Once upon a time, an elephant lived on the rooftop of Nihombashi Takashimaya
It might be hard to believe, but an elephant used to live on the rooftop of Nihombashi Takashimaya. After the tragic history that elephants were put down nationwide during the war, in 1949, India’s first primeminister Nehru donated an elephant to Ueno Zoological Gardens in Tokyo, and popularity of elephants heated up. Then sales
Manager of Takashimaya suggested that Takashimaya keep an elephant on the rooftop. They decided to acquire a baby elephant from Thailand. In 1950, the baby elephant travelled by sea and arrived in Shimonoseki. Her journey continued, as she was carried in a freight train to Shiodome, and then paraded through Ginza in a heavy-duty truck. All the traffic and trains were suspended while she was lifted by a crane. She was named Takako, named after Takashimaya. As Takako was a gentle and smart elephant, and even did tricks and put children on her back. She was loved by many fans. In 1954, Takako was sent to Ueno Zoo for mating. As she was fully grown then, cranes were no longer powerful enough. She had no choice but to descend the department stairs step by step. Subsequently she was moved to a newly opened Tama Zoo in 1958 and loved by many people until the end.
Takako attracted as many as 170 thousand visitors a day.
The tower house built in 1954 in memory of Takako has an elephant shape.
Nihombashi Takashimaya Shopping Center
2-4-1 Nihombashi Chuo-ku Tokyo
Direct access from Nihombashi Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza and Tozai Lines