Tokyo size compared with Madrid and Barcelona

I usually try to explain how big Greater Tokyo area is to people who has never been here, but is not easy. It’s so huge that is difficult to imagine. You can travel by train from Kanagawa to Chiba crossing Tokyo’s downtown seeing only buildings/houses during more than two hours, kind of claustrophobic sometimes.

But the best way to compare sizes is to use Google maps. Next you can see a map matching more or less Tokyo’s area (Tokyo/Yokohama/Chiba/Saitama), Madrid’s area (From Alcobendas to Getafe), and Barcelona’s area. The two biggest cities in Spain compared with the biggest in Japan.


Map made by Locura Japón as a present for Kirainet.com

Pretty impressive right? 5 million people are living in Madrid’s area, 2 million in Barcelona’s area and around 35 million in Tokyo’s area. When I go outside of Tokyo everything seems little and easy to me, for example I remember thinking that Hong Kong is a little city when I went there for holidays. Another example: Manhattan has the same size as Tokyo’s Setagaya-ku district.

Japanese cities are generally very wide because people likes to live in houses, not buildings. In Spain and other European countries everyone lives in buildings, so cities seem little. In the US there is a mix between the house and the building model, but they have lots of space. In Kanto’s area (The area where Tokyo is) there is no space left, you can see houses and buildings from the sea until the mountains, every single space is used. I’ve even seen 10 square meter rice fields at Tokyo’s north area, they use every single square meter for whatever they can.

Fortunately here in Japan, we have the best railway system in the world.

11 Comments
  • sheerblade

    June 18, 2007 at 11:46 pm

    The more and more I browse this site, the more stuff I learn and the more I wanna live in Tokyo. Kirai, Ale you two have the lives some people would dream about.

  • Guillermo Estévez

    June 19, 2007 at 1:59 am

    I wish you could put London area as well, because looks pretty similar to what you say about Japan. People doesn’t live in buildings, they rather do in house, so if you took Piccadilly line from side to side it would take you an hour and a half, at least.

  • Otaku Surf

    June 19, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    Wow, I didn’t realize how huge the overall area of Tokyo really is. Guess I should add some more vacation days to my trip when I visit Tokyo if I’m going to see it all.

  • ale/pepino

    June 19, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    sheerblade: Dreaming is good, but if living in Japan more than a dream for anyone, she or he should start working on it as soon as possible.

  • […] This weekend I watched a Discovery Channel(from youtube) documentary about a huge pyramid that could be built in Tokyo. The pyramid would have the same volume as 55 Gizeh pyramids, and 750.000 people could live inside the structure. It’s an idea from Shimizu corporation that could solve some of the overpopulation we are suffering at Tokyo. It’s an utopia, but still I enjoying imagining the future. […]

  • […] Nowadays Shigeru is still alive, he lives in Chofu (A city inside Tokyo area). He is near 90 years old, but he is still very active, he draws manga everyday and writes books. His drawing passion is so big/obsessive that the legend says he didn’t have time to marry until his mother who was really mad at him convinced Shigeru to marry a Japanese woman through omai (arranged marriage) when he was 40. […]

  • […] Tokyo compared with Barcelona and Madrid […]

  • john

    November 7, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    hm… kinda boring with madrid and barcelona wouldnt you say? you should have put up london, new york and… some other cool town

  • hufygkwi

    November 29, 2007 at 6:27 pm

    japan is big . i hate japanese but ihave to say the population is freeking big

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  • jas

    February 9, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    good info i am going to Tokyo next month any good advice for first timer there. looks like a lot of fun.