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Q. Please tell us about Tokyo, the capital of Japan.

Tokyo Bay

The University of Tokyo


Tokyo is Japan's biggest city, with a population of 9.5 million people in its 23 wards (as of 2019). Tokyo became Japan's capital in 1869. Up to that time the capital city had always been located in the Kinki (west central Honshu) region. Kyoto prospered as the capital for more than a thousand years.

Japan was ruled by a series of feudal governments (shogunates) from different parts of the country. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the Kamakura shogunate, based in the Kanto region, ruled the country. In the beginning of the 17th century, power shifted to the Tokugawa shogunate, which had its headquarters in Edo (today's Tokyo). Through all of these changes, Kyoto remained the capital.

In 1869, Tokyo officially became the capital and the central government organizations, such as administrative offices, the Diet, Supreme Court, and embassies, were centered there. Many banks and companies also have their headquarters in Tokyo, and the Keihin area (Tokyo-Kawasaki-Yokohama) boasts the country's highest concentration of industry.

However, it is not only the fact that the city is the nation's political, economic, and industrial hub that has brought so many people to Tokyo. It is also a center for culture and education. Since the Meiji Era (1868-1912), Tokyo has attracted a large number of first-rate museums, libraries, and other cultual facilities. Furthermore, over 20% of the country's four-year colleges are located there.