At its inception, Tokyo was called “Edo” and was a little village reliant on fishing for its livelihood. By the 18th century Tokyo grew to over one million people in what is referred to as the “Edo Period.” This growth had much to do with the shogun, Tokugawa leyasu, who in 1603 made this region the center of Japan’s military operations. Today Tokyo is considered the capital of the country with the seat of the government and Emperor located there.
In 1869, Emperor Meji, then 17 years of age, moved to what eventually became known as Tokyo. He took up residence at the Edo Castle converting it to the Imperial Palace that remains there to this day. The palace is a large park-like area that houses executive offices, a museum and archives. At the height of the real estate market, circa 1980, this property was said by some to be valued at more than that of all real estate in California.
Trains became the main transportation source for the city and remain a major method of commuting in the city. Early Tokyo was on the receiving end of two major upheavals. The first was the earthquake of 1923 and the second was World War II. The Great Kanto earthquake left 140,000 missing or dead. The war accounted for up to another 200,000 deaths.
Following WWII, Tokyo was rebuilt in its entirety. Structures such as the “Sunshine 60” skyscraper were constructed, which at the time was the tallest building in Asia. Its observation deck is now a favorite tourist attraction offering views in excess of 60 miles. Growth in other areas of the city has increased in recent years as well.