50 Fascinating Facts About Tokyo

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26Robot Hand Cheating

Robot Hand Cheating

Researchers at U of Tokyo have created a robot hand that has a 100% winning rate playing rock-paper-scissors. It does so by "cheating", using a high-speed camera to recognize the shape within 1 millisecond.


27. People in Tokyo stand on the left side of the escalator while in Kyoto and Osaka people stand on the right, for a reason that has never been definitively determined.


28. The Shibuya Crossing, located in the Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, is said to be the busiest pedestrian intersection in the world. At peak times, over 1000 people cross at the same time, coming from all directions, and there is almost no loss of foot traffic at midnight or early morning.


29. Tokyo’s Mitsui Garden Yotsuya hotel offers ‘crying rooms’ only to women. Y. Ezato, the PR representative for the hotel, says with more Japanese women succeeding in the workforce, it’s causing a rise in female stress/anxiety. The rooms include tear-jerking movies, luxurious tissues, and warm sheets.


30. In 2015, a tiny Tokyo restaurant named Araki restaurant with only 9 seats became the first ramen restaurant in the world to obtain a Michelin star.


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31Whoopi Goldburger

Whoopi Goldburger

There is a hamburger joint in Tokyo called Whoopi Goldburger.


32. Tokyo train stations each have their own unique theme song.


33. Japan converts footsteps into renewable energy in Tokyo train stations and uses it to power billboards around the city, using special floorboards that turn vibration into energy.


34. At one of Tokyo's busiest train stations, a rail line (Shibuya Station Toyoko Line) was converted from an above-ground line into a subway. There were zero service interruptions. The lowering of the rail line's tracks into its subway position was done in one night, during its normal service off-hours lasting approximately 4 hours.


35. Sogen Kato was believed to be the oldest man alive in Tokyo at 111 years old until his mummified corpse was found in his bedroom. He died at 79 and his family simply never reported this to authorities.


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36Harry Hedgehog Cafe

Harry Hedgehog Cafe

There is a hedgehog cuddling cafe (Harry hedgehog cafe) in Tokyo.


37. Tokyo Disneyland is not owned or operated by Disney, but by a Japanese company that licenses the theme from Disney.


38. Tokyo Tower was constructed of steel, 1/3 of which was scrap metal taken from US tanks damaged in the Korean War and is frequently used in the Japanese kaiju film genre. It's been the location of climactic 'battles' between Godzilla, Mothra, and King Kong wherein it's frequently destroyed and rebuilt.


39. Tokyo can be divided into two areas, the Yamanote which refers to the affluent, upper-class of Tokyo, and the Shitamachi which literally means "low city". This class and geographic division has remained strong through the centuries and is still in common use today.


40. In Tokyo, at 5pm, in a lot of places, an instrumental version of ‘Yuyaku Koyake’, a Japanese children’s folk song dating back to 1919, plays over loud speakers every day to let children know that playtime is over and it’s time to go home.


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41Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour

Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour

Cinderella Castle at Tokyo Disneyland was once home to the Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour, an attraction involving encounters with classic Disney villains. This featured a finale with The Horned King from The Black Cauldron, making it one of the only uses of that movie in Disney Parks.


42. The Jimbōchō Book Town which is located in Tokyo's Kanda-Jinbōchō district constitutes roughly one-third of all secondhand bookstores in Japan.


43. For a limited time in 2017, Tokyo’s KitKat Chocolatory shop made three types of chocolate bars that were sushi-inspired but didn't actually taste like raw fish.


44. Some buildings in Tokyo have postal codes for each floor of the building, which causes some wards to have hundreds of postal codes. In particular, Minato-ku has over 800.


45. In 1805 near Shinmei Shrine in Tokyo, a street fight erupted between the Megumi firefighters and a group of Sumo wrestlers. This event was later adapted into a kabuki play, 'Kami no Megumi Wago no Torikumi.'


46Narita Airport Controversy

Narita Airport Controversy

The location chosen for Narita International Airport in Tokyo was very controversial. Some locals resisted violently. There were riots, bombings, little old ladies being dragged out of houses by police. Several people died.


47. Ebisu, a major district in Tokyo, is named after the beer that used to be brewed there.


48. There is a museum named Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum in Tokyo dedicated to instant ramen and its creator, Momofuku Ando.


49. The Yaesu area in Chuo, Tokyo was named after the Dutch samurai Jan Joosten van Lodensteijn, as it was once land given to him by Tokugawa Ieyasu for his service to the Bakufu.


50. There is a ramen restaurant in Tokyo called Umkara Ramen Hyouri which pays its customers 50,000¥ if they eat their ‘mega serving’ of ramen in under 20 minutes.

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