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All about Japan: Tokyo
By  | June 22, 2011 at 2:44 am | No comments | All about JapanSekaione Press | Tags: 
Tokyo (東京 , “Eastern Capital”); officially Tokyo Metropolis (東京都),is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. It is located 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) and the city of Tokyo (東京市). Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family.
Map
The Tokyo Metropolitan government administers the twenty-three special wards of Tokyo (each governed as a city), which cover the area that was the city of Tokyo, as well as 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 metropolitan economy with a GDP of US$1.479 trillion at purchasing power parity in 2008, ahead of New York City, which ranks second on the list.
Tokyo has been described as one of the three “command centers” for the world economy, along with New York City and London. This city is considered an alpha+ world city, listed by the GaWC’s 2008 inventory and ranked third among global cities by Foreign Policy’s 2010 Global Cities Index. In 2010 Tokyo was named the second most expensive city for expatriate employees, according to the Mercer and Economist Intelligence Unit cost-of-living surveys, and named the fourth 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.

Etymology

Tokyo
Tokyo was originally known as Edo, meaning “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.

History

Tokyo was originally a small fishing village named Edo. It was first fortified by the Edo clan, in the late 12th 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 center 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.
Tokugawa Ieyasu
It became the de facto capital of Japan[15] 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 center, 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.
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 bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.
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 center. 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.

Geography

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
The mainland portion of Tokyo lies northwest of Tokyo Bay and measures about 90 km east to west and 25 km north to south. 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.
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 (都), 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 twenty-three special wards, districts, towns, villages, a quasi-national park, and a national park. The twenty-three special wards (特別区 -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 (町 -chō or machi), and eight villages (村 -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.

Special wards

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) forming the current “metropolitan prefecture”. As a result, unlike other city wards in Japan, these wards are not part of any larger incorporated city. Each ward is a municipality with its own elected mayor and assembly like the other cities of Japan. The special wards use the word city in their official English name, e.g. Chiyoda City, with one exception, Shinjuku District.
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
  • Bunkyō
  • Chiyoda
  • Chūō
  • Edogawa
  • Itabashi
  • Katsushika
  • Kita
  • Kōtō
  • Meguro
  • Minato
  • Nakano
  • Nerima
  • Ōta
  • Setagaya
  • Shibuya
  • Shinagawa
  • Shinjuku
  • Suginami
  • Sumida
  • Taitō
  • Toshima

Western Tokyo

Western part
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.

CITIES

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.
Towns
  • Hinode
  • Mizuho
  • Okutama
Village
  • Hinohara

Islands

Fuji san and hakone from Hachijojima
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, Niijima, Shikinejima, Kozushima, Miyakejima, Mikurajima, Hachijojima, 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 Okino Torishima, 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.

Seismicity

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 located near the boundary of three plates.

Climate

The former city of Tokyo and the majority of mainland Tokyo lie in the humid subtropical climate zone, 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). Annual rainfall averages nearly 1,470 millimetres (57.9 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.
CLIMATE DATA FOR TOKYO (WARDS AREA, 1971-2000)
MONTHJANFEBMARAPRMAYJUNJULAUGSEPOCTNOVDECYEAR
AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F)9.8
(49.6)
10.0
(50)
12.9
(55.2)
18.4
(65.1)
22.7
(72.9)
25.2
(77.4)
29.0
(84.2)
30.8
(87.4)
26.8
(80.2)
21.6
(70.9)
16.7
(62.1)
12.3
(54.1)
19.7
(67.5)
DAILY MEAN °C (°F)5.8
(42.4)
6.1
(43)
8.9
(48)
14.4
(57.9)
18.7
(65.7)
21.8
(71.2)
25.4
(77.7)
27.1
(80.8)
23.5
(74.3)
18.2
(64.8)
13.0
(55.4)
8.4
(47.1)
15.9
(60.6)
AVERAGE LOW °C (°F)2.1
(35.8)
2.4
(36.3)
5.1
(41.2)
10.5
(50.9)
15.1
(59.2)
18.9
(66)
22.5
(72.5)
24.2
(75.6)
20.7
(69.3)
15.0
(59)
9.5
(49.1)
4.6
(40.3)
12.5
(54.5)
PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES)48.6
(1.913)
60.2
(2.37)
114.5
(4.508)
130.3
(5.13)
128.0
(5.039)
164.9
(6.492)
161.5
(6.358)
155.1
(6.106)
208.5
(8.209)
163.1
(6.421)
92.5
(3.642)
39.6
(1.559)
1,466.7
(57.744)
% HUMIDITY50515762667375727266605363.1
AVG. PRECIPITATION DAYS (≥ 1.0 MM)4.65.89.510.19.611.910.48.211.39.16.23.8100.5
AVG. SNOWY DAYS2.73.52.2000000000.79.1
SUNSHINE HOURS180.5161.1159.2164.9180.9120.1147.5177.5112.9129.9141.4171.11,847.2

Demographics

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.

Economy

Tokyo Stock Exchange
Tokyo is one of the three world finance “command centers”, along with New York City and London. 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 the 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 center, 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.
Bank of Japan
The Tokyo Stock Exchange is Japan’s largest stock exchange, and second 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.

Transportation

tokyo metro map
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, 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. Hachijōjima (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 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, Shinagawa, 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.

Education

Tokyo 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, Keio University,and Waseda University, . Some of the biggest national universities located in
Tokyo are:
  • Ochanomizu University
  • University of Electro-Communications
  • National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
  • University of Tokyo
  • Tokyo Medical and Dental University
  • Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
  • Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology
  • Tokyo Gakugei University
  • Tokyo University of the Arts
  • Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
  • Hitotsubashi University.
There is only one non-national public university: Tokyo Metropolitan University.
waseda university
There are also a few universities well-known for classes conducted in English and for the teaching of the Japanese language. They include:
  • International Christian University
  • Sophia University
  • Waseda University
  • Temple University Japan
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.

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