Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building Starts Operations on June 3
The red-brick station in Tokyo is slated to reopen on June 3, 2012 after years of renovation. The Marunouchi Building which was designated as an Important Cultural Property of Japan in 2003, has been under renovation since 2007.
The building was built in 1914 and it stands near the Imperial Palace, originally three stories high with a basement floor. The design of the building was believed to be based on the Amsterdam Central Station because of its similarities and European touch. Though the building survived the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, most of the damages came from the bombing raids in 1945, which led city authorities to close it for repairs from 1945 to 1951.
According to Daisuke Nomura, spokesman for East Japan Railway Co., the purpose of the renovation is to improve the structure to last for generations and to restore what the building looked like when it was built in 1914.
According to reports, the work will be completed and will have ticket counters partially operating on June 3. But full operations will be in October once the hotel, museum and a new tourism center for international visitors are completed.
The new refurbished building stretches 335 meters along the station, and measures 20 meters wide with a fourth floor. However, the biggest change is the Tokyo Station Hotel, which will have 150 rooms instead of the original 58 in the 2006 reconstruction plan. To attract more tourists, the hotel even started accepting reservations on May 8, with prices starting from 30,000 yen and the most expensive room priced at 808,500 yen a night.
Junko Hama, the hotel’s spokeswoman, said that the European appearance of the building will definitely attract tourists just like it was when the hotel resumed operations after the 1945 bomb damage was repaired.
Aside from the hotel, the Tokyo Station will serve several subway and commuter train lines, bullet trains and the Narita Express. The building’s first floor will have the JR East Travel Service Center, a multilingual travel information center, and also the Tokyo Station Gallery, which will reopen to feature paintings and other artworks.
Kingo Tatsuno designed the Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building. He studied European architecture in London and worked on other buildings in European style. Because of his background, people think that it was the Amsterdam Central Station that inspired Tatsuno in designing the building.
Photo Credits: iambents via Flickr Creative Commons