Tokyobling's Blog

Tokyo Station Reopening

Posted in Places by tokyobling on October 4, 2012

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.


24 Responses

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  1. Emma Reese said, on October 4, 2012 at 4:37 am

    Ooooo, it’s finally done! It’s so gorgeous inside and outside! And such lights! I never knew about the story of the tiles. I must tell my husband as he has been to Ishinomaki as a volunteer twice and has some dear friends.


    • tokyobling said, on November 16, 2012 at 3:49 am

      It looks great indeed! For weeks after the opening there were crowds of people taking pictures, it is finally lessening somewhat… (^-^;)


  2. pk1154 said, on October 4, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Watching a feature about Tokyo Station just now on NHK World. The restoration was so beautifully done. So detailed, so meticulous. The dedication involved! Everything is ready for the centenary in 2014.


    • tokyobling said, on November 16, 2012 at 3:49 am

      Indeed, when Japanese do something important like this they do it perfectly! (^-^)


  3. johnencinas said, on October 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Aside from a quick layover, I’ve never walked on Japanese soil, I would like to visit the country one day and make sure to visit the Tokyo Station.


  4. dafarmer said, on October 5, 2012 at 4:49 am

    LOL I love how everyone takes a moment to glance up at the ceiling!


  5. JUURI said, on October 5, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    It’s spectacular and gorgeous and absolutely breathtaking! How amazing that it’s open now just after we’d seen it in construction just a few months ago. I didn’t know the tiles were from Ishinomaki. It adds another layer of poignant symbolism of rising from disaster. Wow.


    • tokyobling said, on November 16, 2012 at 3:52 am

      It really does. I wish it had finished earlier for you to see in real life! (^-^;)


  6. Jean said, on October 6, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    I’m sure the restoration was all worth it –it is a busy hub that will be appreciated.


    • tokyobling said, on November 16, 2012 at 3:54 am

      Thanks! Yes, it looks great. It will surely impress the visiting dignitaries preparing for the visit at the emperor’s palace as well!


  7. pac said, on October 7, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    When I was the last time in Tokyo this march, I could see that it would be very beautiful.
    On some areas the ceilings were uncovered.

    I just can´t remember if I saw Tokyo Station uncovered ever. My first visit there was in late 2003. When did the restoration begin?


    • tokyobling said, on November 16, 2012 at 3:55 am

      I think the restoration had started already in 2003, I can barely remember what the old station looked like, and I can’t find any old photos… (^-^;)


  8. BlueFireSweetly said, on October 8, 2012 at 3:58 am

    I thought the construction would never finish!

    I haven’t had a chance to stop by since the grand unveiling, but the interior of the dome is gorgeous… (and you must have brought one heck of a wide angle lens inside with you for that 5th shot!)

    By the way, where did you take the first photo in this series from? Is there somewhere you can go outside from the Marunouchi building?


    • tokyobling said, on November 16, 2012 at 4:00 am

      Haha… yes, I think it was on 17mm full frame! (^-^) The first photo was taken from the balcony on the fifth floor of the Marunouchi building, the Marubiru! (^-^) It is a great place! You’ll find it easily between the restaurants up there.


  9. Allison said, on October 8, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Wow– I have ONLY known Tokyo Station to have all of that scaffolding… (I lived in Japan from 2003-2006 and have been back to visit once a year since then.) Thank you for your gorgeous photos of what it looks like now! Can’t wait to be seeing it in person again.


    • tokyobling said, on November 16, 2012 at 4:03 am

      Thank you for the kind comment! (^-^) I hope you can come back to visit soon again!


  10. Widya said, on October 12, 2012 at 4:36 am

    WOW! Have been into the main hall during renovation September last year. Wish I could visit again someday….. thanks for sharing this gorgeous building with the world!


    • tokyobling said, on November 16, 2012 at 4:24 am

      You must come again and visit now that it is finished! (^-^) Thank you for the kind comment!


  11. Vocalonation said, on January 15, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Where did you go to get those elevated shots of the station like the very first picture and the last one? I want to see if I can get something similar!


    • tokyobling said, on January 15, 2013 at 7:30 pm

      Hi! It’s easy, just go up to the first restaurant floor of the Marubiru and there’s a balcony there, I think that is the 4th or 5th floor of the building. Good luck! (^-^)


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