The Pulse of Tokyo
In 1890, Japan’s population was over 50 million. In 2014, its population was over 127 million, making Japan as the 11th most populated country in the world. The Greater Tokyo metropolitan area, which is also called Japan’s National Capital Region, has a population of 37.8 million and is the world’s most populated metropolis.
Tokyo, which was called Edo in the 17th century, was the first city in Asia, had a population of over one million. By 1956, its population was 8 million and by the end of 2014, it was over 13.2 million. It is the largest city in Japan with a total land area of 837 sq. miles with 23 different smaller cities known as wards, which are segmented into districts.
The huge crowd, soaring skyscrapers, glaring neons, shops, bars, restaurants, and giant malls will overwhelm your senses! There’s a burst of sensation in this huge urban sprawl!
Tokyo’s mega-town Shinjuku city was badly damaged by WWII bombings but it had risen from the ashes. In the 70’s, it has turned into a bustling city. Though it has little historical significance, it is a provocative challenge to get your way around its high density commercial and entertainment centers.
BICQLO! Two giant Japanese companies offering different products in one store! Uniqlo, Japan’s largest casual clothing brand, is Japan’s answer to GAP and BIC Camera, one of Japan’s largest electronics retail store, is Japan’s answer to Best Buy and Office Depot.
In the late 1940s, the plan to build a Kabuki Theater on this site was shelved but the name remained. For years, Kabuki-cho was filled with pink salons and hostess bars but these were scraped off and changed to eateries and bars.
Roppongi Hills is a lavish, 11-hectare glass and steel commercial complex topped by a 54-storey spaceship- like-tower with upscale shopping and residential units, Mori Art Museum, de luxe Grand Hyatt Hotel, Virgin Cinema, and a 218m above ground observation deck in the heart of Tokyo.
This is one of the streets of Ginza, the most expensive real estate in Japan where one square meter of land costs more than ten million yen or around $83,577.14! Chuo-dori is its major shopping area. Here you can find high-end and old department stores like Mitsukoshi, known as the first “modern-style” department store in Japan founded in 1904 but originally started as a kimono store in 1673, then Matsuzakaya, its oldest mall of Japan which started way back in 1611.
Lit up with red Izakaya lights, Piss Alley is a long narrow alleyway with hole-in-the-wall little eateries, most of which have only two tables, a few chairs and one counter. Though this does not happen these days, the nickname Piss Alley was derived from those men who used to relieve themselves along the alleyways after several drinks.
Oh my, this is wild! The long 400 yard street packed with young Japanese! Welcome to Harajuku, a district in Shibuya which is known as the youth magnet, the center of Japanese youth culture and fashion. Incredible! You can find kids dressed in casual, funky or eccentric style here.
During the Edo period, Harajuku was a post station on the Kamakura Kaido road and in the the Meiji period, it connected Tokyo with its surrounding area. Now, it is the epicenter of Japan’s teenage culture! It covers Yoyogi Park, Meiji Shrine, Laforet Dept. Store, and Takeshita St. lined by cute shops that magnet teenagers for a taste of sub-cultural kitsch.