Tamagawa Dori
City of Setagaya (Tokyo Metropolis), Japan

The nation of Nippon ["nee-pohn"] (Japan's actual name) began its shopping mall evolution in 1929. This is when the first so-called "station mall" was built. These small -often subterranean- shopping arcades were constructed as a part of large passenger railway terminals.

40 years later, the island nation's first suburban-style mall made its debut. Built along the lines of a Scandinavian shopping complex, TAMAGAWA TAKASHIMAYA was developed, by Tokyo-based Toshin Kaihatsu, Limited, as a vehicle for the corporation's Takashimaya chain of department stores.

A 7.9 acre spread, 5.8 miles southwest of center city Tokyo, was selected, which, until the mid-1960s, had been utilized as a small amusement park. The site, near the northern bank of the Tama River, was within the City of Setagaya, one of twenty-three "special wards" comprising the eastern half of the urban core or "Tokyo Metropolis".

Traversed by the newly-opened Atsugi Highway, an aerial expressway, the plot was also adjacent to the Tokyu Corporation's Tamagawa Station.

By late 1968, land had been cleared and the construction of a 7-level (775,000 leasable square foot) interior mall was underway. The 300,000 square foot Takashimaya anchor store occupied one half of the area of 5 of the 7 levels, with floors 4 and 5 being dedicated entirely to the store.

TAMAGAWA TAKASHIMAYA opened for business November 11, 1969. At the top of the complex was a pastoral roof garden. A multi-level parking garage was linked, by sky bridge, to the Main -mall- Building on its eastern flank.

There would be many commercial competitors for TAMAGAWA TAKASHIMAYA. The first of these was the SHIBUYA109 (1979), {5.5 miles northeast, in Shibuya City, Tokyo Metropolis}.

More recent retail rivals would be DIAMOND CITY-MU / AEON MALL MUSASHIMURAYAMA ["moo-sash-ee-moo-roo-yahm-ah"] (2006) {16.3 miles northwest, in Musashimurayama, Tokyo Metropolis}, LAZONA KAWASAKI PLAZA (2006) {6.7 miles southeast, in Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture} and LALAPORT YOKOHAMA (2007) {7.4 miles southeast, in Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture}.

Freestanding structures were added on the periphery of the TAMAGAWA TAKASHIMAYA Main Building. The West Annex was constructed as an adjunct to the existing West Building / Parking Garage.

The 4-level East Building -and 2-level East Annex- also included a multi-level parking structure. The Hanamizuki Court structure, directly north of the Main Building, housed 4 levels of retail.

In August 2003, the South Building, or Tate Minami ["tah-tay muh-nah-mee"], was completed. It occupied 7.1 acres and consisted of 11 levels and 305,200 leasable square feet. Like the Main Building to the north, it featured a rooftop garden. Both of these terrace green spaces were connected by a multi-level sky bridge.

In the late 2000s, a 59,000 square foot section of land to the northeast of the Main Building was cleared. Three new auxiliary retail structures were erected; the 7-level Garden Island Building, 3-level Keyaki Court and 3-level Marronnier Court. These were dedicated in 2009.

With their completion, the ten commercial buildings comprising TAMAGAWA TAKASHIMAYA encompass 16.7 acres, 1,923,100 leasable square feet and three hundred and twenty-nine stores and services.


"Takashimaya" article on Wikipedia
"Setagaya, Tokyo" article on Wikipedia