50 Fascinating Facts About Tokyo

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1Tokyo's Recycling Systems

Tokyo has incredibly efficient recycling systems. All combustible trash is incinerated, the smoke and gasses cleaned before release, and then the leftover ash is used as a replacement for clay in the cement used for construction.


2. There is a “white man” café named Butlers Cafe in Tokyo, where Japanese ladies ring a bell to summon tuxedo-wearing Caucasians who respond with “yes, princess?” and serve them a cake.


3. Japanese high schools often have strict standards of conformity regarding hair color. Half of Tokyo’s schools require students whose hair is not naturally black to provide baby pictures as proof. In 2017, a Japanese student sued her school after being forced to darken her hair with dye.


4. Tokyo has been destroyed and rebuilt on average, from 1608 to 1945, once every five years.


5. Beneath the city of Tokyo lies an ingenious water diversion system to minimize flooding in the city during typhoons. This world’s largest water channeling infrastructure can divert 200 tons of storm water per second into the Edo River.


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6History of Sony

After World War 2, a small electronics shop was built in a bomb-damaged department store in Tokyo. The company, Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation, had only $530 and 8 employees. The company invented Japan's first tape recorder and, in 1958, changed its name to Sony.


7. A company named Pasona Group in Tokyo decided to make their Headquarters into a vertical farm. They gave up 43,000 square feet of space to grow food. 200 species of fruits and vegetables are harvested and served to employees. There is a 1000-square-feet rice paddy field in the entryway.


8. Blue LED lights are installed at certain Tokyo train stations to deter suicides. Research has found that the presence of blue lights has resulted in an 84% decrease in suicides. Although the exact reason is unknown, it is theorized that blue light has a positive calming effect on mood.


9. The allied carpet bombing of Tokyo killed more civilians than the atomic bombing of both Nagasaki and Hiroshima combined.


10. During Tokyo's property bubble the grounds of the Imperial Palace (1.32 square miles) were valued higher than the entirety of the real estate in California.


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11Tokyo's Own Superhero

Tokyo has its own superhero. He is Mangetsu-Man, a self-made hero who has taken up the responsibility of keeping the city clean. He wears a “full moon” head, purple bodysuit, oversized UGG boots with matching gloves and uses a voice dictation app to hide his voice.


12. Tokyo (Penguin Bar Ikebukuro) has a bar where you can have drinks with penguins.


13. The train schedule in Tokyo is so reliable that if they run more than 5 minutes late, they issue a note to passengers to prove to their employers that it was the train's fault they were late to work.


14. In 2013, a 39-story hotel named Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka in Tokyo “disappeared,” in that it was demolished without explosives or a wrecking ball. All 39 floors were disassembled by a small crane from inside the building and there is a timelapse of it shrinking floor by floor.


15. You can pay a travel agency named Unagi Travel in Tokyo to take your stuffed animal on a vacation without you.


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16The Monster with 21 Faces

A Japanese criminal mastermind dubbed “The Monster with 21 Faces” was responsible for extorting and poisoning products at confectionary companies across Tokyo. His activity ceased after the ritual suicide of a police chief, who failed to stop him. He has never been caught.


17. In the aftermath of the Great Japan Earthquake of 1923, when a fire broke out around the city of Tokyo, 44,000 people went to the river to escape the flames, only to be closed in by the flames on all sides. Almost all were then, in a single moment, incinerated by a 300 feet tall fire tornado.


18. In Tokyo, there is a huge arcade (Anata No Warehouse) made to look like a dystopian cyberpunk city.


19. The tallest free-standing tower in Japan, the Tokyo Sky Tree, had its final height chosen solely because of wordplay; several numbers were considered because of their alternate meanings, they ended up choosing 634 meters for "Musashi."


20. There is a building named Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo that was built in 1972 whose rooms consist of tiny 90 square foot capsule apartments that can be individually replaced like lego pieces.


21NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building

There is a skyscraper named NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building in Tokyo which tells you, using colored lights, whether you should bring an umbrella when you go outside.


22. There is a 12-story luxury paper store named Itoya in Tokyo. On the 12th floor, they serve salad grown on the 11th floor which is an organic indoor farm.


23. There is a bar named Gome Pit in Tokyo, Japan where you can watch trash being crushed and incinerated.


24. A Tokyo-based company named Nakabayashi invented an in-office machine that turns used copier paper into toilet paper rolls, right in the office.


25. In Tokyo, there are two Buddhist bars (Vow'z and Vow's) run by Buddhist priests as a form of outreach. The bars provide a comfortable spot to talk about spirituality and personal issues as well as to have a drink.

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