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Facts about Tokyo – 25 things you probably didn’t know

Facts about Tokyo – 25 things you probably didn’t know

Want to know more about Tokyo? It’s the largest city in Japan as well as the capital. Here are 25 Interesting facts about Tokyo that you probably didn’t know before reading this. 

Tokyo is known for being a lively and futuristic metropolis. It features a unique mix of the old and modern that blends perfectly. Over 14 million foreigners visit Tokyo each year. 

In this article, you will learn more about Tokyo and see what the city has to offer as well as get to know why it’s so special. 

Interesting facts about Tokyo

It’s the largest city in the world

With more than 38 million people living in Greater Tokyo, it’s the most populated urban area in the world. There’s no shortage of people here, and it’s also one of the cities with the highest density worldwide. 

Despite that, Tokyo is very organized, and in some areas, you’ll even walk around on your own from time to time.

There is one vending machine per 23 citizens

Vending machines are everywhere in Japan, and Tokyo is not an exception. Estimations have been made that you will never have to walk more than 12 meters on average to find a vending machine in Tokyo. In fact, there is one vending machine per every 23 people living in the city. 

Vending Machines in Tokyo

Vending Machines in Tokyo – Photo: Tupungato /

It is one of the safest cities worldwide

Crime-rate is very low and most crimes in larger cities around the world, are almost unheard of here. It’s so safe in Tokyo that the locals fall asleep on the trains, with their new iPhone visible to everyone.

If you lose your wallet, it’s very likely that it will be turned in to the nearest convenience store, and they will do their very best to contact the owner. In many cases, it will also be left alone for hours at the place where it was dropped unless it was turned in.

Tokyo has the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants

In the latest edition of the renowned Michelin Guide, a total of 223 restaurants in the city was awarded at least 1 Michelin star. For food lovers, this is perhaps one of the most interesting facts about Tokyo. 

Michelin star restaurant in Tokyo

Cooked Oysters with Soba Noodles at a Michelin Star restaurant

The city was originally named Edo

Today, it’s very hard to imagine that Tokyo started out as a small fishing village, named Edo. That village was founded in 1603 and later became the seat of the Tokugawa shogunate.

After that, its number of inhabitants grew quickly, and during the 18th century, more than 1 million people were living in Edo. In 1868, the city was officially renamed to Tokyo, which literally means “Eastern Capital” if translated into English. 

Tokyo Skytree is one of the world’s tallest buildings

Tokyo Skytree has a height of 634 meters, which makes it one of the tallest buildings in the world. It’s located in Sumida and features various department stores as well as an observation center. It’s also the tallest building in Japan. 

Tokyo Skytree at dusk

Foreigners can enjoy tax-free shopping

Purchases that have a total amount of 5000 yen or more are qualified for a tax refund. Foreigners who want to enjoy tax-free shopping need to present their passport when making the purchase.

Shibuya Crossing is the world’s busiest intersection

About 2,500 people cross the intersection on average every time the light turns green at Shibuya Crossing.  

More reading: 25 Things to do in Shibuya

shibuya crossing

It’s one of the world’s major fashion capitals 

Tokyo has become known worldwide for its unique style and fashion. And Harajuku is the city’s epicenter of youth culture and street fashion. Rakuten Fashion Week is one of the major events for designers and people in the fashion industry.

You can see Mount Fuji from Tokyo on a clear day

Mount Fuji is one of the major icons of Japan, and if you’re lucky to visit Tokyo on a clear day, you can see Mount Fuji from several places in the city. The Metropolitan Government building is one of the most popular places to view Mount Fuji from a distance. 

Mount Fuji from Tokyo

Earthquakes strike the city from time to time

Japan is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world, and the area of Tokyo is not an exception. Buildings are built to stand strong against earthquakes, but stronger ones do occur from time to time.

The last great earthquake in Tokyo happened in 1923. The next major earthquake is expected to hit the city before 1950. 

There are five cylindrical shafts underneath the city

To prevent flooding, five underground shafts have been built to divert floodwaters without damaging the city. These will also help in the event of a tsunami

The city was heavily bombed by the allies in WWII

The Allies bombed Tokyo during World War II, and the devastations were similar to those of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Up to 130 000 people were killed in just 48 hours. This happened in 1944. Despite that, Tokyo became the first city in the world to reach 10 million residents in 1962. 

Tokyo in ruins after bombings during WWII

Fun Facts about Tokyo

Tokyo has a robot hotel and robot restaurant

The Henn Na Hotel is operated by robots and in the reception, visitors are greeted by a dinosaur robot. There are actually several hotel branches within the same company. The one in Ginza is certified as the first hotel with working robots, in the world. 

And it doesn’t stop there. In Shinjuku, one can also visit the famous Robot Restaurant, where you can enjoy a robotic show. It’s not so much of a restaurant in the traditional sense, but they do serve bento boxes and snacks during the show.

The metro gets so busy that commuters need to be pushed inside

Tokyo is perhaps the only city in the world where the job of pushing commuters inside the trains exists. In Japanese, they are known as Oshiya, or “Pushers” in English. If you ask me, this is definitely one of the most fascinating facts about Tokyo. 

There are lots of capsule hotels in Tokyo

Capsule hotels have become popular in many cities around the world, but some of the first ones were opened here in Tokyo. It’s a great way for those traveling on a budget, especially if you’re a solo traveler. 

You can go real-life Mario karting in the city

If you’re a fan of Mario Kart, Tokyo is the city to go for a real-life Mario Kart experience. Here, you can drive through busy Shibuya and other parts of the city, dressed up as your favorite character while driving a go-kart. 

Fun things to do in Shibuya

Photo: Jon Chica /

Tokyo has the highest number of neon signs in the world

The best areas to watch neon signs in Tokyo are Shinjuku, specifically in the Kabukicho area. There are also many neon signs in Shibuya, especially around Shibuya crossing. 

There are several sushi-conveyor-belt restaurants

Sushi is one of the main dishes when it comes to Japanese food, and there are lots of sushi restaurants in Tokyo. The sushi conveyor belt restaurants is a cool experience where you get the sushi delivered on a conveyor belt. 

My personal favorite is called Uobei Genki Sushi, located in Shibuya, with offers from 108 Japanese yen for two pieces. 

Uobei Sushi

Tokyo has its own Disneyland theme park

Tokyo Disneyland was actually the first Disney theme park outside the United States. Nowadays it’s also one of the most popular parks and more than 20 000 people are working here. What’s even better, Tokyo Disneyland is cheaper than its American counterparts. 

There are lots of themed cafes in Tokyo

Vampire cafes, Alice in Wonderland, Maid cafes, Cat cafes, Totoro cafe, Moomin cafe, PomPomPurin Cafe. You name it and there is a big chance that there is a themed cafe in Tokyo with your favorite things. 

Many of Tokyo’s theme cafes are limited editions and so-called pop-up stores that only exist for a certain period. For example, there have been cafes with Pikachu theme, Pokemon theme, Sailor Moon theme, and many more. Some popular ones have remained as permanent establishments. 


The Moomin House Cafe

Tokyo Facts for kids

There are lots of fun things to do in Tokyo, even for the little ones. Here are some interesting facts about Tokyo for kids. 

  • Tokyo Tower was inspired by the Eiffel Tower.
  • Akihabara is the center for Manga and Anime.
  • Over 30% of all university students in Japan attend school in Tokyo
  • There are lots of cat cafes in Tokyo
  • It’s also home to the Kawaii Monster Cafe

General information about Tokyo

Greater Tokyo Area covers an area of 14 034 km² and is home to over 38 million people. The metropolitan area of Tokyo include cities such as Yokohama, Kawasaki, and Chiba.

These are well-connected with the city proper by public transportation, used by millions of daily commuters. The metro area also has the largest urban economy worldwide with a GRP of $1.8 trillion.

  • Population: 38 million
  • Area: 2 194 km²
  • Country: Japan
  • Region: Kantō
  • Island: Honshu
  • Founded: 1868
  • GDP per capita: ¥7.7 million
  • Name in Kanji: 東京
  • Name in Hiragana: とうきょう
  • Name in Katakana: トウキョウ
  • Meaning of the name in English: Eastern Capital

Cultural facts about Tokyo 

  • There are more than 150 museums in Tokyo
  • Tokyo will be the host of the Olympic Games in 2021.
  • The city has previously hosted the 1964 Summer Olympics
  • There are over 4000 shrines and temples in Tokyo
  • Tokyo Metropolis has 882 interconnected rail stations
  • There are more than 100 universities and colleges
  • Tokyo Marathon is one of the major marathons in the world
  • Asakusa is considered as the cultural and historic center of Tokyo
  • Shinjuku is considered as business and nightlife district
  • Ginza is the shopping district of Tokyo
  • Shibuya is known as the young and fun district
  • Akihabara is the center for manga/anime and electronics
  • Roppongi Hills is known for having the best nightlife in Tokyo

How many of these facts about Tokyo did you know already? Leave a comment below!