Tokyo is one of the world’s biggest and most crowded cities

November 27, 2012 8:29 am

It’s one of the world’s biggest and most crowded . So many people ride on its subway trains that the city employs “people pushers.” These white-gloved workers push passengers into crowded subway cars so the doors can close! This is Tokyo, the capital of Japan.
Tokyo is located on the east coast of Honshu, the largest of Japan’s four main islands. The city spreads out on the Kanto Plain, the biggest area of flat land in all Japan. Nearly one of every four people in Japan lives in the Tokyo area. That’s more than 35 million people!
The World’s Largest Cities
City
Country
2003 population*
1
Tokyo
Japan
35,000,000
2
Mexico City
Mexico
18,700,000
3
São Paulo
Brazil
17,900,000
4
New York
United States
18,300,000
5
Mumbai (Bombay)
India
17,400,000
6
Los Angeles
United States
12,000,000
7
Kolkata (Calcutta)
India
13,100,000
8
Shanghai
China
12,800,000
9
Dhaka
Bangladesh
11,600,000
10
Delhi
India
14,100,000
*Population figures are for metropolitan areas.
Source: Population Division of the United Nations.
THE HUB OF JAPAN
Tokyo is Japan’s leading city. The city is filled with factories, large office buildings, banks, restaurants, religious shrines, and shops of all sizes. It is a center for Japanese art and is home to more than 100 colleges and universities. Located at the head of Tokyo Bay, the city is also a major seaport.
Many people move from other parts of Japan to attend college and then work in Tokyo. Most Japanese companies have their headquarters in Tokyo.
At the heart of Tokyo is the Imperial Palace. High walls, a water-filled moat, and a large park surround the palace. This is where the emperor of Japan lives with his family. Japan’s emperors once ruled the country, but today they have little real power.
Located near the palace are the most important government buildings, including the National Diet Building. That’s where Japan’s parliament meets.
GETTING AROUND IN A CROWDED CITY
The streets of Tokyo are packed with cars, streetcars, buses, taxis, motorcycles, and bicycles. All this traffic overwhelms the roads in and around Tokyo. Many of the city’s streets are narrow and crooked. It’s so crowded that Tokyo residents must prove that they have an off-street parking spot in order to own a car!
Most people in Tokyo use mass transportation. Every day, millions of people ride Tokyo’s rail and subway lines. Fast trains, called bullet trains, connect Tokyo with Osaka and other major Japanese cities.
EARTHQUAKES AND FIRE
Tokyo has suffered many devastating earthquakes and fires. The most serious disaster in Tokyo’s modern history was an earthquake and fire in 1923. The disaster killed more than 100,000 people and destroyed much of the city. Today, there are few tall skyscrapers in Tokyo because earthquakes are so common.
TOKYO AFTER WORLD WAR II
During World War II, the downtown area of Tokyo was almost totally destroyed by Allied bombing. American soldiers occupied Tokyo for seven years after the war ended in 1945.
The United States helped Tokyo rebuild, but the greatest improvements happened after American forces left in 1952. In 1964, Tokyo hosted the Summer Olympics. The city built new roads, a monorail, hotels, and athletic facilities in preparation for the event.
TOKYO TODAY
Today, Tokyo is one of the world’s most modern cities. But crowding, a lack of affordable housing, and pollution all are serious problems. The Japanese government has encouraged people to live in Tokyo’s many suburbs—outlying areas of the city.
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