My Tokyo Guide
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Updated: April 2, 2018
The Marunouchi area extends from the beautifully restored Tokyo Station building towards the Imperial Palace. Once the domain of the wealthy Iwasaki family who started the Mitsubishi business empire, the streets are now lined with modern skyscrapers, reminiscent of Manhattan.
Inside, Tokyo Station is a bustling city, with an overwhelming number of train lines, souvenir stores, bento box shops and endless coin lockers. On the outside, it is an elegant red brick and stone edifice, topped by copper-trimmed domes. The original 1914 design was completely restored in 2012.
The former Tokyo Central Post Office has gotten a dramatic makeover, while maintaining some of the spirit of the original 1931 design. With boutiques that emphasize Japanese design and craft, it's a perfect place to find one-of-a-kind souvenirs. In the basement, Tokyo City i has tourist information and helpful staff.
With cobblestones and sunlight filtered through leafy trees, this pleasant shopping street has a distinctly European air. From November to February, the trees are wrapped in LED lights, creating a fairytale nighttime atmosphere. Grab a coffee to go and meander along the stylish shops, pausing for modern sculptures.
You could be forgiven for thinking you'd arrived in Victorian London; the beautiful red-brick building, designed in 1894 by Josiah Conder, was the first western-style building in the area. It now houses a small museum devoted to 19th century art and fashion. Café 1894 captures the grand atmosphere of the bank that used to operate here.
Built in 1888 and rebuilt after WWII, the Imperial Palace is not open to the public. It remains very private, concealed by gates and gardens. However, you can walk around the moat and through much of the garden area. Don't miss the beautiful Meganebashi stone bridge, which resembles a pair of glasses.