Tokyo is Japan’s capital and its largest city, and is also one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Originally called Edo, the city rose to prominence during the Edo period of Japanese history, when the city flourished with a population of over one million by the 18th century. Following the Meiji Restoration, the emperor moved his imperial residence from Kyoto to Edo, and the city was rechristened Tokyo, which means “eastern capital” by 1889.
Tokyo has bounced back from a series of catastrophes, notably an earthquake in 1924, and more obviously the firebombing of the city during World War II, which not only caused massive destruction but also caused mass migration out of the city. Still, Tokyo was in good enough shape by 1964 to host the Olympics, and even after the recent earthquake, it is slated to do so again in 2020, making it the only Asian city to host the games twice in modern history.
There are many things to do and see in Tokyo. Notably, visitors can get a great view of the city from the Tokyo Tower, which is modeled after the Eiffel Tower in France. For the history lover, the Tokyo National Museum is home to many antiquities from Japan’s past. The Edo-Tokyo Museum is another antiquities museum that showcases the splendor of the Edo period. Also, it is possible to tour the Japanese Imperial Palace which has many well maintained gardens.
For those that are craving something more familiar, there is a Tokyo Disneyland. More importantly, there is a great nightlife scene in a district named Kabukicho, which is also referred to as the “sleepless town.” Of course, Japan is famous for its sushi, and not only can visitors get their fill, but there are also plenty of classes available to learn the art of making it.
Tokyo has one of the largest urban railway systems in the world, which is necessary considering the population size of the city. It is remarkably clean and efficient, and there are also busses, trams, and monorails supplementing the public transportation system.