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9 Things You Never Knew About Tokyo
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July 4, 2019
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Kris Wouk
Kris Wouk is a writer and musician. His work has previously been published by Digital Trends, Sound Guys, and Android Authority.
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Tokyo is an incredibly popular tourist destination, due in part to how unique it is. Whether you're going there for your first time or you're on a return trip, you're bound to run into a surprise or two. That said, maybe you want to know a little about what you're getting into, especially if you're bringing friends or relatives along. That is exactly why we put this list of interesting Tokyo facts together.

You Can’t See Mount Fuji All That Often

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Look at photos of Tokyo, and you'll often see majestic Mount Fuji in the background. Unfortunately, you can't count on this breathtaking backdrop appearing while you're in Tokyo.

Between clouds in the sky and dust in the air, the mountain isn't visible for large portions of time. Improvements in air quality mean the mountain is more readily visible now than it has been in years, and Tokyo offers numerous viewing decks from which to see it. But still, you may not want to plan your trip around snapping that photo.

Tokyo Is a Great City for Gamers

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There are areas all over Tokyo that offer great shopping opportunities, but if you're looking for video games or electronics, there's one place you should head: Akihabara. This area gained the nickname "Electric Town" shortly after World War II due to the availability of household electronics.

The area has kept the nickname but now caters to customers looking for games as well as anime and manga. If any of those interest you, or if you're just looking to experience another facet of the culture in Tokyo, this is an area you shouldn't miss.

You Can Get Way More From Vending Machines

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No matter where you are in the world, vending machines can be handy. If you need a snack or a drink, they offer quick and easy refreshments. In Tokyo, however, that's just the beginning.

Across different sections of Tokyo, you'll notice vending machines everywhere, and they hold a lot more than sodas or chips. You'll find soups, consumer electronics, fruit, toys and more.

Tokyo Is Home to More Than 100 Universities and Colleges

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If you're looking for a city away from home to head to for higher learning, Tokyo is a great option. The number of colleges and universities here is absolutely staggering, with the city having the greatest concentration of higher learning facilities in the world. Just looking at the list is enough to make your head spin.

This includes the University of Tokyo, the most prestigious university in Japan and one of the best regarded in the world.

Capsule Hotels Are Real and Quite Handy

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Space is at such a premium in Tokyo that miniature hotel rooms exist for business travelers. If you're traveling on your own and want to see Tokyo on a budget, it's worth considering staying in one.

Many of these rooms will cost you less than $50 per night, so if all you're doing in your room is sleeping, why spend the extra money? On the other hand, first-class capsule hotels like the First Cabin are available as well if you don't need much space but still want the luxury treatment.

Pushing People Can Be a Full-Time Job

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There are a lot of jobs that sound made up, but this one may sound the most fictitious. People are employed in Tokyo as oshiya, or "pushers," to cram people on to trains during peak hours. Unlike what you might imagine, this isn't to hurry up. Instead, this is to help fit as many people as possible on to already-crowded trains. If you don't know why this would be useful, you can see video evidence on YouTube.

Tokyo Is Home to the World’s Busiest Train Station

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Speaking of trains, the busiest train station in the world is located in Japan. An average of 3.64 million passengers make their way through Shinjuku Station every day. Because of this massive amount of traffic, Shinjuku Station is registered with Guinness World Records as the world's busiest station.

Tokyo Was the First City to Top 20 Million People

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Tokyo has been a crowded city for some time. While New York was the first city to top 10 million people in 1925, Tokyo eclipsed it by growing to over 20 million people in 1965. As of 2018, the Greater Tokyo Area is the largest metropolitan area in the world, with more than 37 million people who call it home

Tokyo Wasn’t the City’s Original Name

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Compared with the city's age, Tokyo hasn't actually been known as Tokyo for all that long. Until 1868, the city was known by its original name: Edo. In 1869, it became the capital of Japan.