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Bright lights, good eats: Tokyo developers liven up new districts

Mori Building plans to make this avenue a showcase for Japanese culture ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

TOKYO -- Japan's biggest property companies are getting creative to build buzz for their latest developments in the capital.

Mori Building envisions Shintora Avenue, an avenue that links the city's Toranomon and Shimbashi districts, as a hub for showcasing culture from across the country. The avenue runs beneath Mori's Toranomon Hills complex, which opened a couple of years ago.

This past Sunday, the area played host to the Tohoku Rokkon Festival Parade, featuring performances from summer festivals in six cities in the northeastern Tohoku region. The key theme was remembrance of the 2011 earthquake that devastated the region. Mori Building was part of an executive committee that arranged the event with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

The parade was just a first step toward Mori Building's cultural vision. In February, the company will set up what it calls the Traveling Shintora Market on a 13-meter-wide stretch of sidewalk. Local governments from around the country will pitch produce and local delicacies at the stalls, rotating every three months.

Mori Building has its eye on the growing number of tourists visiting Japan ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

A new bus terminal is to be constructed near Toranomon Hills, with routes between the heart of the city and waterfront areas. "It is situated at the center of Tokyo, so we can promote it to foreign visitors," said Masahiko Ogasawara, Mori Building's executive managing officer.

Mitsubishi Estate, meanwhile, has expanded its annual winter illumination event in the Marunouchi area to the neighboring Otemachi financial district. The goal is to increase foot traffic on Otemachi Naka-dori Avenue, a street created as part of a redevelopment project.

When the lights were switched on, on Nov. 18, the spectacle was accompanied by live music, and this year's Beaujolais Nouveau wine was served for free.

Mitsubishi Estate is planning other events to draw pedestrians to the street, while also keeping them flocking to Marunouchi Naka-dori Avenue, which is flanked by office buildings.

Sumitomo Realty & Development, for its part, plans to liven up the vicinity of the Roppongi Grand Tower, an office building it completed in October. The building is close to the Roppongi-itchome subway station.

The developer has partnered with TV Tokyo, the major tenant, to stage an event featuring characters from the popular anime series "Yokai Watch." Sumitomo Realty is looking to bring more families to the business district.

(Nikkei)

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