The Tokyo Stock Exchange is the largest exchange in all of Japan. The best time to visit is at 1:30 p.m. on weekdays — that’s when the Exchange offers a free, English-language tour to visitors (they require that you make reservations in advance; however, we showed up about fifteen minutes early and were easily accommodated). You will spend time watching the trading on the floor (after a short video explaining some of the history and technical aspects of the Exchange). The tour finishes at the Exhibition Plaza (home of the way cool Hand Signal Robot) where visitors can continue to watch the action or spend time with interactive displays.
Hard to believe, even the Japanese traders take their coats and ties off early on Friday afternoon. Yet another broken stereotype. It should be noted that the “Hand Signal Robot” did not earn his stamp while we were present. He sat there motionless as we began punching buttons on his control. The college kids from Portland (who thought we must be college kids from California) were stunned when I announced that this fine piece of Japanese technology was not functioning properly. I pronounced it to be a “hardware problem”. No one bothered to question my authority. Kids these days!
More recently the Stock Exchange came to a standstill on November 1st, 2005 due to a software glitch. After serveral weeks of investigation the Exchange announced that they were cutting the pay of various executives by as much as 50% for a period of six months.