The Yamanote Line’s first new station since 1971 was unveiled to the media on Monday, with East Japan Railway Co. showcasing robots and other “futuristic” features to help people find their way around.
Takanawa Gateway Station, situated in Minato Ward’s Konan district between Shinagawa and Tamachi stations, will officially open to the public on Saturday. It is the 30th station on Tokyo’s heavily used loop line and the first since Nishi-Nippori Station back in 1971.
The station will also serve the JR Keihin Tohoku Line running from Saitama Prefecture to Kawasaki and Yokohama.
“We aim to function as a gateway connecting Tokyo and the world at an area that has good traffic accessibility,” said Mie Miwa, a JR East official involved in the project. “I hope the station will be loved by people for a long time.”
The station will use robots programmed with artificial intelligence, including some tasked with guiding people as they change trains or look for nearby attractions and facilities.
It will also have an unmanned shop where people can buy goods that are scanned and checked out by camera-equipped devices that can recognize the items being sold.
JR East expects some 23,000 people to use the station daily at first, with the figure growing to 123,000 by 2024, when the station is scheduled to start operating as a transportation and business hub together with new high-rise office buildings around it.