Tokyo Travel Guide
The capital city of Japan, Tōkyō (東京), is the center of the largest and most populated area in the world. The metropolitan area’s population alone is estimated to be above 12 million people, while the area of Greater Tokyo boasts a population of at least 35 million. Since Tokyo Metropolis (東京都) is an immense, prosperous, and alluring metropolitan area that offers both high-tech insights into the future combined with visions into an older, traditional Japan, there is something to keep every visitor happy. Japan has 47 prefectures of which Tokyo Metropolis is the one that houses the both the Japanese government as well as the Imperial Family (and Imperial Palace). It can be found geographically in the Kantō region (southeastern side of Honshu) and it includes the Ogasawara and Izu Islands.
Tokyo houses the 23 special wards which are distinctive districts and the size of each can compare to that of an urban post code. In 1943, these 23 special wards made up the city of Tokyo. However, today these districts are each separate, self-governing entities each with their own city status, mayor and council. Within Tokyo and aside from these special wards, you can also find an additional 26 cities, 5 towns and 8 villages all of which are equipped with their very own local government. Of course, we should not forget the quasi-national park as well as the national park that are also present. The Metropolitan Government of Tokyo, which governs all of the area of Tokyo (including lakes, farmland, national parks, remote islands, etc. as well as the suburban areas) is run by a metropolitan assembly and publicly elected governor.
Although Tokyo offers a plethora of sights and things to do, those that first attract most travelers are the Meiji Shrine, the gardens housed at the Imperial Palace (Chiyoda) and the temples of Asakusa. If you like to shop, eat or simply wander about, then you can go to one of the many commercial centers and experience for yourself the modern Japanese phenomenon. The upscale Ginza, youthful Shibuya and flashy Shinjuku are examples of how unique each of these commercial centers can be. As a general rule, although these areas are busy and animated all through the day, they really come to life at night.
The Tokyo Tower (modeled after the Eifel Tower) is one of the most known viewing platforms in Tokyo and offers an impressive view across the city and towards Mt. Fuji. This is the second tallest artificially created structure in Japan. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government building (also referred to as Tokyo City Hall) is the highest point in Tokyo and is located in Shinjuku. It boasts twin towers with viewing platforms. Access to these platforms is free to the public and the view is also mesmerizing.
Throughout the city of Tokyo you can find museums of all sizes and that cater to all possible interests (such as antique clocks to modern and traditional arts). The majority of the larger museums can be found in Ueno.
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