Harajuku Station in Tokyo Closes After 96 Years

Harajuku Station in Tokyo Closes After 96 Years

The iconic Harajuku Station even survived the devastating fire-bombing of Tokyo during World War II.

Last week, the iconic Harajuku Station ran its last trains before permanently halting operations, winding up its 96 years of service to the community. 

In a solemn affair, a team of dedicated employees lined up at the building’s entrance and pronounced their heartfelt gratitude before making an obeisance as the shutter dramatically blocked out the last rays of sunlight. The words of appreciation: “thank you very much for the last 96 years,” echoed.

Image credit: David Offf

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Residents from all over congregated amidst the coronavirus outbreak to bid adieu to the train station that holds a special place in their hearts. While goodbye is the hardest thing to say, the closure is inevitable as the structure no longer complies with Tokyo’s fire safety codes. 

Harajuku Station, a prominent station in the Yamanote Line operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East), is also the oldest wooden station in Tokyo – erected almost a century ago in 1924 during the Taisho period.

It even survived the devastating fire-bombing of Tokyo during World War II – a poignant emblem of the yesteryear. The historic building is a gateway to the eclectic district of Takeshita boasting boutiques, restaurants and cafes for the fashion-conscious patrons.

Image credit: Onnie Koski

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Approximately three hours after the old station shut, its predecessor, also fondly called Harajuku Station, opened a stone’s throw away.

The new station features four times as much floor spaces and has exits to Omotesando, Takeshita-dori and the Meiji Shrine. The station is built with a dual-platform layout, more elevators and handicapped restroom stalls to deal with the throngs of commuters that will be using the new premises.

Japan Railways says it hopes to rebuild a replica of the wooden building in the same spot, incorporating materials from the structure that do adhere with Tokyo’s safety codes.

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Ifah Sakinah
Ifah Sakinah

Sakinah has a discerning palate and an innate desire to satisfy her inner curiosity. While she hasn't been everywhere, it's definitely on her list.


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