• Kyodo, JIJI, Staff Report

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Tokyo’s oldest subway line got a brand-new station Friday in the tourism and nightlife hub of Shibuya, which is rapidly transforming ahead of the Olympics this summer.

The Ginza Line’s new Shibuya Station has a platform that’s twice as wide as before at 12 meters across, compared with some 6 meters for the former one, and a wavy roof shaped like the letter M that could become a new icon of the district.

A short distance away from the previous station, the new station is expected to make it easier for passengers to transfer to and from the capital’s busy Yamanote Line of East Japan Railway Co. and other train services.

“The old station had challenges, including narrow entrance gates and platforms. We hope the new one will be loved as a safe and convenient station,” Tokyo Metro Co. President Akiyoshi Yamamura said at an opening ceremony as the first train departed the platform after 5 a.m. bound for Asakusa.

“We’ll continue working on installing platform doors and restrooms at the new station to make it safe and convenient for users,” he said.

Tokyo Metro, which began the relocation work in February 2009, plans to equip the new station with elevators and platform safety gates in time for the Olympics and Paralympics.

“It’s good that it has become convenient to make transfers to other lines. The roof is stylish and foreigners will also probably like it,” said Chiaki Kashihara, 25, who uses the metro to go to work.

“The platform is wider than I expected,” a 19-year-old university student from Yokohama said as he was busy taking pictures of the new station.

The old station, which opened in December 1938, had two platforms on the third floor of the Tokyu Department Store Co. building. It now has one platform, about 130 meters away from the old location.

In fiscal 2018, 220,000 people used the station every day on average.

For the reopening, services on the Ginza Line were partially suspended for six days through Thursday. The operator said the suspension affected about 1.6 million passengers.

The Shibuya district has undergone large-scale redevelopment in recent years ahead of the Summer Games, with a number of major new buildings erected.

A number of massive projects have been unveiled in recent months in the district, including towering skyscrapers like Shibuya Scramble Square, Shibuya Fukuras and Shibuya Parco, and an underground plaza connected to the station’s east exit. The developments are part of an ongoing effort by Tokyu Corp., JR East and Tokyo Metro to revitalize and modernize the popular district by 2027.

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