Shimbashi is a busy district in Tokyo known for its numerous izakaya-style bars and restaurants, typically frequented by groups of “salarymen” looking for a drink after a long day of work. The most popular meet-up spot for these barhoppers is the old-fashioned steam locomotive train in the square outside Shimbashi Station, one of the oldest railway stations in Japanese history.
Officially named the Shimbashi Station West Entrance Square, the so-called SL Square was created in 1972 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Japan’s railway transport system. The district served as the starting point of the railway going from Tokyo to Yokohama, established in October 1872. At the time, Shimbashi Station was named Karasumori while what is now known as Shiodome Station was called Shimbashi.
The steam locomotive (hence “SL”) train is a real one of the C11-292 type, used from 1945 to 1972. It blows a whistle three times a day. During the winter season around November-January, it is decorated with Christmas lights and illuminated at night.