It has been about 140 years since Rokumeikan,
a banqueting house, was established.
The Hibiya area has been continuously evolving from a diplomatic base to a cultural
and artistic center and business base while responding to the demands of the times.
Now, we look back and remember the pathway to modern Japan.

  • Hibiya — The city that helped lead
    the modernization of Japan

    Since the Meiji Restoration, Hibiya has enthusiastically paved the way in leading the modernization of Japan.
    In 1883, “Rokumeikan” was established as a social meeting place for inviting foreign traders and diplomats, and in 1890, the Imperial Hotel was completed, acclaimed as the grandest large hotel in the East. Since that time, Hibiya has developed as Japan's international diplomatic hub.

  • Developing as
    Japan’s entertainment center

    At the beginning of the Showa era, the Tokyo Metropolitan Hibiya Public Hall, which was a symbol of reconstruction after the Great Kanto Earthquake, was completed. It was known as “the sanctuary of music”, being the only music hall in Tokyo at the time. In 1934, the Tokyo Takarazuka Theater and Hibiya Movie Theater (“Hibiya Eiga Gekijo”) opened. In the following year, Yuraku-za started as a theater directly managed by the Tokyo Takarazuka Theater, and the history of Hibiya as a city of movies and theaters began. After World War II, various theaters such as Geijutsu-za, showcasing only theatrical works, and the movie theaters Miyukiza-za, and Hibiya Scala-za opened their doors consecutively. Furthermore, in 1963, the Nissay Theatre, which was appreciated as the greatest theater of the time, was established with the spirit of creating a world-leading theater. Hibiya has continuously and dynamically progressed as a center of entertainment in Japan.

    Hibiya Movie Theater
    Hibiya Movie Theater
  • Hibiya as a business base

    While many entertainment facilities continuously opened, business-related facilities were also being constructed one after another in Hibiya. In 1930, the Sanshin Building, a symbolic building suitably representing the rich, upscale image of Hibiya was opened, then in 1960, the Hibiya Mitsui Building was completed and recognized as the greatest office building in the East at that time. Since then, various head offices of Japanese key industries were established in the area, such as the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Agency Headquarters Building, known as the Hibiya Denden Building (currently NTT Hibiya Building), the Tokyo Electric Power Company Headquarters Building , and the Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank Head Office Building, and gradually Hibiya evolved into the current city with its great variety of attractions.

    Business district along Hibiya Street
    Business district along Hibiya Street

History of Hibiya

From the Meiji era, through Taisho, Showa, Heisei to Reiwa,
the times have constantly changed. Now, we look back on the evolution of Hibiya,
which has been a pioneer over the years
as a center of entertainment and business, in a chronology.

1883 (Meiji 16) Rokumeikan completed
1890 (Meiji 23) Imperial Hotel completed
1894 (Meiji 27) Yurakucho Mitsui Shukaijo (meeting house) completed
(European-style building completed in 1898)
1903 (Meiji 36) Hibiya Park opened, Hibiya Matsumotoro opened
1908 (Meiji 41) Yuraku-za completed
1911 (Meiji 44) Imperial Theatre completed
1923 (Taisho 12) Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Imperial Hotel, Hibiya Open-Air Concert Hall (large concert hall) completed
1929 (Showa 4) Tokyo Metropolitan Hibiya Public Hall, Shisei Kaikan completed
1930 (Showa 5) Sanshin Building completed
Sanshin Building completed
1934 (Showa 9) Tokyo Takarazuka Theater, Hibiya Movie Theater completed
1935 (Showa 10) Yuraku-za was constructed as a theater directly managed by Tokyo Takarazuka Theater
1955 (Showa 30) Hibiya Scala-za completed
1957 (Showa 32) TOHO Headquarters Building (Miyuki-za, Chiyoda Theater, Geijutsu-za opened) completed
1960 (Showa 35) Hibiya Mitsui Building completed
1961 (Showa 36) Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Agency Headquarters Building (currently NTT Hibiya Building) completed
1963 (Showa 38) Nissay Theatre completed
Nissay Theatre completed
1964 (Showa 39) Hibiya Station on the Hibiya Line opened
1969 (Showa 44) TOHO Twin Tower Building completed
1970 (Showa 45) Imperial Hotel Main Building completed
1971 (Showa 46) Hibiya Station on the Chiyoda Line opened
1972 (Showa 47) Tokyo Electric Power Company Headquarters Building completed, Hibiya Station on the Toei Line 6 (currently part of Toei Mita Line) opened
1981 (Showa 56) (Old) Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank Head Office Building completed
1983 (Showa 58) Imperial Tower of Imperial Hotel completed
1984 (Showa 59) Hibiya Marine Building completed
1987 (Showa 62) TOHO Hibiya Building, Hibiya Chanter, Chanter Cine (currently TOHO CINEMAS Chanter) completed
2007 (Heisei 19) Theatre Creation, remm Hibiya completed
2011 (Heisei 23) The Basic Plan of Hibiya Area Urban Development established
2015 (Heisei 27) Hibiya Area Management Association established
2018 (first year of Reiwa) Tokyo Midtown Hibiya, TOHO CINEMAS Hibiya, new Godzilla statue completed
2023 (Reiwa 5) Toho Hibiya Promenade Building completed

The Hibiya of those Days

Hibiya has always been a place full of charm,
through its people, the city, and its greenery.
Take a look at some valuable photographs of the Hibiya area in
each era to feel the lively “Hibiya of those days”.

  • Hibiya Movie Theater has screened a variety of masterpieces since it opened in 1934 (Showa 9).
  • Tokyo Takarazuka Theater at the time of opening in 1934 (Showa 9). It was established as the base of the Takarazuka Revue in Tokyo.
  • Yuraku-za, which gained popularity as a large theater, became a movie-only theater after being renovated in 1951 (Showa 26).
  • Hibiya in 1952 (Showa 27). The brick-built Sanshin Building was a famously recognizable building.
  • The movie district of Hibiya in 1952 (Showa 27), showing the Hibiya Movie Theater, with its round-shaped building, and Yuraku-za.
  • Hibiya in 1962 (Showa 37). The Nissay Theatre, which was under construction at this time, would be completed the following year.
  • Around 1962 (Showa 37), the movie “El Cid” was being screened at Yuraku-za.
  • Hibiya Park in 1964 (Showa 39). People resting around the fountain.
  • The movie “Tokyo Olympiad” was screened at the Chiyoda Theater.
  • Around 1965 (Showa 40), the movie “Goldfinger” was showing at the Hibiya Movie Theater.
  • Hibiya Street in 1968 (Showa 43). The Tokyo Toden (tram network) runs in front of the Imperial Theatre.
  • Around 1972 (Showa 47), the movie “In the Heat of the Night” was screened at the Hibiya Movie Theater.
  • Around 1975 (Showa 50), the movie “The Kid” (music version) was screened at Yuraku-za.
  • In 1982 (Showa 57), throngs of people crowding the movie district of Hibiya.
  • In 1984 (Showa 59), the Hibiya Movie Theater closed, ending its half-century history.
  • The Hibiya Movie Theater around 2002 (Heisei 13). There was a long line of movie fans.
  • The former TOHO Headquarters Building around 2003 (Heisei 15). The TOHO Theatre Creation Building is now located at this spot.