By the time you read this, I’ll be on my way to Tokyo.
In addition to being the Japanese capital, Tokyo is the largest city in Japan and the most populous metropolitan area in the entire world. One look at the subway map is enough to tell you…you’re not in Kansas any more:
In 1603, Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (who will make an appearance in some of my later Shinobi Mystery novels) moved Japan’s military government from Kyoto–the country’s capital, and the city where the emperor lived–to a fortified city 550 miles northeast…a city then called Edo, after its founding clan.
Although the Japanese emperor remained the titular ruler of Japan, the real power actually lay in the hands of the Shogun (and his samurai government), which meant that Edo became the de facto capital of Japan beginning in 1603.
In 1869, Emperor Meiji moved to Edo, which made the city the Japanese capital (by tradition, the capital of Japan is located in the city the emperor calls home). At that time, Edo was given a new name…
Tokyo isn’t only one of the world’s largest cities; it’s also one of the densest and most modern. Its skyscrapers and neon displays are famous around the world…and you can bet I’ll be bringing back plenty of photos to share with you when I return.
Tokyo represents both the point of departure and the end of my research trip to Japan. We’re spending only a single night in its neon-and-metal glory upon arrival…on Saturday morning, we catch the early Shinkansen (yes, the infamous “bullet train”) to Kyoto, where I’m spending the bulk of my time. However, I’m spending the last four days of the journey back in Tokyo…which seems fitting, given that my research will focus on various periods in Japanese history, starting with the ancient (in Kyoto and the surrounding region) and ending up–as the Japanese did–by turning my face toward the modern capital city.
Have you ever been to Tokyo? If not…what’s your favorite modern city? (Don’t worry, lovers of the ancient…you’ll get your chance to share in a day or two!)