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

Coordinates35°41′N 139°41′E
IslandHonshu
RegionKantō
Divisions23 special wards

26 cities

1 district

4 subprefectures

ISO 3166-2 codeJP-13
Official treeGinkgo biloba
Official flowerSomei-Yoshino cherry blossom
Official birdBlack-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Chiyoda59,4415,10011.66Nagatachō, Kasumigaseki, Ōtemachi, Marunouchi, Akihabara, Yūrakuchō, Iidabashi, Kanda
02中央区Chūō147,62014,46010.21Nihonbashi, Kayabachō, Ginza, Tsukiji, Hatchōbori, Shinkawa, Tsukishima, Kachidoki, Tsukuda
03港区Minato248,07112,18020.37Odaiba, Shinbashi, Hamamatsuchō, Mita, Roppongi, Toranomon, Aoyama, Azabu
04新宿区Shinjuku339,21118,62018.22Shinjuku, Takadanobaba, Ōkubo, Kagurazaka, Ichigaya, Yotsuya
05文京区Bunkyō223,38919,79011.29Hongō, Yayoi, Hakusan
06台東区Taitō200,48619,83010.11Ueno, Asakusa
07墨田区Sumida260,35818,91013.77Kinshichō, Morishita, Ryōgoku
08江東区Kōtō502,57912,51040.16Kiba, Ariake, Kameido, Tōyōchō, Monzennakachō, Fukagawa, Kiyosumi, Shirakawa, Etchūjima, Sunamachi, Aomi
09品川区Shinagawa392,49217,18022.84Shinagawa, Gotanda, Ōsaki, Hatanodai, Ōimachi, Tennōzu
10目黒区Meguro280,28319,11014.67Meguro, Nakameguro, Jiyugaoka, Komaba, Aobadai
11大田区Ōta722,60811,91060.66Ōmori, Kamata, Haneda, Den-en-chōfu
12世田谷区Setagaya910,86815,69058.05Setagaya, Shimokitazawa, Kinuta, Karasuyama, Tamagawa
13渋谷区Shibuya227,85015,08015.11Shibuya, Ebisu, Harajuku, Daikanyama, Hiroo, Sendagaya, Yoyogi
14中野区Nakano332,90221,35015.59Nakano
15杉並区Suginami570,48316,75034.06Kōenji, Asagaya, Ogikubo
16豊島区Toshima294,67322,65013.01Ikebukuro, Komagome, Senkawa, Sugamo
17北区Kita345,06316,74020.61Akabane, Ōji, Tabata
18荒川区Arakawa213,64821,03010.16Arakawa, Machiya, Nippori, Minamisenju
19板橋区Itabashi569,22517,67032.22Itabashi, Takashimadaira
20練馬区Nerima726,74815,12048.08Nerima, Ōizumi, Hikarigaoka
21足立区Adachi674,06712,66053.25Ayase, Kitasenju, Takenotsuka
22葛飾区Katsushika447,14012,85034.80Tateishi, Aoto, Kameari, Shibamata
23江戸川区Edogawa685,89913,75049.90Kasai, Koiwa