At the mention of Marunouchi, people might think of it as the financial and commercial district in Tokyo, and home to the Imperial Palace and its lush gardens. They would be right, but of course, Marunouchi has much more to offer than that. No matter where your interests lie, you will find yourself having a fun day out exploring this bustling hive of activity.
You can access this area from major train stations in the area such as Tokyo, Otemachi and Hibiya Station. You are most likely to come in from Tokyo Station, which hosts more than 10 different train lines. This is one reason why the station is always busy, with over 400,000 people dashing in and out every day. Getting to the building or train line you want to go to can get confusing at times, but there are large signs every few meters that show you where you are in relation to various station platforms and landmarks. On these maps, you can also quickly identify the top spots to explore.
In Marunouchi, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants, from casual to fine dining. Many of these eateries cater to the needs of hungry office workers in the area. The more popular and affordable options can get very busy during lunch hour. Some restaurants on the higher floors provide a good panoramic view of the metropolis as well as the beautifully constructed Tokyo Station. There are also open air cafes to enjoy the weather.
You can also take a walk around Marunouchi’s greener areas, such the Imperial Palace East Gardens and Hibiya Park. The gardens are peaceful and allow you to get a glimpse of the palace grounds. You can also rent a bicycle for free and cycle the 3km-long route along the streets surrounding the garden or the Naka Dori, a shopping street with trees lined beautifully.
For the art and history enthusiasts, there are a number of galleries, such as the Tokyo Station Gallery, Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum and the Intermediatheque. They feature contemporary art and architecture that have been shaped by history, and all regularly change their exhibits. The Gyoko-dori underground gallery is free to view and depicts images of train lines and stations from around the world. The architecture of buildings like the Tokyo International Forum and Tokyo Station, are also works of art in themselves.
In terms of shopping, you will be spoilt for choice. Marunouchi Naka Dori is lined with many made-in-Japan brands as well as high end boutiques. Buildings such as Marunouchi, and Shin Marunouchi, which are all accessible from this street, boast an impressive variety of boutiques and lifestyle stores, selling anything from bento boxes to fountain pens. There are also special food items and souvenirs that can only be found in Marunouchi. From November 12, 2015 to February 14, 2016, Marunouchi Naka Dori also has dazzling light-ups that are worth keeping an eye out for.
Last but not least, remember to snap some pictures of your new favourite spots in Marunouchi!