Ebisu Garden Place

click on images for full-size:

Map of Ebisu Garden Place

Folly at Ebisu Garden Place

Towers at Ebisu Garden Place

Walking down the hill from fashionable Daikanayama, coming into a crowded mid-range shopping street, under the railroad tracks, past the station, you arrive at Ebisu Garden Place. After tightly built streets, suddenly you find a suburban space in central Tokyo.

The area had long housed the Ebisu brewery that made a beer named after the local area, itself named after a tribe of aborigines. The little brewery was bought out by Sapporo, a larger beer company named after the city in the far north where the Ebisu and other aborigines had been driven as the Japanese advanced up the islands. In the purchase, Sapporo acquired what was for Tokyo an immense parcel of land. Now it has been developed, in a manner familiar to Americans, as a multiuse agglomeration.

The old brewery is commemorated since its bricks and European form are echoed in a folly version of the old building. The Ebisu Station Beer Garden is still there, but gone upscale. There are tall apartment towers, a Westin hotel, two sleek office buildings, a shopping mall on several levels both outside and in, many trees along the street and in the wide plaza -- itself an extravagance on what was at the time the most expensive real estate in the world, where buildings are supposed to press against the limits of their tiny lots. There is also basement parking (10 yen a minute), a Shinto shrine, and, since this is Tokyo, a French Chateau.