward, near the well-known stone-paved”sloped” shopping and dining street of Kagurazaka (“zaka” means slope in Japanese).

The nearest station is Kagurazaka on the Tozai line. This is an upscale residential area, but there are also many affordable (upper mid-range studio apartments available here, starting in the ¥110,000 per month price point).

Kagurazaka is famous for its small, hidden eateries and cafes.

Hakusan 3-Chome, Bunkyo Ward

Number of recorded crimes in 2017: 1

Category: Theft (Not involving breaking & entering)

Notes: This is a small upscale residential neighborhood bordering the Koishikawa Botanical Garden, which is owned by Tokyo University (located nearby in the Hongo neighborhood) in Bunkyo Ward. This area consists mostly of single-family homes but there are many affordable apartment options available if you go towards the nearest stations Hakusan (on the Mita line) and Myogadani (on the Marunouchi line).

Fall colors at Koishikawa Botanical Garden in the Hakusan 3-Chome neighborhood of Tokyo.

The Koishikawa Botanical Garden is a 40-acre botanical garden, including an arboretum, carp ponds, and a landscaped formal Japanese garden and numerous walking trails. The collections contain some 4,000 plant species, including massive trees that will make you feel like you are in the mountains and not central Tokyo!

Based on this writer’s humble personal experience living not far from Hakusan 3-Chome, this is simply a great place to live. It’s very easy to commute to downtown areas like Otemachi or Shinjuku for work on the Mita and Marunouchi lines, and the neighborhood itself is very livable, with a number of supermarkets (like Queen’s Isetan) and discount chains nearby.

Best of all is proximity to the Koishikawa Botanical Garden, where you can escape from the bustle of city life.  This is also an excellent cherry blossom viewing spot because many tourists don’t know about it, so you’re more likely to see neighbors and friends.

Yanaka 5-Chome, Taito Ward

Number of recorded crimes in 2017: 1

Category: Theft (Not involving breaking & entering)

Notes: This is an “old” Tokyo neighborhood located near Yanaka Cemetary in Taito Ward, just north of Ueno in Taito Ward. If you want to live in an area with a “downtown” (shitamachi) atmosphere reminiscent of Edo-era Tokyo, Yanaka may be for you.

Cherry blossoms at Yanaka Cemetary, Taito Ward, Tokyo.

Nearby is Yanaka Cemetery, probably Tokyo’s most famous cemetery. It is a large 10-hectare cemetery with over 7,000 graves, and was the cemetery of nearby Tennoji (Temple) and resting place of Tokugawa Yoshinobu, the last shogun of Japan and many other famous Japanese figures, including scholars, artists, artisans, poets, authors, and scientist. Its stone paths make for a peaceful place to stroll among the well-kept headstones. In the spring, it is a favorite local spot for cherry blossom viewing.

The closest station to Yanaka is Nippori, on the Yamanote line.

Higashi Konyacho, Chiyoda Ward

Number of recorded crimes in 2017: 1

Category: Theft (Not involving breaking & entering)

Notes: This is more a  commercial and business district than a residential area, but it is very centrally located. Please go to the links below the maps to see the nearest stations (where the links will take you to currently available rental listings).

Closest Stations:

Iwamotocho Station, Toei Shinjuku Line

Kanda Station, Various JR lines and Tokyo Metro Ginza line

Kodenmacho Station, Tokyo Metro Hibiya line

Hamarikyu Gardens, Chuo Ward

Number of recorded crimes in 2017: 1

Category: Theft (Not involving breaking & entering)

Notes: The Hamarikyu Gardens are one of Tokyo’s most well-known public landscaped gardens. This area does not immediately come to mind as a residential neighborhood, but there are many mid-range to high-end apartment options nearby for those desiring convenient city-center living (near Shiodome and Shinbashi Stations, for example).

Spacious landscape garden in Chuo (Central) Ward, Tokyo. Located alongside Tokyo Bay, Hama Rikyu features seawater ponds and a teahouse. Image: Wikimedia

Closest Stations:

Shiodome Station, Toei Oedo and Yurikamome lines

Shinbashi Station, Major interchange station serving various JR and subway lines

Chitose 1-Chome, Sumida Ward

Number of recorded crimes in 2017: 1

Category: Theft (Not involving breaking & entering)

Chitose 1-Chome neigborhood borders the Sumida River in Sumida Ward.

Closest station: Morishita Station, Toei Shinjuku Line

This is Part 1 of a 3 part series.