TOKYO STATION & YAESU
Since being built in 1914, JR Tokyo Station has been a transportation hub of Tokyo and also for travelers from all across Japan. JR Tokyo Station is the base station point for “Nobori” trains traveling “up” or inbound to Tokyo, the capital, and “Kudari” trains traveling “down” or outbound from Tokyo Station. JR Tokyo Station is also a base for the six Shinkansen Bullet Train lines. Approximately 4,000 trains arrive and depart at Tokyo Station every day, which is the largest number in all of Japan. There are exits on the Marunouchi side and on the Yaesu side. The Marunouchi side has a venerable red brick station building which is often shown on TV programs and in magazines. This side is close to the Imperial Palace and the famous business district Ote-machi. Marunouchi, which has been a traditional business district, has been under remarkable redevelopment for some time now. Designer brand label shops stand in a row along Naka Dori Street. With new buildings such as Marunouchi Building, Shin-Marunouchi Building and OAZO, Marunouchi has been re-created as a fashionable town.
The Yaesu Exit is on the east side of the station and includes the direct exit to the Shinkansen. The name Yaesu derives from a Dutch person. Jan Joosten van Loodensteijin was an interpreter for Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616) and he was given a house by Ieyasu in this area. The pronunciation of his given names “Jan Joosten” changed into “Yaesu.”
There are many offices including those of trading companies in this area. Compared to the Marunouchi area, buildings are older and the area gives off the impression of being a more quiet area. However, the area has also been undergoing redevelopment and fashionable new town “Tokyo Station City” will make its appearance in November, 2007. New high-rise buildings will stand along the street and a sophisticated department store will open. “Ekinaka” or the underground mall under the station will be re-created. Now Yaesu is not only a transportation hub, but also an interesting place to visit.
Two High-rise Towers
Two high-rise buildings which are 200 meters tall have been constructed and were opened on the 6th of November. Gran Tokyo South Tower featuring 42 floors above ground and four basement levels is on the right hand side if your back is facing the Yaesu Exit. Gran Tokyo North Tower featuring 43 floors above ground and four basement levels is on the left hand side. Yaesu will now be full of the hustle of bustle of business people.
Gran Tokyo North Tower contains Daimaru Department Store (Daimaru Tokyo) from the first basement to the 13th floor on the ground and offices above the 17th floor.
Daimaru Tokyo targets sophisticated adults as its customer demographic. The main point of attraction is the store’s rich assortment of cosmetics. There are 43 cosmetic brand shops on a spacious floor, including brands that are opening their branches in a department store for the first time. The floor is divided into five areas such as foreign cosmetics for total treatment, foreign skin-care cosmetics, makeup cosmetics, domestic brand cosmetics and lifestyle consultation area. Everyone including tourists and working women who work in the area around the department store are sure to be satisfied with the rich assortment on offer.
The concept of the restaurant floor is a place where adults get together. Four well established restaurants such as Nihombashi Isesada specializing in eel, Nagasaka Sarashina Nunoya-tahe specializing in buckwheat noodles, Shinjuku Tsunahachi specializing in tempura, and Nihombashi Sushitetsu specializing in sushi are housed in an old Japanese terrace-style house in “Edo Shinise (old Tokyo’s time-honored restaurants) Zone.” In the “Kyoto Zone,” you can enjoy three shops representing Kyoto prefecture.
The former Daimaru Tokyo was popular as a convenient place to buy delicious lunch boxes before you ride the Shinkansen and long-distance trains. The redesigned Daimaru has strengthened its high quality services. You can buy selected food and liquor on a food floor and choose goods in accordance with your lifestyle and values on fashion floors. Daimaru Tokyo is now a place where you can enjoy “cool” shopping and dining.
Gran Tokyo South Tower mainly consists of offices but has a restaurant mall on the first basement level.
Underground Mall around the Station
When you go out through the Yaesu Exit and down to the basement level, you will find a north-south underground mall which houses restaurants and many souvenir shops. The mall fills with business people working in neighboring areas at lunchtime and at night, and is also crowded with tourists on holidays. There are many interesting and attractive shops such as a sushi restaurant serving sushi at reasonable prices, standing bars where business people drop in after work and a character goods shop selling popular TV program character goods. The mall is being refurbished and will open again in March 2008. The TV program character shop in “Tokyo Ichibangai Mall” will change to “Tokyo Character Street” with a wider assortment and you can buy TV stations’ original goods and popular character goods. The mall is recommended as a good place to purchase your souvenirs from.
Underground Mall in the Station
Gransta, which is an underground mall in the station, just opened on October 25th and its 47 shops boast high-quality goods. You can buy and easily enjoy prepared dishes, lunch boxes, sweets and fashionable utensils in famous shops as well as having a good time at bars which serve a kind of healthy vinegar tonic and fine Japanese sake. For tourists, one of the most attractive points of the station is there is a cloakroom and currency exchange counter (9am to 8pm). You can feel as if you were in a high-class department store, not in the station.
Enjoy Kyoto, Hokkaido, a bookstore and a Supreme Hotel!
Kyoto-kan is in the Yanmar Building in front of the Yaesu Central Exit and you can buy souvenirs and craft works from Kyoto. Hokkaido Foodist is on the south of Kyoto-kan. You can not only buy delicious Hokkaido foods to take with you but also eat some there if you like at the eat-in corner. Farther on the south side, there is Yaesu Book Center where newspapers from all over the world are available. Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo located at Marunouchi is a first-class urban resort hotel, situated on the south side of Gran Tokyo South Tower. Your enjoyable shopping and dining experience starts from as soon as you arrive at Tokyo Station.
* LIGHTPIA 2007 is an illumination event, held mainly around the Marunouchi Exit at Tokyo Station. The duration of this event is 12 days, from December 20th-31st.