Tokyo Station, 1914-1940.
“October 10, 1945. When we arrived here this morning after spending a night at the Kisarazu Naval Air Base in Chiba, a drizzling rain was falling through the burned-out dome of the south rotunda of Tokyo Station. It was a desolate sight. So is the city!”
– The Allied Occupation of Japan 1945-1952 and Japanese Religions, William P. Woodard, 1971
Tokyo Central Station was damaged by the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake but remained standing. The war-time firebombing of Tokyo on May 24, 1945, proved to be completely devastating.
Gutted by fire and its third level burned to cinders, the terminal’s post-war reconstruction changed its picturesque profile, resulting in the complete removal of the third level and the replacement of the station’s original ornate cupolas with very plain-looking, polyhedron domes modeled on the Pantheon in Rome.
These postwar alterations, although considered “temporary”, are blamed for creating the often mistaken impression that the terminal’s design was based on the central station in Amsterdam, and were not corrected until Tokyo Station underwent a complete rehabilitation. Two restoration projects, beginning in the 1990s and completed in 2012, eventually restored Tokyo Central Station to its pre-war charm and splendor.
The terminal first opened in 1914 with four platforms: An electrified pair serving the Yamanote and Keihi-Tohoku lines; and non-electrified pair serving the Tokaido Main Line. When the Chuo express and local rail service was extended to Tokyo Station in 1919, from Kofu, Tachikawa, Ochanomizu and Manseibashi, passengers used the Yamanote platforms.
After the opening of the Yaesu (East) entry in 1953, two new platforms for Tokaido Main Line services were added. Two additional platforms opened in 1964 to accommodate the first Shinkansen (New Tokaido) services. Beginning in the late 1960s, extensive underground construction was begun to accommodate additional rail services including the Narita Express.