Tokyo, known as Edo until 1868, is a coastal city with an intricate history. In 1457, Edo Castle was constructed and in 1603 it became the seat of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Under the Tokugawas, the city was constructed in order to profit from the natural waterways that serve as transportation canals. By the early 1700's, the population of Tokyo was already estimated at 1.2 million, while the population of London and Paris was 650,000 and 500,000 respectively. In 1868, with the overthrow of the Tokugawas and the beginning of the Meiji era, Edo became capital of Japan under a new name, Tokyo, which means "Capital of the East" .
Tokyo's main sections lie either on or within the Japan Railways (JR) Yamanote line, a metro system that circles central Tokyo. At the center of this maze is the Imperial Palace, which is west of the exclusive Ginza and the commercial Marunouchi sectors. To the west of the Imperial Palace, you will find Akasaka then south of this area is Roppongi. To the western edge of Tokyo center is the bustling Shinjuku area. Ikebukuro is in the northwest, and the cultural center of the city, Ueno and Asakusa, is northeast of the Imperial Palace.
Population:12,002,369, Metro 31,224,700
Flight times: Honolulu- 8 hrs, Los Angeles- 12 hrs, Chicago- 13.5 hrs, New York- 15.5 hrs
The summers are hot and humid with frequent rain. The winter months are cold, although the temperature seldom drops below freezing.
Average Daily High/Low Temperature:
- Spring: High 62F/16 C, Low 46F/8 C
- Summer: High 81F/27 C, Low 69F/21 C
- Fall: High 70F/22 C, Low 56F/13 C
- Winter: High 48F/9 C, Low 32F/0 C
Tokyo Metro Area is served by two large airports: Narita and Haneda. All international carriers, with the exception of China Airlines, use Narita International Airport (formally known as the New Tokyo International Airport) which is 41 miles/66 km from center city. Most domestic air service goes through Haneda. The two airports are connected by a regular bus servicehttp://www.narita-airport.or.jp/airport_e/ OR http://www2f.biglobe.ne.jp/~masaho/us/indexus.htm
They generally available at all air and train terminals. As with any of the world's largest cities, they are ubiquitous.
NOTE: Unless you drive left side of the road and understand Japanese language and driving habits, try not to drive.
Three (not separating the individual private systems) train/metro systems service Tokyo: Shinkansen ('bullet train'), Japan Railways (JR) trains and private trains. Most of the major train lines terminate at Tokyo station on the JR Yamanote line. There are three shinkansen lines connecting Tokyo with the rest of Japan - check out the shinkansen for more details. For day trips to areas such as Kamakura, Nikko, Hakone and Yokohama, private trains are usually the most convenient means of transportation. Various buses go directly to Nagoya, Nara and Kobe. They generally terminate at Tokyo station. From Shinjuku station there are buses to the Fuji and Hakone regions.