|Tokyo was founded in 1457 under the name Edo and was a quiet town with a small population. This changed in 1603 when the Tokugawa Shogunate moved the seat of government to Edo. As a result the population increased substantially. After the collapse of the shogunate in 1868 and the establishment of a modern national government, the emperor took up official residence in Edo and moved the capital to Edo from Kyoto. The city was renamed Tokyo, meaning “Eastern Capital,” to reflect the change.
Tokyo was a regular city like any other in Japan until 1943, when the prefectural and municipal governments were merged. Because of this, Tokyo is not technically a city but rather an entire prefecture made up of 23 special independent wards, 26 additional cities and towns, and several islands stretching as far as 350 km out into the Pacific Ocean. The head of the municipal government is located in Shinjuku Ward, and provides prefectural administration over the cities and islands, as well as limited municipal administration for the shared services of the 23 wards, such as water, sewage, and fire services. Each of the 23 wards has its own government administration and is more or less analogous to an independent city, complete with an elected mayor.
Note that this page represents only the 23 special wards of Tokyo, and none of the other cities in Tokyo prefecture.
Total Area of the 23 wards: 621.49 km²
Ward List: Adachi-ku, Arakawa-ku, Itabashi-ku, Edogawa-ku, Ota-ku, Katsushika-ku, Kita-ku, Koto-ku, Shinagawa-ku, Shibuya-ku, Shinjuku-ku, Suginami-ku, Sumida-ku, Setagaya-ku, Taito-ku, Chuo-ku, Chiyoda-ku, Toshima-ku, Nakano-ku, Nerima-ku, Bunkyo-ku, Minato-ku, Meguro-ku