Aug 2, 2018

Otemachi Explorer

Marunouchi is the strip of land facing the Imperial Palace between Hibiya and Ōtemachi. It is considered as the most prestigious place for companies to have their headquarters (along with Ōtemachi). The two former zaibatsu, Mitsubishi and Mitsui, account for a considerable part of the offices in the neighbourhood.

In April 2010 the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum was inaugurated in great pomp. This fine art museum is based on the Maurice Joyant collection, a group of over 200 works by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. It is housed in a faithful recreation of the Meiji era edifice of the same name (一号館 "Ichigokan", meaning "No 1 Hall"). It was the first European-style office building in the neighbourhood, completed in 1894 and designed by British architect Josiah Conder in the Queen Anne style. The original building was torn down in 1968.

Marunouchi is expensive. The Japanese talk about "Marunouchi price"  in reference to overpriced shops and restaurants. To experience this, take a stroll to the much celebrated 179m tall Marunouchi Building ( "Maru Biru", completed in 2004), or the 197m high New Marunouchi Building ("Shin Maru Biru", inaugurated in 2007). The sister towers are side by side, just opposite Tokyo Station. They boast an alluring array of boutiques and fine restaurants on their 6 and 7 lower levels, respectively. The Maru Biru has a branch of Maruzen bookshop (with books in English) on the 5th floor and one of Meidi-ya (imported luxury food products) in the basement. It also has restaurants on its 36th and 37th floors with splendid views on the Imperial Palace, Ginza and Nihombashi.