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The Streets, They Are A-Changin’

May 29th, 2012

Maybe a year ago, I noticed that a bank on the shopping street from the station did a renovation, but with an odd touch: they shaved off a corner of the building and filled the corner, inexplicably, with concrete planters. Seemed rather odd at the time.


Then came something even stranger: a small apartment building with a mini-spa on the 1st floor was built, but it came with an empty spot of land, wedge-shaped, that was fenced off. I could not figure what the purpose of the wedge was. It just seemed weird. If it was for access to the back, it was really badly designed.


Then, across from both of these sites, a building was taken down and the area covered with asphalt. That seemed reasonable–a parking lot.


But then, right next to the mini-spa, another building went down…


…and suddenly, the pieces fit together.


These were no random redesigns; I had completely forgotten that a new road would be cut through here, as part of the city’s new plans for avenues.

For some time, there has been a big, wide avenue with large sidewalks which rather awkwardly starts about 350m from the station. Closest to the station, it suddenly narrows into a narrow, crooked road with no sidewalks. The city has long planned to fill in the remainder of that avenue, creating a large open space in front of the station exit, and extending the wide avenue to go all the way to the station. The thing is, a lot of buildings stand in the way.

However, plans seem to be in high gear now. In addition to all this reconstruction at the shopping street, a few large buildings near the station are also being torn down. How long it will take before the project is done is anyone’s guess. It seems right now like there’s a lot left to take down, but looking at the map, it appears that maybe already half the work is done already. I noted that a few other buildings, including a pharmacy way out from the station which shut down mysteriously early this year, are already shuttered and ready to go.

Two things I wonder about, though. First, there’s a cemetery plot which will wind up on a major intersection which you would expect to be primo commercial space. Do they relocate cemeteries in Japan? I would guess so, but will be interested to see how that is handled.

Second, when will they get around to the secondary streets adjoining the main one they are building. I ask because one of them cuts through our kitchen. Literally.

Update: Found a document which says that the station road is planned for completion in “fiscal year 2013.”

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  1. Troy
    May 29th, 2012 at 13:20 | #1

    Too bad you can’t go back to 1947 . . .


    Or 1963 . . .


    I’d like to think those circles on the 1947 image are mold spots and not repaired bomb craters (no “LOL” for a change — viewing the 1947 mapping of the damage of the city itself is rather sobering).

    Plenty of space in Hibarigaoka!

  2. Troy
    May 30th, 2012 at 13:19 | #2

    cruising around in google street view I see the north exit area is so delightfully ratty!


    I love seeing stuff surviving from Japan’s pre-bubble era!

    This shotengai area reminds me of my first landing in Tokyo, in the Shakujii station area. So alien compared to my experience here in California.

    But they’re going to go through and modernize it now, alas, making it look more like eg. Ebisu and all the bigger & better station areas.

    None of this debouching from the station right into the street!

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