If you head to the Marunouchi Business District in Tokyo then you will be in one of the most powerful places in all of Tokyo as it is home to the headquarters of the country’s most successful financial businesses.
Marunouchi Business District is located between Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace. The word “marunouchi” literally means “within the enclosure” and the area was originally located inside Edo castle’s outer moats during the Edo period.
Within this area, there were originally the houses of some of the most powerful feudal lords in the country.
However, today Marunouchi is often paired together with Otemachi to form one of the most important and powerful business districts in all of Japan. Within this area, you will most commonly find companies relating to the financial sector.
Within recent years the Mitsubishi company has begun to rejuvenate the area, giving many buildings a makeover. The reasoning behind this is simply that they own a lot of land within the district. For example, older buildings were demolished or remodeled to make way for modern-looking sky scapers.
In so doing the area has also attracted a lot of tourists and locals rather than solely businessmen. This is because the lower floors of the skyscrapers are home to restaurants, shops, and other businesses, while the upper floors are reserved for offices.
How do I get to Marunouchi Business District?
The area is very well connected and is just west of Tokyo Station which is the terminus of several rail lines. Due to the number of people that frequent the area it is very well served by public transport.
What is there to see and do in Marunouchi Business District?
There is a wide range of things to see and do in the area and there is definitely something for everyone. There are many shops and restaurants, museums and even historical sites nearby.
It is very easy to spend an entire day here without getting bored, so it may be worth checking what you want to see ahead of time so that you do not miss out on anything!
Shopping and dining
If you want to spend a relaxing day in Tokyo walking around the shops and enjoying a tasty lunch or dinner then Marunouchi Business District is definitely a great place to start your exploration of Tokyo.
There is a multitude of shops and restaurants to suit every taste and budget.
The Marunouchi building
Located just directly opposite Tokyo Station, the Marunouchi building was first opened in 2002 and is a landmark in the area.
In keeping with the district’s new look, the lowest six floors are allocated for entertainment and are open to the public. However, the two uppermost floors are also open to the public and offer fantastic views of the city.
The bottom six floors house a wide variety of restaurants and shops and the top two floors house restaurants.
The shops are open every day from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. but this is reduced to an 8 p.m. closing time on public holidays and Sundays.
The restaurants are also open for the majority of the day from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m., again reduced to a 10 p.m. closing time on public holidays and Sundays.
The word “Kitte” literally means postage stamp and gets its name from the post office on the ground floor.
But this complex, opened in 2013, is also home to restaurants and shops which span the lowest flowers of the JP Tower.
This complex is located just next to Tokyo Station and is a great place to spend a couple of hours. You can easily spend all day walking around the building’s 70 shops that sell everything from home goods to clothing.
If you are hungry from a day of shopping then you can head up the building all the way to the top two floors where you will find amazing restaurants that offer stunning views of the city and even a rooftop garden.
Here the shops are open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. (closing early at 8 p.m. on Sundays and public holidays) and the restaurants are open from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. (closing early at 10 p.m. on Sundays and public holidays).
Nakadori Avenue is a street that is lined with bright green trees and amazing shops. Here you will find the avenue spanning the entire length of the district, making it not only a great way to spend the day shopping but also to see the district in its entirety.
Here the shops are open daily from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.
You can find all kinds of boutiques here selling just about everything as well as some lovely cafes and restaurants to offer you a much-needed break from all of the shopping.
This area is particularly great to escape the hustle and bustle of the city as between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays and between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekends, the avenue is entirely pedestrianized, meaning that no motor traffic may pass down it.
Museums and cultural attractions
If you are in the mood for something a bit more cultural than shopping and dining this is also possible in the Marunouchi Business District.
You can find a number of fascinating historical sites, gardens, and museums to suit any preference.
There are some attractions that are open to the public and free of charge, however, some attractions will require you to prebook a tour or ticket and to pay an entrance fee.
Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum
Open daily from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum houses collections of nineteenth-century Western-style art.
The building’s history is also interesting as the building was initially constructed by Mitsubishi as the district’s first Western-style building before being rebuilt and repurposed as an art gallery in 2010.
The original building was designed by the British architect Josiah Condor and some of his original plans were reused in the rebuild as well as some of the original materials.
The Imperial Palace
It is also impossible to come to the district and not want to head straight for the Imperial Palace located nearby. This site of historical importance is a hit with tourists and is the home of the Japanese Imperial family.
The Palace is located on the grounds of the former Edo castle. The vast majority of the outside area is free to roam and free of charge, including the moats and walls. It is only a short five-minute walk from Tokyo Station, meaning that it is very easy to get to.
You can even visit some areas inside the Imperial Palace but these must be prearranged and you must have booked a tour.
The Imperial East Gardens
If you are already in the area of the Imperial Palace then seeing the gardens is a must. These beautifully landscaped and maintained are the home of the main complex of the former Edo Castle.
Here you will find both Japanese and Western-style gardens and it is the only inner section of the palace that you do not need to prebook to see. There are also the former castle’s keep foundations available for viewing.