By Sherilyn Siy
As we all know, Japan’s public transportation is extremely well-planned, thus one rarely has a reason to walk extensively anywhere, much less walk from station to station. Well, now there is a reason, and it is called Maach Ecute.
Located in the mid-way point of JR Akihabara Station and JR Ochanomizu station, Machuu Ecute blends in seamlessly with the other brick-lined walls and bridges that lines the street. Upon closer inspection, one will realize that Maach Ecute bears uncanny resemblance to train stations of the old, and that is exactly what it is. An old train station remodeled into a cultural commercial complex.
Maach Ecute is transformed from what used to be the Kanda Manseibashi Station, however, instead of tearing the old station down completely and replacing it with the glass and metal structures that recent architects are so fond of, the old building was gutted on the inside and thus retains that beautifully aged red-brick feel that is hard to find in Tokyo and is very photogenic.
Maach Ecute definitely took a page out of shop-houses in UK and the concept has married well with Japanese culture. Whilst the complex is modest, the designers have tucked a lot of depth and interesting items into the building. Along the walkway, you will find cafes and eateries (Japanese, western and fusion), a wine shop and a florist. Inside however, is where the space gets interesting.
In the centre is the ‘Library’ where miniature models of the building’s past self as a station and historical references can be found. One of the truly unique aspects of Maach Ecute is that once you have entered the building, you will realize that all the shops are linked to one another and all of them reach deep inside the building. This means to say that small little coffee shop you saw on the street is actually part of a furniture shop that is located further into the building.
Bespoke is definitely the word to use when describing the food, products and retailers in the building. Many unique designer products, such as foldable flower vases made out of recycled plastic and traditional handkerchiefs made from hand-spun threads can be found in the retailers. Food wise, you will find many traditional Japanese foods given a new spin inside the cafes.
Dining at Maach Ecute definitely leaves you spoiled for choice without dealing a whole of damage to your wallet, even better is the view. As the building is built directly along the river-side, you can enjoy your meal while looking at the Kanda stream and soak in the nostalgia of the olden days.
Small as it is, Maach Ecute of course, is unable to fill up your entire day, and that is fine because once you are done dining and shopping in it, you can continue your stroll down to Akihabara and continue the rest of your day.
So if you ever crave a walk in-between stations, you know where to go.
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