Tokyo Tales: 40 Engaging Facts About the City’s Rich Heritage and Modernity

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1Tokyo Stations Blue LEDs

Tokyo Stations Blue LEDs

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.

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

3. 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.

4. 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.

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

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6Tokyo's Train Schedules

Tokyo's Train Schedules

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.

7. 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.

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

9. 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.

10. 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.

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11Dystopian Cyberpunk City

Dystopian Cyberpunk City

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

12. 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."

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. 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.

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16Gome Pit

Gome Pit

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

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

18. 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.

19. 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.

20. 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.

21Shibuya Crossing

Shibuya Crossing

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.

22. 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.

23. 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.

24. There is a hamburger joint in Tokyo called Whoopi Goldburger.

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

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