Tokyo Metropolitan Prefecture

Tokyo Metropolitan Prefecture

Out of Japan’s 47 prefectures, only Tokyo has been designated a metropolis prefecture. It’s official English name is Tokyo Metropolis.

Tokyo is often referred to as a city, but it is governed as a metropolitan prefecture and includes several cities. Legally and administratively, this metropolitan prefecture combines elements of a city with that of a prefecture, a characteristic unique to the Tokyo Metropolis.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government administers:

  • The 23 Special Wards of Tokyo, which comprise what used to be known as the City of Tokyo before the Tokyo Metropolis was established in 1943. Each of these 23 special wards is governed as an individual city.
  • 30 municipalities located in the western part of the prefecture.
  • 2 outlying island chains: the Izu Islands and the Ogasawara Islands.

The Greater Tokyo Area is not the same thing as the Tokyo Metropolis. The Tokyo Metropolis is the focal point of the Greater Tokyo Area, but the Greater Tokyo Area also includes the prefecture of Yamanashi in the neighbouring Chūbu region. In Japanese, the Greater Tokyo Area is often referred to as Shuto-ken which means National Capital Region.

The Tokyo Metropolitan prefecture is the financial center of Japan and home to many financial institution and companies. It is home to SESC (Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission) as well as other regulating bodies.  The SESC regulates trade in a wide variety of financial instruments ranging from common stock to exotic binary options.

Short facts about Tokyo Metropolis

Coordinates 35°41′N 139°41′E
Island Honshu
Region Kantō
Divisions 23 special wards

26 cities

1 district

4 subprefectures

ISO 3166-2 code JP-13
Official tree Ginkgo biloba
Official flower Somei-Yoshino cherry blossom
Official bird Black-headed gull

The 23 special wards of Tokyo

Tokyo Metropolitan PrefectureThe 23 special wards of Tokyo make up the core of Tokyo, occupying land that used to be known as Tokyo City until 1943 when the Tokyo Metropolis was established. In Japanese, they are commonly referred to as nijūsan-ku, which simply means “the wards”, although the official term for special ward is tokubetsu ku. In English, the 23 wards refer to themselves as cities, e.g. Chiyoda City, Shibuya City, Minato City, and so on.

This structure, with special wards, was created under Japanese Local Autonomy Law and is unique to the Tokyo Metropolis. There is no special government body that governs the 23 wards only; they are governed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government just like all the other parts of the metropolis.

List of the 23 special wards

No.

Kanji

Name

Population
(October 

2016)

Density
(/km2)

Area
(km2)

Major districts

01 千代田区 Chiyoda 59,441 5,100 11.66 Nagatachō, Kasumigaseki, Ōtemachi, Marunouchi, Akihabara, Yūrakuchō, Iidabashi, Kanda
02 中央区 Chūō 147,620 14,460 10.21 Nihonbashi, Kayabachō, Ginza, Tsukiji, Hatchōbori, Shinkawa, Tsukishima, Kachidoki, Tsukuda
03 港区 Minato 248,071 12,180 20.37 Odaiba, Shinbashi, Hamamatsuchō, Mita, Roppongi, Toranomon, Aoyama, Azabu
04 新宿区 Shinjuku 339,211 18,620 18.22 Shinjuku, Takadanobaba, Ōkubo, Kagurazaka, Ichigaya, Yotsuya
05 文京区 Bunkyō 223,389 19,790 11.29 Hongō, Yayoi, Hakusan
06 台東区 Taitō 200,486 19,830 10.11 Ueno, Asakusa
07 墨田区 Sumida 260,358 18,910 13.77 Kinshichō, Morishita, Ryōgoku
08 江東区 Kōtō 502,579 12,510 40.16 Kiba, Ariake, Kameido, Tōyōchō, Monzennakachō, Fukagawa, Kiyosumi, Shirakawa, Etchūjima, Sunamachi, Aomi
09 品川区 Shinagawa 392,492 17,180 22.84 Shinagawa, Gotanda, Ōsaki, Hatanodai, Ōimachi, Tennōzu
10 目黒区 Meguro 280,283 19,110 14.67 Meguro, Nakameguro, Jiyugaoka, Komaba, Aobadai
11 大田区 Ōta 722,608 11,910 60.66 Ōmori, Kamata, Haneda, Den-en-chōfu
12 世田谷区 Setagaya 910,868 15,690 58.05 Setagaya, Shimokitazawa, Kinuta, Karasuyama, Tamagawa
13 渋谷区 Shibuya 227,850 15,080 15.11 Shibuya, Ebisu, Harajuku, Daikanyama, Hiroo, Sendagaya, Yoyogi
14 中野区 Nakano 332,902 21,350 15.59 Nakano
15 杉並区 Suginami 570,483 16,750 34.06 Kōenji, Asagaya, Ogikubo
16 豊島区 Toshima 294,673 22,650 13.01 Ikebukuro, Komagome, Senkawa, Sugamo
17 北区 Kita 345,063 16,740 20.61 Akabane, Ōji, Tabata
18 荒川区 Arakawa 213,648 21,030 10.16 Arakawa, Machiya, Nippori, Minamisenju
19 板橋区 Itabashi 569,225 17,670 32.22 Itabashi, Takashimadaira
20 練馬区 Nerima 726,748 15,120 48.08 Nerima, Ōizumi, Hikarigaoka
21 足立区 Adachi 674,067 12,660 53.25 Ayase, Kitasenju, Takenotsuka
22 葛飾区 Katsushika 447,140 12,850 34.80 Tateishi, Aoto, Kameari, Shibamata
23 江戸川区 Edogawa 685,899 13,750 49.90 Kasai, Koiwa