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Tokyo Metropolitan Government (東京都)

Tokyo Metropolitan Government symbol
Capital special ward Shinjuku
Region: Kanto
Island: Honshu
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 45th
2,187.08 km²
 - Total (Jan 1, 2001)
 - Density
Ranked 1st
Districts: 1
Municipalities: 39
Governor: Shintaro Ishihara
: JP-13
Pref. Flower: Yoshino cherry blossom
Pref. Tree: Ginkgo tree
(Ginkgo biloba)
Pref. Bird: Black-headed gull
(Larus ridibundus)
Tōkyō (東京; lit. eastern capital) is the capital of Japan as well as the most populous conurbation in Japan, and the most populous metropolitan area in the world.

A little more than 12 million people live in Tokyo while hundreds of thousands of others commute everyday from surrounding areas to work and do business in Tokyo. Tokyo is the central place of politics, economy, culture and academics in Japan as well as the home of the Japanese emperor and the seat of the national government, as well as a major business and financial centre for all of East Asia.

It is unusual in that it has far fewer skyscrapers than other cities of its size, mostly due to earthquake construction codes: rather, it is mostly comprised of low-rise apartments of six to ten floors and densely-packed family homes. Tokyo is also home to the world's most complex mass transit system, and is world-famous for its crowded rush hours.

Tokyo literally means "eastern capital" in Japanese, a meaning in opposition to an old capital to the west, Kyoto, which was renamed "Saikyo", meaning "western capital", for a brief period of time.

The name was previously spelled Tokio in English; while now thoroughly obsolete, this usage persists in a few rare cases like the Tokio Marine & Fire Insurance; company. The name is still spelled Tokio in some other languages like Dutch, Finnish, German, Spanish, and Esperanto.

Table of contents
1 Administration
2 History
3 Geography
4 Economy
5 Demographics
6 Culture
7 Neighborhoods
8 Sites
9 Prefectural symbols
10 Miscellaneous topics
11 External link and reference


Tokyo has an administrative structure unique among the prefectures of Japan. It is officially designated as a "metropolis" (都 to). Although it generally resembles a prefecture, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government also offers partial city government functions to the 23 special wards comprising the heart of Tokyo, with a combined population of 8,134,688 and an area of 621.3 km². In addition to the special wards, Tokyo administers twenty-six suburban cities to the west, and a number of small islands in the Pacific Ocean. The Metropolitan Government's main offices (tochō) are located in the ward of Shinjuku.

According to the Population Census in 2000, Tokyo has a population of 12,064,101 and area of 2186.9 km². Tokyo is also part of the Greater Tokyo Area, which consists of Tokyo itself and the surrounding prefectures of Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba. The Greater Tokyo area is the largest metropolitan area in the world with a population of 33,418,366.


and Shiba Park]]
Tokyo was initially constructed in 1457; the city was known as Edo (江戸). The Tokugawa shogunate was established in 1603 with Edo as its seat of government (de facto capital). (The emperor's residence, and formal capital, remained in Kyoto--that city had been the actual capital of Japan until that time.) In September of 1868, when the shogunate came to an end, Emperor Meiji ordered Edo to be renamed "Tokyo," meaning "Eastern Capital." The new name was meant to emphasize Tokyo's status as the new capital of Japan, both temporally and spiritually.

Tokyo has been generally accepted as the sole capital of Japan since 1869, when the Emperor took up permanent residence there. However, the capital was never legally "transferred" to Tokyo, leading some to question whether Kyoto may still be the capital, or a co-capital. See: Capital of Japan debate

The Great Kanto earthquake struck Tokyo in 1923, killing approximately 70,000 people; a massive reconstruction plan was drawn up, but was too expensive to carry out except in part. Despite this, the city grew until the beginning of World War II. During the war, Tokyo was heavily bombed, much of the city was burned to the ground, and its population in 1945 was only half that of 1940.

Following the war, Tokyo was under military occupation and government by the allied forces. General Douglas MacArthur established the occupation headquarters in what is now the Dai-Ichi Seimei building overlooking the Imperial Palace. The American presence in Tokyo made it an important command and logistics center during the Korean War. Tokyo still hosts a number of U.S. military bases, including Yokota Air Base.

During the 1950s and mid-1960s, Japan experienced what is widely described as the "economic miracle", which transformed the nation from wartime devastation to the world's second-largest economy by 1966. During this period, Japanese government policy placed priority on the development of infrastructure and manufacturing industries over social welfare. As a result, Japan came to dominate a range of industries including steel, shipbuilding, automobiles, semi-conductors, and consumer electronics. Tokyo's re-emergence from wartime trauma was complete at the 1964 Summer Olympics, which publicized the city on an international stage and brought global attention to the "economic miracle".

Meyers Konversations-Lexikon Encyclopedia]]

Beginning in the 1970s, Japanese cities experienced a massive wave of expansion as laborers began migrating from rural areas, and Tokyo was one of the most dramatic examples. As it grew steadily into the economic bubble of the late 1980s, Tokyo became one of the most dynamic cities on Earth, with a tremendous range of social and economic activities, myriad restaurants and clubs, a major financial district, tremendous industrial strength, a wealth of shops, and world-class entertainment opportunities. The construction boom of the bubble years was one of the greatest in world history (as judged e.g. by the level of building expenditures in relation to the size of the economy), leading Tokyo to have an enormously more modern capital stock of buildings than similar metropoli such as London and New York City. Although the recession following the bursting of the "bubble economy" in the early 1990s hurt the city, Tokyo remains the predominant economic center of East Asia, rivalled only by Hong Kong and Singapore.

On March 20, 1995, Tokyo became the focus of international media attention in the wake of the Aum Shinrikyo cult terrorist organisation attack with Sarin nerve gas on the Tokyo subway system (in the tunnels beneath the political district of central Tokyo) in which 12 people were killed and thousands affected (see Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway).


Tokyo prefecture is divided into mainland and island areas. The mainland is located to the northwest of Tokyo Bay, about 90 km east to west and 25 km north to south. It borders Chiba prefecture to the east, Yamanashi prefecture to the west, Kanagawa prefecture to the south, and Saitama prefecture to the north. The islands are made up of Izu Islands and Ogasawara Islands, stretching 1,000 km into the Pacific Ocean.


Tokyo prefecture has 23 special wards in an area of about 621 square kilometers. As of September 1, 2002 the total population of the 23 wards was about 8.28 million, with a population density of 13,333 persons per square kilometer. Each ward is a local municipality with its own elected mayors and assemblies:

List of cities

In addition to wards, the prefecture has cities like other prefectures.

in Shinjuku]]

  • Akigawa (present Akiruno)
  • Akishima
  • Chofu
  • Fuchu
  • Fussa
  • Hachioji
  • Hamura
  • Higashikurume
  • Higashimurayama
  • Higashiyamato
  • Hino
  • Hoya (present Nishi-tokyo)
  • Inagi
  • Kiyose
  • Kodaira
  • Koganei
  • Kokubunji
  • Komae
  • Kunitachi
  • Machida
  • Mitaka
  • Musashimurayama
  • Musashino
  • Nishi-tokyo
  • Ome
  • Tachikawa
  • Tama
  • Tanashi (present Nishi-tokyo)

  • Districts, sub-prefectures, towns and villages


    The following are towns and villages on islands. The list is in their standard codes for areas of prefectures and municipalities for statistical use.


    Tokyo is the economic center of Japan: most of Japan's printing, broadcasting, telecommunications, banking, insurance, and financial services companies are based there, and many prominent international corporations are either headquartered in Tokyo or have their main Japanese offices there.

    Companies headquartered in Tokyo

    Many large Japanese companies are also headquartered in the adjoining cities of Chiba, Kawasaki and Yokohama.


    By age (2002):

    Foreign resident population: 327,000 (2001)

    Net population growth: +68,000 (2000 to 2001)



    Religious landmarks in Tokyo:

    Major universities in Tokyo: Baseball clubs in Tokyo:
    area of Tokyo, Japan]]



    Some famous places for sight-seeing include:

    See also: Tourism in Japan

    Station at night]]

    Prefectural symbols

    Coat of arms: A sun, sending forth its radiance in six directions.

    Miscellaneous topics

    Fussa, and nearby communities in Tokyo, are home to Yokota Air Base of the United States Air Force.



    Narita Airport has almost all of the international service coming into Tokyo, while Tokyo International has the lion's share of the intra-Japan flights coming into Tokyo. Chofu handles some flights to the islands south of Tokyo.

    Rail and metro

    Tokyo has one of the world's most extensive metro systems, which is run by the Tokyo Metro (formerly Teito Rapid Transit Authority, or Eidan) and the Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation (Toei), as well as surface lines operated by JR East (formerly the Japan National Railway), a number of suburban commuter-rail lines, and the Arakawa streetcar line.

    Major railway stations:

    Movies, manga, anime, and television shows that take place in Tokyo

    North: Saitama
    West: Kofu Tokyo, International Airport East: Chiba, Narita, International Airport
    South: Yokohama, Kawasaki

    External link and reference

    Prefectures of Japan
    Aichi | Akita | Aomori | Chiba | Ehime | Fukui | Fukuoka | Fukushima | Gifu | Gunma | Hiroshima | Hokkaido | Hyogo | Ibaraki | Ishikawa | Iwate | Kagawa | Kagoshima | Kanagawa | Kochi | Kumamoto | Kyoto | Mie | Miyagi | Miyazaki | Nagano | Nagasaki | Nara | Niigata | Oita | Okayama | Okinawa | Osaka | Saga | Saitama | Shiga | Shimane | Shizuoka | Tochigi | Tokushima | Tokyo | Tottori | Toyama | Wakayama | Yamagata | Yamaguchi | Yamanashi