Tokyo Ghost Stations – Manseibashi
Part two of this post is here, showing the inside of the renovated station.
Tokyo is world famous for its extensive network of trains, bullet trains, subways, street cars, trams and trolley buses. You can’t walk far in Tokyo without finding some sort of public transport on rails. Considering that Tokyo has been nearly destroyed several times over in the last couple of centuries it is not surprising to learn there are quite a few “ghost stations” in the city, stations that for one reason or other was abandoned, destroyed or even just forgotten.
The biggest and most famous of these ex-stations was the massive Manseibashi station very near today’s Akihabara station. Manseibashi station is named after the nearby bridge which was named by the then governer of Tokyo, Tadahiro Okubo, who wanted to call it Yorozuyobashi (Yorozuyo Bridge), however, the name was too complicated even for the locals, so an alternative reading of the kanji was used instead, and morphed into the present name, Manseibashi.
The station was built in impressive red brick, almost as grand as its little brother, Tokyo Station, and opened in 1912 as an extension into the city from Tachikawa – Shinjuku line. Both Manseibashi station and Tokyo station was designed with the grand Amsterdam station in mind by the same architect, Tatsuno Kingo. The original Manseibashi station building was almost completely destroyed in the great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and only the station platform was left standing. The station was rebuilt to a much smaller scale, since both Kanda and Akihabara station had opened in the meantime and the Manseibashi station was seeing fewer and fewer passengers. The subway system also expanded, and a subway station with the same name was built on the other side of the river but was closed in 1931. The train station was closed and torn down in 1943.
Today the entrance to the subway station is hidden and even if you are riding on the Ginza line between Suehirocho and Kanda stations the old Manseibashi subway station is extremely hard to spot.
The Chuo line trains continued using the old Manseibashi station tracks though, and if you were alert you could spot the weed overgrown remains of the old station’s platform as you neared Tokyo station on the Chuo line.
The massive ghost platform stood abandoned in the middle of Tokyo for over 60 year until last year, when renovation started on the old platform, and the galleries and basements underneath. It opened a few weeks ago but before I blog about that, I wanted to show you the old derelict platform as it looked in April 2013. More photos of the newly renovated platform gallery to come!
The first photo is taken on the Manseibashi Bridge. The third photo is of one of the many old electronics store that used to be all over Akihabara. The fourth photo is from the spot where the old police box, koban, used to be. It moved in 1993 to an open air architecture museum and is open to the public. The fifth photo is of one of the first post-war high rises in the area, it was hugely popular with youngsters back in the good old days and many older Tokyoites get a bit sentimental if you take them to one of the old restaurants that are still open.