Tokyo is a fascinating place. It’s the world’s most populous city yet it feels quiet and calm. Shibuya Crossing, the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing, has come to symbolize Japan. Yet a short distance away there are quiet, peaceful streets. Japanese cars seem to glide almost silently across the perfect pavement.
Tokyo has to be one of the cleanest cities in the world. There is not a speck of dirt on the streets of sidewalks, and subway cars have clean seats, clean floors, and sparkling clean windows.
We visited Tokyo in November of 2019. During the daylight hours there was typically harsh light with distracting shadows, or else flat light with bland skies. The more interesting light came after dark, when the neon lights come in Shinjuku, and when the temples light their lanterns.
Sensoji is a temple in northeast Tokyo.
Shibuya Crossing is said to be the busiest pedestrian intersection. It connects one of Tokyo’s busiest train stations with a shopping district. When the lights are red and when cars drive down the street, up to a thousand people cue on the sidewalk. Then when the lights go green, people swarm across the road like army ants. The lights then go red again and the whole process repeats itself, again and again.
We joined the fray. I was surprised that there was no pushing and shoving; the whole thing is like a choreographed dance where streams people flow in different directions.
Tokyo is known for its crazy neon signs, and this reaches a climax in the Shinjuku district. Towering vertical rows of Kanji characters are lined up one after the other, providing a visual barrage of advertising.
Shinjuku is a lot like Times Square in New York, except that Shinjuku just keeps going and going, block after block, around corner after corner…