Illustrated Cross-Sections of Major Train Stations in Tokyo by Tomoyuki Tanaka

tomoyuki tanaka rendering shinjuku

a detailed cross-section of Shinjuku Station. At 748,000 daily users, it’s the world’s busiest train station

In addition to being an architect, Tomoyuki Tanaka is also a master draftsman. Every project he’s done – from renovations and residential homes to urban planning – has been accompanied by detailed sketches, cross-sections and diagrams, all painstakingly produced by hand. In an age of CAD and computer-generated renderings, Tanaka’s architectural studies stand out as adding a human element to often cold, mechanical renderings of urban architecture.

tomoyuki tanaka rendering shinjuku - (detail)

close-up of the Shinjuku Station rendering

Over the years, Tanaka has conducted intense studies on some of Tokyo’s major train stations, known to be the busiest in the world. How, in fact, does a single piece of urban architecture support, in the case of Shinjuku Station, 750,000 people in and out per day? Well, having 36 platforms, underground and above ground arcades, numerous hallways and over 200 exits does help. And Tanaka has captured them all in this astounding rendering he did in 2005 for a magazine on train stations.

tomoyuki tanaka rendering shibuya

Shibuya Station. At 370,000 daily users it’s the 5th busiest train station in Japan

Now, Tanaka’s renderings are part of a larger exhibition that just opened in Tokyo at 21_21 Design Sight. Titled “Doboku – Civil Engineering” the exhibition examines the infrastructure that makes our daily lives possible. The exhibition looks fascinating! It just opened on June 24 and will be on view through September 25, 2016.

Bonus tumblr post: other photos from the Doboku Exhibition

close-up of the Shibuya Station rendering

installation view of Tanaka's renderings at 21_21 Design Sight | image courtesy World Architetcs

installation view of Tanaka’s renderings at 21_21 Design Sight | image courtesy World Architects


  1. I would love to buy these as prints. I looked but it doesn’t seem like prints of them are for sale. Am I mistaken?

    • @Rubin – unfortunately, you’re correct. We’d love to have one of these as prints in our office too but as far as we know they’re not available.

  2. Seconding the prints! Absolutely love the first image.
    I tried searching too, but Tomoyuki Tanaka is also the name of the creator of Godzilla 🙂

  3. Great find! They’re different, but I also like these:

  4. I want to navigate Shinjuku Station with a Doom engine.
    The map and updates could be built in a small amount of time. It can actually be easier than Tanaka’s drawings.

    And it can be profitable by selling advertising to store owners. For a modest price the store’s identity would be displayed.

    The next step would be an underground battle with commuters. It could not be more violent than actual rush hour!

  5. Nanako, there’s a low-fi RPG called shinjuku dungeon that does more or less that 🙂 one for shibuya station too!

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