The History of Kashiwa Ekimae Shopping Promenade (current Howdy Mall Kashiwa)

The History of Kashiwa Ekimae Shopping Promenade (current Howdy Mall Kashiwa)

Kashiwa Station before redevelopment

The History of Kashiwa Ekimae Shopping Promenade (current Howdy Mall Kashiwa) goes back to the mid-Meiji era. It began with the Joban line Kashiwa Station, which opened on December 25, 1896.

At the time Kashiwa Station opened, the area around the station was a village called Chiyoda, into which Tobari, Kashiwa, Shikoda, Takada, and Matsugasaki municipalities merged in 1889. Later, in 1926, Chiyoda acquired the township, and changed its name to the town of Kashiwa.

In September 1954, Kashiwa merged with neighboring communities, including the villages Tanaka and Tsuchi, and the town of Kogane to form the city of Tokatsu, with a population of 46,978. The following month, however, a large portion of the former Kogane was transferred into the city of Matsudo, and in November of the same year, a part of the village of Tomise was incorporated into Tokatsu, and the name was changed back to Kashiwa.

Despite significant political confusion in the establishment of Kashiwa, the commercial area around the Kashiwa Station developed smoothly, and Kashiwa Ekimae Shopping Promenade has enjoyed its role as the main street of the area.

Kashiwa Ekimae street in the early Showa era

Kashiwa Ekimae street refurbished as a ‘fire control building zone’

Great Fire of Kashiwa

Since the opening of Kashiwa Station, the commercial area around the station grew along with the city, which fortunately was not damaged in World War 2.

However, on Dec. 25, 1955, with the festival mood of the Kashiwa Station launch still in the air, the “Great Fire of Kashiwa” took place, burning 43 buildings and partially destroying 6 buildings, resulting in massive damage to the area. The year thus became the turning point for Kashiwa Ekimae street.

Although the damage from the Great Fire of Kashiwa was devastating, people on Kashiwa Ekimae Shopping Promenade rose up and quickly restored the street. In 1956, the ruined buildings on the street were rebuilt with reinforced concrete to constitute an area later declared a fire control building zone, which became the foundation of the current Kashiwa Ekimae Shopping Promenade. Today, you can still see the buildings built at that time.

Along with the booming Japanese economy during the high-growth period, Kashiwa, being a suburb of Tokyo, increased its population sharply. Meanwhile, Kashiwa Ekimae Shopping Promenade became more and more prosperous.

Celebration for Kashiwa Station becoming a rapid train terminal

The next occasion for the shopping promenade to change came in 1973, when a pedestrian deck was constructed at the east exit of Kashiwa Station and Sogo Kashiwa, a department store, was opened. This was, and remains, the foundation of commerce in the area today. With Ito Yokado having been opened two years earlier in 1971, the area around the station entered the era with large scale department stores, large grocery stores, and locally-owned stores in the shopping promenade coexisting for mutual benefit.

Kashiwa Ekimae Shopping Promenade has been successful as the main street of the east exit area of Kashiwa Station, with many customers not only from its own community but also from neighboring districts. Many events have been organized with customers from other cities in mind, and Kashiwa Ekimae Shopping Promenade has become a citizen-friendly shopping place.

The Carillon Music Festival

The Carillon Festival

The Carillon Festival

The Art-Line Kashiwa

Even during the malaise in Japan following the bursting of the economic bubble in the 1990s, the Kashiwa Station commercial area miraculously continued its growth.

While department stores such as Takashimaya and Marui VAT were the major drivers of the growth, a number of vintage clothing stores, hair salons, and cafes opened one after another around the station. People regarded the area as ‘the town for the young’ where people from a wide area gathered to enjoy shopping.

To further raise the profile of the area as ‘the town for the young,’ and to draw more people to the shopping promenade, local volunteers organized various events.

One such effort is the series of art events called “Art-Line Kashiwa.” In 2006, 4 wards in Tokyo and 4 cities along the Joban-line (Taito-ku, Arakawa-ku, Adachi-ku, Katsushika-ku, Matsudo, Kashiwa, Abiko, and Toride), Tokyo University of Arts, and JR East collaborated to create the JOBAN Art-Line Committee, with “art” as the key word and with the intention of raising the positive image of the Joban-line and the districts on the line. The Art-Line Kashiwa was initiated as a part of the committee’s project, and as a municipal undertaking.

In support of this effort, Kashiwa Ekimae Shopping Promenade has offered a variety of unique art performances every year.

2016 Performance by Miss Revolutionary Idol Berserker

2015 Performances by Disuke Yshimoto, Yamanekodan and un-pa

2014 Performance by Kim Itoh

2013 Performance by ShibusaShirazu

2012 Performance by Yas-Kaz with Tomtom Senegal

2011 Performances by Mitsutaka Ishii, Nagatoshi Sakamoto and Giriyark Amagasaki

2010 Performances by Toru Iwashita, Reo Komazawa and Chindon Brass Kingyo

2009 Performances by Norito Nishimura, Yosuke Yamashita and Yabe Tadashi

2008 Performance by Min Tanaka

2007 Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition Tetsusei Yokowo and Tsukumo Murakami Performance by DAIRAKUDAKAN

2006 Performance by GRINDER-MAN

Howdy Mall

椎名ビル椎名マンション 5F