Tokyo Station is one of the main transport hub located between the Marunouchi business district and the top brand luxury commercial Ginza district, and next to the Imperial Palace grounds. Hub for six of the Shinkansen lines, JR lines and Tokyo metro lines, makes Tokyo Station busiest station in Japan, regarding the number of trains. Not only its location and inside characteristics are worth mention, but the Tokyo Station building itself is a part of the history of Tokyo. Many times I used the rails and passed through Tokyo station to use the Shinkansen or my way to the airport, but it wasn’t until I tried to get out of the station and visiting its surroundings that I got completely lost on my first attempt.
The Tokyo maze
Commuting between the JR lines to the Shinkansen is really easy. Only need to check first any map when you get off the train and follow the signs over your head. It can take a couple of turns to get on the right path but still, can be done. The problem comes when you actually want to go somewhere out of the station, and can even find the exit. Main exits are Yaesu and Marunouchi. This two main directions get divided both into North, Central and South Gates. And then this exit gates have yet another six other divisions each. One might thing the solution is to ask directions, as for example, the Imperial Palace grounds. Never have I been so wrong. The aswer I got first station officer I asked was “go from here to Marunouchi exit”. Well, at least I got 50% of my final destination.
If I get lost
The station has so many things to offer, it is also referred as Tokyo Station City, and you can even walk underground to the surrounding stations. Restaurants, shops and more are inside the mega Tokyo station. And here you can’t even really trust the almighty Google Maps to get out in the right exit, unless you want to walk an extra half hour to get to the other side of the station. First time I needed to get out of the station was to commute on a bus to the airport, and I was in a hurry. Still, I missed the first two departures trying to find the bus stop. Now, when I have to commute at Tokyo Station and spot some lost tourists losing their minds in front of the ticket gates, I remember my first experience, and go see if I can help them. Usually, is just a matter of being at the gate for one of the metro lines with the wrong ticket.
Tokyo Station opened on December 20, 1914 with four platforms. During this early era, the station only had gates on the Marunouchi side. It’s hard to believe now it has 20 lines and more expansion plans are on the plan. During the WWII, specifically the firebombing on May 25, 1945, the station was obliterated, and the bombing shattered the impressive rooftop domes. The station was quickly rebuilt but lost the original aspect. Renovation work to make it look like the original building started in 2009 and took over five years to its actual state. Many other projects have been going on for the latest years, as renovation of the surroundings, shopping facilities and restaurants, exterior tracks for taxi and bus.