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The 8 Most Futuristic Cities in Japan Look Straight Out of Sci-Fi

For fans of science fiction, Japan is a futuristic destination since it frequently ranks highest among the world’s most inventive and imaginative locations. The majority of Japanese cityscapes resemble science fiction novels come to life because of the country’s embrace of cutting edge research and technology.

Japan’s emphasis on the future is largely a result of the nation’s reconstruction following the Allied bombing raids of World War II. William O. Gardner claims in his book The Metabolist Imagination that almost all of Japan’s major cities suffered severe damage during the war.

Following US occupation, Japan was given a rare chance to begin anew. Many of the nation’s drab cities were swiftly turned into futuristic centers. “In such a short period, no other major country has experienced so dramatic and thorough a transformation…or comparable concentration of population and industry,” according to an essay written in 1982 by academic Chauncy D. Harris.

The people of the country are also very tech-savvy, frequently donning the newest devices and cutting-edge attire. Robot-manned restaurants, internet cafes, and other high-tech establishments create the ideal setting for fans of science fiction and cyberpunk literature.

Here are ten places in Japan where you may experience the future in real time, ranging from bustling metropolises to charming little towns.

1. Tokyo

At the moment, Tokyo, the capital of Japan, is the world’s most populous and advanced metropolis. Since most of Tokyo’s traditional buildings were destroyed by war and natural catastrophes like the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923, state-of-the-art design has taken center stage.

Many science fiction masterpieces, such as Blade Runner and Akira, which are tech-noir flicks, draw inspiration from Tokyo, a modern metropolis. The city’s recognizable skyline is dominated by skyscrapers with vivid neon lights. With an average of 40 million people per day, Tokyo’s rail system is among the busiest in the world and has quick bullet trains.

Top attractions for a sci-fi vibe include Mode, the Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, Shibuya Station’s Gakuen Cocoon Tower

2. Osaka

The third-biggest city in Japan, Osaka serves as a significant center for trade and culture. Numerous innovative electronics and research companies call it home. In addition, the city is home to around 750 bridges and canals. This gives Osaka a futuristic look reminiscent of Venice.

Over a century ago, industrialists constructed the now-seedy Shinsekai area. Despite considering the future, these lofty ideals ultimately came to an end. As it stands now, the neighborhood is a nostalgic mash-up of futuristic and old styles. The lanes of the area are lined with quirky stores, neon lights, fried street food, and vintage arcade equipment.

The sci-fi film “Den-Den Town” is a must-see. Dontonburi, the Gate Tower Structure

3. Kyoto

Japan’s cultural center, Kyoto, is known for its extensive cherry blossom season and extensive past. During World War II, the city was one of the few cities that escaped attack. But there are still war and natural disaster anxieties in Kyoto. The town makes an appearance in the Godzilla film series, which employs radiation and nuclear weapons as metaphors in kanji.

Outside of fiction, Kyoto has more old buildings than contemporary ones, including gardens, temples, and shrines. Still, not every part of Kyoto is traditional. The city is home to the corporate offices of the well-known video game business Nintendo. The entertainment and film industries of Japan are centered in Kyoto as well.

Must-sees to get a sci-fi vibe: Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art, Kyoto Station, and the 9-hour Capsule Hotel

4. Nagoya

Nagoya, which was once a prosperous commercial metropolis, has changed to emphasize technology in addition to its rich cultural heritage. The automotive and aviation sectors in Nagoya are flourishing, and the Toyota Motor Corporation is located adjacent to the city. In the fields of materials engineering and robot technology development, Nagoya is a pioneer.

Retail still contributes significantly to the city’s GDP, with Nagoya serving as the birthplace of numerous department stores. Both adults and children alike enjoy visiting the theme parks Ghibli Park and Legoland Japan.

Must-sees to get a sci-fi vibe: Toyota Kaikan Museum, Oasis 21, JR Central Towers

5. Yokohama

Japan’s main port city and second-largest metropolis is Yokohama, which is located in Tokyo Bay. In addition, it is a center for high-tech industry, home to the corporate offices of well-known brands including Nissan, Isuzu, Salesforce Japan, and bright new ventures. The Minato Mirai 21 project has connected Yokohama’s major business districts since the 1980s. It is also referred to as “Boston and Philadelphia of the Orient.”

Another well-known Japanese military science fiction series that has left its influence on the field is Gundam. Japan’s take on Star Wars is the space opera Gundam. Overlooking the Yokohama Pier is an entertainment facility dedicated to science fiction series. A prominent 60-foot life-size Gundam robot with several movable pieces is the main element of the attraction. Sadly, the display will end in 2024.

Theme park Yokohama Cosmo World, Gundam Factory Yokohama, and Onsanbashi Pier are must-sees for a sci-fi vibe.

6. Fukuoka

Another port city in Japan with breathtaking views and golden dunes is Fukuoka. Its history of international trade and tourism has earned it the moniker “Gateway to Asia.” Along the Naka River, the port town is well-known for its packed outdoor eateries, or yatai.

With unique benefits like the nation’s first Startup Visa, Fukuoka is the greatest city in Japan for entrepreneurs. Clean and renewable energy sources are the main focus of many Fukuoka startup companies. For instance, the city is home to the first hydrogen refueling station powered by sewage in the world as of 2015.

Must-sees to get a sci-fi vibe: Tenjin Underground Mall, Miyako Hotel Hakata, 010 Building

7. Sendai

In contrast to the concrete jungles of other large Japanese towns, Sendai successfully combines modern living with the area’s natural beauty. Tohoku University is regarded as the top university in the country, and the picturesque town is well-known for its research and creativity.

Due to its lush vegetation and profusion of trees and plants, Sendai is a well-liked vacation spot for outdoor enthusiasts. This may make it a suitable location for arcology, a futuristic idea that combines architecture and ecology.

Some must-sees for a sci-fi vibe are Tanabata Star Festival, Sendai Mediatheque, and NanoTerasu.

8. Aomori

Japan’s alpine town of Aomori is situated between two large rivers. Although picturesque during the warmer months, this region receives some of the world’s highest snowfalls. Blustery winds, dense fog, and desolate blizzards are typical. This remote city has a lot of old ruins mixed in new minimalist buildings, so it sometimes feels like the scene of a nuclear winter gone awry.

Mount Hakkoda, which is close by, offers plenty of skiing and snowboarding options if you don’t mind facing the cold. The local “Snow Monsters,” which are trees that have had blocks of ice and snow sculpted into them, are visible here.