Ochanomizu Kyoryo Bridge Shortlisted to Become Tangible Cultural Property; Total of 18 Tokyo Structures Recommended by Govt Panel

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A Marunouchi Line subway train crosses the Ochanomizu Kyoryo bridge, which has been shortlisted as a candidate for a tangible cultural property, with a JR train seen in the background.

The Ochanomizu Kyoryo bridge that straddles Tokyo’s Chiyoda and Bunkyo wards is among the 18 buildings in the capital shortlisted for registration as tangible cultural properties by the government’s Council for Cultural Affairs to the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister.

The 36-meter-long railway bridge over Kanda River near Ochanomizu Station was completed in October 1955. The bridge structure has no arch, and its height was kept as low as possible, so as not to spoil the view in the neighborhood and from train windows.

Currently, the bridge is known as an important location to view Marunouchi Line subway trains running aboveground. Depending on the spot, it is possible to watch the subway train slowly moving over the bridge, with JR Chuo Line and JR Sobu Line trains in the background, making the place a very popular photography spot along the lines.

“We’ve been working hard for a long time to maintain and manage the bridge for safe train travel. [The recommendation] is an appreciation of our cumulative efforts,” said Ryo Hoshiko, 39, an official of the engineering section of Tokyo Metro Co., the operator of the subway line.

The shortlist also includes three more structures under the control of Tokyo Metro: The Yotsuya Kosenkyo bridge, the structures over the entrance and exit to its Ochanomizu Station building and the No. 4 entrance and exit at Asakusa Station on the Ginza Line.

The structures over the Tokyo Metro Ochanomizu Station building was designed by Nagatoshi Tsuchihashi (1901-59), who studied under the iconic 20th-century architect Le Corbusier. The exterior is white because, at the time it was built, white was the color of the nearby JR Ochanomizu Station building. The Tokyo Metro structure has been highly praised as a fine example of modernist architecture, with a series of long, narrow windows placed next to each other.

“We’d be glad if many people look at it as a building with historical significance, not as part of the station they regularly use,” said Katsuhito Shibanaka, 37, an official of Tokyo Metro’s building planning section.