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Tokyo Station

Tokyo station
Tokyo Station : A three-story red brick building

It was 1872, only four years after the Meiji restoration, when the first steam train appeared in Japan. The railway, built with the English engineers, was initially 29 kilometers long, linking Shinbashi (Shiodome) and Yokohama. It was soon extended, and Tokyo station was built in Marunouchi in 1914 and made the central station. Tokyo Station was designed by Kingo Tatsuno, who had studied architecture in England, as a three-story red brick building topped with two domes, and resembled Central Station in Amsterdam. The building lost its two domes and third floor in air raids during the Second World War. Though it underwent temporary repair after the war, the building lacks its original beauty. The Tokyo metropolitan government, together with JR-East and other private companies, have decided to renovate it by 2010 and make it look like the original building.

House of many direct retainers of a shogun were there

Marunouchi literally means inside a circle. The area was thus named because it is located inside the circular outer moat of the former Edo Castle. Many direct retainers of a shogun built houses there. The area was abandoned when the houses were removed at the time of Meiji Restoration. Purchased from the Meiji government by the private company Mitsubishi in 1890, the area was developed as the first Western-style business town in Japan. The steady rise in the price of land in the area, even after the collapse of the bubble economy, accelerated the redevelopment of the area and the replacing of older building with high-rises.

Questions From Foreigners

Tokyo Station is similar to Cetral Station in Amsterdam

Q Why was Tokyo Station chosen to be the central station of the Japanese railway system ?
A One of the reasons is its proximity to the Imperial Palace. Also there was a large space available in Marunouchi, once the site of many feudal lords’ residence. A member of the family that founded the company today known as Mitsubishi Corporation purchased the land in Marunouchi from the government and built Japan’s first Western-style brick office.

Q Why does Tokyo Station look like Central Station in Amsterdam ?
A The Meiji government its goal of modernizing and strengthening Japan’s industry and military by learning from Western countries. At that time, modernization meant Westernization. Tokyo Station was designed by the Japanese architect Kingo Tatsuno, who had studied at London University. Therefore, it was only natural that his design should be influenced by Amsterdam’s Central Station, the architectural style of which was then fashionable in Eulope.