Harajuku Station to Be Closed Down

The end of an era for Tokyo's oldest wooden station

By Sleiman Azizi    - 2 min read

After several years of consultation and deliberation, JR East Railways has finally made the decision to close down Harajuku Station and replace it with a new one after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Para Olympics.

Harajuku Station itself was built in 1906, with the current station building constructed in 1924. Considered to be the oldest wooden train station in Tokyo, the building miraculously survived the air raids of World War Two has now become an icon of the local area.

Harajuku Station in the evening (Photo: Rs1421)
Harajuku Station in the evening (Photo: Rs1421)

Located on the famous JR Yamanote Line, the station building features a European design and is situated right outside of the famous Meiji Jingu Shrine, one of Tokyo's most popular tourist destinations. The station also provides access to Takeshita Dori, Tokyo's hub of youth culture, the ever popular Yoyogi Park and Omotesando, one of the world's foremost architectural streets. The station is also home to a special platform built in 1925 for the Imperial family..

Harajuku Station sees over 70,000 people boarding its trains each day and with around 3 million visitors over the New Year period, the station has struggled to keep pace with the ever increasing commuter demands. Despite its appeal, charm and historicity, the station building has been deemed no longer sufficiently fire-resistant, and with pedestrian congestion in the immediate vicinity particularly tight, JR East Railways made the announcement that the building would be replaced.

Harajuku Station congestion (Photo: Dick Thomas Johnson)
Harajuku Station congestion (Photo: Dick Thomas Johnson)

Unlike many other historic structures in the city, there has been no word thus far on whether or not the current Harajuku Station building will be relocated and preserved or simply demolished.

Construction is already underway with the current station building is still in operation until the new station opening set on 21st March, 2020. Final construction of the station is set to be completed by 31st August 2021.

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Sleiman Azizi

Sleiman Azizi @sleiman.azizi

A Japanese Permanent Resident, I drool over proper soba and sushi while Japanese aesthetics ticks all the right boxes for me.With over 200 published articles on Japan as well as 5 English language books written in a traditional Japanese style, I also happen enjoy writing. Funny that...I'm also the Regional Partner for Tokyo, Japan's never ending capital, so if you've anything to say about Tokyo - or Japan in general - don't be shy and contact with me via sleiman.azizi@japantravel.com

Join the discussion

Elizabeth S 3 weeks ago
This is so sad. The oldest station on the Yamanote Line scheduled for demolition, removing yet another storied building from the Tokyo landscape. Surely it could be dismantled and rebuilt at another site.
Kim B 3 weeks ago
Sad about this too! Can understand the necessity, but still a little bummed...
Serena Ogawa 3 weeks ago
This makes me a little sad. I do hope the new building is more handicapped-friendly though.
Sleiman Azizi Author 3 weeks ago
I'd be surprised if it wasn’t.
Elena Lisina 3 weeks ago
It's a pity, but the station and the space around it are too small, indeed.
Elena Lisina 3 weeks ago
In our city new railway station was built near the old one that was just reconstructed inside, but the historical look was preserved. It was good idea!