100th anniversary of the Great Kanto Earthquake in Japan

©2019 Ten Minute Tokyo

One of the things that did survive the quake 100 years ago today was Tokyo Station itself. Built in 1913, the station was only 10 years old when the quake hit.

The next station to the northManseibashi Station was totally levelled to the ground in the quake. Today only 2 stairwells remain on the station, although trains do still run on the same tracks across its top where there is now a restaurant and museum.

In its place, Shimbashi Station was built shortly thereafter to the south – all the stations in this area were built with the same western-style red brick and mortar design.

Not much remains today of Manseibashi Station, but it’s been turned into a pleasant, but small shopping mall with the odd name mAAch eCute, situated along the Kanada River and just south of Akihabra, Tokyo’s famed electronics district. The station’s original brick facade has been restored, and it’s a sight to behold.

The 3 stations today from north to south in order are: Tokyo, Yurakucho (which is near the famed Ginza district), and Shimbashi, with the Kanda, Akihabara, Ochanomizu, and Ueno stations to the north. Part of the original Shimbashi Station was restored and still stands, although most of the original brick building was destroyed in the quake.

Today Tokyo Station is a showplace – a city unto itself – with the original remaining western side (“Marunouchi” side) the Tokyo Station Hotel, and the eastern or “Yaesu” side a gorgeous new modern experience. The entire station was renovated in 2019 for the 2020 Olypmics.

If you cross the street to the KITTE Bldg. on the south at night and make your way to its roof, the spectacular vista of the area will take your breath away – one of the greatest and most spectacular world-class travel venues in the world.

The entire surrounding “Marunouchi” area is a sight to behold at night. An absolute delight to use for work or to visit.

How fires spread across Tokyo after quake 100 years ago

Be sure to check out the Tokyo Station City website.

1923 Great Kantō earthquake

The West or “Marunouchi” side of Tokyo Station with its original brick facade.
The East or “Yaesu” side of Tokyo Station. The spectacular Shangri-La hotel is on the right.
Just across from the west side of the station.
A diorama of the original Manseibashi Station on the 2nd floor of mAAch eCute. The original part of the station shown on the left was destroyed. Only the right part next to the river remains. The original Manseibashi Station looked very much like the west side of Tokyo Station. Most of the rest of the surrounding area was flattened in the 1923 quake. Today, all around the river to the north is Akihabara. ©2019 Ten Minute Tokyo.
A mAAch eCute brochure from 2019.
©2019 Ten Minute Tokyo

The second of two stairwells in Manseibashi Station. This one was remodeled in 1929 after the station was partly rebuilt. Heading up these stairs leads to the restuarant and museum on the roof. From the restaurant’s glass windows you can sit and watch the trains come and go from Tokyo Station.

Yurakucho Station one station to the south. Note the similar red brick and stone design on the right. You can actually walk to Tokyo Station in just a few blocks if you take the small street north next to the white office bldg. on the right.
Just west of Akihabara Station. ©2019 Ten Minute Tokyo
Akihabara Station at night.
South of Akihabara Station.
The Yamanote Line at Akihabara which runs between all the stations mentioned above.
Biking into Tokyo Station in 2019. ©2019 Ten Minute Tokyo
An alley next to Shimbashi Station. Note the same 1913-style architecture on the right as seen in Tokyo Station.
A very nice $5 meal in Shimbashi in 2019.
Underneath Shimbashi Station in 2019 showing its original rebuild girders built just after 1923. The diagonal anti-earthquake beams in the roof were added many decades later. ©2019 Ten Minute Tokyo
Many of the pedestrian tunnels under the Shimbashi Station tracks have been converted to restaurants and stores, as seen in this photo showing the original post-1923 brickwork. ©2019 Ten Minute Tokyo
Entrance to Shimbashi Station showing 2019 renovations, which have now been completed. The same original post-1923 brickwork is visible. ©2019 Ten Minute Tokyo
Outside the west, or more modern side of Shimbashi Station in 2019.
Outside Shimbashi Station one rainy day in 2019. ©2019 Ten Minute Tokyo
Inside today’s Shimbashi Station. ©2019 Ten Minute Tokyo

Kanda River – Wikipedia

One interesting aspect of mAAch eCute is that most of the stores inside are right on what used to be the station platform: there are two sides inside, a left and right, where the original tracks ran. The platforms have been converted into walkways, along which are shops – one connected to the other without doors. You can still see the original train tunnels and brick walls just as they were in 1913, although now modernized and tidy. One of the original tracks is just through the small portal on the left.