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Marunouchi, Tokyo

Marunouchi (丸の内) is a district located between Tokyo station and the Imperial Palace. Sometimes this area is generically called "the Tokyo station area". It is an area full of office skyscrapers and is considered the main financial district of Tokyo. For example, the three largest Japanese banks, Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho and Sumitomo Mitsui, are based in Marunouchi. The area is also very international, with several offices of foreign multinationals.

Things to do and things to see in Marunouchi

On the lower floors of several skyscrapers in the neighborhood there are large and elegant shopping centers, full of restaurants for lunch or for a dinner with colleagues after work. These are structures designed mainly for the thousands of employees and officials, often with medium-high incomes, of the many offices in and around Marunouchi. Not far from Marunouchi are in fact the districts of Nagatacho and Kasumigaseki, with ministries and other huge government buildings, and the other financial district of Nihonbashi. In recent years, the district is also increasingly popular with tourists, given the proximity to two very tourist areas such as Ginza and the Imperial Palace.
tokyo station facade marunouchi the facade of Tokyo station, Marunouchi side
marunouchi central plaza

Marunouchi Central Plaza

Once you leave Tokyo station, on the Marunouchi side, you end up in front of a large square which takes the name of Marunouchi Central Plaza. The square, lined with zelkova trees, was inaugurated in December 2017, after three years of construction. It was built with the idea of providing an elegant and convenient pedestrian link between Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace, about 500 meters ahead, behind the skyscrapers that surround the square. In a northern corner there is a statue of Inoue Masaru (1843-1910), considered the "father of Japanese railways", as he was the first director of the national railways.

Marunouchi building

The Marubiru (as it is called by the locals) is a skyscraper of 180 meters and 36 floors, inaugurated in 2002 and located right in front of Tokyo station. Shops and restaurants can be found on the first six floors, while the top two floors (35 and 36) offer high-end restaurants with city views. The rest of the building houses several offices. Two observation points are located inside this skyscraper:
  • From the fifth floor of the building you will have access to a terrace overlooking the square and the Tokyo Station building.
  • On the 35th floor of the building, in addition to the restaurants, there is a small area from which you can enjoy the view from the top for free. The windows face the south side, so it is possible to see the surrounding skyscrapers and a piece of the gardens of the Imperial Palace. There are also a few sofas.

Shin-Marunouchi building

This skyscraper, called Shin Marubiru by the locals, is located in front of the Marunouchi building and was inaugurated a few years later, in 2007. It is 197 meters high and has 38 floors. About 150 shops are located on the first five floors of the building, while between the fifth, sixth and seventh floors there is a large catering area with about 40 restaurants. On the seventh floor there is a terrace with tables, with free access, overlooking Tokyo station. The rest of the building is used as offices.
tokyo station square marubiru and shin marubiru the Marubiru on the left, the Shin Marubiru on the right
marunouchi oazo

Marunouchi Oazo

The Marunouchi Oazo is a shopping complex opposite the Marunouchi north exit of Tokyo station. Inside there is a huge bookshop on four floors (Maruzen), according to some the best bookshop in Tokyo when it comes to offering books in English, the Hotel Marunouchi, and several restaurants.
marunouchi kitte

Kitte

Kitte is a shopping center built in place of what was once the central post office of Japan, next to Tokyo station (south side). The name is a play on words, as Kitte means "stamp" but also "come" in Japanese. It is a six-storey building, inaugurated in 2013, whose facade is the same as the historic one. The first four floors house over 70 shops selling mainly fashion and interior items, while the top two floors host restaurants. The roof houses a garden terrace overlooking Tokyo Station, the constant movement of trains entering and leaving the station, and the surrounding skyscrapers. In the evening there is a very romantic and relaxing atmosphere.
On the ground floor of Kitte you will still find a large post office, with a small souvenir shop attached. Next to Kitte is the JP Tower, a skyscraper of the Japan Post.
marunouchi brick square

Marunouchi Brick Square

A small shopping mall located next to the Mitsubishi Ichigokan museum, with several French restaurants. Inside there is also a courtyard with a fountain and a garden with a very European atmosphere.
mitsubishi ichigokan museum

Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum

(variable admission, opening hours 10-18, until 21 on Fridays, closed on Mondays)
This museum is housed in a western-style building, originally built in 1894 by Mitsubishi as its headquarters, and which was destroyed during the last war. In 2010 the building was rebuilt using original materials and colors, which stand out in the midst of the modern skyscrapers of the area and reflect the style of Tokyo station. Inside is a museum of 19th century Western art. Among the most significant works in the permanent collection, there is a group of about 200 works by the French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901). Throughout the year, the museum also hosts temporary exhibitions (calendar), with the entrance fee that varies from exhibition to exhibition.
tokyo international forum

Tokyo International Forum

The Tokyo International Forum is a futuristic multifunctional center located near the railway tracks, between Tokyo station and Yurakucho station, which hosts numerous conferences, shows, concerts and other types of events throughout the year (check the calendar), including a flea market every first and third Sunday of the month (Oedo Antique Market). The complex was inaugurated in 1997, on the site of the former headquarters of the Tokyo metropolitan government, and was designed by the Uruguayan-American architect Rafael Viñoly. It is considered one of the best examples of contemporary architecture in Tokyo. In particular, the main building is very famous, with its glass and steel roof and a shape that recalls that of a ship. The huge atrium of the main building attracts many tourists and photographers. Through a series of suspension bridges you can also freely climb up to the seventh floor of the building. Next to the main building is a second building which houses various concert and event halls. Between the two buildings, there is a large courtyard with several restaurants and where outdoor events are often held.
Mitsuo Aida Museum
(admission 800¥, opening hours 11-17, closed on monday)
On the first underground floor (B1) of the Tokyo International Forum is this small museum dedicated to Mitsuo Aida (1924-1991), a Japanese poet and calligrapher known as "The Poet of Zen". Inside this museum you will find several calligraphic works of the poet on display. The museum is well stocked with English captions.

Where to stay in Marunouchi, near Tokyo Station

Pros and cons

The Marunouchi/Tokyo station area is perfect as a daily starting point for visiting the city of Tokyo. The area is served by several railway and underground lines, as well as by high-speed shinkansen trains. Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ueno, Ikebukuro and Asakusa are all located less than 20 minutes from Tokyo station. If Marunouchi's shopping and dining opportunities aren't enough, you can walk to the lively Ginza and Yurakucho areas within a few minutes' walk. On the other hand, the presence of night clubs is scarce, after 11 pm there is almost nothing open in the area. Hotel prices are very high in the Marunouchi area, but they are much lower on the other side of Tokyo station (Yaesu Exit).

Recommended High-end hotels in Marunouchi

Hotels in the Marunouchi area are popular with business travelers. There are no budget accommodations, only upper-middle-range and luxury hotels. In the immediate vicinity of Tokyo station we recommend the Metropolitan hotel and the Marunouchi hotel (in the upper floors of the Marunouchi Oazo).
In this area there are also several extra-luxury hotels, in particular the Four Seasons at Marunouchi, the The Peninsula Tokyo and the Hotel Shangri-La.

Recommended cheap hotels near Tokyo station

Cheaper accommodations can be found on the opposite side of Marunouchi, east of Tokyo station (Yaesu Exit), with the districts of Kyobashi and, a little further north, Nihonbashi, two rather lively commercial areas not far from Ginza. In order of proximity to Tokyo station, we recommend:

Eating in Marunouchi, cafes and restaurants

All the shopping centers mentioned on this page have one or more floors full of restaurants, very popular especially for lunch by the thousands of workers in the area. In addition, the Tokia complex and the Yurakucho area are strongly recommended.
marunouchi kitte

Tokia

Tokia is a complex of about 25 restaurants on the lower floors (from the basement to the third floor) of another of the many skyscrapers in the area, the Tokyo Building. On the second floor there are two very trendy restaurants, the Mexican restaurant Mucho, with a sparkling decor, and a restaurant with live jazz music called Cotton Club. In the basement (B1) there are many more down-to-earth restaurants for a quick lunch or dinner.
yurakucho

Eat and drink on a budget in Yurakucho

Yurakucho is a JR station a stone's throw from Ginza. Under the elevated railway tracks of the JR Yamanote line, near this station, there are a whole series of izakayas and small restaurants very popular among the thousands of employees who work in the surrounding area, both for lunch and for a drink with colleagues after work. The most popular dishes are ramen and yakitori skewers. Prices are low.

How to get to Marunouchi

To reach the Marunouchi area just get to Tokyo station, and from there take one of the many exits on the west side (indicated as the Marunouchi side).

Tokyo station is the terminus for all high-speed shinkansen trains bound for Tokyo, both from the north (Sendai, Hakodate, Niigata), from the south (Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima) and from the west (Nagano, Kanazawa).

The station is also served by several local JR lines, including the convenient Yamanote line, the Chuo line to Shinjuku and other districts in western Tokyo, the Keiyō line to Tokyo Disneyland.

Tokyo Station is also directly connected to Yokohama (about 30 minutes) via the Keihin–Tōhoku line and Yokosuka line. The Narita Express connects Tokyo station with Narita airport in about 50 minutes.

The station is served by the Marunouchi line of the subway (Tokyo Metro) and is connected by underground passages to the nearby subway station of Ōtemachi, served by the Tōzai, Chiyoda, Hanzōmon and Mita lines.

Finally, the Tokyo station area is also an important long-distance bus terminal for various locations in Japan. Bus stops are generally located on the other side of Marunouchi (Yaesu Exit).

Map of Marunouchi, Tokyo

Guided tours, activities and other things to do

If you are planning a trip to Japan and you want to do something more than just visiting famous places and monuments, we suggest you to use Govoyagin.

How to use Govoyagin

Govoyagin is a very useful website to enrich your travel experience, especially if you are going solo or it's your first time in Japan.
Because of the language barrier (and more), in Japan it is very difficult to interact with the locals and to get off the tourist track.
Thanks to Govoyagin you can find a lot of interesting and sometimes unique guided tours and activities all over Japan (and not only in Japan), that you would otherwise never be able to enjoy.
But there's more: on Govoyagin you can also buy tickets for several famous attractions, events, transportation and other useful services for tourists. Last but not least, you can reserve a table in hundreds of restaurants.

Some examples

Take a look at Govoyagin

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