Useful information about Tokyo
General Information about Tokyo
Tokyo is the capital of Japan, with a population of over 13 million people. With a total area of around 2,194 square kilometers, Tokyo is known for being one of the most densely populated metropolitan areas in the world. Some of the main train stations in Tokyo include Tokyo Station and Shinjuku Station, both of which serve as major transportation hubs for the capital. The area around Tokyo Station is known as Marunouchi, a major business district, while the area around Shinjuku Station is a large commercial and entertainment district. Tokyo has an extensive network of trains, subways, and buses, making it quite easy to access any location in the metropolitan area.
Outside of the urban area known as the 23 Special Wards, Tokyo also has several areas of rich nature. These include Okutama Town in western Tokyo, the Ogasawara Islands, and the Izu Islands, all known for their rich natural environments.
One of the most famous products of Tokyo is komatsuna or Japanese mustard spinach. This crop makes up the largest planted area within Tokyo, and is grown in many areas of the metropolis.
Foreign Residents in Tokyo
As of October 2020, the population of foreign residents in Tokyo is 539,342. Some of the areas that have a high foreign resident population include Shinjuku Ward, Adachi Ward, and Koto Ward. On the other hand, there are relatively fewer in Chiyoda Ward, Chuo Ward, and Meguro Ward. Chiyoda Ward is home to the Marunouchi area, a major business district, hence there are not many residents there to begin with.
Among the foreign residents in Tokyo, Chinese nationals are by far the most in number, with a population of 214,848. Next comes Koreans with 88,320 residents, followed by Vietnamese, Filipinos, Nepalese, Taiwanese, Americans, Indians, Burmese, and Thai nationals. While the population for all nationalities is relatively high in Shinjuku Ward, there is a particularly high number of Indian nationals in Koto Ward and Edogawa Ward. This is likely due to the presence of an Indian community in both wards. The same trend can be seen for other areas with enclaves of certain nationalities.
Data source: Tokyo Metropolitan Government "Foreign Resident Population" Table 1 (October 2020)
Popular Residential Areas in Tokyo
One of the most popular residential areas for foreigners in Tokyo is the Ikebukuro area. Bunkyo Ward, which covers part of the Ikebukuro area, is known for having one of the lowest crime rates in Tokyo. This likely makes it attractive for foreigners living alone who want a safe and secure place to live in. The neighboring Itabashi Ward has sprawling residential districts, and has easy access to Ikebukuro Station, making it a suitable area for those who prefer convenience. Ikebukuro is a major station that serves the JR Yamanote Line, Marunouchi Subway Line, and many other railways that connect to other major urban centers in the metropolis.
It goes without saying that Shinjuku Ward, the Special Ward with the highest number of foreign residents, is also a popular residential area. It is home to Shinjuku Station which serves more than 10 different train and subway lines and offers convenient access to other parts of Tokyo. Shinjuku Station also features many department stores such Odakyu and Keio, making it a convenient area for shopping.
Transportation in Tokyo
Tokyo acts as the central transportation hub of Japan, with an extensive network of public transport interconnecting every part of the capital and the neighboring prefectures. Some of the major railway operators include JR East, Odakyu, Keio, and Tokyu, while subways are operated by Tokyo Metro and the Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation (Toei). The most famous line operated by JR East is the Yamanote Line, a loop service that connects many major urban centers including Marunouchi and Shinjuku. The private railway companies such as Odakyu, Keio, and Tokyu connect central Tokyo to other regions through terminal stations at Shinjuku or Shibuya. Similarly, the extensive subway network also provides easy access to almost any part of the capital.
Tokyo also has an extensive network of buses that supports the transportation needs of its residents. Besides the government-operated Toei Bus, there are many private operators such as Tokyu Bus, Odakyu Bus, and Keio Bus. Many bus routes pass through major urban centers like Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, and Marunouchi.
Expressways also play an important part in the transportation of Tokyo. Besides major expressways that link Tokyo to other prefectures, there is also the Shuto Expressway, a network of toll expressways that cover the 23 Special Wards and its neighboring areas.
Recommended Tokyo Sightseeing Spots
There are countless tourist attractions all over Tokyo. One of the most famous spots is Tokyo Tower, located in the Roppongi area. Situated in the middle of Minato Ward, this red and white communications and observation tower has an unmistakable beauty that attracts thousands of visitors every year.
Another must-see spot is the Tokyo Station building located in the Marunouchi area. The red brick main façade is a recreation of the station's original design from over 100 years ago, and is a popular photo spot for visitors.
Another prominent Tokyo landmark worth visiting is Tokyo Dome. This stadium is commonly used in Japan as a measure to illustrate the size or area of large spaces, so visiting it will give you a feel for its actual size. There is also an entertainment complex surrounding the main stadium, and you can spend an entire day enjoying the various attractions.
Last but certainly not least, there is the famous Tokyo Skytree, currently the tallest tower in the world. Standing at 634 meters, it has become a prominent symbol of Tokyo. From the tower's Tembo Deck and Tembo Galleria, you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the Tokyo metropolis. The views of the city during sunset are especially popular with visitors.