Harajuku Station to be rebuilt ahead of 2020 Tokyo Olympics

By Oona McGee, RocketNews24

JR East has confirmed reports that it would be renovating three stations on its Tokyo rail network, with upgrades planned for Harajuku Station on the Yamanote loop line and Sendagaya and Shinanomachi stations on the company’s Chuo-Sobu Line. The work, which will include the introduction of new barrier-free facilities and expansion of concourses and ticket gates, is expected to be completed by 2020 at a total cost of 250 billion yen.

The new plans are designed to improve passenger flow, which is expected to increase dramatically during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, and alleviate congestion, which, especially in the case of Harajuku Station, can prove dangerous as passengers spill out onto the road from the narrow walkway during peak periods on weekends and public holidays.

The new design planned for Harajuku Station involves the construction of a modern-looking two-storey building above the existing tracks (see image below). The temporary platform currently used to accommodate large numbers during special events like New Year’s Day, will now become a new platform for the outer tracks, while a new entrance will be built on the Meiji-Jingu side of the station. Inside, there will be a brand new, wider concourse and ticket gate area, along with elevators and new, more spacious amenities.

The new-look Sendagaya Station, located close to the National Stadium and Tokyo Gymnasium, will convert an existing temporary platform into a permanent structure for the exclusive use of Shinjuku-bound trains.

Ticket gates will be relocated to accommodate the change and improve passenger flow while doors on platform barriers will be improved to increase security. There will also be upgrades to elevators and amenities.

Shinanomachi Station will receive new doors on platform barriers and new amenities and elevators.

Following the announcement of the station upgrades, Japanese television news reports focused heavily on the changes planned for Harajuku Station. Built in 1924, the wooden building is the oldest of its kind in the Tokyo area, and has a distinctive facade that evokes an atmosphere of nostalgia within its modern environment.

JR East has said it will make a decision on whether to demolish the current structure or incorporate it into the new design after listening to views from the local municipality.

While the new plans will provide much-needed improvements to passenger flow ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games, many people in Japan will be sad to say goodbye to the old building if it does have to go.

Source: East Japan Railway Company

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Shibuya Station 2019: one step closer to the Neo-Tokyo of our dreams -- Tokyo’s busiest train stations have a new, free, English-compatible navigation app -- The train station that stayed open for a single school girl finally closes down

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YUCK! Way to destroy a cutesy harajuku looking station. I understand its very narrow but then at least keep the design but make it wider. Such a shame.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Great idea to make use of the empty platforms, expand entrances/exits etc but if they can preserve the interesting current building somehow that would be much preferred. Maintaining and repurposing old buildings has become more common recently in Japan and is highly commendable.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Don't drastically change everything, the authenticity and that "Japanesy" look of that station should remain. Yes to wider and cleaner toilets!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

While it's nice that they are upgrading these for the Olympics (Harajuku needed anyways, although they really do need to keep the old structure somehow), I wish they would renovate stations that need it for day to day use for the average Japanese (like Hamamatsucho station, which is a nightmare)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This is blatant desecration.

With the exception of Tokyo station, pretty much every other station on the Yamanote line are horrible concrete monoliths or a kind of mishmash of lots of different buildings colliding into each other (Shinjuku and Shibuya, anyone?).

Harajuku station as it is, is lovely and a refreshing sight in the concrete drudgery of the rest of Tokyo. It definitely needs improving as New Year crowds for Meiji Jingu are awful enough, the Olympics will be worse. But why can't it be done whilst also preserving the facade and external structure in some way? If JR managed to do it with Tokyo Station, surely it can manage something with Harajuku?

It doesn't really need all that much done to it - passageway widening and new ticket halls at the most. Surely that can be done without the addition of the concrete breeze block in the artist's mock up. It looks like a ward office / public library. Ugly and horrible.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Glad to hear this. Harajuku station is horribly outdated. I think they should connect it to the subway and possibly an underground concourse into the center of Yoyogi park.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Harajuku eki is, by function, a nightmare. Passengers with passes on their way to the ticket barriers and passengers leaving the trains have to walk through the same small space where the many tourists and visitors are queuing to buy tickets. The walkway between the platforms and the ticket barriers is too narrow for the weekend hordes and causes jams. And the pedestrian path outside the station is very narrow causing more passengers to use the already crammed space by the ticket machines.

The problem with a decent rebuild is the lack of available land. The station is crammed between the tracks and meiji dori, where you cannot narrow the road anymore. And there is no further land either side. I would say the best bet is to expand that space underneath where the underground path to the chiyoda-sen is, making the yamanote-sen ticket office downstairs and using the current area for ticket barrier flow only.

Either that or relocate Harajuku eki to the out-of-use imperial family station further down meiji dori.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I often use it on my commute, and it's horrible despite the nice building.

It is way too small to accommodate the crowds.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I'm not a Harajuku person at all, but still I would hate to see that unique looking station dissappear. Why can't they just build the same station?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Unfortunately, there is very little love for historic train station buildings in Japan, particularly when functional needs make accommodating aesthetics "muzukashii".

The perfect example in the Tokyo area was the old Kunitachi Station building on the Chuo-sen, which was torn down back in 2006. What is in its place is perfectly functional.... but absolutely hideous by comparison. The old building was designed by an apprentice of Frank Llloyd Wright, for reference!!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What a boring uninspiring design. Bleaa......

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The existing building looks nice, and that new design is terrible... but Harajuku station, as it is, is the worst station on the Yanamote line to actually use. They definitely need to change it; I hope they can come up with a better design than what we see here though

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The station expansion is long overdue. Efficiency over aesthetics, please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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