1192 Minamoto Yoritomo becomes shogun and establishes his shogunate government in Kamakura.
1333 The Kamakura shogunate falls and the Imperial system is restored.
1603 Tokugawa Ieyasu becomes shogun and establishes his shogunate in Edo (present-day Tokyo), marking the beginning of a 264-year rule by the Tokugawa clan.
1612 Silver mint opens in the Ginza.
1633 Japan closes its doors to foreign trade and subsequently forbids all foreigners from landing in Japan and all Japanese from leaving.
1787 The population of Tokyo reaches 1.3 million.
1853 Commodore Matthew C. Perry of the U.S. Navy persuades the Japanese to sign a trade agreement with the United States.
1867 The Tokugawa regime is overthrown, bringing Japan's feudal era to a close.
1868 Emperor Meiji assumes power, moves his Imperial capital from Kyoto to Tokyo, and begins the industrialization of Japan.
1873 Ueno Park opens to the public as Tokyo's first city park.
1878 Establishment of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
1922 The Imperial Hotel, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, opens in Hibiya, opposite the Imperial Palace.
1923 Tokyo and Yokohama are devastated by a major earthquake in which more than 100,000 people lose their lives.
1937 Japan goes to war with China and conquers Nanking.
1940 Japan forms a military alliance with Germany and Italy.
1941 The Pacific War begins as Japan bombs Pearl Harbor.
1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki suffer atomic bomb attacks; Japan agrees to surrender.
1946 The emperor renounces his claim to divinity; Japan adopts a new, democratic constitution; women gain the right to vote.
1952 The Allied occupation of Japan ends; Japan regains its independence.
1956 Japan is admitted to the United Nations.
1964 The XVIII Summer Olympic Games are held in Tokyo.
1989 Emperor Hirohito dies after a 63-year reign.
1990 Hirohito's son, Akihito, formally ascends the throne and proclaims the new "Era of Peace" (Heisei).
1991 Tokyo's new city hall, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office, designed by Kenzo Tange, opens in Shinjuku.
1992 The worst recession since World War II hits Japan. The Diet approves use of military forces for United Nations peacekeeping efforts.
1993 Liberal Democratic party loses election for the first time since 1955. Akebono, a Hawaiian, becomes first non-Japanese to reach sumo's highest rank of yokozuna.
1995 Japan's sense of security is shaken by the Great Hanshin Earthquake (and the subsequent mishandling of rescue aid), which flattens the city of Kobe, and by the sarin-gas attack upon Tokyo's crowded commuter trains.
1998 The XVIII Winter Olympic Games are held in Nagano.
1999 A nuclear plant 113km (70 miles) northeast of Tokyo suffers Japan's worst nuclear accident, exposing dozens to radiation.
2001 A man storms into an elementary school in Osaka Prefecture, and fatally stabs eight children. Public spirits rise with the birth of a baby girl to the crown prince and princess.
2002 North Korea admits that it kidnapped 11 young Japanese in the 1970s and 1980s to teach Japanese language and customs to North Korean spies.
2003 Tokyo's Shinagawa Station becomes a stop on the Tokaido-Sanyo Line with connections to Kyoto, Hiroshima, and other points west.
2005 Anti-Japanese protests are held throughout China in response to new school textbooks in Japan that gloss over Japan's World War II atrocities.
2007 A full-page ad appearing June 14 in the Washington Post, endorsed by 44 Japanese lawmakers, disputes that women in Asia were forced into prostitution by the Japanese army during World War II.
2009 Sony reports its first annual net loss in 14 years. The Democratic Party of Japan defeats the long-running Liberal Democratic Party in national elections.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
For more information, buy our guidebooks
Frommer's EasyGuide to Tokyo, Kyoto and Western HonshuBuy Now