Tokyo May Get Its Very Own High Line

the Tokyo Expressway running through Ginza could be turned into a park filled with greenery. (Illustration courtesy of Tokyo Expressway)

The economic benefits of New York’s High Line have been made clear.  The elevated park that was converted from a disused railway has generated so much tourism and increases in land value that some $2 billion in new economic activity is attributed to the High Line. Now, other cities are following those blue prints to create new value from old infrastructure and Tokyo could be next.

The Tokyo Expressway is a short, 2km expressway that runs through Ginza. In terms of length, it’s about the same as New York’s High Line. And on Monday, local municipality leaders submitted a plan to Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike to build a new Tokyo Expressway underground and convert the current into an elevated pedestrian park filled with greenery. Referencing New York’s High Line, they said “we hope to create a green promenade full of people.”

There was no discussion of a time line as the plan still needs to be approved and added into the budget. It could take several years before these plans come to life.

the current Tokyo Expressway running through Ginza


  1. The Highline is beautiful but they didn’t need to underground an expressway to build it. I wonder if it would be simpler to just build an elevated park from scratch?

    I want to put a shout out to Mishima’s restored waterway, which I find every bit as charming as the Highline.

  2. The elevated Expressway is very much a working and heavily used part of Tokyo’s highway infrastructure, located in the center of the city’s thriving commercial district. Contrast that to the High Line’s former status as an abandoned eyesore, and its new role as a catalyst for urban regeneration in a former industrial area. There is no real need for this project. I suspect this is another example of Japan’s construction industry political lobby at work.
    Many other Japanese cities could do with a “High Line”, but not central Tokyo.

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