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Underground Tokyo

By: Floro Mercene

Tokyo’s subway lines dodge, dip and rise above each other underground. The Fukutoshin Line, which began operation in 2008, travels under the MarunouchI Line (opened 1954) and over the Toei Shinjuku Line (opened 1978) routes at Shinjuku-Sanchome Station. Just 11 cm separates the Fukutoshin Line and the Shinjuku line that runs beneath.

The subway station serving the most passengers is Ikebukuro with three subway lines. Around 500,000 subway riders get on and off at this station every day.

Otemachi station is connected with five subway lines, the most in Tokyo. The underground facilities around Otemachi are so expansive that station employees use bicycles to check that all exit gates have been shut properly once service stops for the evening.

The operating hour of subway lines is usually 5 am to 1 am. During the off hours inspection and maintenance are performed.

By the way, when you are at Otemachi Station without umbrella, and found that it is raining outside. This area’s underground pathways are so well-connected that you can walk all the way from Otemachi, cross Tokyo Station and the Yaesu shopping district, past JR Yurakucho Station and make it all the way to Kabukiza- Theater in Higashi-Ginza without ever needing to walk on the surface, a walk of 4.05 km.

Tokyo’s major rail hubs are surrounded by underground shopping malls conveniently located to serve commuters. These underground malls contain every kind of shops from clothing, accessories, other fashion merchandise to restaurants and cafes as well as pharmacies and bookshops.

Another use of underground is underground passageways. The construction of a 900-meterTsukiji-Toranomon tunnel forced developers to take the road right through the 2nd basement floor of Toranomon Hills skyscraper in Minato ward.

Toranomon Hills is a skyscraper complex, and the second tallest building in Tokyo.