Articles and insights about Tokyo and Yokohama real estate, including interviews to salesperson and client by KEN.


Revisiting the Secret of the Decade-Long Popularity of Shibaura Island

Revisiting the Secret of the Decade-Long Popularity of Shibaura Island

The completion of the construction of Shibaura Island Air Tower in 2007 was a government-public-private collaboration in a large-scale development project. After ten years, Shibaura Island remains very popular and continues to attract resident applicants. Let us now revisit the changes and attractiveness of the residential complex.

With its proximity to central Tokyo, the waterfront location has rarity value

Shibaura Island looked like this in 2007.

This is before the construction of Bloom Tower was completed in 2008. The other buildings have remained almost unchanged, but Shibaura Island has become a much easier place to live.

Tamachi Station on the JR Yamanote Line

The nearest train station is Tamachi Station on the JR Yamanote Line. Cross Tamachi Station and you will arrive at Mita Station on the Toei Mita Subway Line. You can use either of the two stations depending on where you are going.

The popularity of the Wangan area has continued to rise in the last dozen years. In particular, Shibaura Island, located in 4-chome, Shibaura, Minato-ku, has rarity value. There is no other place that is located near a Yamanote Line station in Minato-ku, is surrounded by a canal, and provides residents with close proximity to the waterfront. Train and subway services are available from Tamachi Station on the Yamanote Line and Mita Station on the Toei Mita and Asakusa Subway Lines. From there, it is possible to travel rapidly to central Tokyo by taxi or car. It is also a convenient location for traveling to the airport or using the Shinkansen. A new Yamanote Line station is scheduled to open between Tamachi and Shinagawa Stations in 2020. The area around the new station will be developed, and a linear Shinkansen service will open at Shinagawa Station in 2027. By that time, the advantages of living in Shibaura will have increased even more.

Boarding entrance of Launch Port

A water bus bound for Odaiba departs from the port. It takes about 20 minutes to travel to Odaiba. The water bus is well received due to offering an unhurried transportation experience, unlike that of a train or car.

Katugamo-no Su (spot-billed ducks' nests)

An organization from the Shibaura Konan General Branch Office has involved the local people in undertaking a project for observing spot-billed ducks with the use of the world's first artificial nests for spot-billed ducks.

Paved pathway on Shibaura Island

Make a circuit of Shibaura Island by walking along the pathway, which has a total length of about 1.5 kilometers. Many people walk or jog here.

A photo taken from the Yachiyo Bridge located in 3-chome, Shibaura, Minato-ku

Shibaura Island as viewed from the Yachiyo Bridge. The waterfront scenery makes many residents feel at home.

Shibaura Island in the evening

In the evening, Shibaura Island still provides entertainment for the eyes by reflecting lights on the surface of the water. It is attractive on both cloudy days and fine days.

A photo taken in front of the Bagus Bar café

Located along the canal, the café is a nice place to enjoy time on the waterfront. It is the kind of enjoyment that only an island can offer.

The waterfront location is one of the factors that have been talked about a great deal since the early stage of development. As the nickname "Shibaura Island" implies, it is surrounded by a canal. Along the canal is a walking path that enables a circuit of the island to be made. Other locations in the Wangan area are similarly surrounded by a canal, but involve a degree of distance between the residents and the waterfront. Here, you can feel very close to nature in many different settings. This also makes the town extremely attractive.
Furthermore, the waterfront has become closer to the residents in the last ten years. "Ten years ago, the town was still underdeveloped and the canal sometimes became odorous, depending on the weather. This is not the case today. At night, the canal is lit up romantically and offers a view that is unlike what you would typically expect in central Tokyo."
(Mr. Takaaki Tanabe, manager of Wangan Branch, Ken Corporation)
Since 2005, the metropolitan government of Tokyo has encouraged the "Canal Renaissance," namely the efforts to facilitate the use of water areas such as canals and to develop the town around the water areas with the aim of making the waterfronts more attractive and encouraging sightseeing. Shibaura is included in the area covered by the Canal Renaissance. Since 2004, the Shibaura Canal Festival has been held in fall, and the illumination of the bridge will commence in 2017.
"People walk along the canal. On weekends, many people eat in spaces along the canal equipped with chairs and tables. Seeing this makes you realize that the lifestyle of enjoying the waterfront has taken root." (Mr. Tanabe)

After ten years, the town itself has matured attractively.

Commanding a view of the park from the common use area of Bloom Tower

This is a view from the common use area of Bloom Tower. The trees have grown and the verdure has thickened in the last ten years.

As well as the waterfront, the town itself has also matured in the last ten years. The trees that were planted ten years ago have taken firm root, and color the entire town. Commercial facilities and parks are available in the area. Shibaura Island Children and Elderly Interaction Plaza has a clinic mall, a round-the-clock supermarket, a child center and a facility for taking care of children outside school time. Platanus Park has a space with beautiful cherry blooms and an impressive representative tree. These things have all been built within the ten-year period.

Shibaura Island Child Center

Shibaura Island Child Center is located in the center of Shibaura Island. Inside the building is the Children and Elderly Interaction Plaza, which is a place where people from multiple generations can interact with each other.

Air Terrace

Air Terrace accommodates facilities such as a round-the-clock supermarket, a restaurant and a nursery school. It is directly connected to Air Tower.

The area in front of Tamachi Station is under redevelopment.

Currently, the area in front of Tamachi Station is being redeveloped (temporary name: TGMMShibaura Project). Hotels, commercial complexes and many other facilities will be built there, and the area will be made more convenient.

The area around the train station has become more convenient. A land readjustment project for the northern part of the Tamachi Station east exit area was granted permission in 2011. Subsequently, Minato Park Shibaura, which accommodates the general branch of the municipal office and a sports center and other facilities, was constructed in the area as well as Aiiku Hospital, a nursery school and Shibaura Park. In the future, offices, hotels and commercial complexes will also be constructed. They will definitely enhance the area's convenience in terms of shopping, eating out and other activities. Of course, the number of other commercial facilities and restaurants has increased in the last ten years.

Many residents relocate to the building. Why do these people choose the building?

Air Tower's entrance

Air Tower's entrance is spacious and has an atrium. It is an ideal space for welcoming guests.

Reflecting the attractiveness of these features, Shibaura Island's two rental accommodation buildings, Air Tower and Bloom Tower, have retained high occupancy rates of 96% to 97% in the last ten years.

"In addition to the high occupancy rates, Shibaura Island characteristically has many residents who relocate within the same building. The entire buildings of Air Tower and Bloom Tower are exclusively designed for rental accommodation and have many apartments as well as many different choices with regard to the room layout and sizes of apartments. Because of this, many residents move to a larger apartment after getting married, before relocating again when they have children, all within the same building. One family has relocated seven times in the same building during the ten-year period. Some residents lease more rooms for jobs or childcare. Many residents find it hard to leave the building once they have experienced the comfort of living in it." (Mr. Tanabe)

Good maintenance is also behind the high occupancy rate. Ten years are long enough to make the differences between buildings more conspicuous. If a building is properly maintained, it will not look very old. If it is poorly maintained, deterioration in the common use area becomes more conspicuous. By contrast, the aging of Shibaura Island helps achieve a dignified atmosphere.

"The companies and individuals that were involved in the development of Shibaura Island have an emotional attachment to this place. Some of them even live here. They are highly motivated to improve the town and are eager to maintain and manage it properly. In addition, they endeavor to enhance its value by, for example, renovating and adapting the common use area to their current lifestyle. I guess their enthusiasm is noticed and appreciated by those who live on the island."(Mr. Tanabe)
Layout information of the area is located at the entrance.

In the photo, you can see Air Tower's common use area to the left. Air Tower is located behind it.

Shibaura Island: Layout plan

The above description is excerpted from Shibaura Island <Air Tower>.
The plan shows the arrangement of the buildings, parks and other facilities. Shibaura Island offers numerous choices with regard to room layout. It is also convenient in terms of distance from the nearest station and between facilities on the island. Each of the rooms commands good views. You would find it very difficult to choose between them.

Air Tower Study Room

In March 2017, the renovation of the Air Tower Study Room was completed. Bloom Tower already has a similar room that has been very well received due to offering a good environment for concentrating on study.

The Party Room of Air Tower was poorly utilized, possibly because it was too large. Recently, the room was renovated and converted into the Study Room. This nicely addresses one of today's unique demands: the fact that it is possible to work anywhere if you have a computer. This was unimaginable ten years ago. But Bloom Tower already has it, and many businesspeople use it in the mornings and evenings, saying that they feel more at ease in the Study Room than at home. In this way, a rental accommodation building needs to be fine-tuned in accordance with the times.

"Numerous properties are available for rent in central Tokyo and the Wangan area. However, few of them have remained popular for ten years. In particular, you would rarely find a property where many residents relocate within the same building or, in other words, wish to stay there for a long time. I believe that these people have high regard for the good balance between the intangible aspects such as maintenance and service, and the tangible factors such as location and overall planning."(Mr. Tanabe)

It is less than ten minutes' walk from the nearest train station, Tamachi. If you are yet to see it, we definitely recommend that you visit it. Being aware of the attractiveness that remains unchanged for ten years should give you greater insight into houses, irrespective of whether or not you lease an apartment here.

Hiroko Nakagawa

For more than two decades, Nakagawa has been involved in editing magazines, books and websites on living-related issues such as purchasing, leasing and building. Nakagawa has lived in Omotesando for many years, and is keenly aware of the comfort of living in central Tokyo. Nakagawa is the author of an All About Guidebook titled Sumiyasui Machierabi: Shutoken (Finding a livable town: Tokyo metropolitan area).