Thursday 11 October 2012

Looking good at almost 100


First-time visitors to Tokyo often ask where the centre of Tokyo is. Answers vary according to the person who you are talking to but the plain fact is that there is no one true centre for this sprawling metropolis. However, if you were to go back around 100 years, there was one station that represented the centre of the city in many ways: Tokyo Station.

One of reconstructed domes atop Tokyo Station brings style and panache to the whole area
Currently surrounded by shiny high-rise buildings and hundreds upon hundreds of companies, Tokyo Station’s roots go back to 1914. The station first opened with four platforms, two of which served electric trains and two served non-electric trains. However, it was the station’s iconic three-storey red-brick building housing two domes designed by leading Japanese architect Kingo Tatsuno that impressed people most at the time. Rumoured (falsely) to have been modelled on Amsterdam’s main station, the building – 335 metres in length, 20 metres in width and 45 metres in height – was for the time an ultra-modern construction that way ahead of anything else that existed at that time in Japan.

On October 1, 2012, the newly refurbished Marunouchi side of the building re-opened after 5 years of restoration work. Many parts of this landmark have been restored to their former glory. In particular, the domes that were destroyed in World War II have been completely brought back to life from the outside and the inside where zodiac symbols adorn beautifully decorative ornate plaster.

Many people, both locals and tourists alike, have been marvelling at a feat of architecture that will soon be celebrating its 100th birthday.

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