42 Fascinating Facts About Tokyo To Know Before Your Trip
Whether you look at its historical heritage or modern progress, Japan is truly one of the most fascinating countries in the world. People often think that it is located on four big islands, with a handful of smaller islands scattered around, but in fact, Japan counts 14,125 islands, with 260 of them inhabited. Tokyo, the capital of Japan, is located on the largest of the four main islands.
You may be a huge anime fan, a student of calligraphy, or just interested to learn more facts about Japan, but in any case, you will definitely find a lot of things that will grab your attention, and Tokyo is a good place to start, as the Japanese capital is incredibly interesting in and of itself.
For this article, we collected some Tokyo facts from all spheres of life: culture, economy, history, modern daily life, and much more.
Without further ado, scroll down to learn tons of fun facts about Tokyo. Share them with your friends who would also be interested to discover the capital of Japan in a new light. Vote for the ones you found most fascinating, and let us know in the comments if you have ever been to Tokyo and what the thing that completely blew your mind was.
There Are Anti-Suicide Lights In Tokyo’s Metro Stations
Blue lights were installed at train stations to prevent people from committing suicide. A study showed that from the moment of installment in 2009 to 2013, the suicide rate fell by a whopping 84%. Blue lights are said to help relax those experiencing psychological stress.
Tourists Pay No Tax On Shopping
Unlike many other cities in the world, if you spend over 5,000 yen (36.70 US dollars) and have your passport on you while shopping at licensed stores, you don’t have to pay tax as a foreign tourist in Tokyo.
You Are More Likely To Miss Mount Fuji
Even if you have never been to Japan, you most likely recognize Mount Fuji when you see it in pictures. And though theoretically, it is possible to see it when in Tokyo, smog and weather conditions often make it invisible.
Tokyo Is Home To A Robot Hotel
If you want to feel like you’re in the future when visiting Tokyo, check in at the Henn na Hotel in the district of Ginza. Fully staffed with robots that can turn their heads, blink, and carry your luggage, it is the perfect place for those who don’t like any form of social interaction in a public place. The hotel offers entry through facial recognition, so no keys are required.
Tokyo Has Been Destroyed And Rebuilt Several Times
Located in a highly seismic zone, Tokyo has suffered from many earthquakes, one of the largest being the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. Another large destruction was caused by the 1657 Great Fire of Meireki.
It’s Home To The World’s Busiest Intersection
Located in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, Shibuya Scramble Crossing sees as many as 3,000 people crossing at a time. A statue of the famous dog Hachiko can be found between the intersection and the Shibuya railway station.
Tokyo Has The Most Michelin-Starred Restaurants In The World
Tokyo has proudly held on to this title for over a decade. With a total of 212 Michelin stars, there are 14 three-star, 42 two-star and 158 one-star restaurants. Three of the world’s most famous three-star restaurants are located in Tokyo: Kanda, Quintessence, and Joël Robuchon.
Cat Cafes Are Typical In Tokyo
If you are not allowed to keep pets at home, you can pay an hourly rate and have fun with a cat in a cafe.
Tokyo Was Called Edo For A Very Long Time
Until 1890, the modern capital of Japan was called Edo. Founded in 1603, with time Edo became the seat of the Tokugawa shogunate. The name, which literally translates as “Eastern capital” (as opposed to Kyoto in the west), was changed in the late 19th century during the Meiji Restoration. And though the capital was transferred to Tokyo, no official rules were made regarding this.
The Cherry Blossom Is The Unofficial National Flower
Sakura trees start blooming in April, and tourists from all over the world come to observe this breathtaking sight. Both the tender pink flowers and leaves are edible and are ingredients of traditional Japanese teas and sweets.
Shinjuku Station Is The Busiest Train Station In The World
Connecting railway traffic between Tokyo’s special wards and Western Tokyo, Shinjuku station has inter-city rail, commuter rail, and subway lines. In 2018, an average of 3.59 million people used the station per day, making it the busiest railway station in the world. It officially holds the title recorded in the Guinness World Records.
Tokyo Has Been The Japanese Capital Since 1868
It may have started out as a small fishing village, but in 1868 Edo became the capital of the empire. It was later renamed Tokyo.
There’s No Safer City In The World
Despite its size and large population, Tokyo is regularly named at the top of the list of safest cities for travelers. Crimes occur at a very low rate here. Tokyo has a crime index of 24.23 and a safety index of 75.77, so tourists may feel safe experiencing the city's numerous attractions. Pickpocketing and home or car burglaries from unlocked cars are as one of the most frequently reported crimes in Tokyo.
Tokyo Received A Warning 60 Seconds Before The Tohoku Earthquake Hit In 2011
Being located in a highly seismic zone, Tokyo is no stranger to strong earthquakes, and its residents benefit from any alert they can get. The Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) system sends warnings through TV broadcasts, cell phones, and web pages throughout the country.
Tokyo Is The World's Most Populous Metropolitan Area
The population of Tokyo and its greater metropolitan area counts over 37 million people. Due to this, Tokyo holds the title of the most populous metropolitan area, followed by Jakarta, Indonesia, with 35 million, and Delhi, India, with 30 million people.
Tokyo Has A Large Number Of Parks And Green Spaces
Despite having such a large population (and need for real estate space), parks and green spaces are an important part of the city’s infrastructure. Some of the most famous places include the Imperial Palace East Gardens, the Meiji Shrine Forest, and Shinjuku Garden.
The Nakagin Capsule Tower, A Building True To Its Name, Was Built In Tokyo In 1972
At only 90 square feet, each capsule apartment in this building can be rearranged like Lego pieces to suit individual tastes.
Tokyo’s Traditional Arts Reflects Its Unique Culture
From ikebana (flower arranging) to origami (paper folding) to kabuki (traditional theater), if you have been wanting to try out traditional Japanese arts, Tokyo is a great place for that.
Tokyo Has Its Own Eiffel Tower
It may have been inspired by the Eiffel Tower, but the Tokyo Tower is, in fact, taller than its own inspiration. Built in 1958, it is 332.9 m tall, and painted orange and white as per air regulations. Tokyo Tower houses TV signal broadcasting, FM radio reception and transmission, manages traffic information, and collects weather and air pollution data. Even though the Tokyo Tower is not the tallest tower in the world, the one holding this title, Tokyo Skytree (634 m or 2080 ft), is also located in the capital city of Japan.
The World’s Tallest Free-Standing Tower Is The Tokyo Sky Tree
The Tokyo Skytree is also the third tallest structure in the world. Its height of 634 meters (2,080 feet) was selected based on the old name of the region where the Tokyo Skytree stands, Musashi, with each syllable representing one figure in Japanese.
In Tokyo, People Greet By Bowing Instead Of A Handshake
If someone bows to you, it is polite to return the bow. Another strictly observed tradition is to take off one’s shoes when entering a temple or a home, whether yours or someone else’s.
The Warmest Months In Tokyo Are From June 27 To September 18
On average, the daily temperature stays above 26°C (79°F) during these months, with August being the hottest period.
Tokyo First Held The Olympics In 1964
In 1964 Tokyo hosted the Olympics, which were not only the first for Japan but also the first games to be held in Asia. Japan came third with 16 gold, five silver, and eight bronze medals, with the United States and the Soviet Union in first and second places, respectively.
The Harajuku District Is Popular For Its Eye-Catching Fashion
The street fashion of Harajuku can be described as anything but boring. Way before it was made popular in the West by music stars, Harajuku fashion came into existence during the postwar period, when local and foreign styles started mixing to create something unique.
The Tokyo Marathon Is One Of The Six Major World Marathons
Established in 2007, the Tokyo Marathon is held every February. Participants must finish 42.2 kilometers (26.2 miles). In 2012, the race received its title of one of the world’s major marathons.
The City With The Highest Marriage Rate In Japan Is Tokyo
It is also recorded that most married couples in Tokyo stay together. The city holds 8th place in the country according to its divorce rate, which is not that bad for a huge population like Tokyo’s.
People Are Employed To Push You Onto Busy Trains
Officially called Passenger Arrangement Staff, they push people trying to board the train during rush hours to ensure as many get on board as physically possible.
The Two Major Religions In Tokyo Are Shinto And Buddhism
You might call Shinto the original religion in the country, as it is as old as the rest of the Japanese culture. Buddhism came in the 6th century from the mainland.
You Can Purchase Almost Anything From A Vending Machine In Tokyo
There are very, very few items you can’t purchase from a vending machine in Tokyo. From hamburgers to umbrellas to bananas and anything in between, you will find a vending machine at least every 12 meters, with an average of one vending machine per 23 people. There is also a “mystery vending machine” that dispenses a random item wrapped in white paper.
Tokyo Has Its Own Disneyland And DisneySea
The first Disney theme park outside the US was built in Tokyo. Launched on April 15, 1983, it was the largest Disneyland at the time. Today it contains two separate parks: Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, the latter being the only one of its kind in the world.
Tokyo Is Made Up Of 23 Special Wards
To optimize administrative management, Tokyo is divided into 23 so-called special wards. Each of them has its own mayor and assembly. Wards are also divided into districts and neighborhoods.
The Tokyo Stock Exchange Is The Largest Stock Exchange In Asia
If measured by market capitalization, it is also the second largest in the world.
Tokyo Is Home To Over 80 Museums
It’s not only about economics. Tokyo has a lively cultural scene as well. Some of its most famous museums include the Tokyo National Museum and the Edo-Tokyo Museum. As for theaters, here you can enjoy both traditional Japanese performances and Western-style plays. When you’re in Tokyo, make sure to visit Kabuki-za and the New National Theatre.
Tokyo Is Served By Two International Airports
Narita International Airport and Haneda International Airport are there to help handle the inflow and outflow.
Almost Every Street In Tokyo Has A Haunted House
If you are into ghost hunting, Tokyo is the place for you. Experts recommend visiting the Komine Tunnel in Hachioji, which is rumored to be the home of a girl in a red dress. This might explain the frequency of traffic accidents in the area.
The Largest And Busiest Fish Market In The World Is The Tsukiji Market
Another number one in the world for Tokyo, the Tsukiji market trades over 400 types of fish and seafood. If you come here at 5 a.m., you can even participate in tuna auctions.
The Busiest Shopping Area In Tokyo Is Ginza
Ginza is located at the junction of five ancient roads that connected Japan’s major cities. Its historical location defined Ginza’s destiny as the country’s commercial center, and it has lived up to its name for centuries.
Japanese Culture Also Counts Numerous Celebrations, Festivals, And Rituals In Tokyo
Every cultural or religious festival has its celebration tradition in Tokyo. With food stands, entertainment, and carnival games to keep people entertained, festivals are frequently centered around a single event. Some are centered on temples or shrines, others around hanabi (fireworks).
Tokyo Climate Has Four Seasons Of Humid Subtropical Climate
Each season offers its own attractions and paints nature around you in different colors. Tourists will find something to do in Tokyo during every season.
Tokyo Also Has Many Temples And Shrines
Whether you are interested in them from a cultural or religious point of view, take your time to explore the temples and shrines around Tokyo. You could start at the Sensoji Temple and the Meiji Shrine. There are around 1,450 shrines in Tokyo.
There's More Neon Signs In Tokyo Than Anywhere Else In The World
If you count all the neon signs in the city, it beats Piccadilly Circus, Times Square, and even Las Vegas, which seems to be made up entirely of neon signs. But since there are more streets in Tokyo than in Las Vegas, there is also more space for neon signs.
The Imperial Palace Was A High-Priced Real Estate
Back when Tokyo was still in a property bubble, the 1.32-square-mile grounds were priced higher than the gross real estate of California.