What are the earthquake damage risk ratings for Tokyo?

The Bureau of Urban Development in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government conducts an earthquake risk assessment every 5 years, with the latest carried out in 2008. The investigation covers 5,073 neighborhoods.

They provide a rating for the following categories:

  • Vulnerability to Building Collapse (Ground liquefaction, Construction methods, Age of buildings etc)
  • Fire Hazard Rating (Spreading of fires, Fireproof buildings, firebreaks such as parks etc)
  • Overall Hazard Rating

The data can be viewed (many of the charts have English translations).

What are the safest and most dangerous areas in Tokyo?

The safest areas in Tokyo:

Not surprisingly, the top ranked locations were parks and low-density neighborhoods in the western outskirts of Tokyo with very few buildings, including Hachioji City, Tama City and Chofu City to name a few. The Imperial Castle is also at the top of this list.

Minato-ku ranked highly with 90% of the area receiving a safety ranking level of 1 or 2, and only 2.5% of the area receiving a safety ranking of 4.


So where are the most at-risk areas in Tokyo?

Highest Vulnerability to Building Collapse:
1. Kyojima 2 Chome, Sumida-ku
2. Ryusen 3 Chome, Taito-ku
3. Sumida 3 Chome, Sumida-ku
4. Higashikomagata 2 Chome, Sumida-ku
5. Asakusa 5 Chome, Taito-ku

Highest Fire Hazard:
1. Yutakacho 5 Chome, Shinagawa-ku
2. Akagishitamachi, Shinjuku-ku
3. Futaba 3 Chome, Shinagawa-ku
4. Wakaba 3 Chome, Shinjuku-ku
5. Yutakacho 6 Chome, Shinagawa-ku

Overall Most Hazardous Areas:
1. Sumida 3 Chome, Sumida-ku
2. Wakaba 3 Chome, Shinjuku-ku
3. Machiya 4 Chome, Arakawa-ku
4. Futaba 3 Chome, Shinagawa-ku
5. Senjuyanagicho, Adachi-ku

The results are also indicated on maps that can be downloaded from the Tokyo Government site .

What does the data tell us?

When looking at residential neighborhoods some of the safest areas are the far outskirts of the Tokyo Metropolis. Central Tokyo areas such as Minato-ku scored relatively high in terms of safety with 90% of the neighborhoods receiving a rating of 1 or 2 (low vulnerability). Overall, 45% of Tokyo was ranked as being of low vulnerability.

The most dangerous areas are the downtown “shitamachi” areas, including Sumida-ku and Asakusa in Taito-ku, as they have a lot of narrow streets and tightly packed older wooden structures which cause fires to spread quickly. In Taito-ku, 35% of the neighboorhoods are at high risk of buildings collapsing and fires spreading. Less than 5% of the Taito-ku area received a ranking of 1 (low vulnerability).

Taito ku fire
The aftermath of a fire in Taito-ku in February 2014.