Tokyo The city full of cities. Tokyo Literally "eastern capital"is located in the Kanto region on the island of Honshu in Japan. It is counted as one of the 47 prefectures of Japan and commonly referred to as the capital of Japan with the government of Japan and the Emperor of Japan residing in Chiyoda Ward. With a population of over 12 million, or about 10 percent of Japan's population, it is by far the country's most populous and most densely populated prefecture. Although Tokyo is considered one of the major cities of the world, it is technically not a city. There is no city named "Tokyo." Tokyo is actually designated as a "metropolis", similar to a prefecture consisting of 23 special wards 26 cities (5 towns , and 8 villages each having a local government. It includes outlying islands in the Pacific Ocean as far as over 1,000 km south in the subtropics. Tokyo itself is headed by a publicly-elected governor (not mayor). Over 8 million live within the 23 self-governing, special wards comprising "central Tokyo" which defines Tokyo for most people. The daytime population swells by over 2.5 million with workers and students commuting from neighboring prefectures. The total population of the three central wards of Chiyoda, Chuo, and Minato is less than 300,000 at night, but balloons to over 2 million during the day. Being the nation's center of politics, business, finance, education, mass media, and pop culture, Tokyo has the country's highest concentration of corporate headquarters, financial institutions, universities and colleges, museums, theaters, and shopping and entertainment establishments. It boasts a highly developed public transportation system with numerous train and subway lines, buses, and a convenient airport at Haneda with more runways than Narita International Airport. This extreme concentration is both a boon and bane, prompting an ongoing debate over moving the nation's capital to another region. There is also a great fear of a catastrophic earthquake striking Tokyo, which may in effect cripple the entire nation. Nevertheless, Tokyo continues to attract people from all over Japan and many countries, making a substantial portion of the population non-native to Tokyo and making it a great place to meet people from all over the country and the world. Goverment Although it is counted as one of the 47 prefectures of Japan, it is technically not a prefecture. Tokyo has an administrative structure unique among the prefectures of Japa. 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 included in the heart of Tokyo, with a combined population of over 8 million 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 Tokyo Metropolitan Goverment Building Geography Tokyo 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. It also consists of islands in the Pacific Ocean directly south. The Izu Islands are closest, while the Ogasawara Islands stretch over 1,000 km away from mainland Japan. Tokyo is also part of the Greater Tokyo Area by far the world's most populous metropolitan area that includes the surrounding prefectures of Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba. Tokyo consists of the following 23 special wards, 26 cities, 5 towns, and 8 villages: 23 Special Wards Each ward (ku) is a local municipality with its own elected mayors and assemblies but differs from ordinary cities in that certain governmental functions are handled by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. As of September 1, 2003 the total population of the 23 wards was about 8.34 million, with a population density of 13,416 persons per square kilometer.They are:Adachi, Arakawa, Bunkyo, Chiyoda, Chuo, Edogawa, Itabashi, Katsushika, Kita, Koto, Meguro, Minato, Nakano, Nerima, Ota, Setagaya, Shibuya, Shinagawa, Shinjuku, Suginami, Sumida, Toshima, Taito. National Parks There are two national parks in West Tokyo: Chichibu-Tama National Park, located in Nishitama and spilling over into Yamanashi and Saitama Prefectures, and Meiji no Mori Takao Quasi-National Park, located around Mount Takao to the south of Hachioji. South of Tokyo is the Ogasawara National Park. Cities West of the 23 wards, Tokyo consists of cities (shi), which enjoy a similar legal status to cities elsewhere in Japan. While serving a role as "bed towns" for those working in central Tokyo, some of these cities also have a local commercial and industrial base. Collectively, these cities are often known as "West Tokyo.„They are as follows: Akiruno, Akishima, Chofu, Fuchu, Fussa, Hachioji, Hamura, Higashikurume, Higashimurayama, Higashiyamato, Hino, Inagi, Kiyose, Kodaira Koganei, Kokubunji, Komae, Kunitachi, Machida Mitaka, Musashimurayama, Musashino, Nishi-tokyo, Ome, Tachikawa, Tama Kokyo Kokyo is the Japanese Imperial palace in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo. After the Meiji Restoration, the Imperial court moved from Kyoto to Tokyo and the former Tokugawa stronghold of Edo castle became the residence of the Emperor of Japan. It was destroyed during the Second World War by bombing, but was rebuilt in the same style in 1968. Most of the palace is generally off limits to the public, but the East Gardens are usually accessible to tourists. The inner palace is only open to the public on two days during each year, the Emperor's birthday and New Years (January 2). Shinjuku Shinjuku is one of the special wards of Tokyo. It is a major commercial and administrative centre as well as the location of one of Tokyo's largest public transport interchanges, Shinjuku Station. Shinjuku is home to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, Tokyo's tallest building, where political and public administration of Tokyo takes place. Shinjuku is a major urban-transit hub: Shinjuku Station sees an estimated 2 million passengers pass through it each day, with three subway lines, two private-rail commuter lines, and several JR lines passing through it. It is also home to a heavy concentration of department stores, movie theaters, hotels, bars, etc. The city of Shinjuku developed into its current form after the Great Kanto earthquake (Kantō-daishinsai) in 1923, since the seismically stable area largely escaped the devastation. Consequently, West Shinjuku is one of the few areas in Tokyo with many skyscrapers. In 1698, during the Edo period, Shinjuku (or Naitō Shinjuku) had developed as a new (shin) station (shuku or juku) on the Kōshū Kaidō. Naitō was a daimyo whose mansion stood in the area; his land is now a public park, the Shinjuku Gyoen. As of 2003, the ward has an estimated population of 297,135 and a density of 16,299.23 persons per km². The total area is 18.23 km². Tokyo Tower Tokyo Tower is a tower in, Tokyo whose design is based Although it is often compared to the Eiffel Tower on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. The Tower is as being taller and lighter, Tokyo Tower is 333 meters tall (9 meters taller than the Eiffel Tower, not a work of architectural beauty like the or 33 if the latter's TV Antenna is not included) Eiffel Tower. Thus, it never became as making it the world's highest self-supporting iron famous, beloved, and symbolic for Tokyo as tower. the Eiffel Tower became for Paris. Although Unlike the Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Tower is located in the it chiefly functions as a radio and television middle of a city block. The tower only weighs about broadcasting antenna, the Tower is best 4000 tons, which is extremely light compared to the known as a tourist destination. 10100 ton Eiffel Tower, and it is painted in white and orange according to aviation safety regulations. In the postwar boom of the 1950s, Japan was looking for a The first floor houses an aquarium, home to monument to symbolize its ascendancy as a global 50,000 fish, the third floor a wax museum economic powerhouse. Looking to the Occident for and an attraction called the Mysterious inspiration, the Tokyo Government decided to erect Walking Zone, and the fourth floor a Trick its own Eiffel Tower. It was completed by the Art Gallery. There are also two observatory Takenaka Corporation in 1958 at a total cost of ¥2.8 floors, the main observatory (at 150 m) and billion. At the time it was built it was the tallest the so-called "special observatory" (at 250 structure in Tokyo, but it has since been superceded m); both afford a spectacular 360 degree view by several buildings in the Shinjuku and of Tokyo and, if the weather is clear, Mt. Ikebukurodistricts. Fuji.