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The NEW Urayasu City Hall, Chiba
Price: 0 yen
Urayasu City Hall moved into a new building recently. The new site is right next door to the old one, but they are worlds apart in terms of quality.
The old Urayasu City Hall was, quite frankly, depressing. I mean, no one wants to go to city hall at the best of times, but when the site has all the appeal of an 18th Century industrial workhouse, then visits take on soul crushing proportions.
However, I hope they've taken the old staff with them to the new building, because on my, admittedly, only visit to Urayasu City Hall, I was treated very well. I was even assigned a worker to fill out form on my behalf (the forms were in Japanese). The people at reception were very helpful, and the lady who ended up processing my paperwork, also went out of her way to make sure things got done smoothly. No one spoke English though.
So, the new building is very, well, new! That said, it's still a city hall, so basically, it has no personality, and is still a place that no one really wants to go to. I was there on a Sunday, which I guess means it opens on at least some Sundays. Not all services are available on this day of rest, but don't panic, the tax collections desk is (someone's got to pay for the new building, I suppose).
Like any city hall in Japan, the location is about as convenient as a concrete parachute. If you can figure out Japan's local buses, there's a stop right in front of the main entrance, otherwise you're looking at a good 40 min walk from Urayasu Station.
The city hall is in a kind of 'civic' area, with a library next door, and some other public/administrative facilities. There's a convenience store across the street from the main building, but not much else. There are vending machines inside the hall, too.
It's surely impossible to give any city hall 4 to 5 stars, isn't it? 3