“Tokyo Review 026” Shinjuku area-2
The origin of place name and Shinjuku station’s gradual growth
The current Shinjuku area is located on the “Yodobashi-Dai”, one of the blanched table lands where Musashino Terrace formed in the Diluvial epoch, and the elevation of the JR Shinjuku station is the highest among the Yamanote line stations. It is 37m above sea level. Although Yoyogi station in the south and Shin-Okubo station in the north are both elevated, Shinjuku station’s platforms are situated almost on the ground level.
The name “Shinjuku (≒new accommodation)” is derived from a new post-town “Naito Shinjuku” which was established between the distance of 15 km between Nihombashi and Takaido on the Koshu-kaido Avenue during the Edo period. The Naito family who was a vassal of the Tokugawa family had a mansion around the current Shinjuku Gyoen Park, and a part of its site was provided for a post-town. After that, at the west end of the town (currently called Shinjuku 3-chome) equipped a new junction for Ome-kaido Avenue, which became an important transportation node named “Shinjuku Oiwake”. The area had been developed as a hub for refreshment, excursions and entertainment amusement.
JR Shinjuku station was established in 1885 upon the opening of the Nippon Railway Shinagawa Line (Shinagawa – Akabane: the original part of the JR Yamanote Line). However, the station was not located in the town called “Shinjuku”, but in Tsunohazu village in Toyotama county. Until the 1970s, Tsunohazu village was covering current Nishi-Shinjuku area, the east half of Shinjuku 3-chome (around Shinjuku station east exit) and most of the parts of Kabuki-cho 1-chome. At the time of opening of Shinjuku station, the vicinity were mostly fields and forests, where we could see a few passengers. It seemed to be a cargo station, but then the routes to and from Shinjuku station steadily increased such as the Keio Line (opening in 1915), the Odakyu Line (1927), the Seibu Shinjuku Line (1952 Year), the Subway Marunouchi Line (1959), the Tokyo Metropolitan Subway Shinjuku Line (1980) and the Oedo Line (1997).
The average number of passengers per day of the station Shinjuku of each railway line is 3.53 million (based on the publication data of each railway company in 2017. The total of passengers and passengers, not including the transfer between JR lines), which is the largest number in the world. A huge underground passage network is also formed connecting neighboring stations such as Seibu Shinjuku station, Shinjuku 3-chome Station, Nishi-Shinjuku Station, TochoMae station and Shinjuku-Nishiguchi station, there surely exists a highly convenient public transportation infrastructure.