With over 13 million people, Tokyo is Japan's capital and largest city. This vast metropolis brings together ancient traditions, the latest technology, and strangely unique attractions. Among other things, visitors may browse massive electronics stores or relax in a cafe populated by Siamese cats. Sightseers also enjoy hiking Mount Takao in the city's western district. Tokyo can be found near the east coast of Honshu Island. Its history began over 5,000 years ago when the village of Edo gained its first residents.
Edo remained a tiny fishing settlement for many centuries. A fort was constructed and the town started to gain political significance during the 12th century, according to the History Channel. Its population grew rapidly, and officials renamed the city "Tokyo" in 1868. Emperor Meiji soon departed Kyoto to take up residence in the nation's new capital. Tokyo prospered until an earthquake caused tremendous damage throughout the region. The September 1923 disaster killed more than 140,000 people, according to the metropolitan government. Japan's capital slowly recovered during the 1930s, but it suffered heavy damage in World War II. Tokyo's economy rebounded in subsequent decades as the capital built new transit systems and factories. Despite the economic difficulties of the 1990s, it has remained a prosperous, modern city.
Visitors can find numerous public parks, historic buildings and religious temples in Tokyo. Japanese royals established the city's Imperial House over 2,600 years ago, according to the History Channel. So far, 125 different leaders have ruled Japan from this palace. The lesser-known Gotokuji Temple attracts Buddhists and cat owners who appreciate its many feline statues. Tourists can also enjoy almost any type of food in Japan's capital. It boasts approximately 160,000 restaurants and cafes, according to CNN. They range from sushi bars and noodle shops to foreign eateries of every kind. Shoppers in Tokyo may purchase nearly any product imaginable. Different stores sell high-end jewelry, custom suits, vintage robot toys or hard-to-find gadgets.
Tokyo's temperatures remain mild during much of the year. The Japan National Tourism Organization reports that average readings hit 78 F in July and fall to 42 degrees in January. Leaves change color and winds increase during the autumn months. This city has a warmer climate than Sendai, but it's often cooler than Osaka. The capital receives about 55 inches of rain each year. Like most large cities, it experiences frequent traffic jams and crowded sidewalks. Air pollution became a significant problem in the early 1970s, but its severity has decreased. Tokyo also continues to face the threat of tsunamis and powerful earthquakes. A Swiss insurer ranked it as the city with the highest risk level for natural disasters, according to Japan Today.
The Vibrant Culture
Although it may not be the safest place on Earth, Tokyo offers a vibrant culture that attracts visitors from across Japan and around the world. It's one of the few cities where people can watch sumo wrestling matches, shop for 1960s apparel and eat square watermelons in a single day. Travelers needn't bring cars to enjoy these diverse attractions; they can reach almost any destination on the capital's convenient railway system.