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Thursday, April 26, 2012

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In the bag: Bags, cosmetics and "zakka" products are displayed on Shibuya Hikarie's shopping floor during a media preview Tuesday in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward. SATOKO KAWASAKI

Shibuya revitalization kicks off with Hikarie opening


Staff writer

The high-rise Shibuya Hikarie shopping and entertainment complex next to Shibuya Station opens Thursday, kicking off projects to revitalize the area known as a teen fashion mecca.

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Tower of power: The Shibuya Hikarie complex near Shibuya Station opens Thursday. SATOKO KAWASAKI

The 34-floor glass tower with three basement floors boasts nearly 200 shops, 26 eateries, design and art galleries, office floors and a musical theater with 2,000 seats.

"A series of development projects that will change Shibuya drastically are set to launch," Hirofumi Nomoto, president of Tokyu Corp., the railway in charge of the project, said at a media preview Tuesday. "I hope many people representing a wide range of ages will be able to enjoy the district."

The ¥100 billion Hikarie project replaces the Tokyu Bunkakaikan theater complex and planetarium, which had operated for about 50 years. More projects to renovate the complicated mazelike structure of Shibuya Station and its surroundings will follow over the next decade. They include the renewal of the 78-year-old Tokyu department store buildings that are incorporated into the station as well as the relocation of Tokyu Corp.'s Shibuya Station underground, which will be connected to the Fukutoshin Metro Line.

The Hikarie complex is expected to lure consumers in their 20s to 40s with shops selling luxury goods and healthy products, including high-end cosmetics and organically grown food.

Shibuya is one of the nation's most crowded train stations, where 3 million people get on or off eight subway and train lines each day.

With the world famous Shibuya Crossing and the district's shopping centers, including the iconic Shibuya 109 building, the district has mainly attracted younger female customers.

"Shibuya used to be a town for older people," Nomoto said, "but as (the popularity of) 109 grew, they grew hesitant to visit. I want them to come and be our customers again."

The efforts to lure a more diverse clientele are driven by the fierce competition among redevelopment projects in other areas of Tokyo, including in the Marunouchi, Nihonbashi and Odaiba districts, said Takahiko Kishi, a real estate and transportation analyst at Mizuho Investors Securities Co. "The project will also make Shibuya Station — with its complex JR and metro line design — more convenient," he said.

The Shibuya district is built in a valley and divided by a highway and railroads. But to make it easier for shoppers to access nearby areas, including Harajuku, where the Tokyu Plaza commercial complex opened earlier this month, Hikarie's 2nd floor is connected to a walkway leading to Shibuya Station and Aoyama Street, while the 3rd floor below ground is linked to the Denentoshi and Fukutoshin lines.



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The Japan Times

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