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Capital of Japan facts for kids

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Traditional site of Kusuba-no-Miya Palace in Osaka Prefecture
This article is about the Japanese national capital in general. For the current capital, see Tokyo.

The capital of Japan is Tokyo. In the course of history, the national capital has been in many locations other than Tokyo.


Traditionally, the home of the Emperor was considered the capital. From 794 through 1868, the Emperor lived in Kyoto. After 1868, the seat of the Government of Japan and the location of the Emperor's home was Tokyo.

In 1941, the Ministry of Education published the "designation of Tokyo as capital" (東京奠都, Tōkyō-tento).

After World War II, the new Constitution of Japan transferred the state's sovereignty from the Emperor to the people. The people of Japan are represented by the Diet of Japan in Tokyo. Consensus considers the site of the Diet is the capital of Japan.

Capital area

No law makes Tokyo as the Japanese capital. However, many laws have defined a "capital area" (首都圏, shutoken) which incorporates Tokyo.

Article 2 of the Capital Area Consolidation Law (首都圏整備法) of 1956 states that

"In this Act, the term 'capital area' shall denote a broad region comprising both the territory of Tokyo Metropolis as well as outlying regions designated by cabinet order."

Laws which identify this "capital area" include the Capital Expressway Public Corporation Law (首都高速道路公団法) and the Capital Area Greenbelt Preservation Law (首都圏近郊緑地保全法).

List of capitals


This list of legendary capitals of Japan begins with the reign of Emperor Jimmu. The names of the Imperial palaces are in parentheses.

  1. Kashiwabara, Yamato at the foot of Mt. Unebi during reign of Emperor Jimmu
  2. Kazuraki, Yamato during reign of Emperor Suizei
  3. Katashiha, Kawachi during the reign of Emperor Annei
  4. Karu, Yamato during reign of Emperor Itoku.
  5. Waki-no-kami, Yamato during the reign of Emperor Kosho
  6. Muro, Yamato during reign of Emperor Koan
  7. Kuruda, Yamato during the reign of Emperor Korei
  8. Karu, Yamato during reign of Emperor Kōgen
  9. Izakaha, Yamato during reign of Emperor Kaika
  10. Shika, Yamato (Palace of Mizugaki) during reign of Emperor Sujin
  11. Shika, Yamato (Palace of Tamagaki) during reign of Emperor Suinin
  12. Makimuko, Yamato (Palace of Hishiro) during reign of Emperor Keiko
  13. Shiga, Ōmi (Palace of Takaanaho) during reign of Emperor Seimu
  14. Ando (Palace of Toyoura) and Kashiki on the island of Kyushu during reign of Emperor Chūai


This list of capitals includes the Imperial palaces names in parentheses.

Asuka period
  • Asuka, Yamato (Shikishima no Kanasashi Palace), 540–571 in reign of Emperor Kimmei
  • Kōryō, Nara (Kudara no Ohi Palace), 572–575
  • Sakurai, Nara (Osata no Sakitama Palace or Osada no Miya), 572–585 in reight of Emperor Bidatsu
  • Shiki District, Nara (Iwareikebe no Namitsuki Palace), 585–587 in the reign of Emperor Yomei
  • Shiki District, Nara (Kurahashi no Shibagaki Palace), 587–592 in the reign of Emperor Sushun
  • Asuka, Yamato (Toyura Palace or Toyura-no-miya), 593–603 in the reign of Empress Suiko
  • Asuka, Yamato (Oharida Palace or Oharida-no-miya), 603–629 in the reign of Empress Suiko
  • Asuka, Yamato (Okamoto Palace or Oakmoto-no-miya), 630–636 in the reign of Emperor Jomei
  • Kashihara, Nara (Tanaka Palace or Tanaka-no-miya), 636–639
  • Kōryō, Nara (Umayasaka Palace or Umayasaka-no-miya), 640
  • Kōryō, Nara (Kudara Palace or Kudara-no-miya), 640–642
  • Asuka, Yamato (Oharida Palace), 642–643
  • Asuka, Yamato (Itabuki Palace or Itabuki no miya), 643–645 in the reign of Empress Kōgyoku
  • Osaka (Naniwa-Nagara no Toyosaki Palace), 645–654 in the reign of Emperor Kōtoku
  • Asuka, Yamato (Itabuki Palace), 655–655 in the reign of Kōtoku
  • Asuka, Yamato (Kawahara Palace or Kawahara-no-miya), 655–655
  • Asuka, Yamato (Okamoto Palace or Nochi no Asuka-Okamoto-no-miya), 656–660 in the reign of Emperor Saimei
  • Asakura, Fukuoka (Asakura no Tachibana no Hironiwa Palace or Asakure no Tachibana no Hironiwa-no-miya), 660–661
  • Osaka, (Naniwa-Nagara no Toyosaki Palace), 661–667
  • Ōtsu, Shiga (Ōmi Ōtsu Palace or Ōmi Ōtsu-no-miya), 667–672 in reign of Emperor Tenji and the reign of Emperor Kobun
  • Asuka, Yamato (Kiyomihara Palace or Kiomihara-no-miya), 672–694 in the reign of Emperor Temmu and in the reign of Empress Jito
  • Fujiwara-kyō (Fujiwara Palace), 694–710 in the reign of Emperor Mommu
  • Heijō-kyō (Heijō Palace), 710–740 in the reigns of Empress Genmei, Empress Gensho, and Emperor Shomu
  • Kuni-kyō (Kuni Palace), 740–744 in the reign of Shomu
  • Naniwa-kyō (Naniwa Palace), 744
  • Naniwa-kyō, Shigaraki Palace, 744–745
  • Heijō-kyō (Heijō Palace), 745–784
  • Nagaoka-kyō (Nagaoka Palace), 784–794 in the reign of Emperor Kammu
  • Heian-kyō (Heian Palace), 794–1180 in the reign of Kammu and others
  • Fukuhara Palace, 1180 in the reign of Emperor Antoku
  • Heian-kyō/Kyoto (Heian Palace), 1180–1868
  • To-kyō (Kōkyo), 1868–present

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Capital de Japón para niños

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