The Shibuya You Don’t Know

Stock photos and televised clips of Shibuya usually depict only the iconic scramble intersection, but there is a lot more to this central Tokyo neighborhood. In fact, in Shibuya’s liveliest commercial districts, you never have to wait to cross the street (these are the “Nightlife Alleys” described in The Hierarchy of Japanese Streets). The following screenshots from Walking in Shibuya at night by Rambalac reveal a true pedestrian … Continue reading The Shibuya You Don’t Know

Hokoten: Tokyo’s Big Three (ホコ天 / 歩行者天国)

“Hokoten” translates literally as “Walker’s Paradise”, and it refers to the practice of (temporarily) switching a roadway from vehicular use to pedestrian use, usually during lunch hour, weekends, or special events. Currently, there are three major weekly Hokoten in Tokyo (the following facts & figures come from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police): Akihabara: ~570 meters (~1,870 feet) of Chuo-dori (highlighted below in red). Sundays April – … Continue reading Hokoten: Tokyo’s Big Three (ホコ天 / 歩行者天国)

Explosive Ridership Growth on Tokyo Metro

While the population of Tokyo as a whole is growing quite slowly, some parts of the city are experiencing change at a dizzying pace.  This phenomenon is most visible in the massive construction projects at Shibuya, Shinagawa, and Tokyo Station. In contrast to Tokyo’s slow and steady population growth, the following numbers (for stations on Tokyo Metro) are really quite massive. Station Name:  2012 Ridership  ->  2015 … Continue reading Explosive Ridership Growth on Tokyo Metro

How Busy Are Tokyo Rail Hubs?

(Daily boardings in 2015 unless otherwise stated) Shinjuku 総合駅: ~1.67 million  JR: 760,043 Keio: ~379,000 (757,823 on & off) Odakyu: ~246,000 (492,234 on & off) Toei Shinjuku Line: 140,967 Tokyo Metro: ~ 116,000  (231,340 on & off) Toei Oedo Line: 30,466 Ikebukuro 総合駅: ~1.31 million  “1966年に新宿駅に抜かれるまで、当駅が1日平均乗車人員数で日本一だった” JR: 556,780 Tokyo Metro: ~274,000  (548,839 on & off) Seibu: ~242,000 (483,407 on & off) Tobu: ~239,000 (477,834 on & off) Shibuya 総合駅: ~1.22 million … Continue reading How Busy Are Tokyo Rail Hubs?

Directions to IHJ (International House of Japan)

I have two recommendations for walking to the International House of Japan (IHJ): A 10 minute scenic tour. A 10 minute mole tour (if you want to minimize your time outdoors). The scenic option offers a complete crash course in walkable urbanism, hidden in the most mundane details. As I have written elsewhere, most of our knowledge about how to build a walkable city has yet … Continue reading Directions to IHJ (International House of Japan)

Major Sky-Level Decks #デッキ論

This list is not comprehensive, but here are some of the largest Deck Level developments in Japan: Senri-Chuo shopping center in Osaka (on airport monorail line): huge deck level.  Surrounding park areas are connected by pedestrian bridges, creating near total grade separation of vehicles and pedestrians.  Very much like Tama Center. See also: Tama Center: Wide deck level stretching 1100′ NW from Keio Tama Center … Continue reading Major Sky-Level Decks #デッキ論

Quick View – Denen Chofu 田園調布

Denen Chofu is a planned development located 16 minutes south west of Shibuya Station (on Tokyu train -東急東横線).  It is said to be inspired by “garden city” developments such as those around London.  However, the urban structure of the neighborhood seems basically similar to modern Tokyo, with the notable irregularity that the number of shops and businesses is much lower. South East Denen Chofu . . . … Continue reading Quick View – Denen Chofu 田園調布

Roppongi Hills – 洋風 or 和風?

Have you ever heard somebody confuse the words “modern” and “western”?  It’s a very unsettling experience.  Perhaps because it seems to come not from any maliciousness or intentionality  per se, but from a deeply subconscious assumption that anything cutting edge must be western in origin. Deconstructing the Discourse of Westernization Superficially, the steel and glass structure of Mori Tower contrasts with the wooden construction techniques of traditional … Continue reading Roppongi Hills – 洋風 or 和風?