Preserving Tokyo’s rich history and embracing its bright future at Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower

Tokyo, Japan

Located on an entire city block in the historical and cultural neighborhood of Muromachi, Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower advances the use of historic preservation as an approach to urban redevelopment. The 41-story mixed-use tower carefully links to the 1929 Beaux-Arts landmark Mitsui Honkan (“main building”), designated as an important cultural asset by the Japanese government and renovated during the redevelopment. The tower includes the corporate office headquarters for the Mitsui Fudosan Group as well as trading floors, retail, a museum, a Mandarin Oriental hotel and connection to the adjacent Sakura Bank. A resounding economic success, the tower enhanced land values and triggered additional development efforts in the surrounding area, a critical step toward the Nihonbashi district’s revitalization plan. 

As the tower reaches toward the sky in a series of steps, its forms become lighter and more transparent. 

An established rhythm between old and new 

Reflecting and honoring the style of the Mitsui Honkan, the Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower’s base is formed by a rhythmic sequence of granite columns that continues the order of the marble-clad historic building.  The base and the adjacent atrium, open and filled with light, hold mostly public functions: a lobby for the offices, shops, restaurants, and an entrance to a new museum. In the new atrium, a rear elevation of the bank building—an unadorned party wall—is visible through a translucent glass wall. An image of a monumental Corinthian column was screened onto the glass, reproducing a key element of the three principal façades of the Mitsui Main Building. Moving upward, the next form contains the corporate headquarters. This element’s strong, vertical organization and use of stone conveys the company’s solidity and permanence. 

The colossal scale of the tower’s majestic atrium is reinforced by two monumental Corinthian columns (elements that adorn the front façade of the landmark historic main building) screened onto the translucent glass wall.
The paired sculptures by Satoshi Saito are contemporary responses to the classical architecture. 
“Everyone involved in the Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower project worked relentlessly to realize the corporate vision of fusing tradition and innovation.”
— Eiichiro Onozawa, Project Manager, Mitsui Fudosan 
The historic Sembikiya fruit retailer settled on this site in 1867, the new design incorporated a mindfulness to the original store and is now housed on the lower level of the tower.  

A luxurious retreat in a vibrant city 

The top ten floors are home to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, offering views of the Tokyo Bay and Imperial Palace gardens from guestrooms and suites. Providing a sophisticated, luxurious experience, the hotel features an exclusive spa and health club, a ballroom, a wedding chapel, boutique restaurants and bars, a cake shop and business and meeting facilities to delight travelers and locals alike. The hotel lobby is imbued with an inviting atmosphere; complete with warm, natural wood, and stone interior finishes. 


More About the Project

Project Team

  • Cesar Pelli, FAIA, JIA, RIBA
  • David Chen, AIA ↗
  • Keith Krolak
  • Gabriel Bekerman
  • John Booth
  • Jose Luis Cabello
  • Anil Khachane
  • Carlos Lafi
  • Seung Park
  • Crina Popescu
  • Frederick Tang
  • Natalia Valencia
  • Mauro Vasquez

Principals Collaborators

  • Architect of Record: Nihon Sekkei
  • Structural Engineer: Nihon Sekkei
  • MEP Engineer: Nihon Sekkei

Project Information

  • Location: Tokyo, Japan
  • Client: Mitsui-Fudosan
  • Size: 1.4 million sq. ft. / 130,000 sq. m.
  • Height: 630 ft. / 192 m.
  • Completion: 2005
  • Firm Role: Design Architect


  • 2020, ULI Asia Pacific Award for Excellence, Urban Land Institute Asia Pacific
  • Principal Project Photography: Jeff Goldberg/ESTO
  • Mandarin Oriental photos courtesy of Mandarin Oriental