The new Harajuku Station building in Tokyo's pop-culture hub, which is set to open on March 21 in time for the Tokyo Olympic Games, was unveiled Wednesday to the media by East Japan Railway Co.
The new station building, on the capital's busy Yamanote loop line and located south of the current wooden one, is a two-story structure that straddles the train tracks and has exits facing the sedate precincts of Meiji Jingu shrine and the upscale Omotesando avenue, according to JR East.
Glass walls for the concourse allow for plenty of sunlight and give the building a bright, modern feel. Interior work, such as tiled floors, was also in progress at a fast pace.
Harajuku Station is a gateway to one of the capital's centers for youth culture and street fashions, clustered around the nearby bustling Takeshita shopping street and Omotesando, as well as to Meiji Jingu shrine, a major tourist site.
"The concourse and ticket gates have become more spacious, so the station will be pleasant to use. We want people to be able to access the Olympics and Paralympics venue in a secure and safe manner," said Toshiaki Kobayashi, the stationmaster at Harajuku Station.
The original Western-style wooden station building, which was constructed nearly 100 years ago, will be dismantled following the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games due to its narrow shape and failure to meet fireproof standards. But elements of its design will be incorporated in a new nearby commercial building separate from the new station.
The station was given a facelift ahead of the Tokyo Games this summer, during which nearby Yoyogi National Stadium will host handball matches.
Harajuku Station began operating in 1906 with the wooden building completed in 1924 to accommodate visitors to Meiji Jingu shrine, which was built four years earlier, JR East said.
A platform for exclusive use by a special train for imperial family members is located toward Yoyogi Station. Pedestrian access from the exit facing Takeshita Street will remain unchanged even after the new station opens.