Kasumigaseki Station, located in Chiyoda, Tokyo, opened in 1958 and serves the government district. Surrounding Kasumigaseki are several government offices, including the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If you’re interested in Japanese politics and government, this is the place to be. You might even get a chance to glimpse Japan’s education minister on their daily commute!
The area surrounding Kasumigaseki Station has a metropolitan feel with well kempt flower beds contrasting with austere architecture. The interior of the station is clean and simple, reflecting the serious nature of the surrounding buildings. I didn’t see any cafés or even vending machines! However, if you do want to look at the Ministry of Health, I’d advise bringing food and drink for a picnic in nearby Hibiya Park. This beautiful oasis is only a 5 minute walk from Kasumigaseki Station. The park has a lovely pond, concert hall and a few restaurants: the perfect break for those hard working government officials. If you want to see a slice of everyday life I’d check out the ‘health field’ where businessmen relax during lunch.
Kasumigaseki Station bears incredible historical meaning to Japan. In the 1995 sarin gas attack on Tokyo, Kasumigaseki was the station at which the packs of sarin where removed from the Chiyoda Line train. It was here that one station attendant died removing the nerve agent. Kasumigaseki marks the attack every year to commemorate the victims who lost their lives. If you want to pay your respects to this station it is accessible via the Chiyoda, Hibiya and Marunouchi Lines.
For those with an interest in major political events in Japan, as well as the everyday running of the country, this station is well worth a visit. I have found that doing some reading on the subject makes it a far more interesting journey. If you want to learn more about the 1995 sarin attack, try reading Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche, written by Haruki Murakami, an accessible Japanese author who provides insight into the attack. Regardless of political interest, it’s still a beautiful spot in the city if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle; 20 minutes in Hibiya Park and you will forget you’re in the middle of Tokyo.