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Marker in Nihonbashi
from which distances are measured in Japan.
Graves of 47 Ronin at Sengakuji Temple. See year 1701.
Sakuradamon Gate of Edo Castle where Ii Naosuke
was assassinated in 1860.
The Hoei Crater, visible to the right of the peak of Mt. Fuji, was
the location of the 1707 eruption that spewed ash as far as
built in 1958. It was built from recycled military tanks.
The eastern mainland part of Tokyo occupies land that, together with the
modern-day Saitama Prefecture, the city of Kawasaki
and the eastern part of Yokohama, made
up Musashi, one of the provinces
under the ritsuryō system. This was established in
the 7th century. The central part of the 23 special wards lay in Toshima, Ebara,
Adachi, and Katsushika Districts. Western Tokyo
District. Tokyo's oldest Buddhist temple, Sensō-ji in Asakusa, is said to date from the year 645.
In the Kamakura period, the village of Edo was established. The construction
of Edo Castle by Ōta Dōkan, a
vassal of Uesugi Mochitomo, began in 1457 during the Muromachi
period in what is now the East Garden of the Imperial Palace. Hōjō
Ujitsuna entered Edo Castle in 1524, and Tokugawa Ieyasu
moved there in 1590.
The Edo period
began when Tokugawa Ieyasu became shogun in 1603. The city developed rapidly under
his successors. The construction of Edo Castle, including the main
tower, was finally completed in 1637. In 1657, the Great
Fire of Meireki destroyed much of the Yoshiwara red-light district, Asakusa, and Edo Castle, while
100,000 people died.
In 1701, in the shogun's palace, Asano Naganori drew his sword and
Yoshinaka, the highest-ranking master of protocol. Asano was
immediately forced to commit seppuku. At the end of the following year, his
master-less retainers avenged their master's death by attacking
and beheading Kira at his residence in Ryōgoku. This story of loyalty soon became a
timeless classic known as Chūshingura.
Mount Fuji erupted
and spewed ash on Edo in 1707. In 1855, the Great Edo Earthquake
Edo had more a population of more than 1 million by the
The bakumatsu era saw an increase in
political activity. In 1860 Ii Naosuke, who favored opening Japan to the
West, was assassinated by an anti-foreign rebel samurai. Japan's
last shogun, Tokugawa Yoshinobu, surrendered
power to the emperor in 1867 and fled Edo in 1868 following
military defeat by powerful provincial powers seeking power in the
name of the Emperor.
- 1868 With the Meiji Restoration, the ruler of Japan
shifts from the shogun to an oligarchy ruling under the banner of
On July 17, Emperor
Meiji issues the Edict Renaming Edo to Tokyo (江戸ヲ稱シテ東京ト爲スノ詔書 Edo o
shōshite Tōkyō to nasu no shōsho), citing the city's importance in the
economy of eastern Japan.
- 1869 Emperor Meiji relocates to Tokyo and
makes Edo Castle the
Palace. However, as the capital was never officially
"transferred" from Kyoto to Tokyo, the status of Tokyo vis-à-vis
Kyoto remains ambiguous See: Capital of Japan. Former samurai from the Satsuma and
(and other) regions, take crucial roles in the new ruling Meiji
oligarchy. A foreigner settlement is established at Tsukiji.
- 1871 The feudal domain system is
replaced by a prefectural system. Tokyo
Prefecture is established out of parts of former Musashi province.
- 1872 Tokyo Prefecture expands to include what
is now the 23 wards.
- 1874 Tokyo Metropolitan
Police Department is established.
- 1877 A modern higher education school was
opened, forerunner of the University of Tokyo.
- 1882 Ueno
- 1885 The first section of what was to become
Line opens between Akabane and Shinagawa Stations. Train
stations such as Shibuya and Shinjuku Stations open as a
- 1889 Tokyo City is established with 15
- 1893 Three districts from the Tama area of Kanagawa
Prefecture are annexed to Tokyo Prefecture
- 1893 M6.6 Meiji Tokyo earthquake kills 31,
injures 157 people
- 1899 Tsukiji Foreign Settlement is
- 1903 The first tram lines was opened.
- 1905 In protest against the Treaty of
Portsmouth after the Russo-Japanese War, the Hibiya Incendiary Incident
occurs at Hibiya
- 1914 Tokyo Station opens.
- 1920 Meiji Shrine is constructed.
- 1921 Prime Minister of Japan, Takashi Hara, is assassinated at Tokyo
- 1923 The Great Kantō earthquake strikes Tokyo,
killing approximately 70,000 people.
- 1924 Ueno Park opens.
- 1925 The Yamanote Line train line loop is
completed when the section between Kanda and Ueno Stations is completed.
- 1927 Tokyo's first subway (Ginza Line) opens between
Asakusa and Ueno.
- 1931 Tokyo Airport opens at Haneda, in southern
- 1932 Five districts and 82 towns and villages
are annexed to Tokyo city which then expands to 35 wards.
- 1936 National Diet Building is
- 1942 Tokyo is bombed in the Doolittle Raid,
the first air raid in World War II
- 1943 Tokyo Prefecture and Tokyo city merge to
form Tokyo Metropolis or Tokyo-to.
- 1945 Tokyo was heavily bombed, and much of the city was
burned to the ground by USAAF B-29 and other aircraft. Extensive tracts
of land were leveled both by explosions and subsequent fires. The
damage extends to Hachioji and other
cities in western suburbs. From February to March, the Battle of Iwo
Jima was fought on Iwo
Jima. Due to the heavy death toll and populace fleeing to the
countryside, the 1945 Tokyo population was only half that of 1940.
From September, Tokyo is under military occupation and governed by
the Allied forces, and the Ogasawara Islands (Bonin Islands) was
separated to U.S. military occupation. General Douglas MacArthur established
headquarters in what is now the Dai-Ichi Seimei building. The American
presence in Tokyo made it an important command and logistics center
during the Korean War.
Tokyo still hosts Yokota Air Base and a large number of
minor U.S. military installations.
- 1946 The first Central May Day Festival after 1935 was held on the
Front Park of Tokyo Imperial Palace.
- 1947 Tokyo's number of wards is consolidated to 23
- Typhoon Kathleen floods eastern Tokyo.
- 1948 The International
Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE, Tokyo Trial) is
concluded. Seven men were executed.
- 1950 The Capital Construction Law was
- 1954 The Marunouchi Line, Tokyo's
second subway line, opens between Ikebukuro and Ochanomizu.
- 1957 Tokyo Metropolitan Government completes
Ogochi Dam on the Tama
River, creating Lake Okutama in Okutama, in northwest Tokyo for drinking
- 1958 Tokyo Tower is completed.
- 1961 Hibiya subway line opens
between Minami-Senju and Naka-Okachimachi.
- 1962 The population of Tokyo exceeds
10,000,000, making it the largest city in the world.
- 1964 Tōkaidō Shinkansen opens on October
1 in time for the Tokyo Olympic Games starting on
- 1967 The first (and thus far, only) left-wing Governor, Ryokichi Minobe
was elected, with backing by the Japan Socialist Party
and Japanese Communist Party.
- 1968 The Ogasawara Islands (Bonin Islands) are
returned to Japan and become Ogasawara Village, Tokyo.
- The Tōmei Expressway is opened, and Tokyo
Interchange in Setegaya Ward connects it to the center of Tokyo via
the Shuto Expressway.
- 1971 In the south-western area of Tokyo, Tama New Town
accepts its first residents.
- 1972 Almost all 181 km of Tokyo Toden tram lines
are closed, except a short part, now the Toden Arakawa
- 1977 Tachikawa Air Force Base reverts to
Japan and converted partially into a park.
- 1978 New
Tokyo International Airport (Narita International
Airport) in Chiba Prefecture opens. Tokyo International Airport
(Haneda Airport) then serves mainly domestic flights.
- 1979 The 5th G7 summit is held in Tokyo. The
conservative Liberal Democratic
Party (LDP) recovers the post of governor, with the win of
Shunichi Suzuki in elections.
- 1985 New Ryōgoku Kokugikan opens, used for Sumo.
- 1986 The bubble economy
starts with land prices skyrocketing. Mount Mihara volcano erupts, forcing all
residents of Izu
Ōshima to temporarily evacuate the island
- 1988 Tokyo Dome indoor baseball stadium opens.
- 1989 Emperor Hirohito (Emperor Showa) dies in the Tokyo
- 1990 The bubble economy collapses, triggering
a massive fall in Tokyo land prices.
- 1991 The new Tokyo Metropolitan
Government Building in Shinjuku is completed. The office is
moved from Yurakucho.
- 1993 Rainbow Bridge is completed. It
supports the development in the waterfront area on the Tokyo Bay, Odaiba.
- 1995 On March 20, the Aum Shinrikyo cult spread Sarin nerve gas on the Tokyo
subway system; 12 people were killed and thousands affected (see Sarin gas attack on
the Tokyo subway). Newly-elected Tokyo governor Yukio Aoshima
cancels the "World City Expo" that was to be held in 1996 in the
Odaiba waterfront area.
- 1999 Conservative Shintaro Ishihara
is elected Governor of Tokyo
- 2000 The Oedo subway line
- Due to volcanic eruption all residents of Miyakejima evacuate; cannot return until
- 2001 Studio Ghibli opens its Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, the eastern
of Tama area.
- 2003 Shintaro Ishihara
is reelected Governor of Tokyo. Roppongi Hills opens.
- 2005 Tsukuba Express railway line
- 2007 Completion of Tokyo Midtown (currently the city's
tallest high-rise building) and the Tokyo Metro Line
- 2008 Tokyo 2016
Olympic bid is submitted to the IOC. Tokyo Metro begins the operation of its Fukutoshin Line. The length of subway
network is nearly 400 km.
- 2011 Completion of Sumida Tower, Japan's
tallest structure (about 610m high displacing the CN Tower in Toronto as the
world's tallest free-standing structure). Completion of the
renovation of Tokyo