Tokyo, Japan: Food, Cost, Weather & geography, History, language, culture, things to see and do and how to reach

You can find about travel advice such as public places & services, best restaurants, activities, sightseen and other key facts of the Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo, is the de facto capital and most populous prefecture of Japan. Located at the head of Tokyo Bay, the prefecture forms part of the Kantō region on the central Pacific coast of Japan's main island of Honshu. Tokyo is the political and economic center of the country, as well as the seat of the Emperor of Japan and the national government. As of 2021, the prefecture has an estimated population of 13,960,236. The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world, with more than 37.393 million residents as of 2020.

Originally a fishing village, named Edo, the city became a prominent political center in 1603, when it became the seat of the Tokugawa shogunate. By the mid-18th century, Edo was one of the most populous cities in the world at over one million. Following the end of the shogunate in 1868, the imperial capital in Kyoto was moved to the city, which was renamed Tokyo (literally "eastern capital"). Tokyo was devastated by the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake, and again by Allied bombing raids during World War II. Beginning in the 1950s, the city underwent rapid reconstruction and expansion, going on to lead Japan's post-war economic recovery. Since 1943, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has administered the prefecture's 23 special wards (formerly Tokyo City), various bed towns in the western area, and two outlying island chains.

Tokyo is the largest urban economy in the world by gross domestic product, and is categorized as an Alpha+ city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Part of an industrial region that includes the cities of Yokohama, Kawasaki, and Chiba, Tokyo is Japan's leading center of business and finance. In 2019, it hosted 36 of the Fortune Global 500 companies. In 2020, it ranked fourth on the Global Financial Centers Index, behind New York City, London, and Shanghai. Tokyo has the world's tallest tower Tokyo Skytree and the world's largest underground floodwater diversion facility MAOUDC. The Tokyo Metro Ginza Line is the oldest underground metro line in East Asia (1927).

The city has hosted multiple international events, including the 1964 Summer Olympics and three G7 Summits (1979, 1986, and 1993); it will also host the postponed 2020 Summer Olympics. Tokyo is an international center of research and development and is represented by several major universities, notably the University of Tokyo. Tokyo Station is the central hub for Japan's Shinkansen bullet train system, and the city is served by an extensive network of rail and subways. Notable districts of Tokyo include Chiyoda (the site of the Imperial Palace), Shinjuku (the city's administrative center), and Shibuya (a commercial, cultural and business hub).

Foods in Tokyo, Japan:

1.) Edomae-zushi (Edo-style Sushi)
Topping the ranking is Edomae-zushi, which has become synonymous with Japanese food. Although there are many kinds of sushi, it is Edomae-zushi which the rest of the world knows affectionately as "SUSHI." In addition to enjoying the fresh fish and seafood from Tokyo Bay, you can also have fun watching sushi chefs do what they do best at many famous restaurants with an old-school atmosphere.

2.) Monjayaki
Monjayaki is offered by a number of restaurants in downtown Tokyo, particularly in the Tsukishima area--so famous for the dish it's also known as "Monja Street." Monjayaki seems a little like okonomiyaki's weird cousin--both are made with a batter and cooked on a griddle, but monjayaki has a much more liquid consistency. Part of the fun of monjayaki is that diners can make it themselves on griddle-equipped tables--its both delicious and entertaining!

3.) Ramen
Ramen is another famous Japanese dish--ramen. For the many ramen shops jostling up against each other here, Tokyo is a "battleground." Ramen is seen by many as a famous specialty of Japan's capital, where all the different types of ramen from across Japan are concentrated. As such, for many, Tokyo represents the cutting edge of ramen.

4.) Tempura (Battered and Deep-Fried Seafood and Vegetables)
A local specialty of Tokyo, which, alongside sushi, is also an iconic Japanese food, tempura came in at #4. Tempura fans will note that the frying technique in Tokyo is at an expert level--crisp and delicious, but never greasy nor soggy.

5.) Unaju (Freshwater Eel over Rice)
In 5th place is "unaju," in which basted and broiled freshwater eel is served over rice in a fancy lacquer box. Freshwater eel is considered as a food that boosts stamina in Japan and unaju is often eaten as a luxury item served at receptions.

6.) Tendon (Tempura Rice Bowl)
which is tempura placed on top of rice--a common dish in Japan. However, in Tokyo, tendon is typically eaten with a strongly flavored black sauce which sets it apart from the others. The sweet and spicy flavoring is superb.

7.) Soba (Buckwheat Noodles)
Tokyo's soba noodles, which came in 7th place, are also known for the strongly flavored broth that eastern Japan is famous for. The supposedly "hip" way for Tokyo natives to enjoy soba is to dip just the tips of the noodles into the broth, and then to savor the texture and flavor by "drinking" the noodles without chewing them too much.

8.) Yakitori (Broiled Chicken Skewers)
Coming in at #8 is yakitori, which is beloved by many Japanese salarymen on their business trips to Tokyo. This is chiefly because there are a lot of restaurants to be found in Tokyo with an a great atmosphere for enjoying yakitori with drinks after a long, hard day of work.

9.) Dojo Nabe / Yanagawa Nabe (Loach Hotpot)
In 9th place is "dojo nabe", which uses loach, or "dojo", an ingredient that rivals freshwater eel as a stamina-boosting food. Particularly popular is an even more local version called "Yanagawa nabe," which features beaten egg and is hard to find outside of Tokyo.

10.) Unagi no Kabayaki (Basted and Broiled Freshwater Eel)
Number 10 is "unagi no kabayaki," in which freshwater eel is deboned and butterflied before being basted in a sweet soy sauce-based concoction and broiled over a grill. In Tokyo and eastern Japan, eel is put through a "steaming" process before it is cooked. For that reason, many give kabayaki high marks for its tasty succulence.

Weather & geography in Tokyo, Japan:
Tokyo, on the main Honshu island, has a humid subtropical climate characterised by warm and wet summers and mild winters. January is usually the coldest month with temperatures averaging 5°C (41°F) while August is the hottest month with an average high reaching 31°C (88°F).

Per day Cost in Tokyo, Japan:
You should plan to spend around ¥15,007 ($136) per day on your vacation in Japan, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors. Past travelers have spent, on average, ¥3,489 ($32) on meals for one day and ¥2,285 ($21) on local transportation. Also, the average hotel price in Japan for a couple is ¥14,201 ($129). So, a trip to Japan for two people for one week costs on average ¥210,099 ($1,908). All of these average travel prices have been collected from other travelers to help you plan your own travel budget.

History of Tokyo, Japan:

The history of the city of Tokyo stretches back some 400 years. Originally named Edo, the city started to flourish after Tokugawa Ieyasu established the Tokugawa Shogunate here in 1603. As the center of politics and culture in Japan, Edo grew into a huge city with a population of over a million by the mid-eighteenth century. Throughout this time, the Emperor resided in Kyoto, which was the formal capital of the nation. The Edo Period lasted for nearly 260 years until the Meiji Restoration in 1868, when the Tokugawa Shogunate ended and imperial rule was restored. The Emperor moved to Edo, which was renamed Tokyo. Thus, Tokyo became the capital of Japan.

During the Meiji era (1868-1912), Japan began its avid assimilation of Western civilization. Buildings made of stone and bricks were built on the sites of the mansions of feudal lords, and the major roads were paved with round stones. In 1869 Japan’s first telecommunications line was opened between Tokyo and Yokohama, and the first steam locomotive started running in 1872 from Shimbashi to Yokohama. Western hairstyles replaced the traditional topknot worn by men, and bowler hats, high collars, and bustled skirts were the height of fashion. In 1882 Japan’s first zoological gardens were opened in Ueno. In 1885 the cabinet system of government was adopted and Ito Hirobumi became Japan’s first prime minister. With the promulgation of the Constitution of the Empire of Japan in 1889 Japan established the political system of a modern state.

During the Taisho era (1912-1926), the number of people working in cities increased, and a growing proportion of citizens began to lead consumer lifestyles. Educational standards improved, and the number of girls going on to study at higher schools increased. Performing arts such as theater and opera thrived.

In September 1923 Tokyo was devastated by the Great Kanto Earthquake. The fires caused by the earthquake burned the city center to the ground. Over 140,000 people were reported dead or missing, and 300,000 houses were destroyed. After the earthquake a city reconstruction plan was formulated, but because the projected costs exceeded the national budget only a small part of it was realized.

Beginning shortly after the Great Kanto Earthquake, the Showa era (1926-1989) started in a mood of gloom. Even so, Japan’s first subway line was opened between Asakusa and Ueno in 1927, and in 1928 the 16th general elections for the House of Representatives of the Diet were held for the first time following the enactment of universal male suffrage. In 1931 Tokyo Airport was completed at Haneda, and in 1941 the Port of Tokyo was opened. By 1935 the resident population of Tokyo had grown to 6.36 million, comparable to the populations of New York and London.

However, the Pacific War, which broke out in 1941, had a great impact on Tokyo. The dual administrative system of Tokyo-fu (prefecture) and Tokyo-shi (city) was abolished for war-time efficiency, and the prefecture and city were merged to form the Metropolis of Tokyo in 1943. The metropolitan administrative system was thus established and a governor was appointed. In the final phase of the war, Tokyo was bombed 102 times. The heaviest air raid was on March 10, 1945, in which there was great loss of life and material damage. The war came to an end on September 2, 1945, when the Japanese government and military representatives signed the Instrument of Surrender. Much of Tokyo had been laid waste by the bombings and by October 1945 the population had fallen to 3.49 million, half its level in 1940.

In May 1947 the new Constitution of Japan and the Local Autonomy Law took effect, and Seiichiro Yasui was elected the first Governor of Tokyo by popular vote under the new system. In August of that year, the present23 special-wardsystem began in Tokyo Metropolis.

The 1950s were a time of gradual recovery for the nation. Television broadcasting began in 1953, and Japan joined the United Nations in 1956. Economic recovery was aided in particular by the special procurement boom arising from the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950. This led to Japan’s entry into a period of rapid economic growth in the 1960s. Due to technological innovations and the introduction of new industries and technologies, this period saw the beginning of mass production of synthetic fibers and household electric appliances such as televisions, refrigerators, and washing machines. As a result, the everyday lives of the residents of Tokyo underwent considerable transformation. In 1962 the population of Tokyo broke the 10 million mark. In 1964 the Olympic Games were held in Tokyo, the Shinkansen (“Bullet Train”) line began operations, and the Metropolitan Expressway was opened, forming the foundation for Tokyo’s current prosperity.

Entering the 1970s, the strain of rapid economic growth became apparent as the country was beset by environmental issues such as pollution of the air and rivers, as well as high levels of noise. The Oil Crisis of 1973 brought the many years of rapid economic growth to a halt.

In the 1980s, Tokyo took large steps in economic growth as a result of its increasingly global economic activity and the emergence of the information society. Tokyo became one of the world’s most active major cities, boasting attractions such as cutting-edge technology, information, culture, and fashion, as well as a high level of public safety. From 1986 onwards, land and stock prices spiraled upwards, a phenomenon known as the “bubble economy.”

Japan enjoyed tremendous growth under the bubble economy, but with the burst of the bubble at the beginning of the 1990s, sinking tax revenues caused by the protracted economic slump led to a critical state in metropolitan finances. Tokyo was, however, able to overcome this financial crisis through two successive fiscal reconstruction programs. The population also started returning to Tokyo, and in 1997, in-migration exceeded out-migration for the first time in 12 years. In 2001, Tokyo’s population reached 12 million, and surpassed 13 million in 2010.

In March 2011 the Great East Japan Earthquake struck the Tohoku region, and Tokyo was also seriously affected. Using the experiences gained from this disaster, Tokyo is devoting efforts to further strengthening its crisis management system.

In September 2013, Tokyo was selected to host its second Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020. To make the 2020 Games the best ever and leave valuable legacies for the future, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is working to advance both tangible and intangible initiatives including infrastructure upgrades, measures for the environment, and the promotion of culture.

Tokyo’s population is projected to start declining once it reaches its peak in 2020. Also taking into consideration changes to the structure of society such as the graying of the population, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is pushing toward its goal of becoming the world’s best city where a balance between economic affluence and the quality of life is achieved and anyone can fully enjoy life.

Language in Tokyo, Japan:
The most widely spoken language in Japan is Japanese, which is separated into several dialects with Tokyo dialect considered standard Japanese.

Culture of Tokyo, Japan:

Tokyo is the cultural center of Japan . Having originated from the ethnic Jomon culture and then mixed with subsequent influences from first Chinese and Korean, then Greek and Indian, and finally from European and American influences, Japan developed its own unique culture.

Tokyo's unique culture is reflected in its traditional arts – ikebana (flower arranging), origami (making objects by folding paper), and ukiyo-e (woodblock printing); crafts – dolls, lacquer ware, and pottery; performances – kabuki (complex dramas performed in elaborate costumes), noh (restrained and highly stylized drama), bunraku (puppet theater), kyogen (short satirical plays), and kamishibai (storytelling with animation, sound, and music); and traditions – games, onsen (hot springs used as public bathing places), and tea ceremony.

The large number of festivals, rituals, observances and celebrations in Tokyo are also all part of Japanese culture. Starting from the traditional New Year visits to shrines, the Tokyo calendar is full of various festivals and observances, the matsuris (religious festivals) with their mikoshis (portable shrines), and the cherry blossom viewing in the month of April being the most popular.

Although the Japanese may seem aloof and shy by western standards, the real reason for their behavior is that they are brought up to think of themselves as a separate group. Anything non-Japanese is thus not readily accepted. To a westerner this may seem odd, but Japanese culture is different and unique and has its own ways.

It is, therefore, important for a visitor of Tokyo to know some traditions that are ingrained in the culture of the city - bowing is the Japanese version of a handshake, and failing to return a bow is considered impolite; counting of change after a purchase is considered rude; shoes are generally not worn in homes, temples, and various other places; and bringing a gift when invited. Knowing and following cultural traditions of the city makes it easier for a visitor to be accepted by the people of Tokyo.

Place to visit in Tokyo, Japan:
1.) The Imperial Palace
2.) Ginza District
3.) Sensō-ji Temple
4.) National Museum of Nature and Science
5.) Ueno Park and Ueno Zoo
6.) Tokyo National Museum
7.) National Museum of Western Art
8.) Meiji Shrine
9.) Miraikan and Edo-Tokyo Museums
10.) Tokyo Skytree
11.) National Art Center
12.) Kabuki-za Theatre, Ginza

How to reach in Tokyo, Japan:

By using this ways you can reach Tokyo, Japan

1.) How to Reaching Tokyo by Plane:
Direct flights to Narita and Haneda are the most common ways to access the country. Once you arrive, you can jump on an express train or Limousine bus that will transport you into the heart of the city. Please check these pages on Narita Airport and Haneda Airport for more information.

Alternatively, you can fly into Kansai International Airport (KIX) or Chubu Centrair International Airport, Nagoya from abroad. These airports are great access points for exploring areas such as Kyoto, Osaka, Ise, and Takayama, before visiting the capital. You can easily take a domestic flight to Tokyo from these two airports, as well as a host of other local airports that are dotted around the country. An increasing number of budget airlines offer fares at very wallet-friendly prices.

2.) How to Reaching Tokyo by Train:
The shinkansen (bullet train) is another option for accessing Tokyo from other cities around the country. From Kagoshima in the southern island of Kyushu to Hakodate in the northern island of Hokkaido, a network of sleek and speedy express trains criss-cross the country providing you with a quick and easy travel option to Tokyo.

Travel Guide for Tokyo, Japan: Food, Cost, Weather & geography, History, language, culture, things to see and do and how to reach. – Published by The Beyond News (Travelling).