Tokyo's economy

Tokyo's economy is one of the biggest in the world! As the capital of Japan, surely everyone has heard of Tokyo. This metropolis has the largest population concentration on the planet. And it is among the Japanese metropolises the most visited.

Tokyo has twenty-three districts, municipalities and towns. And it has more than 13 million inhabitants living up to the title of the largest metropolis in the world.

And it is even better known for hosting the 2020 Olympics that because of the pandemic was carried out in 2021.

Now let's see a little more about Tokyo and how important this economy is for Japan and the world. Was the 2020 Olympics an investment or a mistake?


Historical context from Tokyo

It is important to highlight how Tokyo has grown so much, so I will briefly tell this story since here on the site there is already a full text giving these details. Tokyo did not always have this name, it was previously called Edo. Its foundation was with the construction of Edo Castle built by a vassal of the Uesugi clan in the year 1457.

The name Tokyo was only adopted 411 years later, in 1868. In 1542 Western immigrants, merchants and missionaries began to arrive in Japan. By the eighteenth century, in 1787 Edo was already a well-populated city being the largest in the world with more than a million inhabitants.

In the year 1871 the city halls of Japan were created, among them the Tokyo Prefecture, since Japan is not constituted by cities, but by city halls. Edo has experienced many natural disasters such as fires, eruptions, earthquakes and others.


The metropolis suffered from natural impacts and also from World War II. During the war Tokyo caused great destruction in the city leaving at least eighty thousand deaths.

The best places to see Mount Fuji

Tokyo population today

It is estimated that the total value of inhabitants in 2021 is 13.96 million. The area is 2,194.07 Km2. The population distribution is around 6,300 inhabitants per square kilometer. The metropolitan region, that is, the neighboring regions of Tokyo, has approximately thirty-seven million inhabitants.


Most of the residents are Japanese and a minority surrounded by Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Filipino and Indonesian immigrants. As Tokyo is old and populated, it also has a large number of elderly people that have increased since the beginning of the 2000s. Most centenarians are concentrated in these regions. 

With the large increase in residents Tokyo extended its lands even which were occupied by the sea. This resulted in the reduction of green areas and gave rise to large constructions. This growth also interfered with technology and finance.

The United Nations predicts that at least by the year 2028, Tokyo will occupy the position of number one as the most populous metropolis for the city of New Delhi in India.

Tokyo - curiosities and complete guide

economy from the biggest metropolis in the world

If Tokyo already draws attention to its extent, the economy is certainly moving even more too. So far the metropolis has the biggest Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Voted the largest metropolis with the highest cost of living on Earth, its GDP is estimated at roughly US$ 1.4 trillion. In other words, a large part of the Japanese economy revolves around Tokyo.

The most common segments that contribute to the movement of the country's economy are petrochemicals, car factories and press companies. It is also common to grow vegetables, fruits and vegetables. The highlight of the primary sector is the fishing activity which, in addition to generating money, is recreational. 

Tokyo takes on the reputation of an international financial center. The metropolis has the headquarters of several banks in the world, the biggest investment and insurance companies. The Tokyo Stock Exchange is second in size only to the New York Stock Exchange.

Tourism is a good way to move money because every day they receive people from all over the world as it is the place with the greatest concentration of attractions. The metropolis has more than two hundred metro stations and is the largest international rail, land and air transport hub. 

Tokyo receives an average of two and a half million people a year. Data from 2016 show that around twenty-four million foreigners have passed through there and the trend is to increase.

Tokyo neighborhood night

Reflections of the 2020 Olympics on the economy from Tokyo

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics did not go as expected because of the pandemic caused by COVID-19. The event had to be postponed to July 2021. A lot of money was invested in the Olympics, after all, the event took place in a place that moves the economy a lot. However, many investors were disappointed due to the lack of financial return.

Even big companies like Toyota invested, but announced that they would not use advertisements related to the Tokyo Olympics because of the circumstances caused by the pandemic. Most of the economy, especially in large-scale events, comes from foreigners, but this year it could not have fans. This meant that hotels and restaurants did not have the expected movement.


Financial analysts were interviewed by the BBC and they believe that not holding the event would be the right decision to make. These analysts forecast the losses to be approximately R$78 billion in reais or US$ 15 billion. About US$800 million of ticket sales were lost.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga still positively views the restrictions taken at the Olympics, saying that this will help reduce the number of cases of the disease and the large television audience can still benefit the country. The event's initial budget in 2013 was US$7.3 billion. In 2019 US$12.6 billion and now US$ 15 billion. Apparently, it is the highest amount invested in an Olympics.

How big will this investment be in the biggest metropolis in the world?