Tokyo Continues Olympics Prep With New and Improved Subway Station
One of Tokyo’s most well-known metro stations was relocated on Friday to a brand-new platform, in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Shibuya station, famous for being the entryway into the hyper-crowded Shibuya Crossing, was moved about 425 feet away to a new station, according to Kyodo News. The Shibuya revamp boasts a modern M-shaped roof and has a waiting platform twice as long as the previous one.
"The old station had challenges, including narrow entrance gates and platforms,” Tokyo Metro Co. President Akiyoshi Yamamura said at an opening ceremony on Friday. “We hope the new one will be loved as a safe and convenient station.”
Travelers to Tokyo will still be able to take the metro to Shibuya station and spill out onto the notoriously hectic crossing. While the metro station may have moved, Shibuya offers connections for much more than the metro including railway lines of JR East, Keio Electric Railway and Tokyu Electric Railway.
Construction on the metro station began back in 2009. Ahead of the opening, Tokyo’s Ginza metro line was shut down for six days. The final phase of construction will see the addition of elevators and safety gates on the platforms ahead of the Olympics this summer.
The entire Tokyo transportation system has seen changes over the past few years ahead of the highly-publicized games which will begin in July. Officials began color-coding the trains of the East Japan Railway Co. lines in an attempt to make navigation easier for tourists. The country has also issued a “sayonara” tourist tax. Each international visitor will pay a $9 fee as they’re leaving Japan.
Japan is hoping to funnel Olympic fever into tourism promotion for the rest of the country. Most recently, Japan Airlines announced is giving away 50,000 free round-trip tickets to international visitors to generate excitement beyond the country's capital ahead of Opening Ceremonies.