Japan’s Endless Railway Infrastructure

Japan’s Endless Railway Infrastructure

Japan's railway network has an exceptional reputation the world over. Particularly within Tokyo's 23 wards, the trains run freely above and below ground, and the complex and sometimes seemingly indecipherable route map is often the first hurdle foreign visitors are faced with.

Further, even now there are plans for more railway infrastructure. Tokyo city launched a "wide area network plan", aiming to connect Haneda and Shinagawa with the "Haneda Access Line", extend the Tokyo Metro Yurakucho line, and so on, detailing 5 lines that should be considered for priority. Additionally, other routes "to be considered" were the "Kama-Kama Line" which would connect Tokyu and Keikyu lines' Kamata station, etc. There is also no end to the suggestions such as extensions and track increases.

Of course, releasing a new line requires a cost of several hundred billion yen, as well as technical issues such as tunnel excavation and track widths, and an assurance of profitability, among other issues that need to be overcome. Naturally, some plans are unlikely to be achieved. However, looking at the current situation, it seems that at least a few lines will be ready by the 2020 Olympics.

JR East has announced a new station for the first time in roughly 40 years, in between Shinagawa and Machida stations. Construction is scheduled to start within the current fiscal year. Already redevelopment plans surrounding the location are appearing, and it likely this will be the case for the rails mentioned above. If so, the influence on the real estate market is unlikely to be a small one.

Shinagawa and Tokyo becoming hotspots due to redevelopment

Last time we talked about how plans for redevelopment around the Tokyo wards, such as new train lines and stations, have been proceeding. Currently, there are about 20 new routes under consideration, including line extensions and mutual entry for metro stations. One particular plan of note is the "Haneda access line" that will join Haneda and Shinagawa. Although plans for it to open in 2020 have been abandoned, these developments are in line with the government's plan to increase the number of foreign visitors to Japan. Even taking that into consideration, this can be seen as a particularly full realisation. In addition, the "Linear Chuo Shinkansen (Bullet train)” planned to open in 2027, as well as establishment of a new station on the Yamanote line, between Machida and Shinagawa, for the first time in 40 years, are noteworthy events. For the new Yamanote line station, JR East are showing an attitude that indicates they believe redevelopment of the surrounding area is vital to the future of the company. You’ve probably noticed, but there’s one keyword that connects all of these things; “Shinagawa”. In Shinagawa, firstly there is the 2020 new station facilities as a first step, and then a second in the 2027 opening of the linear shinkansen, marking a gear change in terms of redevelopment. With an eye to these redevelopments large companies such as JALUX or Hitachi Metals are moving their headquarters to Shinagawa. You could say Shinagawa has become the place to watch in Tokyo. (Continued)