10 Interesting Facts about Tokyo

Martin Giles
5 min readApr 8, 2023

Is it really the biggest city in the world? (Yes it sure is!)

My 25 years in Japan have left me with incredible experiences, and a handful of interesting trivia. Designed for very light easy reading as you enjoy articles, take a moment to check out this 1–10.

Image created in Lexica

1.

The city was formerly known as Edo, which was the seat of power for the Tokugawa shogunate from 1603 until 1868 when the Meiji Restoration took place.

The Meiji Restoration was a transformative period in Japanese history from 1868 to 1912, during which political power shifted from the Tokugawa shogunate to the Emperor Meiji, marking the end of feudalism and the beginning of modernization in Japan.

The restoration sought to modernize Japan by implementing political, economic, and social reforms, embracing Western ideas and technology, and establishing a centralized government, which ultimately propelled Japan towards becoming a major global power in the 20th century.

2.

Tokyo is home to the world’s busiest railway station, Shinjuku Station, which serves over 3.5 million passengers daily.

Shinjuku Station has a rich history that dates back to its opening in 1885.

Over the years, it has undergone several renovations and expansions to accommodate the increasing number of passengers. The station has witnessed the development and growth of Tokyo, evolving into the bustling hub it is today.

3.

The Tokyo Tower, which is 333 meters tall, was built in 1958 and is inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

It was built to symbolize Japan’s post-war recovery and modernization. The tower’s lattice structure, painted in vibrant orange and white, closely resembles the design of the Eiffel Tower, although it stands at a slightly taller height of 333 meters (1,093 feet).

In addition to its role as a tourist attraction, the Tokyo Tower functions as a major broadcasting tower. It broadcasts both analog and digital television signals for Tokyo and the surrounding Kanto region. The tower’s height provides an advantage in transmitting signals across a wide area.

4.

Tokyo is known for its unique and diverse culinary scene, with more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city in the world.

The city boasts over 230 restaurants with at least one Michelin star, surpassing culinary capitals like Paris and New York. This includes a range of cuisines, from traditional Japanese to international fusion.

5.

The city is also famous for its advanced technology and innovative gadgets, such as The bullet train, electronic toilets, and robots as well as;

Smart Homes: The city is known for its widespread adoption of smart home technology. Residents can control various aspects of their homes, such as lighting, temperature, and security, through integrated systems and mobile apps.

Augmented Reality Experiences: The city offers cutting-edge augmented reality (AR) experiences in various sectors. From interactive museum exhibits and tourist attractions to immersive gaming and educational applications, AR technology enhances the city’s offerings.

Drone Delivery Services: The city has embraced the use of drones for efficient and speedy delivery services. Drones are utilized to transport packages, groceries, and even medical supplies to different locations, revolutionizing the logistics industry.

Sustainable Energy Solutions: The city is at the forefront of developing and implementing sustainable energy solutions. It has successfully integrated renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, into its infrastructure, resulting in reduced carbon emissions and a cleaner environment.

Advanced Healthcare Technology: The city boasts state-of-the-art medical facilities and innovative healthcare technology. From robotic surgical systems to AI-assisted diagnostics, cutting-edge advancements in healthcare technology have improved patient care and treatment outcomes.

Autonomous Vehicles: The city is a pioneer in the development and implementation of autonomous vehicles. Self-driving cars and buses can be seen on the roads, offering a safer and more efficient transportation system for residents and visitors.

Virtual Reality Entertainment: The city offers a plethora of virtual reality (VR) entertainment options. Visitors can enjoy immersive VR gaming, virtual theme park rides, and even explore historical or fantasy worlds through VR experiences.

Smart Traffic Management: The city employs smart traffic management systems that utilize real-time data and AI algorithms to optimize traffic flow. This technology helps reduce congestion, improve road safety, and enhance overall transportation efficiency.

Advanced Waste Management: The city has implemented advanced waste management systems to promote recycling and minimize environmental impact. Smart bins equipped with sensors and sorting technology efficiently manage waste disposal and recycling processes.

Blockchain Integration: The city has embraced blockchain technology across various sectors, including finance, supply chain management, and government services. Blockchain ensures secure and transparent transactions, streamlines processes, and enhances data integrity.

6.

The Shibuya Crossing, located in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, is one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in the world and is featured in many movies and TV shows. An average of 1,000 people cross the lights each time it changes to green! It also has the World’s business Starbucks on this intersection!

7.

Tokyo is home to the Imperial Palace, which is the residence of the Emperor of Japan. The Palace was relocated from Kyoto to Tokyo on November 26, 1868. This marked the symbolic transfer of political power from the Tokugawa shogunate to the newly established Meiji government.

8.

The city has hosted the Summer Olympics twice, in 1964 and 2020 (which were postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic). The Japanese Bullet Train (Shinkansen) was created and put into place for the 1964 Olympics for practical purposes, as well as to showcase the country’s technological advancements to the world after the devastation of World War II. The construction of the Shinkansen was seen as a symbol of Japan’s progress and modernization.

9.

Tokyo is the most populous city in Japan and the world’s largest metropolitan area with over 38 million people in the greater Tokyo area.

10.

Tokyo (東京) means ‘East Capital’. It’s called this because the capital actually moved from Western Japan to Eastern Japan in the 19th century.

Kyoto (京都) served as the capital of Japan for over a thousand years, from 794 to 1868. It was during this time that many of Japan’s cultural and artistic traditions were established, and the city became a centre of political and economic power.

In 1868, however, the Meiji Restoration led to significant changes in Japan’s political and social structure. The Meiji government, seeking to modernize the country and centralize power, decided to move the capital from Kyoto to Tokyo, which was then a small fishing village called Edo.

The move was seen as symbolic of the Meiji government’s desire to break with Japan’s feudal past and embrace modernity. Tokyo was chosen as the new capital because of its central location, its access to the sea, and its potential for economic growth.

The move was not without controversy, however, and many in Kyoto saw it as a loss of prestige and influence. Today, Kyoto remains one of Japan’s most important cultural centres, with many of its historic temples, shrines, and palaces preserved as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Meanwhile, Tokyo has become Japan’s economic and political center and one of the largest and most vibrant cities in the world.

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Martin Giles

Born in Canada, raised in Australia, and with 25 years of adult life in Tokyo Japan. Business Branding Specialist with a major in customer experiences.