So where does Tokyo history fit into the grand scheme of things? Well the history of Japan and the Japanese people is one of the oldest in the world with culture, religion, and tradition still playing a major part in Japanese daily life.
History Of Tokyo Outline
The Tokyo you see today was originally called Edo and was connected to the other major cities in Japan via the Tokkaido Highway.
When the Shogun Tokugawa set up his stronghold here back in the 1600s, the foundations were laid for one of the largest megalopolises the world has ever seen. Why not make a cup of your favorite drink and see the chronology of events roll out below in our Tokyo history stories.
Tokyo History - Key Events And Stories
- Shinto Religion - Shintoism is perhaps the most important cultural set of beliefs that has defined Japanese tradition and lifestyle.
- Buddhism In Japan - Buddhism arrived in Japan during the 6th century from Korea and China. Nowadays Buddhism and Shintoism live beside each other and embrace the aspects they share in common.
- Tokugawa Ieyasu - Tokugawa moved to Edo in the early 1600s and is one of the most famous Shoguns in both Japanese history and Tokyo history.
- Edo Period - Edo was the original name for Tokyo when the capital of Japan changed location from Kyoto to the area we now know as Tokyo.
- The Shogun - The shogun and their samurai ruled Japan for years. This was a strictly hierarchical society with rules and conventions that had to be obeyed. One of the most famous of these is the way of "bushido".
- Tokyo Closes the Door - Japan said "no" to the rest of the world and isolated itself for the best part of 250 years. Captain Perry and the Black Ships - using the threat of war, forced Japan to accept American ties again in 1853.
- Imperial Palace - The Imperial Palace now stands where Tokugawa's Castle used to be. It is now home to the Emperor and is located in one of the wealthiest parts of Tokyo city.
- Firebombing of Tokyo - In WWII, Tokyo was largely destroyed as the allies looked to halt the Japanese army advance.
Although in modern day Tokyo there are not so many historical sites left standing, there are still some golden opportunities to get an idea of the past by joining in some of the many Japanese festivals that take place on the Japanese calendar.
Tokyo history often comes alive in the culture and traditions that are regularly celebrated during these events. If you have the chance to see one of these festivals in action, it should be top of your list of things to do.
How History Created Modern Day Tokyo
The final impact of history on modern day Tokyo, as I see it, is space. Space is an issue. Tokyo consists of what were, originally, many small villages. As each one grew, their borders bumped into each other.
With nowhere else to go, these villages joined forces and formed what is now recognized as Tokyo and Greater Tokyo. Despite this joining, however, each area of Tokyo maintains a distinct character and flavour which you will clearly feel as you explore and discover new Tokyo places.