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!
A long story
Just like cats, Shimbashi Station has had multiple lives. With its different names, multiple locations, and architectures, Shimbashi Station has a very long history that some would describe as a little complex.
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.
- Discover: The Yamanote line
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).
- Read: Tokyo Station
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!
Unfortunately, the Kanto earthquake of September 1, 1923, was fatal at Shimbashi station. A new station is quickly erected. But the latter is much more modest than her ancestor. Indeed, Shimbashi has seen its rail traffic decreased since the opening of Tokyo Central Station.
Today, more than 690,000 passengers pass through Shimbashi station every day by train or subway.
Four train lines of the JR East network serve Shimbashi:
- Tokaido Main Line between Tokyo and Atami
- Keihin-Tohoku line between Omiya and Yokohama
- Yokosuka line between Tokyo and Kurihama
- Yamanote Line, Tokyo Circular Line
You can also get to Shimbashi Station via the following three subway lines :
- Ginza Line (Tokyo Metro), between Shibuya and Asakusa
- Asakusa Line (Toei), between Nishi-Magome and Oshiage
- Yurikamome Line (New Transit Yurikamome), an automatic and overhead line between Shimbashi and Toyosu
The station is also connected underground to the Shiodome subway station (Yurakucho line between Wakôshi and Shin-Kiba).
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.
Gourmets will not miss the Tabisuru Market which offers a wide choice of regional products from all over the archipelago and the Sake and Shochu Information Center to discover and taste traditional Japanese spirits.
Shimbashi is a small paradise for anyone who wants to taste the atmosphere of izakaya and tachinomiya. Its maze of bars and restaurants has been the meeting place for local salarymen since the 1960s. From popular establishments to high-end establishments, there is something for everyone.
But the most to enjoy your evening is to go to one of the tiny eateries located under the railway. This gado shita offers grilled meats and fish, vegetables, and sashimi at affordable prices. But you still have to find a place. For this, plan to arrive early!
Despite multiple transformations, Shimbashi station has kept its long-lived railway heritage. Since 1972, a perfectly preserved C11 292 steam locomotive has been on display in the square opposite the Hibiya exit of the station. Installed in the cradle of Japanese railways in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the station, the locomotive whistles every day at 12 noon, 3 pm, and 6 pm.
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.
Another vestige delights densha otaku: the famous “ghost station” of Shimbashi. Indeed, not everyone knows it, but an abandoned station is located just above the current platforms of the Ginza metro line.
Between January and September 1939, two subway stations coexist in Shimbashi. Operated by competing companies, each serves a different part of the capital. This Kafkaesque situation ends after 8 months when the two parties find common ground by proposing a common offer. Only one station is kept. Abandoned, the second serves as a train depot. The Tokyo Metro company, the owner of the site, opens this ghost station during special events.
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.
Strolling on these century-old quays in the middle of glass and steel buildings is particularly tasty. This 1872 station, the terminus of Japan's first railway line, has returned to its quarters. The circle is complete...
Discover the Yamanote, Tokyo's iconic subway line:
- Tokyo station
- Nippori Station
- Uguisudani station
- Ueno Station
- Okachimachi Station
- Akihabara Station
- Kanda Station
- Yurakuchō Station
- Shimbashi Station
- Hamamatsucho Station
- Tamachi Station
- Ebisu Station
- Shibuya Station
- Harajuku Station
- Yoyogi Station
- Shinjuku Station
- Shin-Okubo Station
- Takadanobaba station
- Ikebukuro Station
- Otsuka Station
- Komagome Station
- Tabata station
Address, timetable & access
TimetableTokaido Main Line, Keihin-Tohoku Line, Yokosuka Line, Yamanote Line, Ginza Line, Asakusa Line, and Yurikamome Line