We’ve passed through Tokyo Station a few times throughout our travels and have always been struck by its unique architecture that contrasts the steel-and-glass behemoths surrounding it.
In nearby Marunouchi are the headquarters of three of Japan’s largest banks and many offices for international firms, so if Tokyo has a designated financial district, it would probably be somewhere around here.
Marunouchi is located off the west side of the station. We don’t go to the east anymore.
This is the station in Tokyo that we tend to use when exchanging our Japan Rail Pass vouchers for the actual passes. We always have such a hard time finding a proper JR office that can exchange the vouchers, but it’s located right inside the entrance of the Marunouchi side of the building, in the leftmost dome (pictured above). If you enter from the eastern side of the station, it’s more difficult to find since you have to navigate the station itself.
In analyzing the name, “maru-” as a base word means “circle,” “no” means “of,” and “uchi” is one of the readings for “inside,” so when you put it all together (“circle of inside”) and turn it around (“inside of circle”) one is not much closer to understanding what the hell it actually means. Maybe the subway line forms a circle, or it has something to do with the nearby Imperial Palace.
One of the more notable things about this building are its domes. Much of the station itself was destroyed during World War II (including the domes) but the station was provisionally rebuilt at the time. From 1945 to the early 2000s minor improvements were made to accommodate rail line expansions, but for the most part the station stood in its post-war condition. It wasn’t until a concerted restoration effort starting in the early 2000s and ending just a few years ago has resulted in the Tokyo Station we see today.