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Before 1868, Tokyo was known as Edo. Edo existed as a small castle town until Tokugawa Ieyasu established his feudal government there in 1603. From that point, Edo began to grow into one of the largest cities in the world. With the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the emperor moved from Kyoto to Edo, renaming it Tokyo (Eastern Capital). While this spurred the continued growth of the city, it has suffered significant destruction over time, first in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and then in the air raids of 1945.
Despite its turbulent past, Tokyo today is a gleaming modern metropolitan area of over 12 million residents (or approximately 10% of Japan's population). By Japanese law, Tokyo is a "metropolis" rather than a city. Tokyo is Japan. It is the heart of the country's politics, finance, business, education, and popular culture. This also means that Tokyo can boast the largest concentration of universities, museums, theaters, corporate headquarters, and financial institutions in the country.
All of this translates into unparalleled opportunities for studying abroad. Japan's quality higher education institutions offer challenging learning opportunities. As an international finance center with a nominal GDP of about $1.315 trillion, Tokyo is an excellent location to pursue an internship, particularly for those interested in international business and related fields. The metropolis is home to some of the world's largest investment banks and insurance companies.
Tokyo also offers rich opportunities for those interested in culture and gaining international perspective. The population is extremely international allowing students to meet people from around the world. Museums feature amazing collections of artwork and cultural treasures. A prime example is the Tokyo National Museum, which has one of the best samplings of ancient Asian artwork in the world.
Interestingly, Tokyo deals simultaneously in massive monuments and measured minutia. From the tiniest engraving to the largest skyscraper, the metropolis can be overwhelming in its scale. From the glowing Tokyo Tower to the imperial palace, Kokyo, Japanese architecture demonstrates distinctive style and attention to detail.
You could spend several weeks straight visiting all of the monuments, parks, gardens, museums, and other tourist venues available throughout Tokyo, but rest assured that as a student there, you will never lack for something to do. The metropolis offers extensive opportunities to explore Japanese culture as well as getting a multicultural perspective from a truly international environment. Whether you're pursuing an engineering or literature course, studying Japanese, completing an international internship, or a variety of other options, Tokyo has much to offer.
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