Tokyo Skyline (東京) – World’s Largest Population, World’s Largest Economy, & Capital of the Eastern World
Posted by Jae on May 23, 2009
The prefecture of Tokyo is the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, the world’s most populous metropolitan area with 35 million people (more than 3 times the population of Chicagoland, almost twice the population of the New York City metropolitan area, and a larger population than the entire country of Canada!) and the world’s largest metropolitan economy with a GDP of US$1.191 trillion! Tokyo is one of the three world financial “command centers”, along with New York City and London. As of 2008, 47 of the companies listed on the Global 500 are present in Tokyo (only behind New York City), almost twice that of the third-placed city (Paris.) Tokyo is a major international finance center, houses the headquarters of several of the world’s largest investment banks and insurance companies, and serves as a hub for Japan’s transportation, publishing, and broadcasting industries. The Tokyo Stock Exchange is Japan’s largest stock exchange, and second largest in the world by market capitalization.
Tokyo, as the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, has the world’s most extensive mass transit system in the world. Public transportation within Tokyo is dominated by an extensive network of clean and efficient trains and subways run by a variety of operators, with buses, monorails and trams playing a secondary feeder role. Within Ōta, one of the 23 special wards, Tokyo International Airport (“Haneda”) offers mainly domestic flights. Outside Tokyo, Narita International Airport, in Chiba Prefecture, is the major gateway for international travelers. Rail is the primary mode of transportation in Tokyo, which has the most extensive urban railway network in the world and an equally extensive network of surface lines.
Cuisine in Tokyo is internationally acclaimed. In November 2007, Michelin released their guide for fine dining in Tokyo, garnering 191 stars in total, or about twice as many as its nearest competitor, Paris. Eight establishments were awarded the maximum of three stars (Paris has 10), 25 received two stars, and 117 earned one star. Of the eight top-rated restaurants, three offer traditional Japanese fine dining, two are sushi houses and three serve French cuisine.
Sports in Tokyo are diverse. Tokyo is home to two professional baseball clubs, the Yomiuri Giants (Tokyo Dome) and Yakult Swallows (Meiji-Jingu Stadium) . The Japan Sumo Association is also headquartered in Tokyo at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan sumo arena where three official sumo tournaments are held annually (in January, May, and September). Football (soccer) clubs in Tokyo include F.C. Tokyo and Tokyo Verdy, both of which play at Ajinomoto Stadium in Chōfu. Tokyo hosted the 1964 Summer Olympics and is bidding for the 2016 Summer Olympics. With a number of world-class sports venues, Tokyo often hosts national and international sporting events such as tennis tournaments, swim meets, marathons, American football exhibition games, and martial arts. Annually on the last Saturday of July, an enormous fireworks display over the Sumida River attracts over a million viewers. Overall, Tokyo was ranked as the 4th greatest city on earth (in my opinion it should be number 2– no I am not Japanese)!
Tokyo‘s skyline has a number of unique characteristics (2643 completed high-rise buildings) that set it apart from other big city skylines, among them 18 structures at over 200 m tall (including the Tokyo Tower which changes colors every night.) But because of the density and vast size of the city, every corner appears to have its own skyline. With the height restrictions and the required red lights that flash atop all mid to tall sized buildings, they make the city look spectacular at night. Tokyo is filled with neon lighting and unique, contemporary architecture, and like New York City, is also often portrayed in movies for its aesthetic and eye-catching cityscape.
The tallest structure in Tokyo is the Tokyo Tower, a lattice tower that rises 333 m in Minato and was completed in 1958. It also stands as the tallest structure in Japan and the tallest free-standing steel structure in the world. The tallest skyscraper in Tokyo is the 248 m Midtown Tower, which was recently completed in 2007. Tokyo is a fine example of “nature meets technology” with Mt. Fuji in the background of one of the most technologically advanced cities on earth like Seoul and Singapore. My 2nd most impressive city overall is home to my 6th favorite skyline (darn plate tectonics causing a “natural” height restriction.)