Tokyo has the largest metropolitan economy in the world. According to a study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Greater Tokyo Area (Tokyo-Yokohama) of 38 million people had a total GDP of $2 trillion in 2012 (at purchasing power parity), which topped that list.
Tokyo is a major international finance center; it houses the headquarters of several of the world's largest investment banks and insurance companies, and serves as a hub for Japan's transportation, publishing, electronics and broadcasting industries. During the centralized growth of Japan's economy following World War II, many large firms moved their headquarters from cities such as Osaka (the historical commercial capital) to Tokyo, in an attempt to take advantage of better access to the government. This trend has begun to slow due to ongoing population growth in Tokyo and the high cost of living there.
Tokyo was rated by the Economist Intelligence Unit as the most expensive (highest cost-of-living) city in the world for 14 years in a row ending in 2006, when it was replaced by Oslo, and later Paris.
Tokyo emerged as a leading international financial center (IFC) in the 1960s and has been described as one of the three "command centers" for the world economy, along with New York City and London. In the 2020 Global Financial Centers Index, Tokyo was ranked as having the fourth most competitive financial center in the world (alongside cities such as New York City, London, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, San Francisco, Shenzhen and Zurich in the top 10), and second most competitive in Asia (after Shanghai). The Japanese financial market opened up slowly in 1984 and accelerated its internationalisation with the "Japanese Big Bang" in 1998. Despite the emergence of Singapore and Hong Kong as competing financial centers, the Tokyo IFC manages to keep a prominent position in Asia. The Tokyo Stock Exchange is Japan's largest stock exchange, and third largest in the world by market capitalization and fourth largest by share turnover. In 1990 at the end of the Japanese asset price bubble, it accounted for more than 60% of the world stock market value. Tokyo had 8,460 ha (20,900 acres) of agricultural land as of 2003, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, placing it last among the nation's prefectures. The farmland is concentrated in Western Tokyo. Perishables such as vegetables, fruits, and flowers can be conveniently shipped to the markets in the eastern part of the prefecture. Komatsuna and spinach are the most important vegetables; as of 2000, Tokyo supplied 32.5% of the komatsuna sold at its central produce market.
With 36% of its area covered by forest, Tokyo has extensive growths of cryptomeria and Japanese cypress, especially in the mountainous western communities of Akiruno, Ōme, Okutama, Hachiōji, Hinode, and Hinohara. Decreases in the price of timber, increases in the cost of production, and advancing old age among the forestry population have resulted in a decline in Tokyo's output. In addition, pollen, especially from cryptomeria, is a major allergen for the nearby population centers. Tokyo Bay was once a major source of fish. Most of Tokyo's fish production comes from the outer islands, such as Izu Ōshima and Hachijō-Jima. Skipjack tuna, nori, and aji are among the ocean products.
Tourism in Tokyo is also a contributor to the economy. In 2006, 4.81 million foreigners and 420 million Japanese visits to Tokyo were made; the economic value of these visits totaled 9.4 trillion yen according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Many tourists visit the various downtowns, stores, and entertainment districts throughout the neighborhoods of the special wards of Tokyo; particularly for school children on class trips, a visit to Tokyo Tower is de rigueur. Cultural offerings include both omnipresent Japanese pop culture and associated districts such as Shibuya and Harajuku, subcultural attractions such as Studio Ghibli anime center, as well as museums like the Tokyo National Museum, which houses 37% of the country's artwork national treasures (87/233).
The Toyosu Market in Tokyo is the largest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world since it opened on October 11, 2018. It is also one of the largest wholesale food markets of any kind. It is located in the Toyosu area of Kōtō ward. The Toyosu market holds strong to the traditions of its predecessor, the Tsukiji Fish Market and Nihonbashi fish market, and serves some 50,000 buyers and sellers every day. Retailers, whole-sellers, auctioneers, and public citizens alike frequent the market, creating a unique microcosm of organized chaos that still continues to fuel the city and its food supply after over four centuries.
Tokyo, as the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, is Japan's largest domestic and international hub for rail and ground transportation. However, its airspace has been under the US military's exclusive control after World War II. Public transportation within Tokyo is dominated by an extensive network of clean and efficient trains and subways run by a variety of operators, with buses, monorails and trams playing a secondary feeder role. There are up to 62 electric train lines and more than 900 train stations in Tokyo. Shibuya Crossing is the "world’s busiest pedestrian crossing", with circa 3,000 people crossing at a time.
As a result of World War II, Japanese planes are generally forbidden to fly over Tokyo. Therefore, Japan constructed airports outside Tokyo. Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture is the major gateway for international travelers to Japan. Japan's flag carrier Japan Airlines, as well as All Nippon Airways, have a hub at this airport. Haneda Airport on the reclaimed land at Ōta, offers domestic and international flights. As of 2018, some flight routes into Haneda are permitted through Tokyo airspace.
Various islands governed by Tokyo have their own airports. Hachijō-jima (Hachijojima Airport), Miyakejima (Miyakejima Airport), and Izu Ōshima (Oshima Airport) have services to Tokyo International and other airports.
Rail is the primary mode of transportation in Tokyo, which has the most extensive urban railway network in the world and an equally extensive network of surface lines. JR East operates Tokyo's largest railway network, including the Yamanote Line loop that circles the center of downtown Tokyo. It operates rail lines in the entire metropolitan area of Tokyo and in the rest of the northeastern part of Honshu. JR East is also responsible for Shinkansen high-speed rail lines.
Two different organizations operate the subway network: the private Tokyo Metro and the governmental Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation. The Metropolitan Government and private carriers operate bus routes and one tram route. Local, regional, and national services are available, with major terminals at the giant railroad stations, including Tokyo, Shinagawa, and Shinjuku.
Expressways link the capital to other points in the Greater Tokyo area, the Kantō region, and the islands of Kyushu and Shikoku. To build them quickly before the 1964 Summer Olympics, most were constructed above existing roads. Other transportation includes taxis operating in the special wards and the cities and towns. Also, long-distance ferries serve the islands of Tokyo and carry passengers and cargo to domestic and foreign ports.
Tokyo has many universities, junior colleges, and vocational schools. Many of Japan's most prestigious universities are in Tokyo, including University of Tokyo, Hitotsubashi University, Meiji University, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Waseda University, Tokyo University of Science, Sophia University, and Keio University. Some of the biggest national universities in Tokyo are:
There is only one non-national public university: Tokyo Metropolitan University. There are also a few universities well known for classes conducted in English and for the teaching of the Japanese language, including the Globis University Graduate School of Management, International Christian University, Sophia University, and Waseda University
Tokyo is also the headquarters of the United Nations University.
Publicly run kindergartens, elementary schools (years 1 through 6), and primary schools (7 through 9) are operated by local wards or municipal offices. Public secondary schools in Tokyo are run by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Board of Education and are called "Metropolitan High Schools". Tokyo also has many private schools from kindergarten through high school:
Yasuda Auditorium at the University of Tokyo in Bunkyō
Okuma Auditorium at Waseda University in Shinjuku
Hibiya High School in Chiyoda
Tokyo has many museums. In Ueno Park, there is the Tokyo National Museum, the country's largest museum and specializing in traditional Japanese art; the National Museum of Western Art and Ueno Zoo. Other museums include the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Odaiba; the Edo-Tokyo Museum in Sumida, across the Sumida River from the center of Tokyo; the Nezu Museum in Aoyama; and the National Diet Library, National Archives, and the National Museum of Modern Art, which are near the Imperial Palace.
Tokyo has many theaters for performing arts. These include national and private theaters for traditional forms of Japanese drama. Noteworthy are the National Noh Theatre for noh and the Kabuki-za for Kabuki. Symphony orchestras and other musical organizations perform modern and traditional music. The New National Theater Tokyo in Shibuya is the national center for the performing arts, including opera, ballet, contemporary dance and drama. Tokyo also hosts modern Japanese and international pop, and rock music at venues ranging in size from intimate clubs to internationally known areas such as the Nippon Budokan.
Many different festivals occur throughout Tokyo. Major events include the Sannō at Hie Shrine, the Sanja at Asakusa Shrine, and the biennial Kanda Festivals. The last features a parade with elaborately decorated floats and thousands of people. Annually on the last Saturday of July, an enormous fireworks display over the Sumida River attracts over a million viewers. Once cherry blossoms bloom in spring, many residents gather in Ueno Park, Inokashira Park, and the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden for picnics under the blossoms.
Harajuku, a neighborhood in Shibuya, is known internationally for its youth style, fashion and cosplay.
Cuisine in Tokyo is internationally acclaimed. In November 2007, Michelin released their first guide for fine dining in Tokyo, awarding 191 stars in total, or about twice as many as Tokyo's nearest competitor, Paris. As of 2017, 227 restaurants in Tokyo have been awarded (92 in Paris). Twelve establishments were awarded the maximum of three stars (Paris has 10), 54 received two stars, and 161 earned one star.
Tokyo, with a diverse array of sports, is home to two professional baseball clubs, the Yomiuri Giants who play at the Tokyo Dome and Tokyo Yakult Swallows at Meiji-Jingu Stadium. The Japan Sumo Association is also headquartered in Tokyo at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan sumo arena where three official sumo tournaments are held annually (in January, May, and September). Football clubs in Tokyo include F.C. Tokyo and Tokyo Verdy 1969, both of which play at Ajinomoto Stadium in Chōfu, and FC Machida Zelvia at Nozuta Stadium in Machida. Basketball clubs include the Hitachi SunRockers, Toyota Alvark Tokyo and Tokyo Excellence.
Tokyo hosted the 1964 Summer Olympics, thus becoming the first Asian city to host the Summer Games. The National Stadium, also known as the Olympic Stadium, was host to a number of international sporting events. In 2016, it was to be replaced by the New National Stadium. With a number of world-class sports venues, Tokyo often hosts national and international sporting events such as basketball tournaments, women's volleyball tournaments, tennis tournaments, swim meets, marathons, rugby union and sevens rugby games, football, American football exhibition games, judo, and karate. Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, in Sendagaya, Shibuya, is a large sports complex that includes swimming pools, training rooms, and a large indoor arena. According to Around the Rings, the gymnasium has played host to the October 2011 artistic gymnastics world championships, despite the International Gymnastics Federation's initial doubt in Tokyo's ability to host the championships following the March 11 tsunami. Tokyo was also selected to host a number of games for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and to host the 2020 Summer Olympics and the Paralympics on September 7, 2013.
As the largest population center in Japan and the site of the country's largest broadcasters and studios, Tokyo is frequently the setting for many Japanese movies, television shows, animated series (anime), web comics, light novels, video games, and comic books (manga). In the kaiju (monster movie) genre, landmarks of Tokyo are usually destroyed by giant monsters such as Godzilla and Gamera.
Some Hollywood directors have turned to Tokyo as a backdrop for movies set in Japan. Postwar examples include Tokyo Joe, My Geisha, Tokyo Story and the James Bond film You Only Live Twice; recent examples include Kill Bill, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Lost in Translation, Babel, Inception, The Wolverine and Avengers: Endgame.
Japanese author Haruki Murakami has based some of his novels in Tokyo (including Norwegian Wood), and David Mitchell's first two novels number9dream and Ghostwritten featured the city. Contemporary British painter Carl Randall spent 10 years living in Tokyo as an artist, creating a body of work depicting the city's crowded streets and public spaces.
Tokyo is the founding member of the Asian Network of Major Cities 21 and is a member of the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations. Tokyo was also a founding member of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.
As of 2021[update], Tokyo has twinning or friendship agreements with the following sixteen cities and states:
Research and development in Japan and the Japanese space program are globally represented by several of Tokyo's medical and scientific facilities, including the University of Tokyo and other universities in Tokyo, which work in collaboration with many international institutions. Especially with the United States, including NASA and the many private spaceflight companies, Tokyo universities have working relationships with all of the Ivy League institutions (including Harvard and Yale University), along with other research universities and development laboratories, such as Stanford, MIT, and the UC campuses throughout California, as well as UNM and Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Other partners worldwide include Oxford University in the United Kingdom, the National University of Singapore in Singapore, the University of Toronto in Canada, and Tsinghua University in China.