It’s for trains, but “Space Station” did surprisingly well in the survey.
Out of the many rail lines in Tokyo, the single most useful, by far, is the Yamanote Line. Circling the downtown area, the Yamanote loop passes through stations including Shibuya, Harajuku, Shinjuku, Ueno, Akihabara, and Tokyo, providing easy access to a number of the city’s professional and leisure destinations.
So the upcoming addition of a new Yamanote station, the line’s 30th and the first to be added since 1971, is a big deal. The new station will be placed between Shinagawa and Tamachi Stations, whose 2.2-kilometer (1.4-mile) separation is currently the longest gap between. In addition to the Yamanote Line, the Keihin-Tohoku line will also run through the new station, connecting it to the prefectures of Kanagawa to the south and Saitama to the north.
Apologies for the repeated use of “the new station,” but as of right now operator JR East has yet to set a name for (sorry) the new station. There are a couple of candidates that have been floating around, though, and in an attempt to gauge the public reaction, media research company ING recently polled 100 high school girls on the streets of the trendy Shibuya district.
Their top picks were:
8 (tie). Sengakuji (3 percent of respondents)
8 (tie). Shibaura (3 percent)
7. Konan (4 percent)
5 (tie). Shiba (6 percent)
5 (tie). Shinagawa Shin Toshin (6 percent)
4. Tokyo South Gate (8 percent)
3. Takanawa (10 percent)
2. Space Station (12 percent)
1. Shin Shinagawa (45 percent)
Sengakuji, Shibaura, Konan, and Shiba all the names of neighborhoods in the vicinity of where the station is being built. Sengakuji seems like an unlikely choice, though, since there’s already a separate Sengakuji Station shared by the Asakusa subway and Keikyu rail lines (neither of which are operated by JR).
Shinagawa Shin Toshin, meaning essentially “New Shinagawa City Center,” is also a bit of a tough sell. Not only is it a nine-syllable mouthful, it’s likely to be several years until the area near the new station becomes as developed as the skyscraper-studded Shinagawa Station, if it ever does.
▼ Shinagawa Station area
Tokyo South Gate is an arguably more logical choice, since the new station will be on the southern edge of Tokyo’s downtown core.
Takanawa, yet another local neighborhood name, seems like it has a legitimate shot, but it lacks the pizazz of the futuristic-sounding “Space Station.” To clarify, that’s Supesu Suteshon, the corrupted Japanese pronunciation of the English term, and not an indigenous equivalent.
Finally, Shin Shinagawa, meaning “New Shinagawa,” makes a strong case for itself on the basis of simplicity. But while the name might be easy to remember, it’s sort of hard to pronounce because of the repeating “shin” pair right at the beginning.
With a planned opening date of 2020, JR East still has some time to fine tune the name. In the meantime, let us know what you think the station should be called, and we’ll take your suggestions into consideration should we happen to win ownership of JR East in one of the high-stakes poker games we regularly compete in.