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The sheer level of energy is the most striking aspect of Japan's capital city, yet Tokyo's madness is balanced by the most Zen-like of calms. While the pulsating vibe has a depressing flipside - shoebox housing estates and office blocks traversed by overhead expressways  - Tokyo remains a glittering post-WWII Japan miracle. Located on the main island Honshū, Tokyo's total population exceeds 12 million. Prior to 1868, Tokyo was a small castle town, Edo, growing to become Japan's political center in 1603 when Tokugawa Leyasu established his feudal government there. A few decades later, Edo had grown into one of the world's most populous cities. Large parts of Tokyo were destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and in the air raids of 1945, but today Tokyo remains a glittering jewel.

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