Tokyo enjoys a long history of prosperity as Japan’s capital since 1603, when Tokugawa Ieyasu established his shogunate and named the city Edo. Today, with a population of about 13 million, it has grown into the largest of the 47 prefectures of Japan and indeed one of the greatest metropolises in the world. Comprising 23 special wards, 26 cities, 5 towns, and 8 villages, Tokyo is the center of various activities in Japan including politics, economy, and culture.
Located geographically at roughly the center of the Japanese archipelago and in the southern part of the Kanto region, Tokyo shares borders with Chiba Prefecture to the east, separated by the Edogawa River; Yamanashi to the west, by a mountain range; Kanagawa to the south, by the Tamagawa River; and Saitama to the north. With a total area of 2,187 square kilometers, it is the third smallest administrative division in the country. And yet as compact as it is, the land unfolding from east to west is rich in topographical features, from lowlands of only 4 meters above sea level to scatterings of mountains, hills, and plateaus reaching 2,000 meters high, and extends even to the volcanic Izu Islands and the Ogasawara Islands in the Pacific Ocean.