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Old November 30th, 2011, 08:29 AM   #3101
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Kume Sekkei tapped for Vietnam’s first station-area mixed-use development
http://www.nikkeibp.co.jp/article/news/20111118/290856/

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Kume Sekkei has been tapped by Vietnam Railways (VNR) to provide program management services related to Hanoi Urban Metro Line 1.

“We will succeed in creating Vietnam’s first mixed-use development surrounding Hanoi Station, giving a face to the country’s capital,” remarked VNR chairman Nguyen Huu Bang at a press conference opened jointly with Kume Sekkei during a visit to Japan in early November.

The existing Hanoi Station, primarily served by long-distance intercity rail lines, will be elevated together with the construction of the new Metro Line 1. Kume Sekkei will serve as an advisor on project implementation, fundraising, and other tasks for stationside development at five major stations on Line 1, including Hanoi Station. VNR and Kume Sekkei will hammer out the specifics of the tasks involved and the associated price before finalizing a formal contract before the end of the year.

Line 1 is a 28 km, 16-station line running north-south through Hanoi, and VNR will serve as project lead, constructing the line using yen loans.

In September 2009, VNR signed a contract with a consortium comprised of Japan Transportation Consultants (HQ: Taitō Ward, Tōkyō), the Japan Railway Technical Service, JR East Consultants, and others, moving forward with design of the station buildings and aerial structures for the 15-km first phase of the line, which includes Hanoi Station. VNR plans to award a contract to a contractor in 2012, breaking ground in 2013 and completing the project in 2018.

In addition to the elevated Line 1 station, other plans for Hanoi Station involve the underground station for Metro Line 3 and the 1,600 km high-speed railway connecting all the way to Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam. The Hanoi People’s Committee will serve as project lead for the Line 3 project, and construction has already begun with official development assistance (ODA) from France.

However, redevelopment of the area around stations is out-of-scope for the design work for each line, and without an “orchestrator” to bring the entire picture together, VNR was beginning to feel a little uneasy.

”I want to bring in Japan’s top-of-the-line knowhow”
Several plans for Hanoi Staion have already been put on the table, including construction of two 25-story office buildings outside the station, preservation of the existing station building for use as a museum and hotel, and construction of retail facilities inside the station. All are targeting a completion together with Line 1 in 2018.

In his latest visit to Japan, Chairman Bang toured JR Nagoya Station and central Tōkyō’s Ebisu Garden Place. “I want to bring in Japan’s top-of-the-line redevelopment knowhow to Hanoi Station. Offices, hotels, and retail facilities will boost our revenue, and I hope they will contribute to the good of society.”

Chairman Bang requested that Kume Sekkei offer its assistance in “organizing a consortium of investors and developers and attracting tenants, with an eye towards PPP (public-private partnership) projects.”

In March 2009, Kume Sekkei established its local Hanoi office, Kume Design Asia (KDA). The firm is building its experience, successfully winning design contracts from an investors’ group for a hospital and from a publicly-owned urban development company for high-rise housing.

“In addition to the experience and trust we’ve established through these projects, I believe that our neutral stance as a company whose capital and organizational structure are independent (from developers and other interests) was a key factor in being selected,” remarks Kume Sekkei president Yamada Yukio.

Eliminating chronic congestion through railways and orbital roads
Hanoi currently suffers from problems related to the rapid spread of automobiles and motorbikes, including chronic roadway congestion and frequent road accidents. The city’s critical tasks are construction of railways and other public transit systems, orbital roads, and new towns to take in the flux of residents moving to the suburbs.

The city has plans to open five urban metro lines by 2020. According to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the mode share of railways for trips within the city is forecasted to increase from the current 0% to 12% in 2020.

Keihan Electric Railway also involved
Japan is providing financial support for construction of both Line 1 and Line 2 through yen loans. In March 2011, Line 2 project lead Hanoi Urban Metro Bureau signed a contract for design work with a consortium comprised of Oriental Consultants, Katahira & Engineers International, Tōnichi Consultants, and others.

For Line 5, for which no investors had yet been identified, the Japan Railway Technical Service, Keihan Electric Railway, and the Nomura Research Institute submitted a joint proposal for a PPP project using yen loans. In June 2011, JICA selected the three firms’ proposal and contracted out the initial study for the project.

Line 5 will stretch a total of 35 km and connect the central city with Hoa Lac Hi-tech Park, an industrial campus in western Hanoi. Keihan Electric Railway judged that it could make use of knowhow in operations and administration of the railway after construction, station services, daily maintenance tasks, and other duties.

In addition, Keihan signed a business agreement with Vietnamese developer Kinh Bac City Development. It’s believed that the railway will offer its assistance in necessary localized studies such as demand forecasting, as well as trackside development.

As Hanoi’s urban metro project has different project leads for each of the lines, it’s expected that coordination between the various plans on issues such as connections at interchange stations and redevelopment around stations could run into difficulties. There are also fears that the project costs for Line 1 and Line 2, which both run through existing urbanized areas, could escalate as a result of difficulties in acquiring land.

Japanese firms will be put to the test to show whether or not they can take advantage of their skills in coordinating between the government and residents, honed over many years in the domestic market.

Chairman Nguyen Huu Bang explains the redevelopment plan for the area around Hanoi Station, comparing to documents related to JR Nagoya Station. On the right is Kume Sekkei president Yamada Yukio. (Photo courtesy of Nikkei Architecture)


Rendering of the area around Hanoi Station. While design of the elevated station building is proceeding apace, plans for office buildings and other redevelopment outside the station are still in the blueprint stage. (Photo courtesy of Nikkei Architecture)


Plans for the area around Hanoi Station. (Photo courtesy of Nikkei Architecture)


The current Hanoi Station. (Photo courtesy of VNR)


Transport modes within Hanoi. Actual 2005 mode shares (left) and forecasted 2020 mode shares (right). Currently, the public transit share is extremely small. BRT (bus rapid transit) refers to a high-volume, high-speed bus system where buses run on exclusive rights of way. (Courtesy of JICA)


Overview of transport infrastructure construction projects financed by yen loans (as of October 2010). Hanoi Station is located below center of the map. (Courtesy of JICA)
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Old December 1st, 2011, 02:53 AM   #3102
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Old December 1st, 2011, 06:59 AM   #3103
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Japan Delhi Metro's knight in shining armour again
http://www.rediff.com/business/slide...n/20111031.htm

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Sharp jump in soft loans to help DMRC finance surge in construction cost.

Phase-III of the Delhi Metro’s rail network, work on which is to commence soon, will see a jump in borrowing from the Japanese government’s aid agency, in line with a rise in the cost of construction.

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is under pressure to deliver on a major network expansion, but the cost of construction is set to almost double, to Rs 303 crore a km, for each line in the third phase. While the percentage contribution of Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) in funding DMRC’s projects is to decrease from 60 per cent in phase-I to 50 per cent in phase-III, the borrowing in absolute terms is set to jump three-fold, to Rs 17,621 crore.

Jica is the Japanese government agency for extending technical and financial assistance for projects in developing nations. Its loan to DMRC does not come with any strings attached on awarding contracts to a Japanese company, according to a senior official.

Phase-III is to add 116 km more to the present 180 km. Jica’s contribution was to come down to 40 per cent of the overall project cost of Rs 35,242 crore (initial estimates). However, it has since agreed to fund half the project cost for the third phase, which becomes operational in 2015. “This comes as a major relief and good news for us. This is an indication of the trust the Japanese government has in DMRC’s repayment capacity and sound project financials,” Mangu Singh, director (works) at DMRC told Business Standard. Singh is also the choice for next chief of DMRC when the veteran incumbent, E Sreedharan, retires as managing director on December 31.

DMRC had constructed a 65-km network in phase-I, with an investment of Rs 10,571 crore. Around 60 per cent of this —Rs 6,342 crore — came from Jica, in the form of long-term debt. Of the rest, 28 per cent was provided by the Union government and the Delhi government as equity. In phase-II, while the overall project cost almost doubled to Rs 19,131 crore, Jica’s contribution came down to 49 per cent (Rs 9,374 crore) and the equity contribution from the government went up to 50 per cent of the total cost.

A major reason for the huge jump in per-km cost of construction from Rs 162 crore in phase-I to Rs 303 crore in phase-III is the ambitious plan to increase the underground component in the network, to avoid land acquisition issues. While the underground component accounted for 20 per cent of route length in phase-I and 27 per cent in phase-II, underground lines would account for around 40 per cent of the rail network in phase-III.

The cost of construction came down to Rs 153 crore per km in phase-II, as compared to Rs 162 crore in phase-I, despite an increase in the share of the underground component from 20 per cent in the first phase to 27 per cent in the second. This was achieved by efficient project management, said Singh. “Unbundling of contracts and a higher number of domestic contractors allowed us to pull down per-km cost of construction in the second phase,” he said.

Jica’s loan of Rs 6,342 crore for phase-I had come at an annual interest rate between 1.3 and 2.3 per cent. The entire project was completed in 2002 and the loan amount disbursed in six tranches between 1998 and 2005. The Rs 9,374-crore loan from Jica for phase-II was finalised at an annual rate between 1.2 and 1.4 per cent. For the third phase, too, DMRC expects the loan to flow in five or six tranches, at roughly the same rate.

DMRC’s annual outgo to the Japanese government on loan repayment is around Rs 250 crore, around 45 per cent of its total annual income. While this outgo is being met by DMRC on its own, it leaves the company with no funds to provide for depreciation reserves. A government official, who did not want to be named, said in the years to come, the company would have to look for ways to restructure its finances.

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Old December 1st, 2011, 07:00 AM   #3104
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Can Japan ride the wave of Indian metro investment?
http://www.nikkei.com/news/topic/art...E2E3E2E5E0E4E3

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Japan, aiming to expand its infrastructure exports, has set its eyes on India, a country lagging in its infrastructure investment. In particular, construction of urban rapid railways (metros) is taking place in cities across India. Japan, which is offering financial assistance through low-interest loans from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), wants to increase contracts for its firms, but winning bids isn’t an easy task. I investigated the issues, focusing on the example of one company that succeeding in winning a contract after a succession of losses.

Goal is “Japanese standard”
On October 20, a portion of the metro network in Bengaluru (Bangalore) in the southern state of Karnataka opened for service. This marks the third metro to open in India, following after systems in Delhi and the like. “It’s just as smooth as Japanese subways or the Yamanote Line, no?” remarked a grinning Chief Electrical Engineer Mallya for operator Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation, inside the lead car of the first train to run as part of the opening ceremonies.

The Bangalore Metro, aiming for Japanese service standards, sports trains supplied by a consortium comprised of Korean railcar manufacturer Hyundai Rotem, electrical equipment manufacturer Mitsubishi Electric, and others. The signaling system was awarded to a consortium of France’s Alstom and Sumitomo Corporation. As shown in the graph, Japanese firms were involved in over 20 percent of the project cost (excluding land acquisition costs).

Japan’s share may seem fairly high at first glance, but in truth, it’s the opposite. The wins have been with consortiums from firms in other countries, so Japan’s “piece of the pie” has been quite small. And this despite the fact that 20 percent of the total project costs are being financed through JICA yen loans. In the Chennai Metro, also being financed with yen loans, contracts awarded to European firms amount to over 50 percent of the total share. “Especially with the Great East Japan Earthquake, people are beginning to question the real value of these yen loans,” says JICA, but expanding the Japanese share is an issue for not only Japanese firms but also the entire country.

A successful win after a series of losses
“We kept losing bids left and right… I can’t even recall how many times we lost,” says Ōshima Hideo, Executive Officer for major signaling systems manufacturer Nippon Signal and the man responsible for leading the company’s international projects department. In addition to China, Taiwan, and Turkey, Ōshima lost bids with Indian metros for Delhi Metro Phase 2 (automatic faregates), Bengaluru (automatic faregates), and Kolkata (signaling system). But in March of this year, he was successful in winning a contract for automatic faregates for Chennai, without outside firms. Praise has come from outside the company, with some officials recognizing Nippon Signal as the first Japanese manufacturer to win a contract for a key portion of work on an Indian metro.

Ōshima credits an “aggressive cost analysis” for the successful win. “If we liken Japanese faregates to a Benz, what we will be providing Chennai is a kei car” says Ōshima, who whittled down the specs to the bare minimum and brought down the cost.

Making it easier to find no-name partners
One other secret behind realizing the low costs is teaming up with multiple “strategic partners”. In particular, Ōshima says that one key factor was a domestic-oriented IT firm in a developing country outside of India that he had discovered on his own. While he won’t reveal the details, using a “certain functionality” offered by the firm “substantially reduced” the contract value compared to assembling the products with only Nippon Signal components. The total cost was kept to around ¥2 billion. As a plus, Ōshima says that Nippon Signal’s share of the profits hasn’t dropped significantly as a result of the process.

Ōshima also paid heed to an assessment of the factors behind Nippon Signal’s past losing bids. In June of last year, the company lost the bid for Kolkata’s signaling system on a 1.3% price difference with Italy’s Ansaldo. However, one factor in the loss was the fluctuation in exchange rates due to the Greece crisis. Yen appreciation continued as the cost proposals were examined, and the rupee-denominated contract value escalated. Another factor was the high reliance on exports from Japan, which resulted in a high share of yen-denominated portions in Nippon Signal’s bid.

Need for localization
Meanwhile, Ansaldo’s localized production share is high. According to Ōshima’s estimates, Ansaldo’s rupee-denominated share was 73% of their total bid, handily beating Nippon Signal’s 38%. Whether it’s automobiles or home electronics, the higher the share of localized production, the cheaper the products can be produced in developing countries and the more price-competitive the company can be. Ōshima learned the lesson that increasing localized production was a critical element in terms of both costs and as hedge against risks of exchange rate fluctuations lurking from the time between submittal of bid documents and examination of the cost proposals. In the Chennai bid, Ōshima teamed with an Indian firm, increasing the rupee-denominated share to 54% of the total bid (the highest of any of the bidding firms) and winning the contract.

And yet, there are still limits to localization. Two years ago, Ōshima visited the remote countryside two to three hours by car from Kolkata to look at Ansaldo’s facilities, only to find a small signal equipment manufacturer housed in a building “decked in wet underwear hanging out to dry”. It appeared as if the Italian firm had contracted out assembly or inspection to the local company. “It was difficult to imagine a large corporation like Ansaldo working out of a building like that,” says Ōshima.

Standards business
European firms also have an edge in terms of standards. First, European consulting companies win the consulting contract, adding European standards such as safety certification to the prerequisites in the metro bid. European manufacturers then demonstrate their experience in meeting the very same European standards to win the contract. Since the 1990s, European countries have been moving forward with standardization, recognizing its critical importance in the construction and operation of railways crossing national borders. European firms now bring these standards to India, putting Japanese firms at a disadvantage. While JICA takes advantage of text refinements like “safety certification equivalent to European standards” in yen loan projects to prevent the disqualification of Japanese firms, Ōshima says, “Japanese firms need the ingenuity and will to push Japan’s standards as international standards.”

“We will construct metros in cities with a population of two million or more,” says Kamal Nath, India’s Minister of Urban Development. According to the Ministry of Urban Development, there were 13 cities with a population of 2,000,000 or more in 2001, including the four shown in the graph. However, in this year’s population census (unofficial) there are as many as 22 such regions in the western state of Maharashtra alone. India is seeing increasing urbanization and the increasing popularity of private automobiles, leading to roadway congestion that gets worse every year. As a result, it’s expected that the need for construction of metro systems will grow in the future.

Because of this, there’s no need to be pessimistic and say that Japanese firms are “late to the game”. There’s still plenty of chances left. Nippon Signal’s trial-and-error process, facilitated by a thorough self-evaluation process and an appetite for work that stretches to all parts of the world, is one definitive step towards increasing Japan’s infrastructure exports.

The scale of Japan’s contracts in India’s metro projects is not increasing as fast as had been hoped. (The Bangalore Metro in southern India, which partially opened on October 20)


Value of contracts awarded to Japanese firms among India’s metro projects.
Price is probably the biggest obstacle, as Japanese firms typically want to keep as much of the production within Japan as possible. In the end, though, localization / offshoring of major portions of the work will need to be accepted as part of the process of staying competitive.
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Old December 1st, 2011, 07:18 AM   #3105
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Toei Bus Kin-11 (Kameido Station to Tsukiji Station via Shin-Ōhashi and Kayabachō) in Tsukiji

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Edobus, a community bus for Chūō Ward

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Toei Bus River City 21 bus stop

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Old December 1st, 2011, 07:18 AM   #3106
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Tsukishima Station, Yūrakuchō Line

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Toei Bus To-04 (Toyomi Suisan Pier to Tōkyō Station Marunouchi South Exit via Kachidoki Station and Ginza 4-chōme) in Ginza

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JR East opened Lumine Yūrakuchō the day before I took this picture, and this area was packed with shoppers. If I remember correctly, this is a renovation of the former Seibu Yūrakuchō department store.

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Old December 1st, 2011, 07:19 AM   #3107
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Restoration of Marunouchi Station Building of JR Tōkyō Station:

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Should look great once the patina starts to show…

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Old December 1st, 2011, 07:20 AM   #3108
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Old December 2nd, 2011, 12:12 AM   #3109
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Japan

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Yes. I think there are JR Hokkaido lines.
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Old December 2nd, 2011, 12:14 AM   #3110
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Edobus, a community bus for Chūō Ward

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Hino Poncho, my favorite Japanese city bus.
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Old December 2nd, 2011, 03:46 AM   #3111
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Yes. I think there are JR Hokkaido lines.
Specifically, the Hakodate Main Line from just outside Ebestu to Sapporo Station. The last bit is from the east end of the platforms at Sapporo Station.
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Old December 4th, 2011, 02:36 PM   #3112
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OT: please like this page all about shinkansen ..thanks
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Old December 4th, 2011, 09:54 PM   #3113
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Tobu Railways gets first 50070 series trainset in 3 years; delivered to Tobu Tojo Line


Brought up from the Hitachi plant in Yamaguchi Prefecture, this is Tobu Railroad train# 51076F. It differers from the others in the 51070 series because the interior LED dot matrix destination signs have been replaced with one 17" LCD screen that's above every door.


This display will be used to show route guidance, next stop and station maps (really handy for getting to the proper exit at large stations) and up-to-the-minute railway network information like delays and stoppages. Also there are no traditional gauges and meters in the motorman's cabin; it's an all glass cockpit now.

Here's the delivery footage by tobu2181 on YouTube. The last 4 minutes features some testing going on, and you can see the new LCD screens. (They all read "Thanks for riding" now.)


I'm looking forward to seeing the "Tobu Tiger" trains here in Yokohama when the direct service starts...
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Old December 4th, 2011, 11:16 PM   #3114
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Looks nice with a silver and orange schema!
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Old December 4th, 2011, 11:43 PM   #3115
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Outstanding quality of LCD! In the first place I thought that it's just a banner.
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Old December 9th, 2011, 09:20 AM   #3116
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JR Tsuruhashi station,Osaka
a Used book store  near a ticket barrier

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Old December 9th, 2011, 07:56 PM   #3117
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I'm looking forward to seeing the "Tobu Tiger" trains here in Yokohama when the direct service starts...
The Tōbu 50000 family is definitely one of my favorites among the newer stock... Smart exterior, clean interior, and love the "airplane"-style beeps when the doors are open. That looks like a new logo for Tōbu Railway, too... I like!
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Old December 9th, 2011, 07:57 PM   #3118
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North approach into Tōkyō Station

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Other than underground tracks for the Yokosuka Line / Sōbu Rapid Line and Keiyō Line, all of the JR tracks at Tōkyō Station are elevated. However, the Chūō Line (Rapid) is actually two levels up.

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: Tōkyō I, II, III (Kamakura), IV (Yokohama), V; Ōsaka I (+Kyōto +Kōbe), II (Kyōto), III (Nara); Hiroshima; Fukuoka; Nagasaki; Kita-Kyushu + Shimonoseki; Nikkō
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Old December 9th, 2011, 07:58 PM   #3119
quashlo
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Aside from the Marunouchi Station Building restoration, there were other parts of the station that were still under construction / renovation as part of the Tōkyō Station City project.

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Yaesu side of the station

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GranTōkyō North Tower

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: Tōkyō I, II, III (Kamakura), IV (Yokohama), V; Ōsaka I (+Kyōto +Kōbe), II (Kyōto), III (Nara); Hiroshima; Fukuoka; Nagasaki; Kita-Kyushu + Shimonoseki; Nikkō
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Old December 9th, 2011, 07:58 PM   #3120
quashlo
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Inside the station is a pretty extensive series of retail spaces, very well utilized. This is the more “mall-like” section of the retail area, but there’s large gourmet markets and some restaurants. I actually came back here one early evening thinking I could get something to eat, but the restaurants all had lines out the door.

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While not quite the maze of Shinjuku, Tōkyō Station also has a pretty extensive network of underground passages.

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image hosted on flickr

Untitled by quashlo, on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Untitled by quashlo, on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Untitled by quashlo, on Flickr
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: Tōkyō I, II, III (Kamakura), IV (Yokohama), V; Ōsaka I (+Kyōto +Kōbe), II (Kyōto), III (Nara); Hiroshima; Fukuoka; Nagasaki; Kita-Kyushu + Shimonoseki; Nikkō
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