Tokyo Station:Overview & History
Tokyo station is a huge transportation terminal that links numerous train lines that lead to just about every corner of Japan. Here you can find the popular Shinkansen (Bullet trains), the JR Yamanote Line and other JR Lines, as well as the Tokyo Metro subways. It’s the perfect place to start your journey through the many Tokyo attractions and sightseeing tours.
The building itself, known as the Marunouchi building, has a retro red brick exterior and an elegant interior designed by Kingo Tatsuno, the father of modern architecture in Japan. Undergoing a vast renovation for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, it combines many of the local buildings together via a vast network of underground passages. This way, you can easily get to major commercial areas to shop for Japanese souvenirs and delight in the many restaurants that provide high-class cuisine from around the world.
Tokyo Station:Area Introduction
Inside Tokyo Station
The Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building holds a few secrets if you look closely. During the conservation and restoration efforts, the original bricks for the 1st and 2nd floors were preserved and can be seen by keen observers. However, if you want a more expansive view of the station, we recommend you head on over to the JP Tower Kitte! It has a beautiful view of the station from the upper floors while providing a variety of exclusive souvenir shops, fashion, and restaurants to choose from!
Inside of Tokyo Station itself, there are hundreds of shops spread throughout its many floors. If you are in the mood for some souvenir shopping, we highly suggest you pay a visit to Tokyo Character Street, where you can find the latest goods and more of Japanese popular anime, manga, and TV characters! After you are done shopping, many sure to visit Tokyo Ramen Street, located inside the Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building! This area of the station holds a big enough selection of ramen restaurants to keep you coming back every day to try new flavors and specialties of ramen. After you finish slurping up some delicious ramen, finish the day off by heading to the nearby Tokyo Station Gallery, which opened its doors in 1998. The exhibitions here vary depending on the time of year and cover a variety of themes. Up on the second floor, you can clearly feel the historical ambiance left by the original brick walls that have stood for over 100 years!
The Marunouchi District
Just outside of the Tokyo Marunouchi Station’s west exit lies the Marunouchi area of Tokyo. Here you can find the popular Marunouchi naka-dori, which connects Yurakucho and Otemachi in a beautiful modern day atmosphere of classy shops and the Marunouchi Street Gallery. This area is especially spectacular during the winter as illuminations line the street’s 650 trees in an atmosphere that resembles fantasy. In this same area, why not learn more about places to visit in Tokyo and the many Tokyo attractions by taking the Sky Bus Tokyo on a tour around the city? This double-decker open bus is a great opportunity to get your bearing and enjoy a panoramic view of the cityscape.
After you return to the Marunouchi area, you can visit the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum which opened its doors in 2010 and offers exhibits and display from the late 19th century to the early 20th century. Next, make sure you don’t miss out on viewing the Imperial Palace which is located only minutes away! This historic landmark is still used today by the imperial family and has been used since 1868. Here you can take in the beautiful scenery of gardens such as Ninomaru Garden and the Nijubashi bridge, which are included in the Imperial Palace tour! Just a little north of the palace, you can find the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. This museum opened in 1952 and is Japan’s first national art museum and has an exhibition space of 4,500 square meters! Its collection consists of 200 artworks with a wide range of genres. Make sure to visit the “room with a view” on the rooftop terrace to enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the Imperial Palace!
The Nihonbashi District
Located on the East side of the Tokyo train station you can find Nihonbashi, or Nihombashi as you might find on a Tokyo train map or two. This area was established around the same time as the Edo Shogunate in the 1600s and is the starting point of the Edo Five Routes, becoming a hub for people and products from all over the country. To start your journey in this area, we recommend visiting the Bank of Japan Currency Museum, only a minute walk from Mitsukoshimae Station and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo National Film Center where you can learn more about various aspects of Japan’s past.
Next, pay a visit to the Mitsui Memorial Museum, which exhibits Japanese and Oriental artworks that span a history of over 300 years! The main collection consists of Japanese tea ceremony utensils, as well as 4,000 paintings, calligraphy works, swords, and more! Six of the objects in the collection are registered as national treasures and special workshops are regularly held. By this time, the sun will begin to set, so why not take an evening river cruise and enjoy the Tokyo nightscape through the famous landmarks of Tokyo which include the Tokyo Skytree ®, Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo Tower, and more!
Tokyo Station:Must-See Events
Early November to mid-February: Marunouchi Illuminations
The about 200 trees lining the 1.2km long Marunouchi Nakadori Street and Otemachi Nakadori Street, dotted with brand shops and high-end spots, are illuminated beautifully with numerous colorful lights.
Access from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station
From Narita Airport Station (Terminal 1), take the JR Narita Line Narita Express 20 bound for Ofuna. After about 54 minutes, get off at Tokyo Station.
Access from Haneda Airport to Tokyo Station
From Haneda Airport International Terminal Station (Keikyu), take the Keikyu Airport Line (Limited Express “Kaitoku”) bound for Aoto. After about 13 minutes, get off at Shinagawa Station and transfer to JR Keihin-Tohoku Line (Limited Express) bound for Minami-Urawa. After about 10 minutes, get off at Tokyo Station.
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