How can the development of infrastructures of different kinds or periods be linked?

It is useful to use the space with added functions needed for each step of the development.



Tenjin Chikagai is an underground shopping mall, where 400,000 people are passing by every day in the center of Fukuoka City. This mall has been adding new functions since its opening in 1976. It has now become an essential social infrastructure in the city center -- providing features, such as walkways for pedestrians linking buildings in the area and two subway stations. And as shelter from unpleasant weather conditions, and the places to rest, unwind and shop under the consistent concept inspired by the 19th Century Europe.



Tenjin Chikagai (Tenjin Underground Shopping Mall)


Tenjin Chikagai is an underground shopping mall with over 150 shops on 590 meter-long streets, stretching underground of Tenjin’s principal street, Watanabe Dori Avenue, in the center of Fukuoka City. And this mall is the trunk line for the underground network and connects many buildings through its network. And it also connects Fukuoka City Subway’s two subway stations in Tenjin and has traffic of 400,000 people every day. Tenjin Station on Line 1, servicing since 1981 and connecting with Hakata Station, Fukuoka Airport, and the suburbs and Tenjin-Minami Station on Line 3, connecting Tenjin and western residential areas started its operation in 2005 and planning to extend to Hakata Station in a few years.



This underground shopping mall was initially planned as underground passages and parking spaces by the local economic community that had started to participate actively in city development projects around this period, such as Kyushu Electric, Nishinippon Railway (Nishitetsu) and Iwataya Department Store. And this coincided with the interest of the city government in solving the problems of the pedestrians being about to overflow in Tenjin sidewalks as well as the shortage of parking spaces caused by rapid motorization in the late 1960s. Eventually, the project became the construction of an underground shopping mall, and this Tenjin Chikagai inaugurated on September 10, 1976.


In this mall, the passages are paved with stones and bricks, dim-lighting, unlike other shopping malls. This peculiar concept inspired by the 19th Century Europe has been used since its inauguration in 1976. And the mall has an idea of being a theater -- the shops are the stage, and the pedestrians are the audience, the merchandise and shop staff are the supporting actors, and the customers are the main actors. This concept has created a unique atmosphere, and it was well-received by the city’s visitors and residents. Therefore, the same idea has also been consistently applied for the extended part, connecting with Tenjin Minami Station of Fukuoka City Subway Nanakuma Line.



The 230-meter extension of Tenjin Chikagai was planned together with the project of Fukuoka City Subway Nanakuma Line, which had a universal design concept from the start. Tenjin Chikagai also added new facilities and renovated existing facilities in line with the idea of the new subway line. For example, elevators and escalators were newly added to facilitate accessibility to the mall for the elderly and disabled. And now it has restrooms renovated, and vanity area for women, multifunction room and lactation room. Enhancing user-friendliness and the convenience of being able to walk from the north to the south of the area was the reason why the pedestrian traffic increased in all points at the mall. The pedestrians walking underground ratio also increased from 40 percent to 60 percent against ground level in the pedestrian traffic analyses held before and after the extension, in 2003 and 2005.


Tenjin Area is expected to handle many visitors and commuters with the progress of the Tenjin Big Bang Project and the extension of Fukuoka City Subway Nanakuma Line to Hakata Station in 2022. Consequently, the importance of Tenjin Chikagai will also grow further as social infrastructure, as well as a shopping mall in Tenjin Area.



[Case ID: Urban Renewal UR-09]

Edited and photographed by Local Knowledge Platform LLC.