VIDEO: Take a Tokyo town walk around Takanawa Gateway

VIDEO: Take a Tokyo town walk around Takanawa Gateway

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

Takanawa Gateway, the newest station of the JR Yamanote Line and Keihin Tohoku Line, opened in 2020 between the Tamachi and the Shinagawa stations. Gateway is an example of Japan’s old-meets-new aesthetic as it has traditional features blended with new technology.

The station building was designed by famous architect Kuma Kengo, who based it on the traditional Japanese-style concept of “wa.”

The station’s glass roof is coated with white fluorite resin to represent Japan’s washi paper. This unique design allows plenty of sunshine to elegantly illuminate the wooden interior. The wood-grain walls and tiles on the platform, staircases and restroom facilities give the commute a warm, Zen atmosphere.

Takanawa Gateway also features updated ticket gates that allow for quicker transfers, digital signage for ease of passage and even robots. Touch screens around the station allow you to connect with AI and bot assistants for traffic and sightseeing information. The station also has “Touch to Go,” an unmanned convenience store to help get passengers in and out in no time.

According to Japan Rail Pass, the station also has wheelchair robots to assist disabled passengers with accessing restrooms and elevators.

SUBHED: Pay respects to 47 samurai

After admiring this cutting-edge, brand-new station, take a 10-minute walk to enjoy some old Japan at Sengakuji, an impressive Buddhist temple. This beautiful wooden temple dates back 411 years and is famous due to its graveyard, which is the final resting place of the 47 samurai of the Ako Clan.

These samurai are revered in Japan for their loyalty to their late master Asano Takuminokami. Back in 1702, Oishi Kuranosuke and other 46 samurai of the Ako Clan attacked and killed their master’s enemy, Kira Kozukenosuke. The samurai brought Kira’s head to the temple grounds to offer it to the tomb of their master. After this, the 47 samurai were ordered by the Shogunate to commit seppuku (suicide) for the crime. Today, many visitors burn incense and pay their respects to the loyal 47 samurai buried with their master.

Tomb of Oishi Kuranosuke

Tombs of 47 Samurai

Visit the small museum to learn more about the 47 samurai. The museum has artifacts detailing the lives of the men and the history behind the clan.

Takanawa Gateway Station demonstrates what the future of rail travel can be. The station’s blending of old elements with new technology is a way to experience a taste of how old-meets-new in Tokyo’s ever evolving districts.

Takanawa Gateway Station

Sengakuji (Buddhist Temple)

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