JR to revamp Harajuku Station

Harajuku Station 2

On June 8, the East Japan Railway Company announced that they will be rebuilding the historic Harajuku Station in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics, which will take place nearby. The new station will be designed to alleviate some of the current passenger congestion problems. A new exit will be added on the Meiji Shrine side.

Harajuku Station 1

Harajuku Station first opened in 1906. Passenger numbers started to grow with the opening of Meiji Shrine in 1920.  The station now has about 70,000 passengers a day.

The current station building was built in 1924 and is the oldest existing wooden station building in Tokyo. In 1925, a private platform for the exclusive use of Emperor Taisho was added just north of the main platform. It was designed to be used for the Emperor when taking the Imperial train to his villas in Nikko, Numazu and Hayama.

Harajuku Station 3
The Imperial Platform

In 1945, the station took a direct hit during a WWII air-raid but a mis-fire saved the building from any serious damage. During the post-war revival, love hotels, which were already being built in numbers in the nearby Sendagaya district, started to pop up around the Harajuku station area. However, strong lobbying by local residents and parent-teacher associations resulted in the district receiving a School Zone designation in 1957, which prohibited any love hotels or other adult entertainment-type venues.

JR has yet to decide whether to keep the current building and convert it to public or retail use, or demolish it.

Sources:
East Japan Railway Company Press Release, June 8, 2016.
NHK, June 8, 2016.
The Asahi Shimbun, June 8, 2016.

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