The special wards (特別区 tokubetsu-ku?) are 23 municipalities that together make up the core and the most populous part of Tokyo, Japan. Together, they occupy the land that was originally the Tokyo City before it was abolished in 1943 to become part of the newly created Tokyo Metropolis. The special wards' structure was established under the Japanese Local Autonomy Law and is unique to Tokyo.
In Japanese, they are commonly known as the 23 wards (23区 nijūsan-ku?). Confusingly, all wards refer to themselves as a city in English, but the Japanese designation of special ward (tokubetsu ku) remains unchanged. Moreover, in everyday English, Tokyo as a whole is also referred to as a city. Thus, the closest English equivalents for the special wards would be the London boroughs, and this can help to understand their structures and functions.
This is merely a grouping of special wards; there is no associated single government body of wards separate from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.