The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

Home > Opinion > Society



Challenges Facing the Districts Surrounding the Tokyo Fukutoshin Terminals: Key Points to Consider in City Planning for Terminal Stations

Yoshihide Nakagawa
Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University

Shibuya, Shinjuku and Ikebukuro, etc., the local areas surrounding the Tokyo Fukutoshin Terminals, are currently being developed to address challenges such as Improvement of pedestrian flow, Improvement of local disaster prevention capabilities (including rebuilding of buildings, etc. constructed according to old quake resistance standards), Reduction of vehicle traffic flow, Reinforcement of cultural and exchange functions, Stimulation of mutual local economic competition within the Fukutoshin areas, and Appropriate provision of office space.

1. Trends in the Local Areas Surrounding Shibuya, Shinjuku and Ikebukuro Stations

In the area surrounding Shibuya Station, the Shibuya Hikarie mall has been completed, and operation of direct services of subway trains on the Fukutoshin Line with the Tokyu Toyoko Line has commenced. The Toyoko Norengai food hall has moved to the Mark City mall, and in the future, three projects for the redevelopment of the Shibuya Station Area (East Building in 2020; Central Building and West Building in 2027), the Shibuya Station South Area (fiscal 2017) and the Dogenzaka Area (fiscal 2018) will be realized. The dates in brackets are those for the scheduled completion of construction and opening of business in these redeveloped areas.

At Shinjuku Station, an infrastructure development project for the Shinjuku Station South Exit district is underway and aiming for completion of construction of the Shinjuku Station South Exit Building at the end of fiscal 2015. Moreover, an east-west access walkway is to be built (by around 2020) to connect the current Shinjuku Station’s JR West Exit ticket barriers with the JR East exit ticket barriers. At Shinjuku Station’s East Exit, work has commenced on the rebuilding of the Shinjuku Nakamuraya building (2014), Hulic Shinjuku building (2014), and the Shinjuku Toho building (2015; to be integrated with a hotel).

In the area surrounding Ikebukuro Station, in addition to the development of the station’s West Exit Square, during the period from fiscal 2006 to 2010, a Project to Develop the Higashi Ikebukuro 4-Chome Urban Area (New Central Library and the Owl Spot Toshima Performing Arts Center), a bicycle park project and a walkway project, etc., have also been conducted. Furthermore, construction of a new Toshima City Government Office Building has commenced (fiscal 2014; to be integrated with residential apartments) near the Yurakucho subway line’s Higashi Ikebukuro Station, and the aim is to include Higashi Ikebukuro Station on the Fukutoshin subway line as a new station on that line as well.

Image of the Area Surrounding Shibuya Station Upon Completion

2. City Planning for the Local Areas around the Shibuya, Shinjuku and Ikebukuro Terminals

Concept for Lanes and Paths for Strolling around Yodobashi, Oiwake and Gyoen, Shinjuku Study Group (Aug. 2007).

These efforts are not being conducted independently and developments are being made in accordance with the vision outlined in the City Planning Masterplan set out by each City, the Guidelines for City Planning of the Shibuya Station Central Districts 2010, (formulated in March 2011), the Policy Direction for Infrastructure Development of the Shibuya Station Central Districts, (formulated in Oct. 2012), the Shinjuku Station East Exit City Planning Concept, (formulated in Feb. 2011), and the Guidelines for the Development of the Ikebukuro Fukutoshin, (formulated in March 2010), etc.

Moreover, due to the designation of the area surrounding Shinjuku Station and the area surrounding Shibuya Station as Priority Development Areas for Urban Renaissance under the Act on Special Measures concerning Urban Renaissance (as of Jan. 2012, 11 such areas had been designated across Japan), development of these urban areas is being promoted in an urgent and prioritized manner. In these areas, it is possible to conduct planning which disregards conventional regulations relating to use, plot ratio, height limitations, and sun shadow control, and the right to formulate city planning projects or propose changes to them is granted to private business, while local authorities must make a decision on any proposed plan within 6 months of receiving it. As of Jan. 23 of this year, three projects for the area around Shibuya Station have been submitted by developers as proposed city planning projects.

3. Challenges Facing the Terminal Areas in Shibuya, Shinjuku and Ikebukuro

Leaving aside whether or not they have been designated as Priority Development Areas for Urban Renaissance, most of the causes of urban renaissance and the content of the issues and challenges facing the districts surrounding the Tokyo Fukutoshin Terminals are common to all, and are noted as including the following matters.

In Shibuya, issues and challenges include the need for Improvement of quake resistance of station facilities, making universal design stations (barrier-free and easily accessible for aged and disabled people), and improvement of convenience when changing train lines, Securing safe and pleasant routes for pedestrian traffic, Improvement of the confusion and tangle of vehicle traffic, Consideration of what should be done about the Shibuya-gawa river given the lack of greenery and pleasant environment in the Shibuya area in general, the issues of the Relative decline in Shibuya’s influence and ability to attract, and the predominance of youth culture, the Large distribution of buildings constructed according to old quake resistance standards, the fact that Shibuya is Located in a valley, often causing heat retention in hot seasons, as well as the Absolute lack of spaces for visitors to gather and rest or relax, etc.

In Shinjuku (East Exit), issues and challenges include the Large concentration of people, the Poor environment for pedestrians, the Prevalence of goods vehicles which not only obstruct traffic but also impede the landscape and bustle, the Large numbers of buildings are due for rebuilding or renovation, which is being delayed or not proceeding smoothly, Buildings of various sizes and shapes are cluttered and jumbled together, the Lack of spaces that can be used as areas for evacuation or as places where pedestrians can gather or rest, the Mismatch with users’ needs at car parking facilities, and the Existence of numerous associations of local stores or local town assemblies which, while they have a synergistic effect created from competition, make it difficult to yield any benefits of scale even with sophisticated planning or activities, so that it is also hard to obtain government support based on the principle of fairness.

In Ikebukuro, the issues and challenges are pointed out as including the situation that the Roads are not safe, or do not feel safe enough to use with complete peace of mind, Bicycles illegally parked carelessly along sidewalks impede the path of pedestrians and damage the landscape, there is a need for a Rethinking of excessive dependence on vehicles at a time when the traffic environment surrounding Ikebukuro Station is changing significantly, City planning which also protects culture and history, Functional update of buildings, etc., and resolution of areas densely crowded with wooden housing, Improvements to the vehicle and pedestrian flow of the entire area, since the urban area is built in clusters and lacks a sense of wholeness, while other issues include a Weak network to provide links between existing art and cultural facilities, while exchange and information output functions are insufficient, and a Lack of greenery, etc.

An Image of the Future Ikebukuro Fukutoshin

4. Key Points for Solving These Challenges

Given these challenges, a future vision for the area, strategy for achieving it and approaches for making it concrete are being sought. In terms of making the vision concrete, the major points are coordination, working together and trust among local residents, businesses and government, as well as the necessity to overcome challenges such as that of how to proceed with coordination and collaboration with related government institutions at what timing of the implementation of measures and other matters, based upon compliance with the legal system. Furthermore, it is also necessary to consider securing of project costs, etc. by examination within the government system, together with residents and the private businesses proposing projects.

In the Shinjuku Station East Exit City Planning Concept Proposal, published in December 2010 (Formulation Committee Chairman: Yoshihide Nakagawa), a proposal of 4 basic strategies and 9 approaches for making them concrete was made. The approaches suggested were Development and beautification of the Station Square, Extending the Yasukuni-dori underground walkway, Making Shinjuku-dori into a mall, Establishment of a Shinjuku Rule requiring obligatory attachment of car parking facilities, Promotion of the rebuilding of old buildings through District Plans, etc., Establishment of rules to encourage the creation of a sophisticated city landscape, City planning to ensure comfort and peace of mind, Establishment of an area management system, and Creation and transmission of the city’s appeal. The basic strategy and these approaches are formed in a manner which is not limited to policies and projects which can be promoted by government as the key actor, but include content which should be examined by the local area itself as the key actor. Moreover, within the government, it is a matter that straddles the areas of responsibility of more than 13 departments, and it is also a matter that closely and mutually relates to the interests of residents, private businesses and visitors.

As I have described the basic strategy and approaches for Shinjuku Station’s East Exit in the above, it is necessary to conduct city planning by developing traffic planning in tandem with planning for land use and peoples’ lifestyles, etc. Moreover, in order for local residents and private businesses, etc., to become involved in city planning in an integrated manner, it is crucial that appropriate collaboration and engagement are encouraged based upon clear confirmation of the regime, rules, obligations and roles of each respective actor.

These Terminal areas each have vitality and character backed both by their past history and the culture that have been cultivated there. The local communities and social communities which the residents and local businesses in these Terminal areas have inherited should be actively used and treated as important, and in the future, we should go on continuing to consider “What do visitors want from these areas?” and “What these areas should provide?”

Yoshihide Nakagawa, Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University


Mar. 1972
Graduated from the Civil Engineering Department, School of Science and Engineering, Waseda University
Apr. 1980
Research Associate, School of Science and Engineering, Waseda University
Apr. 1985
Assistant Professor, School of Science and Engineering, Waseda University and Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Waseda University
Apr. 1991
Professor, School of Science and Engineering, Waseda University and Professor, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Waseda University
Sep. 2004
to present Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University
Sep. 2010
to present Director, Advanced Research Institute for Science and Engineering, Waseda University (Deputy Director of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University)

[Public positions served in (Current only)]

Apr. 1985 to present
Committee Member, Community Sports Coordinator, Setagaya, Tokyo
Sep. 1993 to present
Committee Member (Acting Chairperson), Shinjuku City Urban Planning Advisory Body
Apr. 2001 to present
Committee Member, Toshima City Architectural Screening Board
Oct. 2005 to present
Committee Member, Chuo City Public Bidding Oversight Committee
Dec. 2006 to present
Committee Member (Chairperson), Setagaya City Urban Planning Advisory Body
Apr. 2010 to present
Committee Member, Toshima City Urban Planning Advisory Body
Oct. 2010 to present
Committee Member, Tokyo City Land Use Screening Board
Apr. 2012 to present
Committee Member (Chairperson), Setagaya City Public Bidding Oversight Committee

The Unfinished Metropolitan Area Plan [Mikan no Shutoken Keikaku], (co-authored, Waseda University Metropolitan Area Study Group, 2011).
Traffic Engineering Handbook 2008 [Kotsu Kogaku Handobukku 2008], (co-authored, Traffic Engineering Study Group, 2008).
Anthem to Town Planning [Machizukuri Sanka], (co-authored, Waseda University Graduate School, Children Learning About Town Planning Study Group, 2003).


Sep. 1974
Jusco Corp. Essay Competition, First Prize: “Thinking about Distribution in the 1950s.
Nov. 1997
Setagaya City Residents’ Award
Oct. 2001
Tokyo City Physical Education Award
Nov. 2010
National Physical Education Instructor Committee’s Combined Physical Education Instructor Committee Award
Oct. 2011
Shinjuku City Award
Nov. 2011
Japan Conference of Architectural Examination Award