The Tokyo World Trade Center was completed in 1970, 2 years before the former US World Trade Center. It offers an observation deck, offices, a conference center, and underground shops + restaurants. It also has a large wedding venue. For a year or so it was the tallest building in Tokyo in the early 1970’s. In the basement is also a station for the Tokyo Monorail.
The observation deck is on the top floor. Admission is 600¥ ($6 roughly) as of this writing. It has 360-degree panorama windows and a decidedly 1970’s decor. This is the must-see attraction at the WTC, so don’t miss it.
The famous western view of Tokyo from WTC’s observation deck.
Looking down at the street from the observation deck.
If you look to the north from the observation deck, you can see Tokyo Sky Tree in the distance.
In The Basement
In the basement of WTC are shops, restaurants, a huge parking garage, and some art exhibits. There is also a rail station for the Tokyo Monorail.
Just to the south of WTC is a nice small Japanese garden called Kyu-Shiba-rikyu Gardens. Since it’s so close, it’s worth a stop – especially in the spring or fall. There’s a large pond with walking trails, so stop in and have a look.
Tokyo Tower is one of the most well-recognized landmarks in the world. Built in 1959 to accomodate widespread use of TV and radio, the tower also includes a large observation deck halfway to the top. There is a large elevator to the deck, but you can also walk the stairs up if you feel up to it – but be warned, it’s a long way.
Unfortunately there isn’t a major train station next to Tokyo Tower. Your best bet is the Yamanote Line or Tokyo Monorail to Hamamatsucho Station. The walk is only just over 1/2 a mile. A little further to the northwest is Onarimon Station. You can, of course, also bike to Tokyo Tower from other parts of the city.
If you’re coming from the north, Toranomon is just to the north and provides quick access.
Admission is around $18/adult, but is well worth it. On the ground floor are a lobby + some shops including food. The observation deck is huge with tall floor-to-ceiling windows providing panoramic views of the city in all directions.
At the entrance to Tokyo Tower on it’s 60th anniversary. It was fully repainted in time for the 60th.
Across from the entrance.
Zojo-ji Temple+ Shiba Park
Entrance to Zojo-ji. Note the 2 guardians on either side.
Just to the southeast of Tokyo Tower is the huge Zojo-ji Temple complex. It’s just off Hibiya Dori and has a nice park + a bike parking lot. You can walk all the way around the park to Tokyo Toweron the northwest. On the north end there is another small interesting park with lots of stone Jizo. Since it’s only 1 block away, check it out. There is also a huge cyprus tree planted @ Zojo-ji Temple by the late US President Ulysses S. Grant in the 1800’s.
Also, just south of Zojo-ji is the massive Shiba Park with lots of hills + trails to walk in. Definitely check it out.
Just to the west of Shiba Park is the very luxurious Prince Park Tower Tokyo. Around $150-$200/night, it’s bit pricey but if it fits your budget is worth a 1 or 2 night stay. There is also a free shuttle from PPTT to Hamamatsucho Station.
Tokyo Tower is a must-see if you’re in Tokyo. One of the oldest and most well-known landmarks, it makes a nice short day trip. Definitely don’t miss it.
Shimbashi is a major Tokyo area just south of Ginza/Yurakucho in eastern Tokyo. It lies directly west of the world-famous Hamarikyu Gardens, a stone’s throw from Toranomon to the west, and southeast of the Imperial Palace. Just to the east of Shimbashi Station is the eastern termius for the new fully-automated Yurikamome Line which runs in a loop out to Odaiba and many of the other artificial islands in Tokyo Bay.
Former Shimbashi Station. The Panasonic Building is on the right. If you happen to be in the Panasonic Bldg. also check out the very nice museum inside.The station’s original tracks have been long removed, but the frame for the railway’s overhead outdoor roof is still intact today – along with some of the original buildings, which are now over a century old.
Yurikamome02 – Shiodome Station. Note the traditional-style pillars on the right.
Shiodomé area. Shimbashi is just to the northwest (left) behind the green Panasonic building in the distance.This photo is facing north. If you head left where the cement truck is, you’ll eventually come to Toranomon. Heading right leads to the waterfront and Hinodé(which is interesting in its own right).
You’ll find all kinds of cool restaurants such as this one under the station.
Any of the lines mentioned above will bring you to Shimbashi. But your best bet is probably the Metro Ginza Line. Also note the Ginza Line has a direct Ginza stop also. The Ginza Line is useful because both termini on either end are easily accessible to 2 other major areas of Tokyo – Shibuya to the west and Asakusa to the northeast.
Shimbashi Station is a large brick above-ground station with an east and west side. The east side is rather small but features some old locomotive parts + plaques. There’s not much to do on the east side as it’s just a block from Shiodomé. The interesting side is the west side which is adjacent to the main area. There’s also an old historical steam locomotive in the square on the west side. You can also walk from any of the areas mentioned fairly quickly.
At first the backstreets can be confusing, but you’ll soon get used to them.
New JR station renovations are being completed as of 2021.
The Sugi Drug Exit
Aside from the main station exits, there are several other street-level exits around the area. One of the major ones is the sidewalk exit right next to a corner drug store called Sugi Drug across the street from the northeast corner of the station around 35°40’03.52″ N 139°45’31.25″ E. This exit is handy because it’s on Rt. 405 which runs east-west into Toranomon to the west. If you head just up the street north of this corner you’ll also find one of the best Korean restaurants in Tokyo on the left.
The Metro street exit right next to Sugi Drug.
Hidden Bike Park
Just across the street from Sugi Drug to the southwest around 35°40’02.94″ N 139°45’30.31″ E is a hidden bicycle locker under the train tracks. You can park your bike here for 24 hours for around 400¥ ($4) which is a great deal. When you’re ready to retrieve your bike, use the automated pay machine at the west end of the lot:
As a footnote, if you head 1 block north of Sugi Drug (shown on the right here), you’ll be heading into Ginza if you keep going straight. If you take the crosswalk shown here, just on your left one block up is one of the best Korean restaurants in all of Tokyo: Bokuden around 35°40’06.74″ N 139°45’31.42″ E.The hidden bike park is just to the left, out of frame.
There are several cheap coin lockers around + in the station – one bank is just inside the west exit, one is deeper underground in the station near the Metro platforms, and one is outside on the southeast side under a covered walkway. All are fairly cheap + easy to use.
A bank of lockers inside on the way to the JR and Metro platforms.
The southwest side outdoor lockers.There is also an automated currency exchange machine straight ahead.You can pay for a locker using your Suica or other IC card at the black terminal shown on the right.
The main area just outside the west exit. The retro bldg. on the left was built in the 1970’s.
Just across from the old locomotive outside the west exit of the station is a large Yamada Denki(Electronics) LABi. If you’re looking for a big electronics store in Shimbashi, this is it. It’s across the street from the station around 35°40’02.10″ N 139°45’26.04″ E.
LABi Shimbashi, right. The station is just to the left out of view.
Shimbashi has some of the coolest backstreets in Tokyo. After dark there are endless things to do. Restaurant options are nearly unlimited. You can spend hours wandering around and not see it all. Plan on spending several hours exploring. Shimbashi isn’t a very large area of Tokyo but there is lots to do nonetheless.
A very popular high-end shop just under the Shimbashi train tracks.
Man In The Moon Pub
Possibly the most popular bar in all of Shimbashi is the foreigner-friendly Man In The Moon pub located just northwest of the station around 35°39’55.25″ N 139°45’22.40″ E. Be sure to check it out.
If you head 2 blocks south from the station, then hang a right west, you’ll come to the very cool area called Toranomon – home to the upscale Toranomon Hills complex. Check out our 2-part series on Toranomon. If you’re looking for a good reasonable capsule hotel, check out First Cabin Atagoyama on the way, around 35°39’51.57″ N 139°45’07.50″ E. It’s tucked down a quiet little side street.
If you’re willing to walk a mile south to Tokyo’s World Trade Center, you can enjoy spectacular views of Tokyo from the top floor at the Seaside Top Observatory. The WTC is located around 35°39’22.82″ N 139°45’23.91″ E and is easy to get to. If you’re willing to change trains once, you can also get right to its front door at an Onarimon Station exit.
One of the most famous views of Tokyo is this view from the Seaside Top Observatory. Toranomon is just to the right out of frame. The tall bldg. in the distance is the HQ of the Mori Construction Company.
Well that’s it for now. Spend some time getting around Shimbashi and you won’t be disappointed.
Facing the station from the northeast around 3:30 PM – an early sunset in fall.