Marunouchi is a business district nestled right between Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace. However at night after office workers have gone home, Marunouchi turns into a serene walking course elegantly lit with warm champagne-colored lights.
Here is a virtual evening stroll, with photos and a soundtrack with music carefully selected for the occasion, through the beautiful streets of Marunouchi, your destination during your next visit to Tokyo, Japan.
Tokyo Station was first built in 1914, on the year WWI started. Made of bricks and in the Queen Anne architectural style, the station building was a symbol of Japan’s modernization and joining the ranks of the world’s top nations. The characteristic twin dome gives it a unique facade.
After being severely damaged in 1945 during WWII, the domes were lost. However the station was rebuilt in 2012 in the original, nostalgic design it once had.
The plaza leads straight to the Imperial Garden, and the street is always kept clean as it is the pathway the imperial family would use whenever they are to use the train to visit prefectures outside Metropolitan Tokyo.
Therefore, there is an entrance right in the middle of the Tokyo Station building that is not open to the public; it is reserved for the emperor.
KITTE – JP Post Building
On your left after coming out of the Marunouchi exits of Tokyo Station, you will see an elegantly lit white building, the KITTE commercial complex.
The bottom 5 stories are a remnant of Tokyo Central Post Office building which was first built in 1933, and leaves a hint of modernized Tokyo’s prosperity before WWII. The remaining 32 floors were built on top in 2012 as an office building, thereby allowing the old and new Tokyo coexist in one place.
The 6th floor balcony provides a great view of Tokyo Station, its plaza and its busy traffic of trains. Admission is free.
The KITTE shopping complex features shops selling stylish made-in-Japan products and a variety of quality restaurants serving excellent Japanese food. Highly recommended destination for window shopping, souvenir shopping and dining.
Shin Marunouchi Building
Across the plaza from Tokyo Station are two skyscrapers: the one on the left with a white facade for the bottom 5 floors is Marunouchi Building, and the one on the right with a black facade is Shin-Marunouchi Building.
UK architectural firm Hopkins Architects managed to merge classiness and practicality in designing Shin-Marunouchi Building, as it houses offices and shops while being located in the Imperial neighborhood.
Gyoukou Dōri Street
What starts as a wide-open plaza in front of Tokyo Station extends all the way to the Imperial Garden as Gyoukou Dōri Street. A presentation of credentials ceremony is held whenever a new foreign ambassador is appointed, he/she parades through Gyoukou Dōri with guards on horseback to travel to the Imperial Palace where the Emperor waits.
The street gives a breath to Tokyo citizens with its space and greenery, allowing aspiring dancers to practice and engaged couples to have wedding photo shoots at night, while still maintaining a formal and tranquil atmosphere for pedestrians who wish for a quiet evening walk.
The Imperial Gardens
The Imperial Palace Gardens contradicts itself by being named so, as the vast space and beautifully maintained parks of turf, Japanese pine and stone are all for the people. Admission is free everywhere.
The Wadakura Fountain Park is a square made almost entirely of stone and water. The fountains are lit up at night in the signature champagne color of Marunouchi.
Naka Dōri Street
Naka-dōri Street is a shopping alley running behind the two Marunouchi Buildings, and is a must-go for couples looking to spend a quality evening during the later”ber” months.
See you in Marunouchi!
Sincerely, The Metro-classic Japanese