Tokyo’s Toranomon poised to become trendy area
Shintora-dori avenue, which connects the Tokyo districts of Shinbashi and Toranomon, is set to be transformed into a fashionable area lined with open-air cafes in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. The Tokyo metropolitan government is expected to complete the first stage of the work, reconstructing the sidewalk, by the end of this month.
The Toranomon Hills high-rise complex nearby opened two years ago, but development of the area between Shinbashi and Toranomon had been neglected. Long-established stores and other local businesses have high hopes about the area’s redevelopment.
“This neighborhood is finally moving into the spotlight,” Yoshihisa Watanabe, 64, said happily. He is the third-generation owner of Shinshodoh Inc., a Japanese-style confectionery store established in 1912 on Shintora-dori avenue. The shop’s most famous product is “Seppuku Monaka” anko-filled wafers that are so called because the shop is located within the grounds of the compound where Asano Takumi no Kami committed ritual suicide after being ordered to do so for drawing his sword in Edo Castle in 1701.
Watanabe took over the shop from his predecessor around 1990. Since most of the customers were from the business community, the shop experienced hardship after the bubble economy burst around that time. However, he managed to continue his business by promoting and selling his products himself.
Shingo Tsuji, the president of Mori Building Co., which manages Toranomon Hills, announced at a press conference on April 13 that the company would build three more high rises in the area. “Our aim is to make this one of the most important business hubs in the world, as well as a gateway to Tokyo,” he told reporters.
Responding to this, Watanabe said: “Our products could be the first Japanese sweets foreign visitors try. I don’t want them to say they expected something better.” He plans to develop more products in preparation for the Olympics.
When the first railway in Japan began running between Shinbashi and Yokohama in 1872, the Shinbashi-Toranomon area became an important commercial area. In 1946, a year after the end of World War II, the metropolitan government decided to develop the area, but could not persuade the residents to move and thus could not acquire the land. In the 1990s, the road was moved underground and a scheme to move residents into high rise buildings began, allowing urban planning to move ahead.
Key Coffee Inc. established its headquarters in the area soon after the war ended. The company’s basic business plan was to sell its coffee through cafes, restaurants and supermarkets, but two years ago, it opened its own cafe, Key’s Cafe-Classe, on the first floor of its headquarters on Shintora-dori avenue. This is an effort to take advantage of the redevelopment of the area to promote the company’s coffee, while also energizing the neighborhood.
“We take pride in the years we put into developing coffee which suits the Japanese taste. Transformation of the Toranomon area will be a good opportunity to have people at home and abroad know that there is a coffee producer in Japan with a long history,” said Yoshitaka Isoda, an employee in charge of public relations.
Macmillan Dictionary.comでは、“about to do or achieve something after preparing for it”と定義されていました。準備をしたうえで、何かを成し遂げるという意味のようです。