Old Shimbashi Station 旧新橋停車場
Shimbashi Station History
The original Shimbashi Station was the terminus of Japan's first railway line that ran from Shimbashi via Shinagawa to Yokohama and opened 14 October, 1872. The original western-style station building was designed by American architect R. P. Bridgens (1819-1891) and symbolized Japan's modernization during the Meiji Period of Japanese history. The station was fully operational from December, 1872.
Unfortunately, Bridgens' station building did not survive the fires that swept the Japanese capital following the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake and what was left of the station buildings and platforms were demolished in the 1930's as the station changed from a passenger to a freight terminal.
In 2003, Old Shimabashi Station, a modern reconstruction of the original 19th century Shimbashi Station, was opened as a museum to commemorate Japan's first railway and includes interesting exhibits from those times. A piece of the original track made in Darlington, UK, stands outside the museum with a reconstruction of the first platform.
Old Shimbashi Station Exhibits
Old Shimbashi Station Museum is on two floors. As you enter, the upper floor contains temporary exhibitions as well as video installations on the history of the Shiodome area and the railway development here since the 1870's. The videos are the only information available in English, but are very comprehensive and well-produced.
The lower first floor, down the stairs, has a glass floor revealing the original foundations of the station and a number of exhibits found during the excavations of the area in the 1980's and 90's. These include clay pipes and glass bottles made in Britain that were used by the British train drivers and other railway workers employed by the Japanese government at the dawn of the Japanese railways.
Other exhibits include ceramic teapots sold at Japanese stations in the 19th century, metal rail fittings, an original luggage token and a large ceramic tile reproduction of Hiroshige III's original wood block print of Shimbashi Station.
Old Shimbashi Station Access
5-3 Shimbashi 1-chome
Tel: 03 3572 1872
Hours: 11am-6pm; closed Monday or Tuesday if Monday is a national holiday.
The building also contains a branch of the Ginza Lion beer hall and restaurant chain.
Old Shimbashi Station faces Showa-dori street and is located just behind Shiodome City Center and adjacent to the Panasonic Tokyo Shiodome Building with its Shiodome Museum Rouault and showrooms of Panasonic/Matsushita products.
The nearest station to the Old Shimbashi Station is the modern Shimbashi Station.
Hotels in Shiodome, Tokyo
Hotels in Shiodome close to Old Shimbashi Station include the Park Hotel, the Conrad Tokyo, the Mitsui Garden Hotel Shiodome Italia-gai, the Dai-Ichi Hotel Tokyo north of the station, the Hotel Villa Fontaine Shiodome and the APA Shinbashi Onarimon.