Shinbashi: Life in Buildings
Shinbashi is one of Tokyo's leading business districts. 7 train lines converge at Shinbashi Station. When you veer away a little from the transfer passage at Shinbashi Station, you will find yourself at an entrance to a labyrinth. It is a bar area with a complexity of alleyways that you wouldn't know was inside a building. It's a paradise where Japanese businessmen forget about their work for a while. Let's begin a journey of stories that happen deep inside countless buildings.

A Wonderland for Hard-working Men

The "New Shinbashi Building" stands on the west side of Shinbashi Station. Although it has "New" in its name, the building opened in 1971. Inside is a dazzling wonderland for middle-aged men. There are discount ticket shops, a strong ally for the businessman who flies around on job trips, 33 massage shops, and plenty of recreational facilities. A half-century since its opening, the New Shinbashi Building never ceases to amuse these men. The narrow streets and small shops in the building are remnants of the open-air market that once existed on the site after World War II.

A "Flower Garden" That Blooms in a Building - Shinbashi Geisha

A 5-minute walk from Shinbashi Station, in an area of many luxury nightclubs, we come across Shinbashi Kaikan, a 7-story building of clubs and restaurants. But from the 5th floor upwards, there exists another world. It is a rehearsal studio for "Shinbashi Geisha," where it's off limits for the general public. The geisha trade in Shinbashi was born about 150 years ago. The stylish and alluring dances of the Shinbashi Geisha can only be seen at private restaurants where first-time customers are not allowed. However, their performances can be enjoyed at the "Azuma Odori," a special annual recital held in late May every year.

A Dream Hide Away

There is a building that foreign tourists, young people and passersby stop to catch a glimpse of. The design consists of 140 cube-shaped units stacked together like building blocks. The Nakagin Capsule Tower is an apartment built in 1972, designed by Kisho Kurokawa, one of Japan's leading architects. The concept of the tower was "a second house for busy business people" in the middle of the office district.