New Development Makes Use of Edo-Period History (November 1, 2004)
The year 2004 marks the 401st year since the construction of
the Nihonbashi Bridge across the Nihonbashi River in Edo (now Tokyo) by the Tokugawa
shogunate. Fittingly, the area enters its fifth century boasting a large, new
commercial facility, Coredo Nihonbashi, which opened in March. With the goal of
making Nihonbashi the core of "Edo" once again, this commercial center
is providing a spark for a redevelopment effort that makes use of long-established
shops and historic sites that have characterized this district since the Edo period
|Coredo Nihonbashi (Jiji)
New Tourist Spot Offers Taste of History and Culture
In 1603 the newly established Tokugawa shogunate built a bridge high enough for
large ships to pass under at what is now Nihonbashi. The following year, the bridge
was designated as the starting point for five major roads leading in different
directions across the country (the Tokaido, Nakasendo, Nikko-kaido, Koshu-kaido,
and Oshu-kaido). Since then, Nihonbashi has served as the center of commerce not
just for Edo but for of all Japan. It is here that Coredo Nihonbashi opened its
doors on March 30, 2004.
Coredo Nihonbashi occupies the first basement through the fourth floor of the
glass-lined, 20-story Nihonbashi 1-Chome Building, which stands 120 meters (394
feet) high. Some 8,600 square meters (92,570 square feet) of this space is dedicated
to retail shops, and there are a total of 33 eating and drinking establishments,
17 of which have set up shop in Tokyo for the first time or are new types of operations.
The goal was not to bring in whatever happened to be trendy at the time but to
invite shops that match the image of Nihonbashi as a district of history and traditions.
One example of this is the shop Serendipity, which occupies an entire floor of
the building. Conceived along the lines of Sony Plaza, an outlet that retails
imported knickknacks to a younger clientele, Serendipity offers a range of products
for women aged around 35 who have an eye for quality. Though the products are
somewhat expensive, they are of impeccable quality and design. The shop is popular
among women working in nearby offices. Another shop is an outlet called Garage
that is operated by toy-maker Takara Co. Along with toys that have caught the
interest of many adult males, this store has on display a Q-Car, a small electric
car that can be driven on public roads. Customers can experience what it is like
to sit in this car.
The types of shoppers who have in the past tended to visit Nihonbashi in the daytime
were usually middle-aged and older women. In order to lure nearby office workers
and attract families to the area on weekends, most of the restaurants are open
until 11:00 on weeknights, and the facility is open for business on weekends and
A New Tourist Attraction
Other major redevelopment efforts have helped to revitalize the Nihonbashi area.
In April, the nearby Takashimaya department store underwent a grand reopening
aimed at making it more upscale by adding a tea salon run by a famous chef specializing
in French cuisine, as well as a wine boutique offering high-end labels. Mitsukoshi,
another department store in the neighborhood, will open a new annex on October
11 to mark the 100th anniversary of its founding.
Moves are also underway to make the area a stop for tourists. Metrolink Nihonbashi,
a free bus service connecting the Yaesu, Kyobashi, and Nihonbashi areas, began
service in March. The buses themselves run on electricity and are very environmentally
friendly, and the exterior of the vehicles is decorated with scenes of Edo. The
route, which has 12 stops, takes passengers to historic structures that have been
designated as important cultural assets, such as the Nihonbashi Bridge, Mitsukoshi,
and the Bank of Japan, as well as many old shops that have been in business since
the Edo period.
Copyright (c) 2004 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.
CENTRAL TOKYO REBORN
(June 19, 2003)
(April 18, 2003)
GINZA, SHIBUYA GET NEW FACES
(October 17, 2001)