ABOUT TOKYO

Tokyo (東京, Tōkyō) the world’s most populous metropolitan area and is the center of Japanese culture, finance, and government. A bustling cosmopolitan city, Tokyo is also a major transportation hub and a world economic and industrial center. The city boasts a large number of world-class institutions of higher education, the highest concentration of universities in Japan.

It is also one of Japan’s 47 prefectures, consisting of 23 central city wards and multiple cities, towns and villages west of the city center.

The Izu and Ogasawara Islands are also part of Tokyo.Today, Tokyo offers a seemingly unlimited choice of entertainment, culture, shopping and dining to its visitors. Contrary to common perception, Tokyo also offers a number of attractive green spaces in the city center and within relatively short train rides at its outskirts.

HISTORY

Prior to 1868, Tokyo was known as Edo. A small castle town in the 16th century, Edo became Japan’s political center in 1603 when Tokugawa Ieyasu established his feudal government there. A few decades later, Edo had grown into one of the world’s most populous cities. With the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the emperor and capital moved from Kyoto to Edo, which was renamed Tokyo (“Eastern Capital”). Edo had been Japan’s largest city since the 17th century. Tokyo’s population exceeded one million in the late 19th century, and as Japan’s political, economic, and cultural centre it became one of the world’s most populous cities in the 20th century

CURRENCY

The Japanese Yen (JPY) is the official currency of Japan. Japanese Yen are separated into coins and bills. Coins are minted in ¥1, ¥5, ¥10, ¥50, ¥100, and ¥500 denominations, while bills are printed in ¥1,000, ¥2,000, ¥5,000, and ¥10,000 denominations.

FAMOUS ATTRACTIONS

Sensoji Temple(浅草寺)

Tokyo’s most visited temple enshrines a golden image of Kannon (the Buddhist goddess of mercy), which, according to legend, was miraculously pulled out of the nearby Sumida-gawa by two fishermen in AD 628. The image has remained on the spot ever since but is never on public display. The present structure dates from 1958. Entrance to the temple complex is via the fantastic, red Kaminari-mon (雷門); Thunder Gate) and busy shopping street Nakamise-dōri.

Tokyo Tower(东京タワー)

The Japanese remake of the Eiffel Tower serves a predominately practical purpose. The orange and white tower, which rises 1,092 feet into the air, serves as a radio and television broadcasting structure supporting 62 miles of frequencies. The tower also caters to tourists, offering two observation decks, one at 490 feet (the main observatory) and one at 819 feet (the special observatory). The observation decks offer 360-degree views of Tokyo’s sprawling cityscape and come equipped with guides pointing out notable buildings in the skyline. And if you visit on a really clear day, you’ll be able to spot Mount Fuji in the distance. The Tokyo Tower also has its own cafe, where patrons can sip tea while admiring the views, as well as Club 333, a music venue that hosts performances daily. And if you’re on the hunt for souvenirs, travelers say this is a surprisingly great place to peruse thanks to all the on-site shops.

Metropolitan Government Building (東京都庁)

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku is often visited by tourists for its free observation decks which provide good panoramic views of Tokyo and beyond. The 243 meter tall building has two towers, and each houses an observatory at a height of 202 meters. It had been the tallest building in Tokyo until it was overtaken by the Midtown Tower in 2007.

Meiji Shrine (明治神宮, Meiji Jingū)

Meiji Shrine is a shrine dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken. Located just beside the JR Yamanote Line’s busy Harajuku Station, Meiji Shrine and the adjacent Yoyogi Park make up a large forested area within the densely built-up city. The spacious shrine grounds offer walking paths that are great for a relaxing stroll.