is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan and is located on the eastern side of the
main island Honshū. The twenty-three special wards of Tokyo, each governed as
a city, cover the area that was once the city of Tokyo in the eastern part of the
prefecture, totaling over 8 million people. The population of the prefecture
exceeds 12 million. The prefecture is the centre of the Greater Tokyo Area, the
world's most populous metropolitan area with 35 million people and the world's
largest metropolitan economy with a GDP of US$1.191 trillion at purchasing
power parity in 2005.
Tokyo was described by Saskia Sassen as one of the three "command centres"
for the world economy, along with London and New York City .This city is
considered an alpha+ world city, listed by the GaWC's 2008 inventoryand
ranked fourth among global cities (first in the eastern world) by Foreign Policy's
2008 Global Cities Index. In 2009 Tokyo was named the world's most expensive
city for expatriate employees, according to the Mercer Human Resource
Consulting and Economist Intelligence Unit cost-of-living surveys and named
the third Most Liveable City and the World’s Most Livable Megalopolis by
international lifestyle magazine Monocle.
Tokyo is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the
home of the Japanese Imperial Family.
Tokyo was originally known as Edo, meaning estuary. Its name was changed to
Tokyo (Tōkyō: tō (east) + kyō (capital)) when it became the imperial capital in
1868. During the early Meiji period, the city was also called "Tōkei", an
alternative pronunciation for the same Chinese characters representing "Tokyo".
Some surviving official English documents use the spelling "Tokei"; however,
this pronunciation is now obsolete.
This article contains Japanese text. Without
proper rendering support, you may see
question marks, boxes, or other symbols
instead of kanji and kana.
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
Geography and administrative divisions
From top left: Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo, National Diet Building, Shinjuku,
Shibuya, the Tokyo Tower
which has a local government. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is headed
by a publicly elected governor and metropolitan assembly. Its headquarters are
in the ward of Shinjuku. They govern all of Tokyo, including lakes, rivers,
dams, farms, remote islands, and national parks in addition to its famous neon
jungle, skyscrapers and crowded subways.
The twenty-three special wards
A Map of Tokyo's 23 Special wards.
Shinjuku at night.
Satellite photo of Tokyo taken by NASA's Landsat 7
Mainland portion of Tokyo
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has designated Hachiōji, Tachikawa,
Machida, Ōme and Tama New Town as regional centres of the Tama area, as
part of their plans to disperse urban functions away from central Tokyo.
Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park
There are several national parks within Tokyo, among them:
Meiji no Mori Takao Quasi-National Park, around Mount Takao to the
south of Hachiōji
Ogasawara National Park. As of 2006, efforts were being made to make
Ogasawara National Park a UNESCO natural World Heritage Site.
Ueno Park, well known for its museums. Is in this park where the
following museums are located: Tokyo National Museum, National
Science Museum, Shitamachi Museum and National Museum for Western
Art, among others. There are also art works and statues in several places
in the park.
Tokyo lies in the humid subtropical climate zone (Koppen climate classification
Cfa), with hot humid summers and generally mild winters with cool spells.
Annual rainfall averages 1,380 mm (55 inches), with a wetter summer and a
drier winter. Snowfall is sporadic, but does occur almost annually. Tokyo is an
example of an urban heat island; the city's population is a significant contributor
to its climate. Tokyo has been cited as a "convincing example of the relationship
between urban growth and climate" Tokyo also often sees typhoons each year,
though few are strong. The last one to hit was Fitow in 2007.
Tokyo was hit by powerful earthquakes in 1703, 1782, 1812, 1855 and 1923.The
1923 earthquake, with an estimated magnitude of 8.3, killed 142,000 people.
Weather averages for Tokyo, Japan (1971-2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
9.8 10.0 12.9 18.4 22.7 25.2 29.0 30.8 26.8 21.6 16.7 12.3 19.7
(50) (50) (55) (65) (73) (77) (84) (87) (80) (71) (62) (54) (67)
5.8 6.1 8.9 14.4 18.7 21.8 25.4 27.1 23.5 18.2 13.0 8.4 15.9
(42) (43) (48) (58) (66) (71) (78) (81) (74) (65) (55) (47) (61)
2.1 2.4 5.1 10.5 15.1 18.9 22.5 24.2 20.7 15.0 9.5 4.6 12.5
(36) (36) (41) (51) (59) (66) (73) (76) (69) (59) (49) (40) (55)
114. 130. 128. 164. 161. 155. 208. 163. 1,466
Precipitat 48.6 60.2 92.5 39.6
5 3 0 9 5 1 5 1 .7
ion mm (1.9 (2.3 (3.6 (1.5
(4.5 (5.1 (5.0 (6.4 (6.3 (6.1 (8.2 (6.4 (57.7
(inches) 1) 7) 4) 6)
1) 3) 4) 9) 6) 1) 1) 2) 4)
Snowfall 6 6 1
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 13
cm (2.4 (2.4 (0.4
(0) (0) (0) (0) (0) (0) (0) (0) (0) (5.1)
(inches) ) ) )
Sunshine 180. 161. 159. 164. 180. 120. 147. 177. 112. 129. 141. 171. 1,847
hours 5 1 2 9 9 1 5 5 9 9 4 1 .2
50 51 57 62 66 73 75 72 72 66 60 53 63
rainy 9 11 17 16 16 20 20 17 20 17 12 9 184
Tokyo has enacted a measure to cut greenhouse gases. Governor Shintaro
Ishihara created Japan's first emissions cap system, aiming to reduce greenhouse
gas emission by a total of 25 percent by 2020 from the 2000 level.
Heat island phenomenon
In Tokyo, particularly in the special wards, the problem of the heat island
phenomenon is serious. According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government,the
annual mean temperature has increased by about 3°C over the past 100 years.
Bank of Japan
Tokyo Stock Exchange, the second largest in the world by market capitalization
Shiodome City Center in Minato, headquarters of All Nippon Airways and
Japan Airlines headquarters in Shinagawa
Shinkansen at Tokyo station
Tokyo, as the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, is Japan's largest domestic and
international hub for rail, ground, and air transportation. Public transportation
within Tokyo is dominated by an extensive network of clean and efficient trains
and subways run by a variety of operators, with buses, monorails and trams
playing a secondary feeder role.
Within Ōta, one of the 23 special wards, Tokyo International Airport ("Haneda")
offers mainly domestic flights. Outside Tokyo, Narita International Airport, in
Chiba Prefecture, is the major gateway for international travelers.
Various islands governed by Tokyo have their own airports. Hachijōjima
(Hachijojima Airport), Miyakejima (Miyakejima Airport), and Izu Ōshima
(Oshima Airport) have service to Tokyo International and other airports.
Map of Tokyo Subway system, with transfer stations labeled
Rail is the primary mode of transportation in Tokyo, which has the most
extensive urban railway network in the world and an equally extensive network
of surface lines. JR East operates Tokyo's largest railway network, including the
Yamanote Line loop that circles the center of downtown Tokyo. Two
organizations operate the subway network: the private Tokyo Metro and the
governmental Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation. The metropolitan
government and private carriers operate bus routes. Local, regional, and national
services are available, with major terminals at the giant railroad stations,
including Tokyo and Shinjuku.
Expressways link the capital to other points in the Greater Tokyo area, the Kantō
region, and the islands of Kyūshū and Shikoku.
Other transportation includes taxis operating in the special wards and the cities
and towns. Also long-distance ferries serve the islands of Tokyo and carry
passengers and cargo to domestic and foreign ports.
University of Tokyo, Yasuda Auditorium
Tokyo has many universities, junior colleges, and vocational schools. Many of
Japan's most prestigious universities are in Tokyo, including University of
Tokyo, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Waseda
University, and Keio University.
Tokyo National Museum, Ueno
Tokyo Dome, the home stadium for the Yomiuri Giants
Tokyo has many museums. In Ueno Park there are four national museums:
Tokyo National Museum, the country's largest museum and specializing in
traditional Japanese art; the National Museum of Western Art; and the Tokyo
National Museum of Modern Art, with its collections of Japanese modern art as
well as over 40,000 Japanese and foreign films.Also in Ueno Park are the
National Museum of Science and the public zoo. Other museums include the
Nezu Art Museum in Aoyama; the Edo-Tokyo Museum in Sumida across the
Sumida River from the center of Tokyo; and the National Diet Library, National
Archives, and the National Museum of Modern Art, which are located near the
Tokyo has many theaters for the performing arts as well. These include national
and private theaters for traditional forms of Japanese drama (like noh and
kabuki) as well as modern dramas. Symphony orchestras and other musical
organizations perform Western and traditional music. Tokyo also hosts modern
Japanese and Western pop and rock music at venues ranging in size from
intimate clubs to internationally known arenas like the Nippon Budokan. Many
different festivals occur throughout Tokyo. Major events include the Sannō at
Hie Shrine, the Sanja at Asakusa Shrine, and the biennial Kanda Festivals. The
last features a parade with elaborately decorated floats and thousands of people.
Annually on the last Saturday of July, an enormous fireworks display over the
Sumida River attracts over a million viewers. Once cherry blossoms, or sakura,
bloom in spring, many residents gather in Ueno Park, Inokashira Park, and the
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden for picnics under the blossoms.
Harajuku, a neighborhood in Shibuya, is known internationally for its youth
style and fashion.
Cuisine in Tokyo is internationally acclaimed. In November 2007, Michelin
released their guide for fine dining in Tokyo, garnering 191 stars in total, or
about twice as many as its nearest competitor, Paris. Eight establishments were
awarded the maximum of three stars (Paris has 10), 25 received two stars, and
117 earned one star. Of the eight top-rated restaurants, three offer traditional
Japanese fine dining, two are sushi houses and three serve French cuisine.
Ryōgoku Kokugikan sumo wrestling arena
Sports in Tokyo are diverse. Tokyo is home to two professional baseball clubs,
the Yomiuri Giants (Tokyo Dome) and Yakult Swallows (Meiji-Jingu Stadium)
. The Japan Sumo Association is also headquartered in Tokyo at the Ryōgoku
Kokugikan sumo arena where three official sumo tournaments are held annually
(in January, May, and September). Football (soccer) clubs in Tokyo include F.C.
Tokyo and Tokyo Verdy, both of which play at Ajinomoto Stadium in Chōfu.
Tokyo hosted the 1964 Summer Olympics, and is bidding to host them again in
2016. National Stadium, also known as Olympic Stadium, Tokyo is host to a
number of international sporting events. With a number of world-class sports
venues, Tokyo often hosts national and international sporting events such as
tennis tournaments, swim meets, marathons, American football exhibition
games, judo, karate, etc. Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, in Sendagaya,
Shibuya, is a large sports complex that includes swimming pools, training
rooms, and a large indoor arena.
Fuji TV headquarters
Architecture in Tokyo has largely been shaped by Tokyo's history. Twice in
recent history has the metropolis been left in ruins: first in the 1923 Great Kantō
earthquake and later after extensive firebombing in World War II.Because of
this, Tokyo's current urban landscape is one of modern and contemporary
architecture, and older buildings are scarce.
Tokyo also contains numerous parks and gardens.
Panoramic view of Shinjuku and Mount Fuji taken from Bunkyo Civic Center.
Panoramic view of Tokyo Imperial Palace as seen from Marunouchi.
Sakura in Tokyo Imperial Palace.