Tokyo Station: the iconic gateway of Japan

Mayo Harry | Live the World

November 23, 2022

The gateway to the capital of Japan, Tokyo Station is not only the central station in Tokyo but also a touristic attraction in itself. This densely populated area of office workers is the most important railway hub for Shinkansen (bullet train) and Tokyo’s local lines. In addition to its function as a mega-sized train station, it has become more of a trendy destination with the latest commercial facilities and gourmet spots. For instance, some sixty souvenirs shops sell products often limited to Tokyo Station. There are many photogenic spots inside and outside the station, and the Japanese Royal Imperial Palace is in the walking distance. Typically, oversea visitors just pass through Tokyo Station on their arrival or departure. However, if you have a connection to make at Tokyo Station and have some time to spare, we strongly recommend putting your luggage in the locker and exploring this iconic Japan’s gateway - Tokyo Station and its surroundings.

© iStock/SeanPavonePhoto

Marunouchi red brick building

©iStock/angaku

The red brick building of Tokyo Station (Marunouchi exit) has existed as a national symbol since the Edo period, and the construction of the current building was completed in 1914. It has been designated as a national important cultural property. Inside of this photogenic red brick building, you can see the famous dome ceiling which is overwhelmingly beautiful. There are eight zodiac sculptures in the eight corners inside the dome. Take your time to pay attention to these detailed sculptures and designs. You might find an impressive curved sea eagle with its wings spread.

© iStock/voyata

KITTE Garden

© iStock/yu-ji

If you want a panoramic view of the Tokyo Station area, we recommend the rooftop garden of the shopping complex called KITTE. KITTE Garden offers about 1,500 square meters and is a unique oasis surrounded by high-rises with greenery. It is a great relaxation spot to visit in the daytime but also highly recommended to see the night view of Tokyo Station and the surroundings. In fact, it is one of the best spots for photo-shooting of Tokyo Station's red brick building.  

Tokyo Ramen Street and Okashi Land

© iStock/mizoula

There are many popular ramen shops in Tokyo, but Tokyo Ramen Street in Tokyo Station Ichibangai (underground of Tokyo Station building) is a collection of famous ramen shops. The concept is - you will not get sick of going there every day. In Tokyo Ramen Street, you can find various genres of ramen such as seafood, pork bones, salt ramen, tsukemen (dipping style ramen), and vegan ramen. Check it out as some of the famous ramen shops in Tokyo Ramen Street have been selected in the Michelin Guide Tokyo 2015. Isn’t it really convenient that you do not have to look around for a good ramen shop in the megalopolis? Now you know where to go!

© Wikimedia Commons / 電車(新幹線)でゴー!

Okashi Land, a sweets theme park, is also located in the underground shopping mall, Tokyo Station Ichibangai. You can access Tokyo Okashi Land from Yaesu exit of Tokyo Station. Japan's three major confectionery makers, such as Glico, Morinaga and Calbee, came together to offer freshly made snacks in the store just like a factory. Here, you can also purchase sweets and snacks that can only be bought here at Tokyo Okashi Land.

Kokyo Gaien, the garden of Royal Imperial Palace

© iStock/Tatiana Petrova

Kokyo Gaien is only 10 minutes walking distance from Tokyo Station, and it offers an impressive garden with black pine trees scattered around the vast lawn square. You cannot see the Royal Imperial Palace, but it is a great sightseeing spot to feel Japan's history as there are the Edo Castle remnants. Royal Imperial Palace's main gate, Sakuradamon, is an important architectural structure in Kokyo Gaien, so do not miss it out.

Many tourists go through Tokyo Station without spending time there, as it is the biggest transport hub and the gateway of Japan. However, as you could learn in this story, Tokyo Station is an iconic touristic attraction in itself. Why not spending one full day enjoying this next level station and its surroundings?

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