Revamped district to re-ignite Tokyo as international entertainment destination

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The Independent Online

There has been concern in Japan that Tokyo is losing its international importance with the growth of other hub cities in the region -- including Shanghai, Seoul and Singapore -- and Mitsubishi Estate, which owns a large portion of the Marunouchi district, wants to put it back on the map.

(Relaxnews) -

There has been concern in Japan that Tokyo is losing its international importance with the growth of other hub cities in the region - including Shanghai, Seoul and Singapore - and Mitsubishi Estate, which owns a large portion of the Marunouchi district, wants to put it back on the map.

Situated between the Imperial Palace and Tokyo Station and the swish Ginza district to the east, Marunouchi has long been a center for international business. And what used to be a residential dictrict for feudal lords in the late 1800s is the target of a massive redevelopment scheme that is adding new cultural, shopping and entertainment opportunities to its streets.

The first phase of the 10-year project was completed last spring with the opening of the ultra-modern Marunouchi Park Building and the traditional Mitsubishi Ichigokan Building - a Queen Anne-style red-brick building that dates from 1894 and now houses restaurants and shops.

To mark that achievement, the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum is scheduled to open this April. And Mitsubishi Estate is now looking into the future.

"The second stage focuses on further expanding and deepening the scope of the Marunouchi Redevelopment Project," Ryuji Kikuchi, senior manager of the Area Brand Management Department of Mitsubishi Estate, told Relaxnews.

"We plan to expand the development of business complexes and commercial buildings, at present more concentrated around Tokyo Station, throughout the neighboring Marunouchi, Otemachi and Yurakucho districts," he added. "At the same time the area will be enhanced with the introduction of new art and cultural facilities."

Kikuchi says the company wants to create a "city of diversity."

"Marunouchi's redevelopment has focused on its continued change into a city more open and diversified, from an area historically known as a main business district, which has evolved into the active and bustling town you see today," he said.

"We aim to create the most interactive city in the world, as a place where people, ideas and information from around the globe meet, creating a constant exchange of new ideas," he added. "While we do not have a clear 'end goal' in mind, we will continue to develop and build upon this great city, in a sustainable and environmentally conscious manner."

With the completion of the initial stage, which included the construction of The Peninsula Hotel, attention is now turning to the redevelopment of several Tokyo landmarks, such as the Togin Building.

"The second stage aims to promote the message of cultural exchange regarding matters related to art, history, music and culture," says Kikuchi. "As well as creating a sustainable balance between the environment and urban tourism."

JR

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