The new and improved Marunouchi
Marunouchi is the office area of buildings for big banks and big business. This is ground zero for Japan’s finance and economy where businessmen smartly walk to and fro. This area which spans between the outer gardens of the Imperial Palace and Tokyo Station once had the image of a stuffy and dreary business area, but going into the 21st century, there has been a period of redevelopment which has led to it becoming not just an area for businessmen but also a posh and fashionable place where average people can meet for the attractions of high-brand shops on Marunouchi Nakadori Avenue and the commercial facilities within the twin towers across from Tokyo Station, the Marunouchi Building and the New Marunouchi Building. During the Christmas season, Marunouchi becomes even brighter with seasonal illumination. Not just for this reason alone, the area is continuing to evolve as numerous people visit.
Highlights of Marunouchi
There are two Important Cultural Properties in the area. One is the popular Tokyo Station whose exterior has been restored to its classical Western-style beauty of 100 years ago. The octagonal domed ceilings at the Marunouchi South Exit and at the North Exit have reliefs of eagles and zodiac animals with an Oriental motif. The other cultural property is the Meiji Life Insurance Hall which was built in 1934. The interior which is notable for its classical design with pillars can also be toured (open from 11a.m. to 5 p.m.). Since the area is close to the outer gardens of the Imperial Palace, you can take a walk over to the moats of the palace which have plenty of trees. It’s also within walking distance to Ginza and Yurakucho, so on the way there, you can also drop by the modern glass-encased building of the Tokyo International Forum. There is also the free Marunouchi Shuttle Bus which goes as far as the Yurakucho area so it’s handy to hop on to enjoy the scenery before getting off in front of Bic Camera in Yurakucho. The bus departs from in front of the New Marunouchi Building.
Dining at Marunouchi Building
Since their respective openings, Marunouchi’s twin buildings of the Marunouchi Building (Maru Biru) and the New Marunouchi Building (Shin Maru Biru) have become popular commercial centers for not just the businessmen in the area but also for visitors from other areas. On the one hand, there is the enjoyable shopping to be had for things such as fashion and interiors, and then there is the variety of high-class restaurants featuring cuisines such as Japanese, Western, Chinese and Southeast Asian on the 35th and 36th floors. It’s wonderful to have that meal while viewing the nightscape of the Tokyo metropolis. Also during lunch time, you can also get a good-quality meal for a reasonable price when compared to the evening. A lunch where you can view the masses of buildings going out to the horizon is a Tokyo experience which can’t be felt elsewhere. To be on the safe side, make prior reservations if you wish to get a window table.