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.
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