Shimbashi Station (Kasumori), c. 1910-1923.



1920sArchitectureNotable LandmarkTransportation
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Shimbashi, (Kasumori), c. 1920.

Shimbashi-Kasumori (also known as Karasumori) Station, c. 1920. Even after completion of Tokyo Central Station in 1914, Shimbashi-Kasumori represented the gateway to Tokyo. Sadly, the station would be completely destroyed in the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake.

Shimbashi Station (Shiodome), 1872-1909

“The construction of the proposed metropolitan elevated railway of Tokyo from Shimbashi to Uyeno, for which the necessary appropriation was granted by the Diet in the 28th year of Meiji (1895), has lately been actually taken in hand.

“… Between Saiwaibashi and Yamashita-mon the new four-track brick viaduct will be erected along the moat, passing close on the eastern side of the Imperial Hotel; where the execution of some earthworks is now going on, the high embankments and stone walls of the moat having been removed in order to make room for the foundation of the big viaduct piers.

“Besides the Central Station which is proposed in Yurakucho north of Kajihashi and the City Hall building, a new elevated station is to be built in the Karasumori district about opposite to Shimbashi-Shiodome, and one more for local traffic only in Yurakucho north of Sukiyabashi.”

Japan Daily Mail, November 24, 1900

Map: Tokyo Rail Terminals & landmarks, 1912.

Map: Tokyo Rail Terminals & landmarks, 1912.

By 1909, the Japanese national government had assumed control of many private railways throughout the country, and most rail lines with service to-and-from the capital. (A few years before, the Tokyo city government bought controlling rights over the city’s three privately-owned streetcar lines.)

Plans to complete the Akabane/Yamanote loop began after the mergers; design work was also begun on a new central rail terminal to be located in the Marunouchi district. Track near Shimbashi/Shiodome was rerouted north through Yurakucho, and the original station at Shiodome, completed in 1872, was turned into a freight office. A new, more grand-looking gateway to the city and the Ginza, constructed in a post-Victorian style of red brick and quarried stone, was completed 16 December 1909 as Karasumori [crow forest] station to the west of the old Shiodome terminal. With the extension of the Tōkaidō Main Line along its modern-day route to the new terminus at Tokyo Station in 1914, and after the demolition pf Shiodome Station, and Karasumori Station was renamed Shimbashi Station.

“Any traveler coming out of Shimbashi station in Tokyo for the first time, and gazing on the depressing scene with its wilderness of advertisement of beer, soap and patent medicine, may well fling up his hands in horror. Who shall blame him if he think that if this is what the Capital of the Empire is going to show him, he might just well have stayed quietly in London and taken a walk down Euston Road.

“… Here all is bustle and noise; everywhere a foreign style buildings are springing up, and to use an expressive Japanese phrase, Tokyo is fast becoming ‘high collar’.”

The Overland Monthly: At Nara and the Tomb of Jimmu Tenno, February 1910

The view of Shimbashi and Shibaguchi Streets, c. 1910. Shimbashi terminal is in the distance (right); the original Shiodome site is at far left. Atago Hill rises above the district in the distance.

An elevated view of Shimbashi Bridge and Shibaguchi Streets, c. 1910, gateway to the Ginza, looking southwest toward the distant Atago Hill. Shimbashi-Kasumori terminal is at upper-right; the original Shimbashi-Shiodome terminal site, in use from 1872-1909, is at far left.

As solid and as sturdy as it looked, this new Shimbashi station was completely destroyed in the 1923 Kanto earthquake. By that time, its importance as a terminal had diminished following the opening of Tokyo Central Station in 1914 and the eventual consolidation of all rail lines at that terminal. When a new Shimbashi station was built after the earthquake, it looked much as it does today — just another commuter stop on the Yamamote-sen.

Shimbashi, elevated view, c. 1970.

Gateway to Ginza: The same Shimbashi view as seen above, c. 1970.

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