Much has been said about the recent turn around in land prices in Japan over the last couple of years. Since the burst of the bubble land prices have been going down for 15 years but recently there has been an upswing in values in the major cities of Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka although values in other regions continue to fall. In Tokyo much of the focus has been on major redevelopments of central city areas amidst a general trend towards central city living. Shiodome is one such area, and the over-hyped and under-berated Roppongi Hills complex another. However, outside of the central city areas one suburb in particular is going through some dramatic changes.
Located in the Nakahara ward of Kawasaki, Musashi Kosugi is a fair hike from central Tokyo. However, for the salaryman who cannot afford to live in the inner suburbs, or does not wish to, the daily commute can be a big factor in deciding where to live and this has been fundamental to Musashi Kosugi’s present building boom.
Situated where the Tokyu Toyoko and JR Nambu lines cross it is only 15 minutes to Yokohama, Kawasaki and the Tokyo hub of Shibuya, but its convenience has also been greatly improved since 2000 when the Mita and Namboku subway lines were both extended through to Meguro with trains continuing all the way to Musashi Kosugi along the Tokyu Meguro line. Moreover, public transport will get even better once the planned station on the JR Yokosuka line is completed in March 2010 about 300m east of the existing Tokyu & JR stations. It will give a direct route through to Tokyo in just 20 minutes, less than half the time it takes now. With such a choice of commuting routes, it no surprise that the area is gaining popularity.
The area to the southeast of Musashi Kosugi Station is undertaking changes of immense proportions. The skyline is to be transformed with the construction of 5 apartment buildings in excess of 45 storeys, including one as high as 59, another of 24 storeys, and a 21 storey hotel.
Such a transformation will have a profound effect on the region. Obviously the demands on the local infrastructure will increase with the sudden rise in population once the 3615 apartments fill up. The department store FROM is being demolished to allow the narrow alley that runs between the Toyoko and JR Musashi Kosugi stations to be widened and the St. Marianna University’s Toyoko Hospital, located just 2 minutes walk from the station, has also been torn down to be rebuilt. On the other hand, one cannot help thinking that retailers such Ito Yokado, who operate a large store nearby, are eagerly awaiting the influx.
For locals that already live in the area the increased congestion on those rush hour trains is something that we may just have to put up with. Though, hopefully we will get one of those maid cafes to help ease the pain.