Tokyo Station 東京駅
Tokyo Station is a broad, imposing brick building in the Marunouchi business district just east of the Imperial Palace. Tokyo Station serves numerous lines, most notably as the terminal station for several shinkansen bullet train lines.
History of Tokyo Station
Tokyo Station's distinctive three story, red-brick facade on the Marunouchi side of Tokyo Station dates back to 1914, when the building was first opened after 6 years of construction, with four platforms.
The design of Tokyo Station is said to be based on that of Amsterdam Centraal Station in The Netherlands, which opened in 1889. Tokyo Station was badly damaged during World War II but underwent a major renovation, completed in 2012, returning the buildings to their former glory. Further major improvements are currently underway at Tokyo Station, the major project being to make the station barrier-free by 2020, the year the Olympic Games is due to be hosted in Tokyo.
Tokyo Station Facilities
The Japan Rail Pass Exchange Corner is close to the Yaesu North Ticket Gate and the entrance to the Tohoku, Yamagata, Akita, Joetsu and Nagano Shinkansen.
Tokyo Station has two information centers with English-speakers available in the Central Passage and also the Park Exit, open 9am-6pm. There are many shops, restaurants, cafes, left-luggage coin lockers in Tokyo Station's underground area. There is also direct underground access from the station to the Shin Marunouchi Building.
Trains From Tokyo Station
Tokyo Station is the busiest train station in Japan in terms of the daily number of trains (about 4,000), and third busiest in terms of daily passenger numbers. Three types of train depart and arrive Tokyo Station:
Shinkansen at Tokyo Station
Tokyo Station serves the following shinkansen (bullet train) lines:
- Tokaido Shinkansen going west to Yokohama, the seaside resort of Atami, Shizuoka (home to Mt. Fuji), historical Kyoto and energetic Osaka
- Tohoku Shinkansen going north (and a little east) all the way to Sendai, Morioka, Hachinohe and Aomori
- Yamagata Shinkansen going north (and a little east) to Shinjo in Yamagata, on the Japan Sea
- Akita Shinkansen going north (and a little east) to Akita
- Joetsu Shinkansen going north (and a little west) to Echigo-Yuzawa and rice-country Niigata
- Hokuriku Shinkansen going north-west to Nagano in the Japan Alps, and the "little Kyoto" that is Kanazawa
Ordinary Railway Lines at Tokyo Station
Tokyo Station serves the following regular railway lines:
- Narita Express connecting Narita International Airport by express train with various destinations in greater Tokyo
- JR Yamanote Line doing a loop of central Tokyo
- Keihin-Tohoku Line going from Omiya in Saitama prefecture, through Tokyo, down to Yokohama
- Chuo Main Line going west from Tokyo all the way to Nagoya
- Sobu Main Line going east from Tokyo all the way to Choshi in Chiba
- Yokosuka Line going south (and slightly west) to Kurihama in Kanagawa prefecture
- Keiyo Line going east around Tokyo Bay to Tokyo Disneyland (Maihama Station) and Soga
Subway Lines at Tokyo Station
The Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line is the only subway line at Tokyo station.
However, the following subway stations are walking distance from Tokyo Station, accessible by underground passageway:
- Otemachi Station on the the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line (C-11), Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line (Z-08), Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line (M-18), Toei Mita Line (I-09), and Tokyo Metro Tozai Line (T-09)
- Nijubashimae Station (about 200 meters west) on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line (C-10)
- Yurakucho Station (about 500 meters south) on the Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line (Y18), the Keihin-Tohoku Line and the JR Yamanote Line
- Hibiya Station (about 800 meters south-west) on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line (C-09), the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line (H-07), and the Toei Mita Line (I-08)
- Ginza Station (about 850 meters south) on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line (G-09), Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line (H-08), and Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line (M-16)
- Higashi-Ginza Station (about 1 km south-east) on the Toei Asakusa Line (A-11) and Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line (H-09)
Buses From Tokyo Station
Tokyo Station is also an important bus terminus or stop for bus services to various destinations in the Kanto region (such as Narita International Airport and Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture), and overnight highway buses to Kansai (western Japan) including Kyoto and Osaka, Tohoku (northern Japan) and Chubu, the area around Nagoya.
Most Tokyo Station buses arrive at and depart from the Yaesu Exit on the eastern side of Tokyo Station (i.e., the side with the big awning). Some buses leave a little further south on the Yaesu Exit side, from the Marunouchi Kajibashi Parking Express Bus Terminal. There are buses to Narita International Airport from both the Marunouchi and Yaesu exits of Tokyo Station and these other pick up points: Mandarin Oriental Tokyo and the Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo. Journey time is about 2 hours. From the Yaesu Exit there are regular buses to Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture. Journey time is 1 hour, 15 minutes.
Around Tokyo Station
Within easy walking distance of the Marunouchi exit of Tokyo Station are a number of attractions including Kitte Marunouchi, the Mitsubishi Ichigokan and Marunouchi Brick Square, Tokyo International Forum, the Oazo Building, the Marunouchi Building, the Tei Park Communications Museum, the Idemitsu Museum of Arts (Tel: 03 5777 8600), Gyoko-dori Underground Gallery, the Imperial Theater, the exclusive, tree- and statue-lined shopping street of Naka-dori and the Babasaki Moat of the Imperial Palace.
Tokyo Sky Tours of Tokyo start from outside the Mitsubishi Building, from where visitors can enjoy bus tours of central Tokyo including rides on double-decker buses.
The streets in the area around Tokyo Station are no-smoking.
Hotels Near Tokyo Station
The landmark Tokyo Station Hotel located inside Tokyo Station was part of the station's recent restoration, and is a listed Important Cultural Property in classical European style with facilities and hospitality to match. Other hotels convenient for Tokyo Station include the Marunouchi Hotel in the Oaza Building, the Metropolitan Hotel Marunouchi, very close to Tokyo Station and the deluxe Shangri-la Hotel.
In Yaesu the Hotel Ryumeikan is located in a 15 storey tower with great views while the Pearl Hotel Yaesu is popular with both Japanese and foreign guests. The Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi is convenient for Tokyo International Forum.