Japan's Eki Naka Phenomenon
Inside Japan's Train Stations
Japan's Eki Naka Phenomenon with everything you need including shopping, food/drink, and events. Find out what you can explore with your Japan Rail Pass!
JR stations and subway stations alike are constantly renovating to create a welcoming atmosphere and destination in and of itself.
Here are some ways that you can enjoy what's inside train stations-- known locally as eki naka.
Top notch shopping and souvenirs
The most noticeable transformation of Japanese train stations has been the shopping. Big-name department stores have long been running branches attached directly to large stations. But now, these stations have been taking advantage of their underground areas and long, connected tunnels to transform them into shopping malls!
These days, eki naka shopping malls range from youth-oriented to gourmet food to high-brow brand name. There's something for everyone!
Food and Drink
Japan's train stations have also been focusing on the country's dining out culture. Many office workers, or "salary men" as they're called, will stop off for a few beers on their way home. Additionally, friends who live in distant suburbs in large metropolitan areas will often get together at a train station before going out for a meal. With this in mind, train companies have been making these experiences easy and enjoyable by bringing fine dining right to the station!
Instead of simple standing-room-only noodle shops, nice bars and pubs, as well as popular gourmet restaurants and cafes, are spreading throughout stations. If you're looking for a quick and delicious bite, be sure not to overlook your options inside the train station!
The latest eki naka redesigns and renewals also include open spaces for local/cultural events. As you pass through the station, you may find anything from saké tasting to charity events to farmers markets to art exhibitions and concerts !
A good example of these revamps is Tokyo station, which was recently renovated for its 100th Birthday !
Keep on the lookout for English-language flyers and posters, or look online for information from the local ex-pat crowd.