December 6–9, 2011
The University of Tokyo
Tokyo, Japan

The City

Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family. The Tokyo Metropolitan government administers the twenty-three special wards of Tokyo (each governed as a city), which cover the area that was the city of Tokyo, as well as 39 municipalities in the western part of the prefecture and the two outlying island chains. As of October 1, 2009, the population of the special wards is over 8.8 million, and the total population of the prefecture is estimated to be 13 million (about 10% of Japan's total population). It has the largest population among all the 47 prefectures. Commercial and business facilities are heavily concentrated in the special ward area. This part of Tokyo has a very well-developed public transportation network, which makes for convenient transit and shopping within the area.

The history of the city of Tokyo stretches back some 400 years. Originally named Edo, the city started to flourish after Tokugawa Ieyasu established the Tokugawa Shogunate here in 1603. As the center of politics and culture in Japan, Edo grew into a huge city with a population of over a million by the mid-eighteenth century. Throughout this time, the Emperor resided in Kyoto, which was the formal capital of the nation. The Edo Period lasted for nearly 260 years until the Meiji Restoration in 1868, when the Tokugawa Shogunate ended and imperial rule was restored. The Emperor moved to Edo, which was renamed Tokyo. Thus, Tokyo became the capital of Japan.

Source: Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and Wikipedia

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Starting from the left, Skyscrapers (Photo by Morio from Wikipedia), Rainbow Bridge (Photo by Cors from Wikipedia), Tokyo Tower, and Tokyo Sky Tree (Photo by from Wikipedia).

Weather and Climate

Current weather for Tokyo is available from

December monthly averages for Tokyo:

Record high 14.7 C (58.5 F)
Average high 12.4 C (54.3 F)
Average low 5.1 C (41.2 F)
Record low -2.8 C (27 F)
Average precipitation 51.0 mm (2.008 in)