Focus on a city : Tokyo - Japan
Who has never dreamed of visiting Tokyo ? With this article, you'll be able to enjoy your trip over there at its best.
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Tokyo is the capital of Japan, a dynamic and fascinating megalopolis on the island of Honshu. With an area of around 2,194 square kilometers and a population of over 13 million, Tokyo is one of the world's largest cities.
The city is made up of 23 special districts, each with its own unique character and attractions. From the hustle and bustle of Shibuya with its famous crossroads, to the tranquility of the Imperial Garden and the electric district of Akihabara, Tokyo offers great cultural diversity and architectural richness.
Geopolitically, Tokyo is the economic, political and cultural center of Japan, as well as a regional power in Asia. It is home to the Japanese government, numerous international companies and world-renowned financial institutions. The city plays an essential role in international diplomacy and is a driver of technological innovation.
Tokyo is also known for its exceptional cuisine, from Michelin-starred restaurants to street stalls serving local dishes such as sushi, ramen and takoyaki. Traditional Japanese culture coexists harmoniously with the city's modernity, illustrated by thousand-year-old temples and ultramodern skyscrapers.
Finally, Tokyo is famous for its ultra-efficient public transport network, including the metro, which is one of the densest and most punctual in the world. This makes it easy to get around this sprawling metropolis, allowing visitors to discover the richness of Tokyo's culture, history and urban life.
Tokyo's history dates back over 2,000 years. Originally, the area was inhabited by Japan's first indigenous populations, the Jomon, who settled around what is now Tokyo Bay. However, the city of Tokyo as we know it today has undergone many changes over the centuries.
Premodern Tokyo (until the 17th century): The Tokyo region was a fishing and trading area from the earliest centuries AD. It was influenced by Chinese and Korean cultures. In the 12th century, Edo Castle was built by local feudal lords, marking the beginning of the city of Edo, Tokyo's former name. Edo became the capital of the Tokugawa shogunate in the 17th century.
Meiji era (1868-1912): In 1868, Emperor Meiji transferred the imperial capital from Edo to Tokyo, meaning "capital of the East". This period was marked by rapid modernization, opening up to international trade, the adoption of political and social reforms, and the transformation of Edo into a modern capital.
The Showa era (1926-1989): Tokyo experienced spectacular growth during this period. However, it was also the scene of the Second World War and the major destruction that followed. After the war, Tokyo was the center of Japan's reconstruction, rapidly becoming a global economic and cultural metropolis.
Heisei era (1989-2019) and Reiwa era (since 2019): Tokyo remained the economic, political and cultural heart of Japan throughout these periods. It hosted the Summer Olympics in 1964 and again in 2021 (postponed by one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic), reinforcing its place in the world.
Today, Tokyo continues to be an ever-evolving metropolis, with cutting-edge technology, vibrant popular culture, a rich history and a powerful economy. It remains an example of the successful fusion of tradition and modernity, and continues to influence Japanese and international life in significant ways.
Tokyo is full of fascinating places to discover as a tourist. Here are 10 must-see places to visit in this dynamic metropolis:
Shibuya Crossing is one of the world's most famous pedestrian crossroads, and offers a unique experience. Explore the district itself, with its stores, cafés and nightclubs.
Tokyo's oldest Buddhist temple, located in the Asakusa district. Admire the magnificent Kaminarimon Gate and discover traditional Japanese culture.
Tokyo Imperial Palace
Visit the magnificent gardens of the Imperial Palace, in the heart of the city, and discover the history of Japan's imperial family.
Renowned for its luxury boutiques, Ginza is also an entertainment hub with theaters, restaurants and art galleries.
This huge park is home to numerous museums, including the Tokyo National Museum, as well as temples, ponds and even a zoo.
If you're a fan of Studio Ghibli's animated films, don't miss this museum dedicated to the work of director Hayao Miyazaki.
The electric district of Akihabara is a paradise for fans of technology, video games and manga. You'll also find many themed cafés.
Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea
These theme parks are a top destination for families and Disney fans.
This man-made island offers spectacular views of Tokyo Bay, as well as shopping malls, museums and futuristic attractions.
The center of eccentric fashion and Japanese pop culture. Stroll along Takeshita Street to discover the trends of Tokyo's youth.
Of course, there's much more to Tokyo than these 10 places, but they're a great starting point for exploring this incredibly diverse and fascinating city.
Celebrities linked to Tokyo
Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998)
A world-renowned director, Kurosawa is famous for such iconic films as "Rashomon," "The Seven Samurai" and "Ran." He has greatly influenced world cinema and is considered one of the greatest directors of all time.
Hayao Miyazaki (born 1941)
Director and founder of Studio Ghibli, Miyazaki is acclaimed for his animated films, including "My Neighbor Totoro," "Chihiro's Journey" and "Princess Mononoke." His work has captivated generations of viewers around the world.
Hidetaka Miyazaki (born 1974)
He is a renowned video game creator, best known for the "Dark Souls" and "Bloodborne" series. He is renowned for his innovative approach to role-playing, characterized by high difficulty and immersive storytelling.
Yoko Ono (born 1933)
A conceptual artist and musician, Ono was a major figure in the contemporary art movement Fluxus. She is also famous for her peace work and her relationship with Beatles member John Lennon.
Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927)
A renowned Japanese writer, Akutagawa is best known for his short stories and novellas, including "Rashomon", which inspired Kurosawa's film of the same name. He left an indelible mark on 20th-century Japanese literature.
These Tokyo-born personalities have left their mark on the worlds of art, film, literature and video games, leaving a lasting legacy in their respective fields.
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