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There is a uniquely Japanese environment, both beautiful and plentiful in Tokyo. While not high on anyone’s itinerary, if intentionally considered at all, the pulsating vertical neon lining the major streets is a quintessential Japanese spectacle. Futuristically sexy, visually stunning; reminiscent of, and responsible for, many movies set in the future, from Akira to Bladerunner.
In Hong Kong, the neon is horizontal, hanging over the street. In Vegas, it’s gaudy. The verticality is distinctly Japanese, rising and changing every 3m, symbolizing the business on each successive floor. The streets are left clear, forming vast illuminated canyons, a river of automobiles flowing at the base.
There are several areas in Tokyo to best see neon, each with its own style and atmosphere. The best example can be found northeast of Shinjuku station, looking east on Yasukuni Dori. Also near Shinjuku Station, take a look west from just outside the South Exit to see the Shinjuku Park Tower dominating the colossal neon canyon of Koshu Kaido. Outside the Hachiko Exit of Shibuya station, the world’s busiest pedestrian intersection is draped with radiating signage leading away in all directions. Akihabara’s Electric Town is a softer-spoken, subtle neon labyrinth with alleys meshing the blocks together, exits adorned with gaseous strands. At the heart of Ginza, take a look in four directions from the corner of Harumi and Chuo Dori, to see the tidier, ordered vertical lights of this upscale shopping district. Smaller, local versions can be found at virtually every station in central Tokyo as well.
Thanks for reading everyone. For other Tokyo photos, I invite you to visit www.chrisjongkind.com
This article has been viewed 19974 times in the last 7 years
Jamie: 5th Jan 2006 - 09:46 GMT
Catherine Penfold-Waxman: 5th Jan 2006 - 14:28 GMT
Glorious pictures and a great dialogue, thanks. I'd love to visit (and retire some replicants or become a ghost in the machine)
Hobart: 5th Jan 2006 - 19:23 GMT
jeeff: 6th Jan 2006 - 06:11 GMT
wow, beautiful! i never quite figured out how to catch those lights. you sure did. i would love to see more of japan.
jack: 6th Jan 2006 - 15:22 GMT
wow that was great, but have you seen 17th avenue in brooklyn, the non-neon lights. how about court street's dazzeling display of red, yellow and green stop lights on almost every street! now compare 11th avenue and 14th streets illuminating window treatments on almost every floor going not only verticle but horizontal also which lends ones eyes to blink in disbelief of the florescent beauty of the grand doorways and foyers in each apartment building.
Taro: 28th Dec 2008 - 12:14 GMT
matthias jourdan: 28th Mar 2010 - 15:44 GMT
Amazing pictures, you are absolutely right, I know Hong Kong very well and neon are really not the same, Hong Kong style is much more agressive, streets and roads are covered, when we are in a bus upper deck, it's almost impossible to see far away but we can't miss neon maybe that's why it's like that. I hope visit Tokyo soon.
DEATHSTROKE: 8th Aug 2012 - 08:24 GMT
shibuya crossing is much better than these.don't you have any photosof it
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