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—   Metropolis  —
東京都 · Tokyo Metropolis
From top left: Nishi-Shinjuku, Tokyo Skytree, Rainbow Bridge, Shibuya, National Diet Building


Anthem: Tokyo Metropolitan Song
(東京都歌 Tokyo Toka)
Location of Tokyo in Japan
Satellite photo of Tokyo's 23 Special wards taken by NASA's Landsat 7
Tokyo is located in Japan
Location of Tokyo in Japan
Coordinates: 35°41′22.22″N 139°41′30.12″E Coordinates: 35°41′22.22″N 139°41′30.12″E
Country Japan
Region Kantō
Island Honshu
Divisions 23 special wards, 26 cities, 1 district, & 4 subprefectures
 • Type Metropolis
 •  Governor Naoki Inose ( I)
 •  Capital Shinjuku
Area(ranked 45th)
 •  Metropolis 2,187.66 km2 (844.66 sq mi)
 • Metro 13,572 km2 (5,240 sq mi)
Population (August 1, 2011)
 •  Metropolis 13,185,502
 • Density Bad rounding here6,000/km2 (Bad rounding here16,000/sq mi)
 •  Metro 35,682,460
 • Metro density 2,629/km2 (6,810/sq mi)
 • 23 Wards 8,967,665
  (2011 per Prefectural Government)
Demonym Tokyoite
Time zone Japan Standard Time ( UTC+9)
ISO 3166-2 JP-13
Flower Somei-Yoshino cherry blossom
Tree Ginkgo tree (Ginkgo biloba)
Bird Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)

Tokyo (東京 Tōkyō, "Eastern Capital") (Japanese:  [toːkjoː], English / ˈ t k i . /), officially Tokyo Metropolis (東京都 Tōkyō-to), is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the centre of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area in the world. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family. Tokyo is in the Kantō region on the southeastern side of the main island Honshu and includes the Izu Islands and Ogasawara Islands. Tokyo Metropolis was formed in 1943 from the merger of the former Tokyo Prefecture (東京府 Tōkyō-fu) and the city of Tokyo (東京市 Tōkyō-shi).

Tokyo is often mistaken as being a city and thus is commonly referred to as a "metropolitan prefecture". The Tokyo metropolitan government administers the 23 Special Wards of Tokyo (each governed as an individual city), which cover the area that was formerly the City of Tokyo before it merged and became the subsequent metropolitan prefecture. The metropolitan government also administers 39 municipalities in the western part of the prefecture and the two outlying island chains. The population of the special wards is over 8 million people, with the total population of the prefecture exceeding 13 million. The prefecture is part of the world's most populous metropolitan area with upwards of 35 million people and the world's largest urban agglomeration economy with a GDP of US$1.479 trillion at purchasing power parity, ahead of the New York metropolitan area in 2008. The city hosts 51 of the Fortune Global 500 companies, the highest number of any city.

Tokyo has been described as one of the three "command centers" for the world economy, along with New York City and London. The city is considered an alpha+ world city, listed by the GaWC's 2008 inventory and ranked fourth among global cities by A.T. Kearney's 2012 Global Cities Index. In 2012, Tokyo was named the most expensive city for expatriates, according to the Mercer and Economist Intelligence Unit cost-of-living surveys, and in 2009 named the third Most Liveable City and the World’s Most Livable Megalopolis by the magazine Monocle. The Michelin Guide has awarded Tokyo by far the most Michelin stars of any city in the world. Tokyo hosted the 1964 Summer Olympics and is currently a candidate city for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.


Tokyo was originally known as Edo, which means "estuary". Its name was changed to Tokyo (Tōkyō: (east) + kyō (capital)) when it became the imperial capital in 1868, in line with the East Asian tradition of including the word capital ('京') in the name of the capital city. 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. Tokyo shares the same meaning and character with Vietnam's Đông Kinh (東京).


Tokugawa Ieyasu

Tokyo was originally a small fishing village named Edo, in what was formerly part of the old Musashi Province.

Edo was first fortified by the Edo clan, in the late twelfth century. In 1457, Ōta Dōkan built Edo Castle. In 1590, Tokugawa Ieyasu made Edo his base and when he became shogun in 1603, the town became the centre of his nationwide military government. During the subsequent Edo period, Edo grew into one of the largest cities in the world with a population topping one million by the 18th century. Tokyo became the de facto capital of Japan even while the emperor lived in Kyoto, the imperial capital. After about 263 years, the shogunate was overthrown under the banner of restoring imperial rule. In 1869, the 17-year-old Emperor Meiji moved to Edo. Tokyo was already the nation's political and cultural centre, and the emperor's residence made it a de facto imperial capital as well, with the former Edo Castle becoming the Imperial Palace. The city of Tokyo was established, and continued to be the capital until it was abolished as a municipality in 1943 and merged with the "Metropolitan Prefecture" of Tokyo.

Central Tokyo, like Osaka, has been designed since about 1900 to be centered on major railway stations in a high-density fashion, so suburban railways were built relatively cheaply at street level and with their own right-of-way. This differs from many cities in the United States that are low-density and automobile-centric. Though expressways have been built in Tokyo, the basic design has not changed.

Ginza area in 1933

Tokyo went on to suffer two major catastrophes in the 20th century, but it recovered from both. One was the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake, which left 140,000 dead or missing, and the other was World War II. The Bombing of Tokyo in 1944 and 1945, with 75,000 to 200,000 killed and half of the city destroyed, was almost as devastating as the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.

Tokyo burning in 1945

After the war, Tokyo was completely rebuilt, and was showcased to the world during the 1964 Summer Olympics. The 1970s brought new high-rise developments such as Sunshine 60, a new and controversial airport at Narita in 1978 (some distance outside city limits), and a population increase to about 11 million (in the metropolitan area).

Tokyo's subway and commuter rail network became one of the busiest in the world as more and more people moved to the area. In the 1980s, real estate prices skyrocketed during a real estate and debt bubble. The bubble burst in the early 1990s, and many companies, banks, and individuals were caught with mortgage backed debts while real estate was shrinking in value. A major recession followed, making the 1990s Japan's " Lost Decade" from which it is now slowly recovering.

Tokyo still sees new urban developments on large lots of less profitable land. Recent projects include Ebisu Garden Place, Tennozu Isle, Shiodome, Roppongi Hills, Shinagawa (now also a Shinkansen station), and the Marunouchi side of Tokyo Station. Buildings of significance are demolished for more up-to-date shopping facilities such as Omotesando Hills.

Land reclamation projects in Tokyo have also been going on for centuries. The most prominent is the Odaiba area, now a major shopping and entertainment centre. Various plans have been proposed for transferring national government functions from Tokyo to secondary capitals in other regions of Japan, in order to slow down rapid development in Tokyo and revitalize economically lagging areas of the country. These plans have been controversial within Japan and have yet to be realized.

The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that devastated much of the northeastern coast of Honshu was felt in Tokyo. However, due to Tokyo's earthquake-resistant infrastructure, damage in Tokyo was very minor compared to areas directly hit by the tsunami, although activity in the city was largely halted. The subsequent nuclear crisis caused by the tsunami has also largely left Tokyo unaffected, despite occasional spikes in radiation levels.

Geography and administrative divisions

Tokyo Bay seen from Odaiba, Minato.

The mainland portion of Tokyo lies northwest of Tokyo Bay and measures about 90 km (56 mi) east to west and 25 km (16 mi) north to south. The average elevation in Tokyo is 40 m (131 ft). Chiba Prefecture borders it to the east, Yamanashi to the west, Kanagawa to the south, and Saitama to the north. Mainland Tokyo is further subdivided into the special wards (occupying the eastern half) and the Tama area (多摩地域) stretching westwards.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

Also within the administrative boundaries of Tokyo Metropolis are two island chains in the Pacific Ocean directly south: the Izu Islands, and the Ogasawara Islands, which stretch more than 1,000 km away from the mainland. Because of these islands and mountainous regions to the west, Tokyo's overall population density figures far underrepresent the real figures for urban and suburban regions of Tokyo.

Under Japanese law, Tokyo is designated as a to (), translated as metropolis. Its administrative structure is similar to that of Japan's other prefectures. Within Tokyo lie dozens of smaller entities, including many cities, the 23 special wards, districts, towns, villages, a quasi-national park, and a national park. The 23 special wards (特別 -ku), which until 1943 constituted the city of Tokyo, are now separate, self-governing municipalities, each having a mayor, a council, and the status of a city.

In addition to these 23 special wards, Tokyo also includes 26 more cities ( 市 -shi), five towns ( -chō or machi), and eight villages ( -son or -mura), each of 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 neon jungles, skyscrapers and crowded subways.

Tokyo Metropolis Map.svg

Special wards

A map of Tokyo's 23 Special wards

The special wards (tokubetsu-ku) of Tokyo comprise the area formerly incorporated as Tokyo City. On July 1, 1943, Tokyo City was merged with Tokyo Prefecture (東京府 Tōkyō-fu) forming the current "metropolitan prefecture". As a result, unlike other city wards in Japan, these wards are not conterminous with a larger incorporated city. While falling under the jurisdiction of Tokyo Metropolitan Government, each ward is also a borough with its own elected leader and council, like other cities of Japan. The special wards use the word "city" in their official English name (e.g. Chiyoda City).

The wards differ from other cities in having a unique administrative relationship with the prefectural government. Certain municipal functions, such as waterworks, sewerage, and fire-fighting, are handled by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. To pay for the added administrative costs, the prefecture collects municipal taxes, which would usually be levied by the city.

The special wards of Tokyo are:

  • Adachi
  • Arakawa
  • Bunkyo
  • Chiyoda
  • Chūō
  • Edogawa
  • Itabashi
  • Katsushika
  • Kita
  • Kōtō
  • Meguro
  • Minato
  • Nakano
  • Nerima
  • Ōta
  • Setagaya
  • Shibuya
  • Shinagawa
  • Shinjuku
  • Suginami
  • Sumida
  • Taitō
  • Toshima

The "three core wards" of Tokyo are Chiyoda, Chūō and Minato.

Western Tokyo

A map of cities in western part of Tokyo. They border on the three westernmost special wards in the map above.

To the west of the special wards, Tokyo Metropolis consists of cities, towns and villages that enjoy the same legal status as those elsewhere in Japan.

While serving as " bed towns" for those working in central Tokyo, some of these also have a local commercial and industrial base. Collectively, these are often known as the Tama Area or Western Tokyo.


Twenty-six cities lie within the western part of Tokyo:

  • Akiruno
  • Akishima
  • Chōfu
  • Fuchū
  • Fussa
  • Hachiōji
  • Hamura
  • Higashikurume
  • Higashimurayama
  • Higashiyamato
  • Hino
  • Inagi
  • Kiyose
  • Kodaira
  • Koganei
  • Kokubunji
  • Komae
  • Kunitachi
  • Machida
  • Mitaka
  • Musashimurayama
  • Musashino
  • Nishitōkyō
  • Ōme
  • Tachikawa
  • Tama

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has designated Hachiōji, Tachikawa, Machida, Ōme and Tama New Town as regional centers of the Tama area, as part of its plans to disperse urban functions away from central Tokyo.

Nishitama District

The far west is occupied by the district (gun) of Nishitama. Much of this area is mountainous and unsuitable for urbanization. The highest mountain in Tokyo, Mount Kumotori, is 2,017 m high; other mountains in Tokyo include Takasu (1737 m), Odake (1266 m), and Mitake (929 m). Lake Okutama, on the Tama River near Yamanashi Prefecture, is Tokyo's largest lake. The district is composed of three towns and one village.


  • Hinode
  • Mizuho
  • Okutama


  • Hinohara


Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park

Tokyo has numerous outlying islands, which extend as far as 1850 km from central Tokyo. Because of the islands' distance from the administrative headquarters of the metropolitan government in Shinjuku, local offices administer them.

The Izu Islands are a group of volcanic islands and form part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. The islands in order from closest to Tokyo are Izu Ōshima, Toshima, Nii-jima, Shikine-jima, Kōzu-shima, Miyake-jima, Mikurajima, Hachijō-jima, and Aogashima. The Izu Islands are grouped into three subprefectures. Izu Ōshima and Hachijojima are towns. The remaining islands are six villages, with Niijima and Shikinejima forming one village.

The Ogasawara Islands include, from north to south, Chichi-jima, Nishinoshima, Haha-jima, Kita Iwo Jima, Iwo Jima, and Minami Iwo Jima. Ogasawara also administers two tiny outlying islands: Minami Torishima, the easternmost point in Japan and at 1,850 km the most distant island from central Tokyo, and Okinotorishima, the southernmost point in Japan. The last island is contested by the People's Republic of China as being only uninhabited rocks. The Iwo chain and the outlying islands have no permanent population, but host Japanese Self-Defense Forces personnel. Local populations are only found on Chichi-jima and Haha-jima. The islands form both the subprefecture of Ogasawara and the village of Ogasawara.

National parks

As of March 31, 2008, 36% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks (second only to Shiga Prefecture), namely the Chichibu Tama Kai, Fuji-Hakone-Izu, and Ogasawara National Parks (the last a UNESCO World Heritage Site); Meiji no Mori Takao Quasi-National Park; and Akikawa Kyūryō, Hamura Kusabana Kyūryō, Sayama, Takao Jinba, Takiyama, and Tama Kyūryō Prefectural Natural Parks.

Ueno Park is well known for its museums: Tokyo National Museum, National Museum of Nature and Science, Shitamachi Museum and National Museum for Western Art, among others. There are also art works and statues at several places in the park. There is also a zoo in the park, and the park is a popular destination to view cherry blossoms.


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. Tokyo is near the boundary of three plates.


The former city of Tokyo and the majority of mainland Tokyo lie in the humid subtropical climate zone ( Köppen climate classification Cfa), with hot humid summers and generally mild winters with cool spells. The region, like much of Japan, experiences a one-month seasonal lag, with the warmest month being August, which averages 27.5 °C (81.5 °F), and the coolest month being January, averaging 6.0 °C (42.8 °F). The record low temperature is −9.2 °C (15.4 °F), and the record high is 39.5 °C (103.1 °F), though there was once an unofficial reading of 42.7 °C (108.9 °F) at the Primary School Station. Annual rainfall averages nearly 1,530 millimetres (60.2 in), with a wetter summer and a drier winter. Snowfall is sporadic, but does occur almost annually. Tokyo also often sees typhoons each year, though few are strong. The last one to hit was Fitow in 2007, while the wettest month since records began in 1876 has been October 2004 with 780 millimetres (30 in) including 270.5 millimetres (10.6 in) on the ninth of that month.

Climate data for Tokyo (Ōtemachi, Chiyoda ward, 1981-2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 9.9
Average low °C (°F) 2.5
Precipitation mm (inches) 45
Snowfall cm (inches) 5
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.5 mm) 5 7 11 11 10 14 12 10 13 10 7 4 114
Avg. snowy days 2.8 3.7 2.2 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.8 9.7
 % humidity 49 50 55 60 65 72 73 71 71 66 59 52 61.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 175 150 165 161 182 123 137 177 110 129 137 166 1,812
Source #1: Japan Meteorological Agency
Source #2: The Weather Network

Western areas of mainland Tokyo lie in the humid subtropical climate zone with a dry winter (Köppen classification Cwa).

Climate data for Tokyo (Ogouchi, Okutama town, 1981-2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6.7
Average low °C (°F) −2.7
Precipitation mm (inches) 44
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 5 6 11 10 11 14 15 13 14 11 7 4 120
Mean monthly sunshine hours 147 128 132 162 155 110 128 148 99 95 122 145 1,571
Source: Japan Meteorological Agency

Tokyo's easternmost territory, the island of Minamitorishima (Marcus Island) in Ogasawara village, is located in the Tropical savanna climate zone (Köppen classification Aw). Tokyo's Izu and Ogasawara islands are affected by an average of 5.4 typhoons a year, compared to 3.1 in mainland Kantō.


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% by 2020 from the 2000 level.

Tokyo is an example of an urban heat island, and the phenomenon is especially serious in its special wards. According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the annual mean temperature has increased by about 3 °C (5.4 °F) over the past 100 years. Tokyo has been cited as a "convincing example of the relationship between urban growth and climate."

In 2006, Tokyo enacted the "10 Year Project for Green Tokyo" to be realized by 2016. It set a goal of increasing roadside trees in Tokyo to 1 million (from 480,000), and adding 1,000 ha of green space 88 of which will be a new park named "Umi no Mori" (sea forest) which will be located on a reclaimed island in Tokyo Bay which used to be a landfill. From 2007 to 2010 436 ha of the planned 1,000 ha of green space was created and 220,000 trees were planted bringing the total to 700,000. By 2014 road side trees in Tokyo will increase to 950,000 and a further 300 ha of green space will be added.


As of October 2007, the official intercensal estimate showed 12.79 million people in Tokyo with 8.653 million living within Tokyo's 23 wards. During the daytime, the population swells by over 2.5 million as workers and students commute from adjacent areas. This effect is even more pronounced in the three central wards of Chiyoda, Chūō, and Minato, whose collective population as of the 2005 National Census was 326,000 at night, but 2.4 million during the day.

The entire prefecture had 12,790,000 residents in October 2007 (8,653,000 in 23 wards), with an increase of over 3 million in the day. Tokyo is at its highest population ever, while that of the 23 wards peak official count was 8,893,094 in the 1965 Census, with the count dipping below 8 million in the 1995 Census. People continue to move back into the core city as land prices have fallen dramatically.

As of 2005, the most common foreign nationalities found in Tokyo are Chinese (123,661), Korean (106,697), Filipino (31,077), American (18,848), British (7,696), Brazilian (5,300) and French (3,000).

The 1889 Census recorded 1,389,600 people in Tokyo City, Japan's largest city at the time.

Population of Tokyo
By area1

Special wards
Tama Area

12.79 million
8.653 million
4.109 million

By age²

Juveniles (age 0-14)
Working (age 15-64)
Retired (age 65+)

1.461 million (11.8%)
8.546 million (69.3%)
2.332 million (18.9%)

By hours³


14.978 million
12.416 million

By nationality

Foreign residents


1 Estimates as of October 1, 2007.

² as of January 1, 2007.

³ as of 2005 National Census.

4 as of January 1, 2006.

This chart is growth rate of municipalities of Tokyo, Japan.It is estimated by census carried out in 2005 and 2010.
  10.0 % over
  7.5 - 9.9 %
  5.0 - 7.4 %
  2.5 - 4.9 %
  0.0 - 2.4 %
  0.0 - 2.4 %
  2.5 - 4.9%
  5.0 - 7.4 %
  7.5 - 9.9 %
  10.0 % and below


Tokyo Stock Exchange
Bank of Japan
Shiodome City Centre in Minato, headquarters of All Nippon Airways and Fujitsu
Mitsubishi Corporation headquarters in Marunouchi, Chiyoda

Tokyo has the largest metropolitan economy in the world. According to a study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Tokyo urban area (35.2 million people) had a total GDP of US$1.479 trillion in 2008 (at purchasing power parity), which topped that list. As of 2009, 51 of the companies listed on the Global 500 are based in Tokyo, almost twice that of the second-placed city (Paris).

Tokyo is a major international finance centre, houses the headquarters of several of the world's largest investment banks and insurance companies, and serves as a hub for Japan's transportation, publishing, and broadcasting industries. During the centralized growth of Japan's economy following World War II, many large firms moved their headquarters from cities such as Osaka (the historical commercial capital) to Tokyo, in an attempt to take advantage of better access to the government. This trend has begun to slow due to ongoing population growth in Tokyo and the high cost of living there.

Tokyo was rated by the Economist Intelligence Unit as the most expensive (highest cost-of-living) city in the world for 14 years in a row ending in 2006. This analysis is for living a corporate executive lifestyle, with items like a detached house and several automobiles.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange is Japan's largest stock exchange, and third largest in the world by market capitalization and fourth largest by share turnover. In 1990 at the end of the Japanese asset price bubble, it accounted for more than 60% of the world stock market value. Tokyo had 8,460 ha (20,900 acres) of agricultural land as of 2003, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, placing it last among the nation's prefectures. The farmland is concentrated in Western Tokyo. Perishables such as vegetables, fruits, and flowers can be conveniently shipped to the markets in the eastern part of the prefecture. Komatsuna and spinach are the most important vegetables; as of 2000, Tokyo supplied 32.5% of the komatsuna sold at its central produce market.

With 36% of its area covered by forest, Tokyo has extensive growths of cryptomeria and Japanese cypress, especially in the mountainous western communities of Akiruno, Ōme, Okutama, Hachiōji, Hinode, and Hinohara. Decreases in the price of lumber, increases in the cost of production, and advancing old age among the forestry population have resulted in a decline in Tokyo's output. In addition, pollen, especially from cryptomeria, is a major allergen for the nearby population centers.

Tokyo Bay was once a major source of fish. Presently, most of Tokyo's fish production comes from the outer islands, such as Izu Ōshima and Hachijōjima. Skipjack tuna, nori, and aji are among the ocean products.

Tourism in Tokyo is also a contributor to the economy.


Map of Tokyo Subway system

Tokyo, as the centre 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, Haneda Airport offers domestic and international flights. Outside Tokyo, Narita International Airport, in Chiba Prefecture, is the major gateway for international travelers to Japan and Japan's flag carrier Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines all have a hub at this airport.

Various islands governed by Tokyo have their own airports. Hachijō-jima ( Hachijojima Airport), Miyakejima ( Miyakejima Airport), and Izu Ōshima ( Oshima Airport) have services to Tokyo International and other airports.

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 centre 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, Shinagawa, and Shinjuku.

Expressways link the capital to other points in the Greater Tokyo area, the Kantō region, and the islands of Kyushu and Shikoku. In order to build them quickly before the 1964 Summer Olympics, most were constructed above existing roads.

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
Waseda University

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. Some of the biggest national universities in Tokyo are:

  • Hitotsubashi University
  • Japan National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)
  • Ochanomizu University
  • Tokyo Gakugei University
  • Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • Tokyo Medical and Dental University
  • Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
  • Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
  • Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology
  • Tokyo University of the Arts
  • University of Electro-Communications
  • University of Tokyo

There is only one non-national public university: Tokyo Metropolitan University.

There are also a few universities well known for classes conducted in English and for the teaching of the Japanese language. They include:

  • Globis University Graduate School of Management
  • International Christian University
  • Sophia University
  • Waseda University

For an extensive list, see List of universities in Tokyo.

Publicly run kindergartens, elementary schools (years 1 through 6), and junior high schools (7 through 9) are operated by local wards or municipal offices. Public high schools in Tokyo are run by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Board of Education and are called "Metropolitan High Schools". Tokyo also has many private schools from kindergarten through high school.


The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation also known as "Miraikan"

Tokyo has many museums. In Ueno Park, there is the Tokyo National Museum, the country's largest museum and specializing in traditional Japanese art; the National Museum of Western Art and Ueno Zoo. Other museums include the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Odaiba; the Edo-Tokyo Museum in Sumida, across the Sumida River from the centre of Tokyo; the Nezu Museum in Aoyama; and the National Diet Library, National Archives, and the National Museum of Modern Art, which are near the Imperial Palace.

Tokyo has many theaters for performing arts. These include national and private theaters for traditional forms of Japanese drama (such as noh and kabuki) as well as modern drama. Symphony orchestras and other musical organizations perform modern and traditional music. Tokyo also hosts modern Japanese and international pop and rock music at venues ranging in size from intimate clubs to internationally known arenas such as the Nippon Budokan.

The Sanja Festival in Asakusa

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 bloom in spring, many residents gather in Ueno Park, Inokashira Park, and the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden for picnics under the blossoms.

Harajuku, a neighbourhood in Shibuya, is known internationally for its youth style, fashion and cosplay.

Cuisine in Tokyo is internationally acclaimed. In November 2007, Michelin released their guide for fine dining in Tokyo, awarding 191 stars in total, or about twice as many as Tokyo's 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.


Tokyo Dome, the home stadium for the Yomiuri Giants
Ryōgoku Kokugikan sumo wrestling arena

Tokyo, with a diverse array of sports, is home to two professional baseball clubs, the Yomiuri Giants who play at the Tokyo Dome and Tokyo Yakult Swallows at 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 1969, both of which play at Ajinomoto Stadium in Chōfu.

Tokyo hosted the 1964 Summer Olympics. The National Stadium, also known as the Olympic Stadium 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, rugby union and sevens rugby games, American football exhibition games, judo, and karate. Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, in Sendagaya, Shibuya, is a large sports complex that includes swimming pools, training rooms, and a large indoor arena. According to Around the Rings, the gymnasium has played host to the October 2011 artistic gymnastics world championships, despite the International Gymnastics Federation's initial doubt in Tokyo's ability to host the championships following the March 11 tsunami. Tokyo is currently bidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. The IOC selected Tokyo as a Candidate City in May 2012.

In popular culture

Fuji TV headquarters

As the largest population centre in Japan and the location of the country's largest broadcasters and studios, Tokyo is frequently the setting for many Japanese movies, television shows, animated series (anime), web comics, and comic books ( manga). In the kaiju (monster movie) genre, landmarks of Tokyo are routinely destroyed by giant monsters such as Godzilla and Gamera.

Some Hollywood directors have turned to Tokyo as a filming location for movies set in Tokyo. Well-known examples from the postwar era include Tokyo Joe, My Geisha, Tokyo Story and the James Bond film You Only Live Twice; well-known contemporary examples include Kill Bill, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Lost in Translation, Babel, and Inception.


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 urban landscape consists mainly of modern and contemporary architecture, and older buildings are scarce. Tokyo features many internationally famous forms of modern architecture including Tokyo International Forum, Asahi Beer Hall, Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower, NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building and Rainbow Bridge. Tokyo also features two distinctive towers: Tokyo Tower and the new Tokyo Skytree which is the tallest tower in Japan and the second tallest structure in the world.

Tokyo also contains numerous parks and gardens.

Panoramic view of Shinjuku and Mount Fuji taken from Bunkyo Civic Centre
Panoramic view of Tokyo Imperial Palace as seen from Marunouchi. Shinjuku is seen in the background.
Cherry blossoms at the Tokyo Imperial Palace
High-rise office buildings as seen from the Tokyo Imperial Palace.

International relations

Twin towns and sister cities

Tokyo is twinned with the following cities and states:

  • United States New York City, United States (since 1960)
  • China Beijing, China (since 1979)
  • France Paris, France (since 1982)
  • Australia New South Wales, Australia (since 1984)
  • South Korea Seoul, South Korea (since 1988)
  • Indonesia Jakarta, Indonesia (since 1989)
  • Brazil São Paulo State, Brazil (since 1990)
  • Egypt Cairo, Egypt (since 1990)
  • Russia Moscow, Russia (since 1991)
  • Germany Berlin, Germany (since 1994)
  • Italy Rome, Italy (since 1996)


In addition, Tokyo has a "partnership" agreement with:

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