Shimbashi Station 新橋駅

The memory of the rail

In the district of Minato, the station of Shimbashi, inaugurated in 1872 is one of the oldest stations in the country. It is the brilliant symbol of the history of the railways in the Japanese capital. However, Shimbashi is not just about its rich past. At the interconnection of several lines, Shimbashi station is also the rallying point for neighborhood salarymen who come to relax after dark in the many gado shita; those little bars and restaurants tucked away under the train tracks. A bustling atmosphere full of authenticity to discover after sundown!

In 1872, the first railway line, linking the Japanese capital to Yokohama, was put into service. This link, called the Tokaidô line, transports passengers from the port city to Tokyo in 35 min. Its terminus in the capital was then a brand new station; that of Shimbashi Teishajo.

Designed by an American architect, the latter was inaugurated in October 1872 in the presence of Emperor Meiji (1852-1912); the latter even took part in the maiden voyage. In 1909, Karasumori station, connected to the Yamanote line, opened its doors near that Shimbashi Teishajo.




The original Shimbashi station

In Renaissance style, the flamboyant red brick and freestone building is the work of architect Tatsuno Kingo (1854-1919); a regular in this type of building since we already owe him the stations of Manseibashi (1912) and Tokyo (1914).



In 1914, the extension of the Tokaidô line to the brand new station in Tokyo completely changed the network of surrounding stations. Shimbashi Station is transformed into a freight station and renamed Shiodome Station.

As for Karasumori Station, it was renamed Shimbashi Station. A funny game of musical chairs!


Shimbashi Station during the Taisho era (1912-1926)


Shimbashi is a business district where many large Japanese companies have set up their headquarters: the airline ANA, the companies Fujitsu, Panasonic, Shiseido, Dentsu ...

Several shopping centers await shoppers: Wing, Shiodome Sio site, and Caretta Shidome, whose restaurants are located on the 46th and 47th floors and offer a breathtaking view of Tokyo Bay.

For cultural outings, several interesting places are accessible in a few minutes: the Dentsu Shiki Theater, the advertising museum, the Panasonic Shiodome Museum, not to mention the fabulous Hama-Rikyû garden.

Jardin Hama-Rikyu

Hama-Rikyu Garden

Yoshikazu TAKADA


Locomotive installed in front of Shimbashi station


To the left of the Shiodome exit, another monument celebrates this rich past: a railway wheel accompanied by a small stele.

It reads: "With a whistle, my train leaves Shimbashi. The moon on Mount Atago will be my traveling companion."

This is the first verse of an extremely popular song written and performed in 1900 by Owada Takeki. Entitled Tetsudo Shôka, this railway song had an educational vocation. In 66 verses, it illustrates the journey between Shimbashi and Kobe, describing in passing the cities, the history, the legends, and regional specificities.


Railway Song Monument in Shimbashi

But the public could soon reinvest in the premises. Tokyo Metro plans to reopen on the horizon of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Like the old Manseibashi Station, the abandoned Shimbashi Station could soon accommodate shops and restaurants.

Finally, for all those who would have been seduced by this wise romantic railway, know that it is possible to visit the original station of Shimbashi (1872-1914)! Right next to the Shiodome City Center business complex, a faithful reconstruction of the original houses a museum retracing the railroad history of Shimbashi and Shiodome.


Shimbashi abandoned subway station



The reconstruction of the old Shimbashi station houses a museum


Address, timetable & access

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    Tokaido Main Line, Keihin-Tohoku Line, Yokosuka Line, Yamanote Line, Ginza Line, Asakusa Line, and Yurikamome Line

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