After the Meiji Restoration, when the samurai class was abolished, the area of fortifications surrounding the Edo Castle lost its destination. Before, this area called Maru-no-uchi “within the walls", was the location of the luxurious residences of daimyo, who were forced to spend every other year in Edo.
Soon after, Marunouchi was used by the army and the newly established ministries. But when the space became too crowded for them, in order to obtain funds the place was sold to Iwasaki Yataro, the fonder of Mitsubishi, thus becoming one of the most prosperous real estate businesses in the world.
Iwasaki Yataro built here the headquarters of his corporation, a modern Western-style building called Londontown, thus initiating a trend that remained a typical feature of Marunouchi, which has today one of the most impressive agglomerations of skyscrapers in Tokyo.
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: