In a crowded country where public transport is the most common way for people to commute and generally move around, one of the busiest railway stations in Japan is Tokyo Station, which is located in the Marunouchi district of Chiyoda in Central Tokyo.
Despite the interior of the station being ultra-modern, when approaching the station from the street it appears that you may be travelling back in time. This is because the exterior has been renovated to the classic style that if had just 100 years ago when the station first opened in 1914.
This location was originally selected to be the place of the Tokyo Station as it is right in front of the Imperial Palace. A straight wide road connects the Imperial Palace to the entrance of the station. Thus, the station building has been regarded not just as a transportation facility but as an important symbol of Japanese architecture. Tokyo Station is the starting point of Japan’s railway network and is also the symbol of modern Tokyo whose metropolitan city represents Japan’s modernisation.
Inside, the building is massive, and is easily able to handle the more than 3,000 train movements through the station each day.
This facility is the starting point and terminal for most of Japan’s famous Shinkansen, or Bullet Trains. To give you an idea of just how popular these high speed trains are, the Tokaido Shinkansen carries over 151 million passengers per year and is the world’s busiest high-speed rail line.
The Station also caters for Japan Railways many local and regional commuter trains, plus catering to the Tokyo Metro network. The number of platforms here is extraordinary. There are ten platforms catering to a number of commuter lines, nine Shinkansen platforms, eight sunken commuter platforms, including the platform which services Narita Airport, and a couple of metre platforms too.
For a new visitor to the station, particularly one who does not read or speak Japanese, the station can be very confusing. Not only do millions of commuters use the station each day, but the complex is riddled with shops, snack bars and restaurants, it has its own Daimaru department store, plus its own hotel.
Japanese like order so most of the food stalls are located within precincts that have been given catchy names like Character Street, Tokyo Okashi Land and Ramen Street. So if you do get lost, and least you won’t go hungry.