CITY GUIDE: Tokyo's best sights and the Japanese capital's history

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CITY GUIDE: Tokyo's best sights and the Japanese capital's history

Formula E is set to visit the bright lights of Tokyo for the first time in its history, making Japan the 24th country to host the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. Here’s what you need to know about the latest host city before the 2024 Tokyo E-Prix.


City of cities

Tokyo is big. Over 14 million people live in Japan’s capital city, which forms part of the largest metropolitan area in the world, with an estimated population of over 40 million. Unsurprisingly, it’s an Alpha+ city, and is fourth on the Global Cities Index after New York City, London and Paris.

Four of the five highest populated cities in the world appear on the Season 10 calendar (Tokyo, Shanghai, São Paulo and Mexico City), proof if needed that Formula E is dedicated to bringing electric excitement to as many people as possible around the world.

Tokyo skyline

From sleepy village to seat of power

The bustling supercity we know today actually started out as a fishing village, but grew to prominence in the early 1600s when the Tokugawa shogunate named it as its capital. Renamed from Edo to Tokyo (which means ‘Eastern Capital’), the city quickly became one the world’s biggest population hubs, and in the mid-1800s, the imperial capital was moved there from Kyoto.

Well trained

Tokyo is the centre of Japan’s world-famous Shinkansen high-speed rail network. Spreading across the country with almost 3,000km of track to play with, Japan’s bullet trains are allowed to reach 320 km/h (200 mph) in standard operation, but test runs have reached 443 km/h (275 mph) for regular rail, and an eye-watering world record pace of 603km/h (375 mph) for the country’s in-development SCMaglev (magnetic levitation) train stock.

READ MORE: All the key moments from Formula E history

The original Tokaido Shinkansen – the connection between Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka – has carried over 6.4 billion passengers since its opening in 1964: it stands to reason, then, that Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station is the world’s busiest train station.


Food capital

Tokyo is one of the world’s gastronomic powerhouses. As of 2023, the city holds 263 Michelin stars, its fine-dining, sushi, yakitori and streetside restaurants alike taking advantage of easy access to the highest quality fresh produce and fish to create culinary masterpieces across the board. It’s not all prohibitively expensive, either: Michelin-starred ramen at Nakiryu or Konjiki Hototogisu, for instance, will only set you back a little over £6.

Sporting heritage

A city this big demands a vast range of sporting entertainment, and Tokyo doesn’t disappoint. It’s home to three major football clubs (including FC Tokyo), multiple rugby union teams, and a handful of basketball clubs.

Baseball is wildly popular across Japan, and the capital is home to two of the country’s biggest teams, the Yomiuri Giants (the oldest professional sports team in Japan) and the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. The Japan Sumo Association also has its HQ in Tokyo, with three official tournaments held at the Ryōgoku Sumo Hall each year.

In 1964, Tokyo became the first Asian city to host the Summer Olympic Games, and welcomed the Olympic world back for the delayed 2020 Olympiad.

Yakult Swallows

Groundbreaking racing

Tokyo is the 34th different venue to host the championship and is the most eastern city to welcome Formula E to its roads, sitting 16 time zones ahead of fellow host city Portland.

The 2024 Tokyo E-Prix marks the first time an FIA-sanctioned world championship has been held in the city – it’s a monumental undertaking to bring all-electric street racing to Tokyo while conforming to the FIA’s airtight rules and regulations. After years in the making, it’s one of the most anticipated races in Formula E history.

The track

Formula E’s 2.582km street circuit surrounds the Tokyo International Exhibition Centre, Japan’s largest venue also affectionately known as Tokyo Big Sight that sits only a few minutes from the heart of downtown Tokyo. The 18-turn track includes three long straights, technical sequences of tight corners, and high-speed combinations set against the stunning Tokyo metropolis backdrop.


“I can’t wait to be honest, it’s going to be an incredible circuit,” Reigning World Champion Jake Dennis (Andretti) said on the Added Lap show. “I have driven it on the simulator and it’s tight, twisty and bumpy. It will be fun to watch on TV, but I don’t know about the driver's spines! It is going to be challenging with the really fast tight corners. It’s a little bit like Rome really!”

Home comforts

Nissan will be hoping they can channel some home support come raceday. The Japanese manufacturer has been with the series since Season 5, so the team’s homecoming has been a long time coming. Drivers Sacha Fenestraz and Oliver Rowland both have experience of racing in Japan, especially Fenestraz who, along with Jaguar TCS Racing’s Nick Cassidy, started his career in the Super Formula and Super GT series.

Speaking on the return to racing in Japan, Fenestraz said: “I’m extremely excited of course, I did a big part of my career in Japan so going back there will be awesome and I cannot wait for the race. I know how amazing and crazy the Japanese fans are, so that will make it even more special.


“It’s the first time the team and Formula E are going to Japan, so we are looking forward to seeing all the amazing support in the grandstands. It will be almost like a home race for me, the track looks really interesting so I’m excited to go racing!”

Three Japanese-born drivers have previously raced in Formula E. Takuma Sato and Sakon Yamamoto raced in Season 1, while Kamui Kobayashi raced in Season 4 under the flag of Monaco.