Toshima (豊島区, Toshima-ku) is a special ward in Tokyo, Japan. It is one of the eight central wards of the Tokyo Metropolitan area. Located in the northern area of Tokyo, Toshima is bordered by the wards of Nerima, Itabashi, and Kita in the north, and Nakano, Shinjuku and Bunkyo in the south.
The ward was founded on March 15, 1947, and reached a peak resident population of 370,000 in 1965. The population has continued to decline and as of May 1, 2015, the ward had an estimated population of 298,250, with a population density of 22,920 persons per km2. During the day the population swells with commuters, resulting in a daytime population of around 378,475.
The total land area of Toshima is 13.01 km2, sitting on a moderate plateau with a difference of 28 m between the ward's highest and lowest points. Approximately 47% of Toshima's land is residential, and 20% is commercial and public areas.
Although Toshima is a ward, it is referred to as a city. The ward offices are located in Ikebukuro, which is also the commercial and entertainment center of Toshima.
With a non-Japanese population of 19,868, or 7.42% of the total, Toshima is one of the most international wards in Tokyo. Of the foreign population, 56% is of Chinese descent, 20% is of Korean descent, with the rest being of primarily Filipino and European descent.
Toshima was formed in 1932 by the merger of four towns, Sugamochō, Nishi-sugamochō, Takadachō, and Nagasakichō, bordered by the quickly expanding former city of Tokyo.
The area evolved from a suburban agricultural district in the Edo period to the urban commercial center that it is today. The growth was fueled by the construction of various rail lines built in the Meiji and Taishō periods.
The former Somei village, now part of Toshima, was a center of plant nurseries, and is the birthplace of the Somei Yoshino, Japan's most popular variety of sakura (cherry blossom tree). The variety was developed at the end of the Edo period.
Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre: Near Ikebukuro Station, this facility built in 1990 is one of the newer spots in Toshima and has a concert hall with regular performances and art exhibitions. There is a stage in the open space out front and it is a popular place for amateur musicians during the warmer months.
Sugamo Jizodori: The shopping district known as "old ladies' Harajuku."
Togenuki Jizo Street in Sugamo
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space
Fukuro Matsuri: This festival started in 1968 and features a parade of mikoshi (portable shrines) and a yassa dance. It is held on September 14 and 15 of each year outside the west exit of Ikebukuro Station and attracts as many as 200,000 people.
Otsuka Awa Odori Dance: A large summer event gathering 150,000 people, this festival features groups performing and competing with colorful costumes and dancing in front of JR Ōtsuka Station.
Nagasaki Shishimai (lion dance): The lion dance is performed every year on the second Sunday of May at Nagasaki Shrine.