Tokyo, Japan, Asia

Founded: c. 1150
Location: Eastern central Honshu, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan
Motto: Changes with each governor; currently, "My Town Tokyo."
Flag: White symbol on purple field.
Flower: Somei-Yoshino (a kind of cherry blossom)
Time Zone: 9 PM = noon Greenwich Mean Time (GMT); Daylight Saving Time is not observed.
Ethnic Composition: 98% Japanese; 2% Other (including American, Brazilian, British, Chinese, Korean, Peruvian, and Southeast Asian)
Latitude and Longitude: 35°40′N, 139°45′E
Climate: Temperate; winter is dry and mild, while summer is warm and humid. A rainy season occurs from mid-June to about mid-July, and September through November is the typhoon season.
Average Temperatures: Winter 29–52°F (–2 to 11°C); Summer 70–83°F (21–28°C).
Seasonal Average Snowfall: Snowfall is very rare—a single snowfall per year with virtually no accumulation.
Average Annual Precipitation: 1334mm (1996 est.)
Government: Tokyo Metropolis is comprised of 23 wards, 26 cities, seven towns, and eight villages. Incorporated cities all have mayors. Legislative authority in the metropolis belongs to the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, numbering 127 members elected for terms of four years. The prefectural governor is the principal elected official, presiding over several administrative commissions and their commissioners. Each ward elects a council and a ward head who deal with certain local matters.
Weights and Measures: Metric system
Monetary Units: The yen of 100 sen is issued in coins of 1,5,10,50,100, and 500 yen, and notes of 500, 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 yen.
Telephone Area Codes: 03–23 special ward area (ku-bu); 0426, 0425, 0422, 0428, 0423, 0424, 0427, 0428 city area (Shi-bu); 04992, 04996, 04998 island area (Tou-bu)

2. Getting There

Tokyo is located on the Pacific on the eastern coast of Honshu, the largest of the four main islands comprising Japan.


Since Japan is an island nation, the most efficient means of access is by air. Flights originating from abroad almost always land at New Tokyo International Airport at Narita. From Narita, it is still a considerable distance to central Tokyo, and the traveler has the choice of two trains. The Keisei Skyliner reaches Nippori Station and Keisei Ueno stations in about an hour; from both of these points transfers can easily be made to other destinations in Tokyo. Japan Rail (JR) runs a Narita Express that arrives at Tokyo Station in under an hour and Shinjuku and Ikebukuro Stations in about an hour-and-a-half. All these stations are major transfer points to both trains and subways. There is also a limousine bus service to Shinjuku and Tokyo Stations and to Haneda Airport.

Domestic flights, as well as China Airlines international flights, serve the much more conveniently located Haneda Airport. Haneda is a half hour's drive from central Tokyo. Easiest access to the city is by the monorail that connects Haneda Airport with JR's Yamanote line at Hamamatsucho Station. The Yamanote line is a circular line that connects with many major transfer points around Tokyo.

Tokyo Population Profile

City Proper

Population: 11,781,000
Area: 2,820 sq km (1,090 sq mi)
Ethnic composition: 98% Japanese; Others<1% (Korean; Chinese; Southeast Asian; British; American; Brazilian; Peruvian)

Metropolitan Area

Population: 28,025,000
Description: comprised of the four prefectures of the Kanto region: Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba
World population rank1: 1
Percentage of national population2: 22.2%
Average yearly growth rate: 0.8%


  1. The Tokyo metropolitan area's rank among the world's urban areas.
  2. The percent of Japan's total population living in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

Bus and Railroad Service

While the subway system is continually being extended out into the growing

Public transportation in Tokyo is clean, inexpensive, and the most reliable way to get around the city. ()
suburbs of Tokyo, its reach is limited. The best way to access the city from other parts of Japan is by rail. The various Japan Rail companies, of which there are seven, have lines that reach Tokyo from every part of the country, save the small islands. By far the most efficient means of rail travel to Tokyo is the Shinkansen, the high-speed express trains run by Japan Rail. The Shinkansen also offers access to Tokyo from the north and west, though it is an express, and local connections may be necessary before reaching a Shinkansen line.

Bus and Commuter Rail Service

The fact that each of these areas, with their distinctive characteristics, shares its name with a major train or subway station points to the primary means of travel in Tokyo. The government-operated Japan Railways operates several lines within Tokyo, the central line being the Yamanote line, which runs in a large circle around the city and intersects with most of the other train and subway lines en route. There are also several private train lines operating in Tokyo. Besides the trains, which run above ground, there are two subway companies, the Toei and the Teito. The subway lines are constantly being extended out to the suburbs, where they often emerge to run above ground like the trains. An extensive bus system fills in the areas not covered by the different rail systems. Rather inexplicably in a city as large and as lively as Tokyo, public transportation stops running sometime between midnight and 1:00 AM and resumes again at 5:00 AM. All public transportation in Tokyo, as in the rest of Japan, is relatively inexpensive, clean, and famous for being reliable and on schedule.

22. For Further Study


Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO) Website. [Online] Available (accessed November 29, 1999).

Planet Tokyo. [Online] Available (accessed November 29, 1999).

Tokyo Meltdown. [Online] Available (accessed November 29, 1999).

Tokyo Metropolitan Government New York Representative Office. [Online] Available (accessed November 29, 1999).

Tokyo Travel Guide. [Online] Available (accessed November 29, 1999).

Government Offices

Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Offices Information
2–8–1 Nishi Shinjuku
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Tel. (03) 5321–1111

Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau
Otemachi Office Complex, Building No. 1
1–3–1 Otemachi
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Tel. (03) 3213–8111

Foreign Nationals' Affairs Division
2–2–1 Kasumigaseki
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Tel. (03) 3503–7045, ext. 6

U.S. Embassy
1–10–5 Akasaka
Minato-ku, Tokyo
Tel. (03) 224–5000

Tourist and Convention Bureaus

Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO)
2–10–1, Yurakucho
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Tel. (03) 3502–1461

Japan National Tourist Organization
One Rockefeller Plaza, Suite 1250
New York, NY 10020

Japan National Tourist Organization
401 North Michigan Ave., Suite 770
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 222–0874

Japan National Tourist Organization
515 South Figueroa St., Suite 1470
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 623–1952

Tourist Information Center
Tokyo International Forum, Building No. 1
3–5–1, Marunouchi
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo


The Japan Times Ltd.
5–4, Shibaura 4–chome
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108

Kodansha International Ltd.
17–14, Otowa 1–chome
Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112

Charles E. Tuttle Co. Inc.
2–6 Suido 1–chome
Bunkyo–ku, Tokyo 112


Bower, Faubion. Japanese Theater. Greenwood Press, 1976.

Christopher, Robert C. The Japanese Mind: The Goliath Explained. New York: Linden Press/Simon & Schuster, 1983.

Conner, Judith and Mayumi Yoshida. Tokyo City Guide. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1985.

The Japan Travel Bureau. A Look into Tokyo. (6th ed.) 1991.

Kennedy, Rick. Home, Sweet Tokyo: Life in a Weird and Wonderful City. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1988.

Reischauer, Edwin O. Japan: The Story of a Nation. New York: Knopf, 1991.

Reischauer, Edwin O. The Japanese Today. Tokyo: Tuttle, 1993.

Sadler, Arthur. The Maker of Modern Japan: The Life of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. Tokyo: Tuttle: 1987.

Schiffer, Robert L. The Exploding City. New York: St. Martin's Press: 1989.

Seidensticker, Edward G. Low City, High City: Tokyo from Edo to the Earthquake, 1867–1923. New York: Knopf, 1983.

Seidensticker, Edward G. Tokyo Rising. New York: Knopf, 1990.

Vardaman, James M. and Michiko Sasaki Vardaman. Japanese Etiquette Today: A Guide to Business and Social Customs. Tokyo: Tuttle, 1994.

Waley, Paul. Tokyo, Now and Then: An Explorer's Guide. Weatherhill: 1984.