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※The January edition was produced on the basis of information accurate as of December 14.
The Main Building’s courtyard built in a classical architectural style
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Historical buildings align the Nihombashi district. The most eye-catching is the stately Main Building of the Bank of Japan (BOJ) Head Office.
Designed by Tatsuno Kingo, a pioneer of Japanese modern architecture, this Main Building was completed in 1896 after six years of construction work. The building with stone and brick walls has three floors above ground and one below. It is said that although it was damaged by fire in the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, the building escaped any seismic damage due to its robust structure.
Let’s take a look at the guided tour route offered to the general public. You start from the courtyard, the main entrance to the Main Building. Because it served as the passage to transport banknotes into the underground vault, this courtyard is an enclosed space surrounded by high walls. Entering the Main Building, there is a large space with a two-story ceiling, which was the bank’s lobby. The interior columns and plaster walls are adorned with various classical-style ornaments, each beautiful like a work of art in itself.
You move then to the basement floor. The underground bank vault, said to have been in use for over a century until 2004, retains much of its original form. Its triple doors were, starting from the most inner door, made in Japan, the U.K., and the U.S., respectively. You should definitely take a look yourself and check out their different features. The bank vault contains heaps of fake banknotes amounting to 100 billion yen and gold bar replicas, making it a great photo spot for visitors.
There are many other sights to be seen, including a horse-watering station and the world’s first automatic banknote examination machine. Now, these must-see spots can be viewed online. Just search on the internet for “BOJ from Home.” The online virtual tour could provide you with a good opportunity to deepen your knowledge about the money you use every day.
The bank vault door built by an American manufacturer,
measuring 90 centimeters in thickness and 25 tons in weight
The Bank of Japan Head Office is a one-minute walk from Tokyo Metro Mitsukoshimae Station.
[The Bank of Japan Head Office Tour]
Phone: . Available Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (excluding public holidays and the year-end and New Year period).
To take the guided tour (an English guided tour can also be arranged), you need to make a reservation from the dedicated reservation website (external link).