Tokyo Facts

Tokyo facts intrigue and fascinate travelers, adding an extra dimension of history to this modern metropolis. To some, the population of Tokyo is mystifying, a wonderment of how a colossal city functions so seamlessly and seemingly effortlessly. Yet, it is the unseen inner workings of the city that nudge it along, day by day, creating the well-oiled machine that is Tokyo today. The many facts about Tokyo and the city's past unfold to paint a picture of a once ancient kingdom transformed into a modern wonder. It is difficult to fathom how such extraordinary change can take place over a relatively short time in human history, but this is what Tokyo has accomplished.

Tokyo was first created when feudal lords, or daimyo, played a harrowing and vicious game of control. Some 400 years ago, Tokyo came onto the world stage. Known as Edo, the city was first established by Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa, an important figure who captured control of Japan in the 1600s, inaugurating a national capital to replace the existing one in Kyoto where the emperor resided. This capital is known today as Tokyo. Not long after, social and economical momentum began to build quickly. The population of Tokyo as it was then was only a few thousand. This was the beginning of the period famously known as the Edo period.

During the Edo period many facts about Tokyo conveyed the peaceful and calm place it used to be. Culturally, much of Tokyo's history stems from this period, including burgeoning architectural practices, Ukiyo-e (traditional block printing), and Kabuki flourished. Other interesting facts about Tokyo in the Edo period include residency numbers. Two decades after the Edo period commenced, the population of Tokyo reached one million people.

By this period there had been no war in Japan for more than two centuries. Tokyo facts show that this peace was shattered in the mid-nineteenth century by Americans aiming to scare the Japanese into opening the country to foreigners. The exalted Tokugawa shogunate family was weakened and the imperial rule (evidenced through the Imperial Palace) commenced. So began the Meiji Restoration period, marking an end to the long reign of the Tokugawa. Facts about Tokyo soon illustrated great upheaval, civil wars, and terrible disorientation for all people. Not long after, the Emperor switched his permanent residence to Edo and renamed the city Tokyo, making it the new capital of Japan.

From the mid-1800s through 1945, western practices were adopted by Tokyo and the rest of Japan. The population of Tokyo grew, and infrastructure boomed. Modernization abounded until the tragedy of the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 shook down the city, setting it ablaze and virtually ruining it. Reconstruction was a long, hard process. Tokyo facts show the industriousness of that period launched today's subway system, the Tokyo Port, and the first airport. Things took a turn for the worst when the American air-strike hit in 1945, decreasing the population of Tokyo by 100,000. Once controlled by American troops, the population declined even further.

After the war subsided and American occupation of Japan ceased, Tokyo hit an upward streak. A new Japanese constitution was initiated, and Tokyo's ward network was initiated. The Nagano Olympics saw Japan and Tokyo enjoy a new restoration and the bullet trains were introduced, offering new opportunities for growth. Tokyo's economics slowly strengthened over the decades only to reach a declining period in the 1990s, with banks losing their footholds, meeting bankruptcy head on.

As most economic cycles turn, so did Tokyo's with the economy back on the rise by 2004. Tokyo Tower, Disneyland, the Tokyo Dome, and other major attractions show evidence of this blooming recovery. Stagnancy ceased and the wheel began turning again. With the financial success Tokyo has reached since the run of the century, tourism is once again a main provider for the country. The question of how many people live in Tokyo today is a good one. A population of more than 8 million in the central Tokyo region, and more than 30 million including Greater Tokyo is a sure sign that the country and its capital is once again flourishing.

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