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Tokyo Metropolis

Tokyo Metropolis in Kanto DistrictTokyo MetropolisTokyo is the Japanese capital and the largest city in Japan. ("Tokyo" is pronounced as "Tookyoo".)
The Japanese government and its main agencies are in Tokyo, and many companies are based at Tokyo.
And many media and information are also concentrated here, then Tokyo is literally the political, economic and cultural center in Japan.

Until the 16th century, Edo (the former name of Tokyo) had been one of local city in eastern Japan.
In 1603, Ieyasu Tokugawa, the Shogun, established a government in Edo, then since that Edo had became the center of goverment in Japan.
But the capital of Japan had been Kyoto where the Emperor lived.
Edo had developed rapidly, then the population exceeded one million in the early 18th century. It is said that Edo was the largest city in the world at that time.

Tokyo city, Shibuya scramble crossing TokyoIn 1868, a new Meiji government was formed with the Emperor Meiji at its head. And "Edo" was changed to "Tokyo".
At this time the Emperor moved to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo from Kyoto, at last, Tokyo became the new capital of Japan.

Now Tokyo Metropolis is one of the prefectures in Japan, and stretches east to west.
The main area of Tokyo is located in its eastern part facing Tokyo Bay. However, it is not called "Tokyo city" but "Special wards of Tokyo". It contains 23 wards, and each ward is like a city.
The population of Tokyo Metropolis is about 13.5 million (over 10 percent of the population of Japan), and 9.2 million of them is in Special wards of Tokyo (2015).

The middle area of the Metropolis has many small cities, and housing area is spread.
The western area is mountainous, and there are several mountains as much as 1,200-2,000 meters high.
These areas are called "Tama area".

Most of sightseeing spots are in Special wards of Tokyo.
To tour them, it is convenient to use railroads such as JR, private railroads and subway.

Tokyo Convention and Visitors Bureau
Go Tokyo
Tokyo Tourist Information
SunnyPages.jp : Tokyo travel guide and reviews about restaurant, nightlife, beauty, etc.

The climate in Tokyo
Highest Temperature (deg C) 9.9 10.4 13.3 18.8 22.8 25.5 29.4 31.1 27.2 21.8 16.9 12.4
Lowest Temperature (deg C) 2.5 2.9 5.6 10.7 15.4 19.1 23.0 24.5 21.1 15.4 9.9 5.1
Mean monthly rainfall (mm) 52 56 118 125 138 168 154 168 210 198 93 51

How to get to Tokyo

From Narita Airport

Narita International Airport official website

It is the gateway from abroad to Tokyo, then it has many flights from various cities in the world.
To go to central Tokyo, there are some ways.

From Haneda Airport

Haneda Airport official website

It is the second international airport, and is developing as international airport.
It is also the main airport of domestic flights, and has many flights from various cities in Japan.
This airport is close to central Tokyo, so we can go to there within 30 minutes.

By Shinkansen

  • By Tokaido-Shinkansen, about 2 hours and 40 minutes from Shin-Osaka, 2 hours and 25 minutes from Kyoto, and 1 hours 45 minutes from Nagoya.
  • By Tohoku-Shinkansen, about 1 hours and 50 minutes from Sendai, 2 hours and 30 minutes from Morioka.

Tokaido-Shinkansen official website
Tohoku-Shinkansen and other Shinkansen (JR East Co. official website)

Tourist spots in Tokyo Metropolis

Major and popular spots

Ginza /11/ , Tsukiji Market /14/ , Akihabara /21/ , Odaiba /35/
Tokyo Tower /36/ , Asakusa /51/ , Tokyo Sky Tree /57/ , Akasaka, Roppongi /61/
Shinjuku /64/ , Meiji Shrine /65/ , Harajuku, Omotesando /66/ , Shibuya /67/

Surrounding area of central Tokyo

Tokyo Disneyland (Chiba Pref.) , Mount Takao /95/

Central Tokyo map

Central Tokyo /A/

Tokyo Station /1/
Maru-biru (Marunouchi Building) /2/
Kokyo (Imperial Palace) /3/
Hibiya Park /4/
National Diet Building /5/
National Theater of Japan /6/

Ginza /11/
Kabuki-za theater /12/
Nihonbashi /13/
Tsukiji-shijo (Tsukiji fish market) /14/
Tsukishima /15/

Akihabara /21/
Kanda and Ochanomizu /22/
Nikorai-do (Holy Resurrection Cathedral) /23/
Yushima Seido temple /24/
Kanda Myojin shrine /25/
Nippon Budokan arena /26/
Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery /27/
Yasukuni shrine /28/
Kagurazaka /29/

Tokyo Bay area map

Tokyo Bay area /B/

Shinbashi and Shiodome /31/
Hamarikyu Gardens /32/
Kyu-Shibarikyu Garden /33/
Rainbow Bridge /34/
Odaiba /35/
Tokyo Tower /36/
Zojoji temple /37/
Sengakuji temple /38/

Tokyo Shitamachi area map

Tokyo Shitamachi (old towns) area /C/

Ameya-Yokocho (Ame-Yoko) /41/
Ueno /42/
Tokyo National Museum /43/
Shitamachi Museum /44/
Former Iwasaki Mansion and Garden /45/
Yushima-Tenjin shrine /46/
Koishikawa Korakuen garden /47/
Rikugien garden /48/
Former Furukawa garden /49/
Yanaka, Nazu, Sendagi /50/

Asakusa /51/
Kappabashi kitchen town /52/
Sumida River /53/
Ryogoku Kokugikan arena /54/
Edo-Tokyo Museum /55/
Fukagawa area /56/
Tokyo Sky Tree /57/

Tokyo Yamanote area map

Tokyo Yamanote (uptown) area /D/

Akasaka and Roppongi /61/
Meiji Jingu Gaien park /62/
Shinjuku Gyoen garden /63/
Shinjuku /64/
Meiji shrine /65/
Harajuku and Omotesando /66/
Shibuya /67/
Yebisu Garden Place /68/
The Institute for Nature Study /69/

Tokyo Metroplis map

Other spots in Special wards of Tokyo

Ikebukuro /81/
Togenuki Jizou /82/
Shibamata Taishakuten temple /83/
Yakiri-no-watashi ferry /84/

Tama area

Ghibli Museum /91/
Jindaiji temple /92/
Takahata-fudo temple /93/
Sanrio Puroland /94/
Mount Takao /95/
Mount Mitake /96/
Lake Okutama /97/

Scenic or Nature / Park or Garden / Resort / City, Town or Village / Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine / Museum or Laboratory / Market or Commercial facility / Factory /
Other Building or Construction / Historic place / Remains / World Heritage Site

Main events in Tokyo Metropolis

Kanda FestivalKanda Festival (Several days around May 15th)

It is one of the greatest festivals in Tokyo, and is held around Kanda Myojin shrine in Kanda area. It is known since 730, and was the most famous festival in Japan in the 17-19th century.
Many people carry almost 100 mikoshi (portable shrine) with spirited call, so the festival is really an exciting time.
It alternate between "Main Festival" (in odd year) and "Sub Festival" (in even year) every year.

Sanja FestivalSanja Festival (For 3 days from the 3rd Friday in May)

It is the annual festival of Asakusa Shrine.
It is said that the festival based on the myth was held in 1312 for the first time.
Every year, many people carry several dozen mikoshi, then there is an air of excitement around the shrine.
Recently, there is no end to the carriers who mount the mikoshi, then that has created an unusual situation that Asakusa Shrine has notified of forbidance of such acts in writing.

Hozuki-ichi FairHozuki Fair (July 9-10th)

It is the annual fair held in Sensoji temple in Asakusa.
"Hozuki" is one of solanaceous plants, and it produces some vermillion fruits in June or July. It is called "Chinese lantern plant" in English. In Japan, it is offered on the altar during the Obon (mid-August).
For this two days, many stalls selling hozuki are opened in the precincts, then over 600 thosand visitors come here from around the country.
Additionally, when you visit this temple in this period, it is said that you can have the benefit that you have visited here 46,000 times.

Grand festivals of fireworks in TokyoGrand festivals of fireworks in Tokyo (From late July to mid-August)

In summer there are many fireworks displays in Tokyo.
The largest scale festival is "Sumida River Fireworks Festival". About 20 thousand fireworks are set off in the sky from 18:15 to 20:30.
It is held around Sumida River near Asakusa. (The last Saturday in July)
Around Tokyo Bay Area, "Tokyo Bay Grand Fireworks Festival" is popular. About 12 thousand fireworks are set off in the sky from 19:00 to 20:20.
Because it is held in the bay, we can see at various spots around the bay. (The 2nd Saturday in August)

Sumida River Fireworks Festival official website

Tori-no-ichi FairTori-no-ichi (2 or 3 days in November)

It is the fair held at various shrines in the same days.
"Tori" means "rooster" and is one of the 12-day cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. So there are 2 or 3 days of "tori" in November.
Most famous fair in Tokyo is held Chokokuji temple located about 1 km north of Sensoji temple in Asakusa.
Many stalls are opened in the precincts, and they sell lucky charm which is the bamboo rake with rice ear and replicas of gold coins and other talismans. It has the meaning of raking a "good luck".

Asakusa Tori-no-ichi official website

Hagoita-ichi FairHagoita Fair (December 17-19th)

It is the annual fair held in Sensoji temple, and has been a tradition since the mid-17th century.
"Hagoita" is the paddle for "Hanetsuki" which is traditional Japanese badminton for girls. It has a long and square shape, and is made of wood.
In this fair, hagoitas as an ornament are sold. These are painted with lacquer or decorated with complex silk collages, with auspicious symbols or figures.

Local foods and products in Tokyo Metropolis


Sushi is one of most popular Japanese foods. Particularly "Nigiri-zushi" (hand-shaped sushi) and "Norimaki" (sushi roll) originated in Tokyo.
"Edomae" means "the sea in front of Tokyo", and it means Tokyo Bay.
It is said that a cook in Ryogoku district served the sushi of these types using fresh fish from Tokyo Bay for the first time in the 1820s.
This new fast food was in high favor with the people in Tokyo, then it had spread throughout the country.
Formally such sushi should be called "Edomae-zushi", but we commonly say "sushi".


It is the popular Japanese cake made in Tokyo.
It was made first at Ningyo-cho near Nihonbashi in the late 19th century, so the name was given.
It is commonly the cake filled with "an" (sweet bean jam). And it is made by baked in the small mold with the shape of gods or the symbols of Asakusa. Recently we can find the Ninkyo-yaki of varied shapes.
We can eat fresh-baked Ningyo-yaki around Sensoji temple in Asakusa. And it is easy to buy it for a souvenir in Tokyo.


It is one of the popular Japansese side dish.
There are various kinds of the ingredients, and the popular ones are small fish, shellfish and chopped konbu (kelp).
It is made by cooking a kind of ingredient with shoyu (soy sauce) and sugar until no sauce remains.
It has a strong flavor, so we often eat it with rice.
The dish originated in Tsukuda district near Tsukishima or Tsukiji.


It is the original form of current "okonomiyaki" or "takoyaki". It is known that monja-yaki was eaten in Edo in the early 19th century.
First, fry up chopped cabbage and other ingredients on a pan. And gather them into a doughnut shape on the pan.
Then, pour the soup containing a little flour into the central space. After the soup has thickened, mix them with a paddle and please eat.
Tsukishima in the bay area is the most popular area, so there are many monja-yaki shops.


It is one of the rice bowl dishes.
It is cooked by boiling clams with chopped negi (green onion) in miso soup and topping the rice in a bowl with them.
In previous times, many clams were caught at the mouth of Sumida River. It is said that the fishermen in Fukagawa area created this in the mid-19th century. Around Fukagawa area, there are many restaurants serving it.


"Dojou" means "loach".
After stunning some live dojou in Sake, they are stewed in salty-sweet soup. Before eating, chopped negi (green onion) are heaped on it.
There are some dojou restaurants around Sumida River.
"Komagata Dojou" near Asakusa is a historic restaurant established in 1801.

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