Hyogo: City Hall Changes Confusing G Floor

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Buttons in one of the building’s elevators before and after adapting the U.S. floor style

TAKARAZUKA, Hyogo — The British style for counting floors that had been confusing many visitors to the Takarazuka City Hall’s main building for 43 years has been replaced with the American style more commonly used in Japan.

The six-story building had used the British style that calls the floor at street level the ground floor, above which is the first floor and so on. With the American style, the floor at street level now became the first floor. The building, which was completed in 1980, has entrances on the west and east sides, but each provides access to different levels of the building. The west entrance opens to what the city government called the first floor, while the east entrance is lower and guides visitors into what was the ground floor, called the G floor.

However, as most buildings in Japan use the American floor numbering system, many visitors found the use of a ground floor to be confusing. In some cases, a local resident who entered the building at the ground floor was asked to complete some paperwork on the first floor, prompting them to reply, “Isn’t this the first floor?”

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Takarazuka City Hall’s main building

On Feb. 13, the city hall changed the numbering for floors accessible to the public from “ground through fourth” to “first through fifth.” This required altering almost 100 signs on walls, floors and information boards inside the building.