Brand new building in Shibuya towers above the competition04 May, 2012 by Chad
Kokura Station isn’t the only place getting a brand new landmark. Back in Tokyo, quite a number of new buildings have been popping up this past week thanks to a certain company. Following the public opening of Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku on the 18th April, Tokyu Corporation has just launched a new commercial tower right beside Shibuya Station.
The new Shibuya Hikarie is notable for being 182.5 meters tall, towering over all of the other shopping buildings in Shibuya and being far more suited for Shinjuku. Connected to Shibuya Station through an overpass from its east exit, the Hikarie takes the site of the former Tokyo Bunka Kaikan (Tokyo Culture Hall). In addition to a mall and offices, Hikarie’s houses a gallery space as well as the new Hikarie Hall and Tokyu Orb Theater that replace the Bunka Kaikan.
Construction of the new building had been going on since 2010. Tokyu already own and run many of the buildings around Shibuya Station. With the Hikarie, they are hoping to in their own words “take over” the streets of Shibuya and transform it to reach out to a broader audience. Typically the place for younger crowds, the Shibuya Hikarie will specialize in high-end shopping, dining, culture and entertainment that caters to a more sophisticated audience or more specifically, older career women.
The Hikarie also touts itself as a futuristic beacon of new concepts with its name literally translating as “To Light”. The building makes use of environmentally friendly lighting and cooling systems. Tokyu’s new department store which occupies the first 5 floors of the building is called ShinQs. The mall is split up into abstractly themed areas rather than specific purposes and every floor has an open concept feel similar to what you’d find only in the desserts section in the basement.
Restrooms have being branded “Switch Rooms” and come equipped with surprises. A special members only women’s Switch Room on the 5th floor provides luxuries such as an oxygen bar, message chairs and cellphone charging docks. Refrigerated lockers allow you to keep your groceries fresh, while continuing shopping. Digital signage that run throughout the mall (including these Switch Rooms) are equipped to broadcast information like weather information.
Needless to say, there were great crowds waited outside the Hikarie’s doorstep when it opened on the 26th of April. For more information, check out the official web page (Japanese only).
Photo by Yanazawa-san.
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