More photos of Marunouchi & Ōtemachi
Marunouchi is the strip of land facing the Imperial Palace between Hibiya and Ōtemachi. It is considered as the most prestigious place for companies to have their headquarters (along with Ōtemachi). The two former zaibatsu, Mitsubishi and Mitsui, account for a considerable part of the offices in the neighbourhood.
In April 2010 the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum was inaugurated in great pomp. This fine art museum is based on the Maurice Joyant collection, a group of over 200 works by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. It is housed in a faithful recreation of the Meiji era edifice of the same name (一号館 "Ichigokan", meaning "No 1 Hall"). It was the first European-style office building in the neighbourhood, completed in 1894 and designed by British architect Josiah Conder in the Queen Anne style. The original building was torn down in 1968.
Marunouchi is expensive. The Japanese talk about "Marunouchi price" (丸の内値段) in reference to overpriced shops and restaurants. To experience this, take a stroll to the much celebrated 179m tall Marunouchi Building (丸ビル, "Maru Biru", completed in 2004), or the 197m high New Marunouchi Building ("Shin Maru Biru", inaugurated in 2007). The sister towers are side by side, just opposite Tokyo Station. They boast an alluring array of boutiques and fine restaurants on their 6 and 7 lower levels, respectively. The Maru Biru has a branch of Maruzen bookshop (with books in English) on the 5th floor and one of Meidi-ya (imported luxury food products) in the basement. It also has restaurants on its 36th and 37th floors with splendid views on the Imperial Palace, Ginza and Nihombashi.
OAZO is the new shopping centre and office buildings complex at the junction of Marunouchi and Ōtemachi. It opened in September 2004 and has become the trendy place to see and to be seen. Oazo means oasis in Esperanto. The two "O" also stand for Marunouchi ("maru" meaning circle in Japanese) and the first letter of Ōtemachi. A and Z in the middle denotes that one can find everything there.
With Maruzen Bookstore moving its main branch from Nihombashi, and plenty of excellent restaurants and cafes, Marunouchi OAZO has all it needs to satisfied jaded Tokyoite business people. But the most remarkable feature is maybe OAZO's architecture integrating elegance and class to modernity.
Ōtemachi takes it name from the Ōte-mon Gate of the Imperial Palace. In the Edo period, Ōtemachi was the location of the enormous palace of prince Matsudaira.
Nowadays, it is where most of the biggest Japanese firms have their head office.
Ōtemachi is also the largest metro station in Tokyo, with 5 lines converging there. Ōtemachi station has so many exits that its ramifications almost reach the five proximate stations of Tokyo, Nijūbashi-mae, Takebashi, Mitsukoshi-Mae and Nihombashi.
Notable constructions are the almost New-York-like Nomura Building, the strangely shaped New Sankei Building and the Ōtemachi First Square. The Palace Hotel at the prestigious address of Marunouchi 1-1-1 is one of the oldest and most famous hotel of the capital, notwithstanding the fact that its exterior appearance is far from appealing and indeed quite resembles a warehouse or Communist dormitory.
Map of attractions around Nihombashi, Ōtemachi and Marunouchi
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