Tokyo is the capital of Japan and one of the world's largest
cities. Besides being the political center of Japan, Tokyo is also the
financial, cultural, and industrial center of Japan and a major international
financial center. Tokyo is situated on the Pacific Ocean side of central
Honshu, Japan's main island, amidst the Kanto Plain, the largest tract of
low-lying terrain in the country. To the west and north sides of Tokyo are
volcanic mountain ranges, including Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan.
The city center includes the Imperial Palace, which overlooks the traditional
central business district around Tokyo Station. On the south side of the Palace
is the government district, which houses the parliament, or Diet, the Supreme
Court, and the foreign, finance, and other ministries.
The earliest mention of Tokyo is found during the 15th Century,
when "Edo", what is now modern-day Tokyo, is mentioned. In 1590, a powerful
military leader, Tokugawa Ieyasu made Edo his base, and when the nation was
unified, Edo became the capital. Edo remained the capital of the Tokugawa, and
in 1868, the Meiji emperor conquered Edo, and renamed it "Tokyo" or "eastern
capital." The first half of the 20th Century saw rapid modernization in Tokyo,
even though it sustained an earthquake in 1923 estimated to have killed 100,000
people, and the sustained barrage of air raids during World War II. After the
war, a steady stream of construction and renovation projects helped get Tokyo
back on its feet. These efforts were culminated with the 1964 Tokyo Olympic
Games. Today, Tokyo is a world-class city of over 11 million residents and
stands as a leading center for finance, commerce, and culture.