Resurrected in its original red-brick style, the historic Tokyo Station is a reminder that the past still lives vividly in the heart of Tokyo. The station is not the only timeless piece of the past that has survived the ever-evolving urban landscape of Tokyo, as the office tower of Japan Post Group, simply called JP Tower, is yet another landmark that exemplifies the seamless fusion of the past with modernity.
Looking at the JP Tower that stands tall right in front of the station, one would immediately notice that the edifice is of mixed origin. The 200 meter tall building sits on top of the preserved exterior of the historic Tokyo Central Post Office. Structurally speaking, the tower is not stacked on top of what used to be Tokyo’s central post office, but the architects have decided to integrate the facade of the post office into the first six floors of the tower. Such marriage of the historic facade with a modern skyscraper is precisely what communicates the seamless interplay between the past and the present—very much in line with the spirit of the newly renovated Tokyo Station.
The first six floors comprise the Kitte Marunouchi, a shopping mall buzzing with tourists as well as Tokyo residents. Inspired by its interior that is reminiscent of the old post office, the name of the mall, comes from the Japanese word for postage stamps, “切手" or "Kitte.” The Kitte houses both fashion boutiques and restaurants with a view overlooking the station.
One attraction that you cannot miss is the free museum, “intermediathque (IMT)”, operated by Japan Post in conjunction with the University of Tokyo. Occupying the second and the third floor of the Kitte, the IMT Museum showcases exhibits ranging from skeletons of dinosaurs to contemporary paintings. The descriptions explaining the exhibits are written in Japanese and English, so English speaking visitors will be able to fully enjoy the museum. Note that photography inside the museum is strictly prohibited.
Another attraction worth visiting is the roof garden that is on the sixth floor. Not only can you enjoy the beautifully trimmed lawn that adds a lively shade of green to the roof, but you can also have a 360-degree view of Tokyo Station. For those looking to snag a panoramic shot of the beautifully reconstructed station, an elevated view from the sixth floor of the Kitte is the ideal spot.
Last but not least, the Kitte is also a perfect destination if you get hungry from walking around the station. No matter where you are from, you will most likely find a food of your liking as four floors of restaurants offer truly global cuisine options—from French to Chinese, and of course an incredible selection of Japanese restaurants. Just to put the wide range of restaurants in perspective, there is even a place that specializes in serving various types of miso soup. If you have already had lunch elsewhere, don’t worry; there are plenty of coffee shops where you can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea with either European sweets or traditional Japanese sweets.
All in all, the JP tower is an excellent spot for those new to Tokyo, so take a few hours before you get on that Shinkansen to visit the Kitte!