I have posted photos of the Tokyo Station building quite a few times, but here’s one from a new angle. The old Central Post Office was recently reopened under the name Kitte with a new roof terrace garden offering these views over Tokyo station. It was a rainy day with bad visibility when I took these so someday soon I hope to go back and get some better shots to show. You can read more about Kitte here.
The latest shopping/restaurant/office tower commercial in Tokyo is the Kitte, in the Japan Post Tower just opposite Tokyo station in Marunouchi. The only thing that remains of the original 1933 main post office building is the facade and a few of the original rooms spared, apart from that it is all new, full of restaurants and shops. Unlike the other commercial buildings in Marunouchi, Tokyo’s financial center, this one is more focused on showcasing the some of Japan’s local foods, with restaurants themed on regional cooking. The best part however, is the roof garden, where you get a really nice view of Tokyo station from the side. I’ll post some of those pictures later! Now that most of the Marunouchi area has been revamped, I wonder which building is next in line for a facelift?
The name Kitte is of course a play on the Japanese word for stamp, as well as the imperative form of the verb “to come”, as in “come here!” You can find their English language information site here.
When the first Tokugawa shogun took over Edo in the first years of the 17th century he ordered the “beefing up” of the city castle’s defenses by expanding and improving on the moat. To this day central Tokyo is characterized by the old defensive moats that he ordered constructed even though they aren’t connected anymore and some parts of it have been filled in or dried out. Usually in order to get a moat you dig out a circle or square around the area you want to defend but back in the Edo era Tokyo the land was much different, a series of swamps, islands, rivers and inlets led all the way to what is today the Imperial palace in the middle of Tokyo. The biggest inlet, the Hibiya Inlet was partly filled in by the land from digging the moat around other parts of the castle, thus creating two large defensive moats using some of the old inlet.
I took this photo of the Hibiyabori, or the Hibiya Moat. This water used to be an inlet from the Pacific Ocean and the land that I stood on was shifted manually from an altogether different part of what was to become the Edo castle moat. It is interesting to imagine how much Tokyo has changed in the last 500 years, and to compare with the changes that is still going on and that you can see by yourself every day. The most major change in recent history is probably the Odaiba district which was nothing but flat ocean, a couple of defensive gun batteries and a garbage dump until the 1990s. It is still possible to see land reclamation on a large scale by traveling on the Yurikamome line around Odaiba. If you are into history, geography and civil engineering it could be a fun day out armed with the right set of historical maps and a compass. Or, you could at least go for an extended walk in the Hibiya and Marunouchi districts and enjoy how beautiful Tokyo can be at night!
No matter how long I live in Tokyo I still can’t pass through Marunouchi and the Tokyo Station area without going up to the fifth floor balcony on Marubiru and taking a photo of one of my favorite Tokyo views! The work on the station building is coming along nicely, I really love this fantastic piece of architecture! While up there I also got a few snaps of close ups of the surrounding. The taxi area was pretty crowded as usual, but I am sure, this being Japan, that they have some sort of fair system in place. If you’re in the area, I really recommend catching this view!