British Embassy, Tokyo

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British Embassy, Tokyo
British Embassy in Tokyo.jpg
Coordinates 35°41′11″N 139°44′40″E / 35.68639°N 139.74444°E / 35.68639; 139.74444Coordinates: 35°41′11″N 139°44′40″E / 35.68639°N 139.74444°E / 35.68639; 139.74444
Location Japan Tokyo, Japan
Address No 1 Ichiban-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Ambassador Tim Hitchens
Website Office Website

The British Embassy, Tokyo, is the chief diplomatic mission of the United Kingdom in Japan, with Ambassadors of the United Kingdom to Japan being the chief of mission. The embassy compound is about 35,000 m², located at No 1 Ichiban-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (Japanese: 東京都千代田区一番町一), west side of the Imperial Palace, and separated from it by a moat.


The British embassy acts as a developer and a sustaining role to the Japan–United Kingdom relations, dealing with political, economic and cultural interaction between the two nations, and visa services to Japanese and other nationals in Japan. It also provides resources for about 16,000 U.K. citizens in the country as required.

The U.K. also runs a Consulate-General in Osaka, which reports to the embassy in Tokyo.


Brick-made building of the UK Embassy in Tokyo, 1912

The United Kingdom has established diplomatic relations with the Tokugawa shogunate since 1858. The first British Legation was opened in Tōzen-ji, Takanawa, Edo (now Tokyo), 1859. Meanwhile, Sir Rutherford Alcock, then Consul-General, was promoted to the Minister.

Owing to the attacks on legation staffs in 1861 and 1862, the British Legation was moved to Yokohama. On January 31, 1863, Takasugi Shinsaku led a squad and set fire on the construction site for a new legation building in Gotenyama, Shinagawa, as a part of the Sonnō jōi movement (hostility to foreigners), and the site became unusable.

In view of the inconvenience caused by far distance between Yokohama and the capital, Minister Harry Smith Parkes made use of Sengaku-ji in Edo as a temporary office. To get lands for permanent use of the legation, Sir Harry Parkes surveyed several houses abandoned by Daimyos as a result of the Meiji Restoration, and he got the land required in May 1872.[1] The legation building at Ichiban-cho, completed on December, 1874, was a red-bricked mansion designed by Thomas Waters, who was also famous for rebuilding Ginza into a Western-style "Bricktown".[2]

After the Japanese victory over China and Russia, which earned the Empire of Japan status of a great power, the British Legation in Tokyo was upgraded to embassy in 1905. After the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake made totally damage to the chancery, plans for a second building was carried out by Ministry of Works, and a new chancery, the present building, came in use in 1929.

The interruption of the diplomatic relation between British Empire and the Imperial Japan occurred at the outbreak of Pacific War in 1941, and the British Embassy in Tokyo was shut down. Following the Occupation of Japan in 1945, the embassy compound became a shore establishment of the Royal Navy, named HMS Return.[3][4] Between 1946 and 1952, prior to the Treaty of San Francisco, the British Liaison Mission in Tokyo acted as the role of a diplomatic mission in Japan. The treaty came into force on April 28, 1952, and the U.K. embassy was re-opened.


The embassy is served by the Hanzōmon Station on Hanzōmon Line, Tokyo Metro.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 荻原、pg76。原資料は明治5年3月28日(1872年5月5日)付けの「英国公使館地所証書」
  2. ^ The Far East, A Monthly Illustrated Journal, Tokyo, January 31, 1875
  3. ^ "Tokyo, Sharks and Ice Cream. ABCtales". Ericv. 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "Hugh Cortazzi - Collected Writings". Cortazzi, Hugh. 2000. Retrieved 23 October 2013.