JR Tokyo Station, famous for its red-brick Marunouchi facade, will celebrate the centenary of its opening on Dec 20.
To commemorate the 1914 opening, there will be a series of festive events starting this month, such as the Yamanote loop line running a train decorated in homage to the red-brick station building, and a special exhibit tracing the 100 years of the station's operations at the station's gallery.
The original station building was partly destroyed by a fire in an air raid in May 1945, near the end of World War II. The building, which was repaired after the war, has long been cherished as the "gateway to the nation's capital."
As part of the redevelopment of the Marunouchi area near the station in recent years, there was initially a plan to dismantle the red-brick station building and construct a high-rise. However, as a citizens' campaign for preserving the red-brick structure gained momentum, the plan was dropped. Instead, the station's Marunouchi facade underwent renovation, that lasted 5½ years. On Oct 1, 2012, it was restored to its original appearance from 100 years ago.
Presently, it is the nation's largest and busiest station in terms of the number of trains, totaling about 4,000 trains per day, including Shinkansen trains.
East Japan Railway Co. plans to hold various commemorative events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the opening of the station.
One of the major events is the running on the Yamanote Line of the special train, started on Saturday.
The railway operator will also invite the public to submit photos related to Tokyo Station and display prize-winning photos inside its trains starting on Dec 18.
Meanwhile at Tokyo Station Gallery in the station building, valuable items, including relief sculptures used on the domed ceilings of the original station building, will be put on display, starting on Dec 13.
At the Railway Museum in Saitama, a special exhibition featuring the achievements of Kingo Tatsuno, who designed the original Marunouchi facade, will start on Nov 22.
"Tokyo Station has been loved by many passengers," said an official of JR East.
"We would like to have the station continue to be cherished by people over the next 100 years, as much as it has been loved to this day."