Wednesday, April 10, 2013

1991年東京駅の裏 - Mysterious Area Behind Tokyo Station (in 1991)

The back of Tokyo Station used to be quite an atmospheric place.  There was a passageway between the 1914 station building and the elevated railway behind the station - both of which were built in the early days of railroad development in Japan.  When adding new tracks at the station, they built tracks right up against the 1914 station building, and as a result, this zone has disappeared. - (All photographs from March 30th, 1991.)
(Above and below) - The rear of the 1914 Tokyo Station building in 1991 - looking in both directions from the Chuo Line platform (before it was moved up and over to accommodate new Shinkansen tracks on the Yaesu side of the station).
(Below) - Looking towards the Yaesu side of Tokyo Station from the Marunouchi side while standing on the Chuo Line platform.  The changes to Tokyo Station have been incremental over the years, so I didn't quite realize just how much it has changed until I took a good look at these old pictures from 1991.  Most of the platform roofs have been changed, the old type platform seats are gone, etc., and the atmosphere is rather different now.  Having old bits and pieces from different eras at the station gave it more of a multi-era historical feeling than it has now.
(Below) - When I stumbled into this brick-lined tunnel (that runs under the platforms), I had no idea what it was, other than to imagine it was an old way to get luggage up to the platforms via elevators.  Looking around on-line I discover that it was used to get mail to and from the platforms (via elevators) and that there used to be an underground mail train that ran from Tokyo Station to the Central Post Office, which was located across a busy road from the station.  I read somewhere that this passageway is not now accessible to the public, but is used for storage, etc.
(Above) - Something about this photo reminds me of a lazy sun-soaked day on a side street somewhere in Europe.  Considering how busy Tokyo Station was at the time I took this, it was a kind of island of tranquility.
This area was used by the Tokyo Station Hotel, with its restaurants, etc, and so there were the kind of things you typically see behind restaurants (drink crates, etc.).
Probably at least some of these pipes are related to the steam heating system that Tokyo Station Hotel used to have (which may have been functional on March 30th, 1991, when I took these pictures - certainly I did notice at least one radiator later when I walked around inside the hotel).
After walking down a narrow flight of stairs, I discovered what appeared to be a boiler room.  Looking at the machines against the far wall (below) in a glimpse through a partially open door, I now wonder if the building had been retrofitted with more modern furnaces.
I now kind of wish I'd walked into the room and asked the man sitting on the other side of that large black... boiler(?) what the space was exactly, but he probably wouldn't have appreciated someone just walking in on him like that.
Away from the boiler room, back at ground level; marveling that this scene - that looks like it's a time-slip zone from many decades before - is actually from 1991.
(Below) - Back in the regular station area - headed up to one of the platforms.  With the benefit of hindsight, I now wish I'd spent a little more time looking around in that time-slip zone....
Copyright 1991, 2010, and 2013 by Lyle H Saxon - All rights reserved

My video of looking around in 1991 Tokyo Station's mystery zone is as follows:

1991年東京駅の裏ミステリーゾーン 91-Tokyo Station Mystery Zone (910330)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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