National

Penguin park opens in Shinjuku

by Daisuke Kikuchi

Staff Writer

JR Shinjuku Station held a ceremony to unveil a new park and bronze penguin statue representing the mascot for East Japan Railway Co.’s (JR East) Suica IC card at its recently opened south exit, on Saturday.

Station officials hope the nature-themed artwork will rival the much loved and famed statue of Hachiko the dog, which is located outside Shibuya Station, three stops down the Yamanote line, as a meeting place.

“I would like this park to be loved by railway users as well as locals. Please enjoy your visit here,” said Hiroshi Morino, the station master, at the opening ceremony.

The bronze penguin statue, which has yet to be named, was designed by picture book author Chiharu Sakazaki.

JR East’s Suica IC card can be used to pay train fares and make other purchases, such as at convenience stores. A similar ceremony was also held in Shinjuku when Suica was launched in 2001.

According to the JR East promotion for the card, the penguin is purportedly visiting Tokyo from the South Pole.

Besides the main statue, the park features a grassy area with two more penguin-themed figures and a panel depicting the flightless birds, which Morino explained was installed for children to enjoy at the station.

The park is located in the pedestrian space of JR Shinjuku Miraina Tower. The tower, which opened in March, features the NEWoMan shopping mall as well as offices, clinics and other facilities.

It is directly connected to JR Shinjuku Station and the new Busta bus and taxi terminal.

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