In present-day Tokyo, there are various large railway hubs such as Shinjuku, Tokyo station and Ueno. At the start of the 20th century, there was another hub that was very important: Manseibashi station, next to Manseibashi bridge, which translates as ten-thousand generation bridge. Ueno (from 1883) was the station connecting the northern lines, Manseibashi (from 1912) was connecting the Western lines and in the south there was the Shimbashi terminal that was connecting the all-important Tokaido line.
The old Manseibashi station building, designed by Tatsuno Kingo (1854-1919) best known for the Bank of Japan building (1896) and Tokyo Station (1914), was unfortunately destroyed in the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake. What is left is an elevated bridge in red brick. After the earthquake, the station became redundant due to the more important Tokyo Station. In the early 1920s, the station was no longer the terminal of the station’s main line, the Chuo-line or middle railway line, diminishing its importance. The station was officially closed in 1943 and the buildings hosted the Tokyo Transportation Museum until 2006.
Each arch in the renovated building is a shop.
The library inside the building with a maquette/model of Manseibashi station… and shopping
The elevated bridge has been renovated in 2013 and now houses a commercial facility called mAAch ecute that combines shops, cafes and restaurants. Apart from the nice atmosphere of the building, the are two nice places to visit. One is the library with information about the area and its history (Japanese only). Here, you can find an impressive diorama model of Manseibashi station and its surrounding area.
Maquette/model of Manseibashi station and its surrounding areas that you can find in the library (centre of the building)
A full N331 cafe/bar when I visited on a Saturday at noon.
The other is the platform cafe/bar N3331, the main attraction of the facility. Here you can have coffee or lunch (or have some Japanese sake in the evening) with the the Chuo-line trains passing on both sides every few minutes, one going for Kanda station, the other for Ochanomizu station. You will feel very close to the trains, a bit too close perhaps at is feels like having something to eat or drink on the platform, which you can also do at many train stations in Japan. And if you were wondering about the name of this place, N stands for Nippon, New of Next, while the 3331 represents the rhythm of Edo-style ippon-jime, which is a kind of rhythmic hand clapping done at the end of special events.
View of the trains passing by from the free terrace.
If you are not set on purchasing something at the cafe/bar, you can access part of the platform for free as well, but it is less impressive. From the platform you can also access the original stairs to go down from the platform. Apparently this is also an attraction of the building, but the significance of a 100 year old station staircase goes beyond me.
You can walk through the whole building through these small arches.
The facility is very close to many stations: Akihabara, Ochanomizu, Shin-Ochanomizu, Kanda, Ogawamachi, Iwamotocho.
mAAch ecute is open Mon.-Sat. 11:00-21:00, Sun-holidays: 11:00-20:00.
N3331 cafe/bar is very small, so be prepared to wait in line during peak times. Open Mon.-Sat. 11:00-23:00, Sun-holidays: 11:00-21:00.
Address: 1-25-4 Sudacho, Chiyoda-ku, 101-0041 Tokyo