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.
Finally October has come, and with it, the official reopening of the Tokyo Station building! Many a years have been spent waiting for this and the result is quite exactly what we imagined when they put up the scaffolding in 2003: a gorgeous and exact replication of the original as it was in 1914 when architect Tatsuno Kingo finished the original building. Tatsuno was the first native Japanese architect to create this fully western style grand buildings and his first teacher was the legendary Briton Josiah Conder, and it really shows in this building, which is very similar to Conder’s masterpiece, the Mitsubishi Ichigokan.
The inside of the station has also been cleaned up, with a couple of beautiful new entrance halls with a fantastic new dome ceiling. The dome roofs are quite extraordinary as well. In 1914 Japan’s most famous slate tile manufacturer created 200 000, 30x18cm tiles for the original roof of Tokyo Station, so in 2003 they received an order to clean up the original tiles and also to manufacture replacements for the damaged ones using the original molds. The firm was based just next to Ishinomaki harbor, in Miyagi prefecture, and on the very same day as the new tiles had been individually wrapped and packaged, waiting to be sent out over the weekend, the tsunami struck and destroyed most of the city of Ishinomaki. The tiles were scattered far and wide over the rubble of the city. The surviving company employees immediately after the tsunami receded set out to search for the tiles and during the next couple of week, together with volunteer townspeople managed to find and clean about 45 000 before the remaining tiles were destroyed when heavy machinery started clearing the wreckage of the city. These tiles were sent to the Tokyo Station site and the reconstruction of the roofs could continue. You can see my blog posts from Ishinomaki here, with photos taken three weeks after the tsunami.
The outside of the station has received the new lights that are so popular in Tokyo right now. It works wonderfully well, of course, and large crowds gather in front of the station every dusk to take in Tokyo’s latest tourist attraction. If you pass through Tokyo you simply must take a walk around the Marunouchi side of the station.
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!