Kabukicho Tower, New 225-Meter-Tall Skyscraper in Shinjuku Keeps History, Culture of Entertainment District Alive

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Tokyu Kabukicho Tower

A high-rise landmark opened last year in Kabukicho, Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, one of the world’s leading nightlife districts.

Tokyu Kabukicho Tower — a skyscraper 225 meters tall, with 48 floors above ground and five floors below — houses a multiplex cinema, hotel, theater and more, and has been crowded with tourists since its opening last April.

In addition to its height, what is striking about the building is its architecture: a splash-like dynamic shape that is said to have been inspired by fountains. The windows are designed to resemble the shape of a wave, and water can be felt in every detail.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Food from all over Japan is available on the second floor of the Tokyu Kabukicho Tower. The floor is popular among foreigners.

In fact, Kabukicho has a strong connection to water, as there used to be a river called Kanigawa running through the area. Benzaiten, the goddess of water, is enshrined in Kabukicho, and before the tower was built, a water fountain used to sit at the center of the plaza as a place to relax. Architect Yuko Nagayama who designed the tower’s exterior incorporated such history and culture into the design.

Kabukicho is also featured in artworks inside the tower.

“We want to pass on the area’s memories, history and the passion of people there to the next generation,” said Mai Kawazoe from Tokyu Corp.’s Shinjuku Project Planning & Development Headquarters.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Mai Kawazoe, right, and Mone Iguchi show the bar on the 17th floor of the Tokyu Kabukicho Tower.

The tower was built on the site of the movie theater Shinjuku Milano-za, which closed in 2014. In contrast to the watery blue of the upper floors, the lower floors of the new tower are brightly colored, inheriting the vestiges of the Milano-za.

The sixth to eighth floors are occupied by Theater Milano-za, a playhouse named after the old movie theater, and visitors can enjoy theatrical performances and live concerts there. There is also a hotel and restaurants that offer a panoramic view of the Shinjuku skyscrapers.

The tower was built with the concept of “master what you love.”

Mone Iguchi from the development headquarters said, “Anyone — those who have something they are passionate about such as movies or music, and those who don’t have anything like that — can enjoy themselves here.”