• Kyodo

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Tokyo Station’s newly enlarged shopping area opened its doors Monday after a over a one-month coronavirus delay, introducing more than 60 new stores and restaurants.

“It’s a lot more spacious than I thought it would be,” said university student Hideaki Takahashi, 20. “It’ll be more fun to walk around Tokyo Station.”

Gransta Tokyo, which features around 150 stores occupying about 11,300 sq. meters of floor space in the basement and ground floors of the facility, had been set to open on June 17 ahead of the Olympics.

The station, run by East Japan Railway Co. (JR East), includes new waiting rooms and event spaces, with passageways enlarged for easier access.

“We’d like to continue to make this an accessible station,” stationmaster Kunihiko Koike said at an event to celebrate the opening, emphasizing that many of the renovations were made to provide more barrier-free access.

Although the number of passengers using the station has fallen since the coronavirus outbreak began, JR East opened the shopping area with hopes that it will become a busy tourist hub and a source of revenue growth.

Some people lined up to buy limited-edition desserts from a store in the shopping complex.

The renovated shopping area includes a restaurant reminiscent of a dining car, stores selling sake brewed at the station, and a sushi restaurant that gets fresh fish caught from regions like Hokkaido and Tohoku delivered by shinkansen.

Furthermore, visitors can use a smartphone application to check the availability of coin lockers, restaurants, stores and bathrooms to avoid waiting times and other inconveniences.

According to JR East, the renovations were conducted around the northern passage connecting the Marunouchi North and Yaesu North ticket gates.

The renovations began in 2012 with the goal of completing them before the Olympics kick-off date of July 24. The coronavirus, however, pushed the Summer Games back by a year.

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