Situated around the natural harbour of Tokyo Bay, allowing large ports and considerable trade across the Pacific Ocean, it might have been anticipated from its early history that Tokyo would one day be the capital city of Japan. What might have been harder to predict is that Tokyo would one day be the largest metropolitan area in the world, with more than 35 million inhabitants packed cheek by jowl into its 13,500 square kilometres. It might also have been hard to foresee that at the beginning of the third millenium Tokyo would not only host the world’s largest urban economy but also provide a home to more Fortune Global 500 companies than any other city.
As you’d expect from a city that can only be accurately described as a megalopolis, a city from which the snow capped peaks of Mount Fuji are clearly visible, a city where Sumo Wrestling vies with Baseball for the status of most popular sport, a city that has given birth to the gymnastic Japanese idol group Momoiro Clover Z as well as the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, in Tokyo almost anything is possible.
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Officially made of 23 Special Wards, each of which is governed like an individual city, Tokyo combats the negative aspects of a high population density - small living spaces, a high cost of living and congestion - with excellent planning and infrastructure. Public transport is integrated, efficient and clean while 36% of the metro area is given over to natural parks.
Western expats make up a very small proportion of the population - Chinese, Korean and Filipino immigrants are much more common - but for those willing to overcome the cultural and linguistic barriers, moving to Tokyo can open the door to a whole new world of experiences.