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The domed ceilings of Tokyo Station

The domed ceilings of Tokyo Station are quite famous.  You can find them high above the north and south Marunouchi gates. They are the best of old-world style. Enter the concourse area and look straight up to see them. They ooze chic.  Nothing in the city matches them.

Marunouchi North Exit domed ceiling of Tokyo Station
The Marunouchi North Exit ceiling.

Well, I say old world, but in reality, they are modern creations.  You have to remember the air raids of World War Two heavily damaged it.  After the war, it underwent rebuilds, upgrades, and extensions several times.  Of course, the Marunouchi gates were rebuilt. The latest work, in 2012, brought the domes back to their pre-war condition.  Getting them to what they once were was a great idea as the design is classy.

wall decoration

They are gorgeous and (usually) well-lit. So, even though they are pretty high, you can see many details. What can you see exactly? The octagon-shaped ceiling spaces have eagles looking to the left, like the original. And there are eight of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. They are gorgeous, very symmetrical, and seem to be identical.  Maybe I shouldn’t say that, but to my eye, they do. 


One thing is interesting.  During the reconstruction, workers found some of the original relief work in the dome. The architects decided to incorporate it into the restoration. That involved a partial removal and then reinforcing it with some chemical process. The result was fantastic.

Marunouchi South Exit domed ceiling of Tokyo Station
Marunouchi South Exit ceiling.

Where are the domed ceilings of Tokyo Station?

They are in the station!  So there is little walking involved.  All you need to do is go out one of the Marunouchi exits.  Remember, the domes aren’t together.  You will have to walk about one hundred meters to get to the other.  Here is a map:

More photo spots near Tokyo Station

Wrapping up

The ceilings offer a great photo opportunity. They are very Instagrammable, especially as no special gear is needed. Whatever you have, point it straight up and take the picture.  It is simple. Nothing difficult at all, as long as you use a wide-angle lens. That will allow you to get more of the ceiling in the frame. If you use a long lens, you will catch only the center area.

The other thing is that as the domes are inside.  That means they are great for a rainy day.  If you can’t shoot outside, photograph something inside!

If you think there are some better ceilings in the city, please let me know.  I always want to learn more!  And for those with any questions or comments, please leave them below.

3 thoughts on “The domed ceilings of Tokyo Station”

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